Friday, October 16, 2009

A Kefir Smoothie and Some Beneficial Superfoods



Kefir milk is almost non-existent a few years ago. Although there was a supplier that my uncle introduced to us, she is difficult to get in touch with. Well, first impressions last so I just let it passed. A few months ago, I learned that Mr. Arthur Tanco the owner of Bizu Patiserrie, famous for their macaroons and pastries, is selling kefir at Salcedo Market. But sometimes I order directly from him. I actually want to make my own kefir milk but ordering them is much more convenient at the moment. But sooner or later, I would have to ask Mr. Tanco to supply me one of his kefir grains so I could make my own milk, coconut or water kefir. His kefir milk is made from organic raw milk who eats nothing but 100% natural greens and feeds free from pesticides and other artificial products.

What is so special about kefir that they’re actually considered better than yogurt? Well, kefir contains around 30 strains of good bacteria and it colonizes the gastro-intestinal tract that yogurt cannot achieve. Kefir also contains lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose (milk sugar).



Kefir is a good source of nutrients namely vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and probiotics. There are so many benefits of kefir but I’ll simplify it for you. For now I’m giving you two that acts a channel to every area of your body.

  • First, kefir improves the function of the whole digestive system. The digestive system is responsible in digesting the food you eat the moment it enters your mouth all the way through elimination. That also includes every antibiotic and medications that you’ve taken. When your digestive system is functioning properly, you prevent other problems because nutrients are well assimilated and absorbed by the body.

  • Second, it greatly improves the immune system by keeping a healthy population of good bacteria and yeasts in the colon while flushing out harmful bacteria. In fact, 80% of a healthy immune system starts with the digestive system. One can’t improve the immune system without first improving the digestion system. The bottom line is, it all starts with your digestive system.
Kefir, by nature, is very tart. It is usually blended with fruits to improve the taste. Kefir can be used in other food preparations such as lacto-fermented foods, in breads, as a dressing in smoothies and many others.



In this smoothie, I combined the following:
  • 1 cup kefir milk
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ dragon fruit
  • 10 ashitaba (aka Tomorrow) leaves
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed seeds
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
And that smoothie is always subject to change.

You can do all kinds of smoothies but this would be a great opportunity for me to briefly introduce some super foods that I added to my kefir and to be used in other recipes. Yes, briefly.

Superfoods

Bee Pollen


This is the crème de la crème of the bee by-products. One of the world’s most complete foods, bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acid, anti-oxidants and bioflavonoid. They are made natural by nature – the bees.

Hemp Hearts


It is the only natural food that is concentrated with all of the required proteins and essential fats. One of the benefits of consuming hemp hearts is weight lost for obese people if taken 5-6 tablespoons in the morning. It also suppresses the cravings for sugar and processed food as well as other refined carbohydrates. When your body is absorbing the nutrients you get from food, you won’t be hungry all the time because your body is getting what it needs.

Gogi Berries


This berry has been mentioned many times during the past few years but it has been used in Chinese medicine for such a long time. Commonly used with other herbs in various dishes in Oriental cuisine, this mighty goji berries is considered one the super foods of today and the future. I mentioned before that goji berries benefits overall health of your vision. They are so nutritionally-rich, they also boosts your immune system, supports brain and neurological, cardiovascular health and other organs.

Ashitaba Leaves


They are also called Tomorrow Leaf or Earth Growth. They are a great tonic for the digestive and immune system. It purifies the blood and promotes blood circulation. They are high in antioxidant which helps fight free radical and they are good in detoxifying the body. They are flourishing in our garden more than our basil leaves so I might do an Ashitaba pesto next time.

Mixed Raw Seed Trail


These are combinations of 3 parts sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and 1 part golden or brown flax seeds. Chia seeds can be also be added. They are best grounded a la minute before using most especially flax seeds. Flax seeds are hard to chew and they are best absorbed when grounded. With this combination of seed, you’ll get a mix concoction of essential fatty acids.

