Last week, after hearing that one of my client's was giving her daughter Kefir, I decided to learn more about it. I had JUST been to a feeding seminar and we spoke for a good part of the first day about the role of gastrointestinal issues in problem/picky eaters and how important it is for us as feeding therapists to START there with our treatment.
I've always known the benefits of healthy bacteria for the gut and currently take a probiotic in my daily vitamin regime(and I notice a HUGE difference if I don't take it) however it wasn't until recent conversations with fellow therapists that I started to learn and think more deeply about UNhealthy gut bacteria and how GREATLY it can affect our entire well being. Enter Kefir...
Kefir in it's traditional form...
I decided to use a commercial Kefir, in liquid form, for my first experience. I purchased the plain, organic variety as I felt the flavored varieties were just too high in sugar for me.
Kefir in it's liquid form.
I selected a smoothie recipe as I think my picky eaters would be more likely to try something in liquid form that resembles a yummy milkshake. I used pumpkin because, well, I LOVE pumpkin and it's that time of year. I've been craving pumpkin pie lately also and so I am always trying to find things that will satisfy my craving without doing too much damage...Here is the recipe I used (I altered it from another that I found on a website):
Pumpkin Kefir Smoothie
2 cups Organic, 2% milk Kefir
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t Stevia
4 ice cubes
4 T pureed pumpkin
1 t pumpkin pie spice
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Finished Pumpkin Kefir Smoothie.
And....it was good. Really, really good. I would definitely recommend using a COVERED cup for kids (especially picky eaters) because the smell is not an altogether pleasant smell (much like plain yogurt only stronger). I also will likely add more pumpkin, more Stevia and maybe a splash of REAL maple syrup but all in all it was yummy and DID taste like pumpkin. My son tasted it and didn't care for it (he's 15 and NOT a picky eater) BUT after letting the aftertaste sit with him for awhile said "I don't hate it, I'd try it again with a little more sweetener." My husband really liked it. Interestingly enough, he said "it smells like pizza" when I first handed him the cup! It's a "yeast" so not surprising but I"M the one with the sensitive smeller and I didn't get that at all. Just goes to show you how each person experiences foods on such a different sensory level.
In closing, I'd like to list some of the MAIN health benefits of Kefir so you can decide if it's right for you...increased immunity, lessens Cancer risk, lessens symptoms of: IBS, Colitis and Leaky Gut, allergies and yeast overgrowth. This is just a partial list...if you Google Health benefits of Kefir, you'll find many, many more.
So....how about you? Is Kefir a keeper? Let me know!