Kefir: The Not-Quite-Paleo Superfood

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One of the key components of a strict Paleo diet is the complete elimination of dairy products. Unfortunately, this may lead to many dairy-tolerant individuals missing out on some of the most nutritious and beneficial foods on the planet. One dairy product that not only offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but also provides a variety of probiotic organisms and powerful healing qualities, is kefir (pronounced /kəˈfɪər/ kə-FEER).

The word “kefir” is derived from the Turkish word “keif”, which literally translates to the “good feeling” one has after drinking it. (1) Traditional cultures have attributed healing powers to kefir for centuries, but it has only recently become the subject of scientific research to determine its true therapeutic value.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated centuries ago in the Caucasus mountains, and is now enjoyed by many different cultures worldwide, particularly in Europe and Asia.

It can be made from the milk of any ruminant animal, such as a cow, goat, or sheep. It is slightly sour and carbonated due to the fermentation activity of the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that make up the “grains” used to culture the milk (not actual grains, but a grain-like matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars that feed the microbes). The various types of beneficial microbiota contained in kefir make it one of the most potent probiotic foods available.

Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance. (2) Kefir contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2. It is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that HELPS the body assimilate other B vitamins. The complete proteins in kefir are already partially digested, and are therefore more easily utilized by the body. Like many other dairy products, kefir is a great source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as phosphorus, which helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy. (3)

Kefir has positive effects on gut and bone health

It is a potent probiotic, consisting of both bacterial and yeast species of beneficial flora, and may help protect against gastrointestinal diseases. It has also been demonstrated to improve lactose digestion in adults with lactose intolerance. (4) In addition to providing the gut with healthy symbiotic microflora, many studies have also demonstrated the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of kefir. (5) Certain bacteria strains from the kefir culture have been shown to help in treating colitis by regulating the inflammatory response of the intestinal cells. (6)

As we know, vitamin K2 is one of the most important nutrients that is greatly lacking in the American diet, but there are some vitamin k2 food sources.  (7) Vitamin K2 is a product of bacterial fermentation, so kefir is a likely a good source of this nutrient, especially if made with milk from pastured animals. (8) Vitamin K2 plays a key role in calcium metabolism, where it is used to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues and the arteries. (9) Since kefir is high in calcium and phosphorus and also contains vitamin K2, drinking kefir is likely beneficial to bone health, providing the essential minerals needed for bone growth as well as the vitamin K2 needed to effectively deposit those minerals in the bone.

Kefir modulates the immune system

Certain compounds in kefir may play a role in regulating immune function, allergic response, and inflammation. One study found that kefiran, a sugar byproduct of the kefir culture, may reduce allergic inflammation by suppressing mast cell degranulation and cytokine production. (10) Another study found that certain bacteria in the kefir culture inhibited IgE production, helping to moderate the body’s allergic response. (11)

Research has also demonstrated that kefir may have an anti-tumor effect. In one study, kefir consumption inhibited tumor growth and induced the apoptotic form of tumor cell lysis, suggesting that kefir may play a role in cancer prevention. (12) When applied topically, kefir and its polysaccharide compounds have even been shown to be effective antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents for improved wound healing. (13)

As kefir clearly has a wide variety of health benefits, you may be interested in including this fermented dairy beverage in your diet. Cow, goat, or sheep dairy are all good choices, and all types of kefir are generally very low in lactose. Raw milk kefir would be the ideal choice for anyone looking for maximum nutritional quality, but may be challenging for most consumers to find.

Kefir is becoming more mainstream for health-conscious Americans, so you may be able to find full-fat, plain kefir at your local grocery store. Look for a brand with minimal additives and extra ingredients. Good commercial products include Redwood Hill Farm’s Traditional Goat Kefir and Lifeway’s Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir.

Making your own kefir at home

Finding high quality kefir at your local store may not be an option for you. In this case, you can make your own kefir at home. Making kefir is surprisingly simple, and Cheeseslave has a great instructive blog post on how to make kefir at home. You can buy kefir grains online at sites such as Culture for Health, and provided you take care of the culture, it should last indefinitely. Making kefir from raw dairy products is ideal, but if you don’t have access to raw dairy, you can use organic full-fat dairy, preferably from a grass-fed animal. For those who cannot tolerate any form of dairy, kefir can be made from coconut milk, coconut water, and even just sweetened water, which will provide many of the benefits found in dairy kefir.