Other Functional Foods

Psyllium Husk


Psyllim husk is a fiber made of complex carbohydrates extracted from the Psyllium plant.
Just like golden flax seeds, they are soluble in water which expands and becomes mucilaginous when wet. Taking psyllium husk is in tandem in drinking lots of water. Just use psyllium husk with caution.

Lecithin Granules


Lecithin is a special kind of fat called a phospholipid, which contains the nutrient choline, a B vitamin. Some sources of lecithin are organic eggs yolks, liver, peanuts, wheat germ, cauliflower, milk, and soybeans. Three things to remember about the benefits of lecithin: heart health, liver function and slow memory loss.

I hope you enjoyed my short introduction of kefir milk and some super foods. They're probably more of a recap than an introduction. And you might already be familiar with them. But any questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. I really appreciate them.

If you live in Metro Manila you can order your kefir milk, bee pollen and hemp hearts at Chlorophyll Manila website.

34 comments:

  1. very interesting and very informative. Thanks for sharing. I haven't tried keffir. Would love to one day. Haven't seen here....maybe not observant. My family regularly takes friendly bacteria in powder form, bought from my natural healing Dr. It has been very effective in stomach upset particularly due to food poisoning. We always bring along with us when we travel. Too much anti-biotics, drugs, other chemicals are constantly destroying our own friendly bacteria in out guts. It's highly important to replenish it back. Kefir is definitely an important way to do that.

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  2. I have heard so many great things about kefir but I never knew it was loaded with so many good bacteria. I know they sell kefir here in the states but it is hard to find.

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  3. Kefir is easy (and inexpensive) to find in halal and multi-ethnic grocery stores. Of course, it's mass produced kefir and it's sold to you by someone in a plastic apron, but hey :)

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  4. Yum, that's a delicious sounding smoothie!! I think I've seen kefir milk at Whole Foods in the states ... or am I crazy? Will keep an eye out now for sure!

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  5. Once again fantastic pictures Divina...they are so bright, healthy and inspriing!

    Keep up the good stuff...thanks!

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  6. just wondering if Kefir is casein-free? I am constantly on the look-out for milk alternatives for my kids, esp for my son and with these smoothies, i think its a good tasty option for all of us. Really appreciate all the info here.

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  7. wonderful post,divine!you are a star of a good nutrition!i have homemade kefir,because i have bacteria .when i take a breath and not eat kefir i preserv it in the freezer.also i have bee polen for stimulate immunity of my son...but we eat the kefir simple!

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  8. This is fantastic. My father has type two diabetes and has poor blood circulation sometimes. I hope to buy some ashitaba leaves and see if they help circulate his blood a little better. Thanks for your help!

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  9. This is a great post. Didn't know what kefir is. I wonder where I can get some here. This is great for me since I am feeling quite ill lately.

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  10. I love kefir, although I normally make it from the culture packets. I'm guessing it isn't as beneficial as if I made it with the actual kefir grains? Which I do have access to, I'm just too lazy LOL.

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  11. Thank you so much for writing such a comprehensive post. I make my own kefir and yogurt, and have learned so much about the probiotics and the digestive system. Did you know that you can make yogurt and kefir in a slow cooker? It's pretty easy, but does take some practice.

    Best,

    Christine

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  12. Wow - what gorgeous photography. I totally love your site for its content and its look!

    Thanks.

    :-)

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  13. For those interested in real kefir grains, many members of this kefir community share them for free:
    www.torontoadvisors.com/Kefir/kefir-list.php

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  14. Kefir was always very popular in former Soviet Union where I grew up so I had to drink it a lot as a child. How nice to make smoothies with it! I love the info and pictures of superfoods! I of course use lecithin a lot in smoothies and for my foams. My daughter and I had chocolate covered goji berries today :)

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  15. Gorgeous photography and so informative!

