YOGURT VS. KEFIR

Yogurt and kefir are both cultured milk products but there are many differences between the two. This includes how they are made, the type of bacteria present, and the health benefits of each.

Incubation Type

There are two types of yogurt: those cultured at room temperature and those that the culture requires a specific range of temperatures to incubate.

Kefir can culture at room temperature. Many yogurt strains, however,  require some sort of warming device to properly culture.

There is also a difference in what is used to propagate the culture in the milk. Yogurt is made by mixing a bit of a previous yogurt batch into fresh milk. Once the new batch is complete you may use that starter again, or in the case of raw milk a separate starter is kept with pasteurized milk. Yogurt can also be made with a dried starter.

Kefir, on the other hand, is made with either a dried starter or a set of kefir “grains.” These gelatinous grains will multiply over time, leaving you with extra grains to use, give away, or compost after every batch. In making kefir, the grains are simply removed from a newly made batch of kefir and added to fresh milk to make the next batch.

Types of Bacteria Present

Yogurt and kefir contain different types of bacteria, each of which perform different tasks.

The beneficial bacteria found in yogurt help keep the digestive tract clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria found in a healthy gut. They pass through the digestive tract and are called “transient bacteria.”  You also have to make sure your yogurt contains “active cultures” or it will not provide the health benefits.

The bacteria in kefir, on the other hand, can actually colonize the intestinal tract. Kefir also contains a lot larger range of bacteria, as well as yeasts. So while yogurt may contain a handful of different strains of bacteria, kefir may contain many more than that.

Kefir Contains Yeasts

Both kefir and yogurt are lactic acid fermentations. On top of that, though, kefir contains beneficial yeasts that can also produce alcohol that give kefir it’s natural carbonation.

Texture and Flavor

Yogurt has a flavor that most of us are familiar with: tart, smooth, and creamy. Kefir is also tart, but it can have a touch of yeast or alcohol flavor to it due to the beneficial yeasts present in the culture.

Most varieties of yogurt are also thicker than kefir, given the same length of fermentation time. While yogurt is almost always eaten with a spoon, kefir can often be eaten with a straw out of a glass.

Both yogurt and kefir are beneficial cultured dairy products that can perform different, helpful tasks in the body.

DEEP DISH CHICKEN POT PIE FOR MOM!

Zesty_Chicken_Pot_Pie

1# Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
8oz Cream Cheese, cubed (I used 1/3 reduced fat onion and chive flavor)
1/2c Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp flour
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetable, thawed (I used Bird’s Eye broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
2 pack frozen deep dish pie crust (I used Great Value)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook Chicken, onion and garlic in dressing in large skillet on medium heat about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and chicken broth; cook & stir until melted. Add flour and mix well to thicken. Add vegetables; simmer 5 minutes. Pour mixture into frozen pie crust. Top with other pie crust – cut slits or design in top crust. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

YOU CAN ALSO USE YOUR LEFT OVER TURKEY, POTATOES AND VEGGIES IN THIS DISH!

WHAT THE HECK IS KEFIR?

DEFINITION
ke·fir
kəˈfi(ə)r/
noun
noun: kefir; plural noun: kefirs
  1. A sour-tasting drink make from cow’s milk fermented with certain bacteria.
    KEFIR2
    KEFIR1
    2. Kefir, kefīrs, keefir, or kephir, alternatively kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains and has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains around 3,000 BC.
    3. Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yogurt, which originated in Russia. This tangy, creamy milk product is sometimes referred to as the “champaign of milk” because of its fizzy effervescence. The natural carbonation gives kefir a light, foam, creamy texture, even when made with low fat milk.
    HOW IS KEFIR MADE?

    Kefir is made from milk that has been gently heated to eliminate possibly pathogenic bacteria. Next, a specific mixture of bacteria and yeast cultures are added to the milk to begin fermentation. The unique mixture of bacteria and yeast give kefir its distinct flavor and texture. The starter cultures for kefir are often referred to as “kefir grains” as they look like small, lumpy, granules, similar in appearance to cauliflower.

    The bacteria Lactobacilus caucasius ferments lactose in the milk into lactic acid, which provides a tangy flavor and also makes it a nice alternative for those with lactose intoleranceSaccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, two yeasts used to make kefir, ferment lactose into a small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is responsible for the carbonation.

    KEFIR3

    RECIPES FOR KEFIR

    There are many recipes for kefir, which differ based on the specific bacteria and yeast used to ferment the milk and the type of milk used. In European countries, kefir is often made from goat, cow, or even camel’s milk. Most kefir sold in the United States is made from cow’s milk.

    Kefir is available plain, which has a bright, tart flavor. To make it more palatable, many companies sweeten the kefir and add flavors like fruit or vanilla. Flavored kefir is closer in flavor to yogurt and may be more easily accepted by those who are new to kefir.

    HEALTH BENEFITS OF KEFIR

    Kefir can also be made with non-dairy milks, such as almond or soy. Kefir is most often consumed as a cold beverage. Most people consume kefir because of its enjoyable flavor and texture, but some feel it aids in digestion and calming an upset stomach. Kefir can also be mixed into smoothies, poured over cereal or granola, or used in baked goods.. These non-dairy kefirs are made using the same bacterial and yeast cultures, and offer the same pro-biotic benefits, making them an excellent alternative for vegan consumers.

    WHERE CAN I PURCHASE KEFIR OR KEFIR KITS?