Kefir is a great source of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and a variety of other unique compounds that can greatly contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. I highly recommend including this nutritious superfood in your diet, even if it doesn’t fall under strict “Paleo” guidelines!

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  1. If your readers want to make kefir from “sweetened water”, as you mentioned, they need to get “water kefir grains.” Milk kefir grains will not thrive without some kind of milk. They can be bought on eBay.com

    • You can also find milk kefir grains and water kefir grains on the facebook page named…” Share or Find Kefir grains, Kombucha, Sourdough starter”. Sometimes there is someone local but if not, I got mine simply by paying the postage for someone to mail them to me…just a couple bucks. They multiply so lots of people have extras to share.

  2. I’m lactose and casein intolerant and have thought of trying the coconut kefir. What do you think?

    • You may need to discard the first few batches as the grains get used to a non-dairy source of “food” (ie/ the milk feeds the kefir grains) and there should be a pretty big reduction in lactose and casein after a few rounds using coconut milk. Hope that makes sense! I’m about to re-start making kefir using milk grains but with coconut milk, I also avoid dairy.

  3. Chris, thanks for this article. A couple questions, though.

    You say that “kefir contains high levels of…folic acid” I thought folic acid was the synthetic form of folate. Do you mean kefir is a good source of folate?

    I’d like to try kefir but have a known fungal overgrowth. Reading about the possibility that dietary fungus can share DNA with our endogenous fungus makes me concerned that drinking kefir would ultimately make my infection harder to cure. But you say kefir has anti-fungal properties. Should I not be concerned about the DNA-sharing possibilities?

    • 1. It should say folates. I updated it.

      2. This isn’t totally clear. Both arguments have merit.

    • I wonder the same thing. I have Candida overgrown. Recently, I have a fortune to try some raw cow’s dairies. I have tried cultured butter, milk kefir, yogurt and sour cream. I found that I could only tolerate the butter and kefir, but for some reason not the yogurt and sour cream. And when I found out that kefir grains contain yeasts, I was surprised and not sure if I should continue drinking it.

      Chris, are the yeasts from kefir grains different from the yeasts that promote Candida overgrown? Can it cause problems eventually? Should I keep trying?

  4. I have tried making kefir using grains and did not have the good outcome I expected. However, I do get good results using a dried kefir starter made by yogourmet. It works every time. Do you know anything about kefir made with a powder starter versus that made using the grains? How would the nutrition differ?

    • I have lots experience using DRY Kefir starter. I bought it in Germany in a REFORMHAUS (health foof store) and it had two packets for ca. $7.- It gave exact directions: warm 1 liter (ca. 4 cups) of organic full-fat milk to 20 degrees Centigrade, which is about “lukewarm.” Empty package content into it, stir and close the jar tightly. Let milk sit for 24 hours at room temp. ~ This makes the most delicious tasting Kefir, its thick and creamy and has the consistency of Greek Yogurt! ~ And to make a new patch, just take 4 T from the one you made and start again…I’ve done this now for a long, long time…and almost seems to good to be true! ~ I don’t know if the “nutrient content” of this Kefir made with a powder is the same as that from “grains,” but I really don’t care…I love it so much, I could eat a quart daily. I don’t, I eat just 1 cup, because too much of it make my skin break out!

  5. When I obtained an ulcer from a bacterial infection when traveling abroad (H. Pylori). Kefir was a big part of my daily regimen getting my gut back on track after I had finished my full round of antibiotics. Great stuff, I had to really search around though for the full-fat plain version. All of the flavored low-fat versions had about 20 grams of sugar/serving added to them.

  6. Hey Chris,
    One of my biggest problems with dairy is the acne flare ups. I also tend to notice increased inflammation in other ways occasionally as well. Kefir is safe in this respect?

  7. Chris,
    Can kefir be consumed by someone with casein intolerance or dairy sensitivity? Is it true that the protein is predigested and may not be problematic.

    • I am very sensitive to milk but love the taste of our local organic pastured whole milk. I recently started making kefir from this milk and do not experience any of the symptoms that I get from regular milk…flatulence and bloating mostly, sometimes indigestion if I drink more than one glass. I’ve read that it varies from person to person though. There is a tart taste to kefir but a second fermentation of a 1/2 day AFTER straining the grains takes the edge off that and results in a smoother taste that many people prefer. 🙂

    • I’d be curious to hear Chris’s response here too. If insulin resistance is a problem, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Is kefir more insulinogenic than ghee or does the fermentation neutralize the compounds leading to an insulin spike?

    • Usually not. But some seem to tolerate it, so only way to know is to try.