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  16. I guess I can call Kefir "Super Yogurt." I thought it was the same until today. Does it taste similar to yogurt? It definitely looks yummy as smoothies. I've heard about Goji berry before, but I didn't know what it looked like until today. In fact, I even had the dry goji berries in some chinese tea before. I just didn't know what they were. lol.

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  17. This is such a fabulous post! Super informative and the photos are gorgeous. Love it!

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  18. Hi divina
    I follow you on the dragpon fruit !!!
    and now the last recipe on my blog is in english too so come and visit me !!cheers Pierre

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  19. You know that I love kefir & that it is good for you too,...

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  20. Another wonderful post! Not sure I can drink a green drink though, no matter how good it is for me! Beautiful pictures, as always!!

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  21. Thank you for all of your comment. I will try to reply individually next time.

    @ Anonymous - hey, I would like to see how they make kefir. Send me a photo.

    @ Mom-Friday - Since this is whole milk, they contain casein. Kefir can also be made with goat's milk and your son could tolerate that one better. I'm still looking for a kefir grain. You can try fresh gata or nut milk if you have the time to squeeze them out. There's always another alternative and will look for that too. Thanks.

    @ Fresh and Local Best - I would like to know how you do that in the slow cooker. :)

    @ Adi - thanks for the sight. That's very helpful. I'll check it out soon.

    @ CheapAppetite - Kefir has a very tart taste compared to yogurt which is milder.I tried drinking it alone and it was too tart but I survived. You're not alone, most people are not aware of the goji berries in Chinese tea. I wasn't aware of it too until a few years ago.

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  22. I love kefir - we drink it everyday, and I now make it at home. It is slightly different than the store bought, but I really love it! I love your smoothie! It looks perfect!

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  23. thank you, great great great information! can't wait to get your ashitaba pesto recipe. thanks as always.

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  24. I've been making my own raw milk kefir for months now. Just starting on using raw goat milk too. I also make smoothies. My most recent includes beet kvass. I couldn't stand the taste of beet kvass plain (although I love beets) - so I froze the kvass in an ice cube tray. I then put a cube or two in each smoothie. Makes it a lovely pink color! To that I also add frozen banana, peach, apricot, coconut oil, pastured egg yolk, ect... whatever is available.

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  25. Great recipe and health information - your kefir smoothie looks fantastic! I am hoping to start making my own kefir soon; still researching the best source for the grains.

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  26. i love kefir!!! and your smoothie looks healthy enough to make you live forever :)

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  27. Interesting notes about Kefir. I always wanted to try these as I've seen them in Supermarkets. I buy one next time I go. You have peaked my interest!

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  28. hi Divina! great tips, I'll try kefir one of these days. since I don't have the time to squeeze fresh nut milk, I just buy almond milk (Almond Breeze, Vanilla & Chocolate flavors)at a health store to alternate with my son's soy milk and rice milk -- and this almond milk I liked the best :)

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  29. Oh wow! This smoothie looks delish! And great tips! I've bookmarked this for future reference and to make this smoothie! :)

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  30. Very informative post :) Thanx..
    I myself never tasted kefir, is it as sour as yoghurt ? more sour ?

    Oh I love all those hemps, and other stuff you add in... can't seem to find them here though.

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  31. @ JennDZ - hope to make my own kefir at home soon :)

    @ Tara - thanks for sharing your own kefir smoothie. I will try that soon.

    @ Sara - thank you.

    @ Veron - Thank you very much.

    @ Mom-Friday - it's true that if you don't really have the time, it's best to buy them for your kids.

    @ Kamran- thanks Kamran. :)

    @ HealthyRainbow - they're really sour than the yogurt. Some people couldn't stand it. I was able to tolerate it alone but I love it when blended with something sweet. :)

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  32. Nice post - digestive system pictures ..Keep Posting


    Ron
    digestive system pictures

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  33. Great blog, Divina ;-) Can you tell me where I can get goji berries?

    Reggie Guevara
    reggiehg@gmail.com

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  34. On the picture is not ashitaba but Sambung nyawa (Gynura procumbens - another powerful herb!

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