    Kefir can be found in most health or natural food stores in the refrigerated dairy section. European markets may also carry kefir. Kefir making kits can also be found in specialty stores or online. These kits provide the kefir culture “grains” and instructions on how to safely ferment your milk.

    Because kefir is a fresh product with live cultures, it should be kept refrigerated. After opening kefir, it should be consumed within five to seven days.

THE RAW FACTS

vegetables

Have you always wondered how to prepare vegetables in order to maximize their nutritional content? There’s no easy answer, since some produce is most nutritious cooked, while other kinds do not need heat to bring out the best in them. Here is how to get the most from the farmers’ picks.

Onions

Just slice and eat them raw. You get less of the phytonutrient allicin, a hunger busting ingredient when you cook onions. On the other hand, they contain a flavonoid known as quercetin. It has anti inflammatory properties. Total amount of flavonoids can be increased by cooking. Yellow and red onions have more flavonoids than white ones. Sauté or bake onions for five minutes; any longer and the onion will begin to lose nutrients.

Broccoli

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Eat it raw. Heating deactivates myrosinase, an enzyme that helps cleanse your liver of carcinogens. Broccoli or other cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts are good examples of vegetables which should be eaten both cooked and raw. Raw broccoli contains an enzyme called myrosinase which breaks down into sulforaphane, a compound helping to prevent cancer and stomach ulcers. Cooking damages myrosinase. On the other hand, cooking forms the compound indole in cruciferous veggies. It is a phytonutrient that fights precancerous cells before they turn malignant.

Beets

RAW1

Eat them raw. Beets lose more than 30 percent of their folate while cooking. Eating them raw will store this brain compound.

Mushrooms

Eat them cooked. Whether you heat, sauté, boil, roast or grill them, more muscle-building potassium will be brought out.

Red peppers

RAW4

Eat them raw. Their vitamin C breaks down while roasting, frying, or grilling above 370 degrees. Red peppers are high in vitamin C that is nutrient soluble in water. By boiling or cooking red peppers, the vitamins dissolve in the water. It is best to eat red peppers raw.

Spinach

SPINACH LEAVES

Eat it cooked. Have spinach cooked and you will absorb more iron, calcium and magnesium. Though raw spinach is still good, cooking makes it easier for your body to absorb the calcium it contains. Calcium is essential for teeth and bone strength, so make sure you get the most out of the spinach. Steam your spinach rather than boiling it to avoid losing nutrients.

Tomatoes

tomatoes

Eat them cooked. Are you surprised? When you eat cooked tomatoes, your body absorbs more cancer fighting lycopene. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant linked to the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. Researchers have found that lycopene molecules change tomatoes’ shape, which makes them more usable by the body. The amount of lycopene in tomatoes is higher and it is better absorbed by the body after cooking with a little oil, and particularly processing, rather than eaten fresh or raw.

Carrots

Raw carrots supply polyphenols, chemicals with antioxidant properties thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Boiling carrots destroys all the polyphenols as well as cooking, which breaks down the vitamin C found in carrots. This vitamin is easily degraded when exposed to heat. It is said that cooked carrots supply more of the antioxidant ß-carotene than raw ones. Your body converts this antioxidant to vitamin A.

Garlic

RAW

Cooking makes the herb garlic less potent because heat reduces the amount of healthy allicin, so it is best to add your garlic just before you finish cooking rather than at the start. Garlic contains chemicals that relax your blood vessels, helping to protect you from heart attack. Cooking garlic reduces the amount of these vital chemicals, so it is better to enjoy garlic raw.

WHEN IT COMES TO VEGETABLES, FRESH IS GENERALLY BEST BUT SOMETIMES A BIT OF STEAMING/COOKING MAY ALLOW VITAMINS AND MINERALS TO BE MORE EASILY ABSORBED BY THE BODY.

MY RULE OF THUMB: FRESH THEN FROZEN THEN CANNED BUT MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU EAT 5-7 SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES EACH DAY!

HAPPY CRUNCHING!

BREAST MILK LOLLIPOP BEWARE!

THE BREAST MILK LOLLIPOPS BEING ADVERTISED RECENTLY AREN’T AT ALL WHAT YOU’RE LED TO BELIEVE!  THEY ARE JUST BREAST MILK “FLAVORED.”  THE MAKER TRIED SAMPLES OF 4 WOMEN’S BREAST MILK AND FOUND IT TASTED LIKE “ALMOND MILK” AND CREATED A SUGARY TREAT THAT “TASTES LIKE BREAST MILK.”  THERE IS NO BREAST MILK IN THESE LOLLIPOPS AND, IN FACT, THEY ARE MOSTLY SUGAR.

I WOULD NOT GIVE THESE TO A BABY OR CHILD!

WHAT I DO RECOMMEND IS THAT NURSING MOMS HAND EXPRESS AND/OR PUMP AND FREEZE THEIR BREAST MILK IN CLEAN ICE CUBE TRAYS (EACH ABOUT 1 OUNCE) FOR FUTURE USE.  OR YOU CAN PURCHASE SOME FUN SHAPED ICE CUBE TRAYS AT THE DOLLAR STORE AND MAKE YOUR OWN REAL BREAST MILK LOLLIPOPS.  THEY WOULD BE IDEAL FOR USE WHEN YOUR INFANT BEGINS TEETHING TO HELP SOOTHE THOSE SORE GUMS! (OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE SUPERVISING WHEN PROVIDING AN INFANT OR CHILD WITH A LOLLIPOP!)

breast milk

“GIVE YOUR BABY THE BREAST!”