  8. What about water kefir? Would it also be a source of vitamins, minerals and probiotics?

    • Water kefir was mentioned in the article, and see my reply to the other question about it.

  9. Just wondering about how to introduce kefir to improve lactose intolerance? Does the process involve just starting small (eg. a tablespoon per day) and slowly increasing amount? If symptoms are experienced do you titrate back on the amount or persevere through symptoms?

    Also, do you have any advice on how to differentiate between symptoms of lactose intolerance versus a full-fledged dairy intolerance (eg.dairy proteins)?

    • If you ferment kefir for 24-36 hours, it will have almost no lactose at all. Start with 1 tsp per day and build from there.

      • Chris, I was wondering what fermenting the kefir for 24-36 hours does for the casein levels and the glutamate levels. My daughter has a genetic mutation that makes her not tolerate high glutamate and we were on gaps so now I am trying to re analyze her diet. She also ate lots of cultured vegetables which I am hearing could be high glutamate as well?

  10. I’ve just started the GAPS intro diet. I’m taking a high-potency probiotic, but GAPS recommends kefir. I’m hesitant to try it, because I seem to be sensitive to the histamines in fermented foods. But perhaps if I start small, mix it in with other food, and gradually increase my dosage it will help me rebuild my gut garden.

    • I too have had sensitivity to histamines in the past, and I’ve found that raising my gut flora has lessened or eliminated the reaction. So…I’m guessing that kefir has enough cultures to (hopefully) permanently populate the intestines with good guys. It’s been a struggle for me because of the need for multiple courses of strong antibiotics, which have repeatedly destroyed my bacterial helpers, and probiotics in pill form have only worked temporarily, so I’m hoping kefir is the answer for me.

  11. What do you think about water kefir? I recently started making water kefir with kefir grains from Cultures for Health, and I really like it. Obviously it wouldn’t contain the vitamins and minerals that milk kefir does, but how do the probiotics compare?

    • They are comparable, probiotic colony counts would vary depending on variables during fermentation, but water kefir is very healthy, and has many biologically available minerals.

  12. Good post, Chris.

    Can you recommend any articles/links on overcoming allergies to casein?

    • I second this request! I’ve been tested as allergic to casein, but have been eating kefir and yogurt anyway–just coz I love it so much. But I still have some health issues and am deciding to finally eliminate dairy to see how I do.
      Any suggestions on suitable replacements? Would goat milk kefir be OK? Can casein allergies be resolved? I am on a mostly GAPS diet. Will the gut heal enough to tolerate the foods I cannot tolerate now (such as dairy)?

  13. Great information about kefir. What is your take on the sugar content in water kefir.

    • I am very interested in this too as I am not supposed to eat sugar. I have been using Rapadura with my water kefir but it worries me that I am drinking the sugar water. I leave my water kefir to ferment for 48hrs then leave it in the fridge for 24hrs on the 2nd stage of ferment.

      • The kefir grains will consume most of the sugar during process of fermenting water kefir. On Culturesforhealth.com they say that after fermenting the water kefir for several days, the remaining sugar content is small.

  14. Whoah! Hold your horses here folks! If you’re following a REAL paleo diet, you can easily make Kerif yourself with almond or sunflower seed milk. Go on craigslist, find someone who is giving away Kerif kernels, put them in a yogurt making pot, and in a couple days the kernals will adjust to fermenting the different sugars in the milk and you’ll have non-dairy kefir.

    There’s dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t drink another species milk that goes way beyond whether your lactose intolerant or not. Even in organic, grass-fed cow’s milk, there are dozens of chemicals that trigger an immune response in your body that you’re not even aware of. Drinking milk also contributes to leaky gut syndrome.

    • The research regarding cows milk is shady at best. Raw cows milk for example has a plethora of health benefits which far outweigh any limited, even insignificant implications in the human body.

      I has been said by others (Even Chris I believe), I dont see the point in cutting out foods from the diet when 1.There are many benefits and insignificant problems, if any for those who loterate it well and 2. For the sake of “Sticking” to a Paleo diet just for the sake of eating like our ancestors.

      If you can point me in the direction of research that is unbiased and shows that organic grass fed cows milk causes inflammation I would like to see it. Also – Where is the research that it contributes to leaky gut syndrome? In Robb Wolfs book the arguments against using dairy were definitely the weakest and largely unsupported imo.

      • Hi Martin

        My sister and I cannot tolerate any form of dairy even the pastured form. We break out in severe cystic acne.
        Despite what Chris says on grass fed butter and ghee it causes acne for us.

        Absolutely no dairy for us.

        I will try kefir though, I’ll start of with water kefir then slowly move onto dairy.

        • i am learning the reason for the acne is because of the sugar.. sugar is cleansing causes acids/toxins to be released into the blood… if when kidneys bowels etc are not healthy= acne.
          try 48 hour homemade milk kefir should be fine
          drink bentonite clay to mediate until you heal your kidneys/ gut

          peace

          • uniquehealing.com or donna pessin on youtube for some info on healing gut.. once gut is healed most of time milk sensitivity goes away.. know your tolerance level to both casein types.. research it all.. go with what the body says.. DUH everyone is different..

            • I get acne from most dairy, because it’s on a pizza. I don’t have a problem with raw cheese by itself. I have a hunch dairy just gives the body strength to push out the sugar-fed poisons.

              Raw pastured goat milk kefir, plain and >24 hours, actually is clearing up my skin.

          • Everytime I drink water or milk kefir I have an outbreak of bad acne. I am intolerant to yeast, dairy, almonds, wheat and more but find my skin is much clearer when I don’t drink the kefir. Is it a cleansing effect that is causing the breakouts, shall I persist or is it the sugar and yeast that is causing it? I grow my own and want to reap the benefits but don’t want to go backwards with my skin reactions….can anyone give me some advice on this?

            • Kefir is cultured from yeast so I’m guessing it would be the result of your yeast intolerance. Probably better for you to stay away.

        • All these people are advocating dairy kefir when there is such a thing as “WATER” kefir, which is dairy free, falling under paleo dietary restrictions. If someone says they are intolerant to dairy, why would you continue to advocate dairy consumption??? Water kefir is superior to dairy kefir, in my opinion.

        • Kefir has digested most of the milk proteins- created its on environment for the good bacteria and yeast and has the fermentable ,soluble fibers , both PRO and PRE Biotics. It is truly a SUPPER FOOD. but lets look at some other underlying problems that face most people.
          the PH of your stomach acid is to high…as with most people…carbonated drinks ,,antacids, raise the PH in the stomach not allowing the ENZYMATIC activity to cleave apart the milk proteins, and other proteins, leaving them whole to pass into the small intestine… simple carbohydrates, processed foods usually anything white like sugar, white bread ,pasta,cookies ,cake, icecream;; and so on, you get the picture, instead of complex carbs can destroy the environment in the intestines. Soluble, (FERMENTABLE) ,insoluble ,resistant fiber…create the proper environment for the good bacteria ;;; the soluble fiber in the lining of the gut protect and nurture the micro villi ,; which filter out vitamins, minerals,and nutrients,and absorb them into the blood , also separating them from waste or indigestible food products, the lack of these fibers and the good bacteria allow for and over growth of bad bacteria causing the villi and micro villi to thin out and allow the bad bacteria against the GUT lining which can cause all kinds of digestive track bacterial infections. The thinning out of the villi and micro villi also allows some of the whole proteins to be absorbed into the blood, the body reacts as tho these proteins are pathogens, which causes an immune response attacking the proteins, giving you an allergic reaction. Try Cutting out the simple carbohydrates , carbonated drinks ,,antacids. Add (KEFIR) along with other soluble,(FERMENTABLE) insoluble ,resistant fibers (COMPLEX CARBS) to your diet…. this is Essential and must be maintained every day,,,,, My youngest son suffered with Cystic Acne. Went from bad Carbs to good Carbs changed his GUT environment and with a little Kefir a day no more flair ups. It’s no coincidence that you and your sister suffer from the same symptoms;; I see this all the time;; most likely, you both share the same “DIET”

      • Martin, I’ve tried Kefir for the last two weeks and my leaky guy syndrome has returned after being gone for almost a year. I was hopeful. There were good health advantages. But not worth it if nothing stays in you.
        Just my personal experience. Not a scientific report.

      • 70 years ago I was deathly allergic to cows milk. And even more so to wheat. We assumed since the cows were eating wheat then that is why I was allergic to the milk. That was before all the heavy additives.

    • Hi,…. I was thinking of making some goat milk Kefir,… but also rethinking dairy,.. and trying to wean myself off of it,… so interested in making kefir with Almond milk. What do you mean by a yogurt pot…? Can I just follow the directions making it in a glass jar like regular milk kefir,.. with the same proportions of kefir grains to Almond milk (instead of cow or goat milk)…? Thanks.

    • wondering if I shall i use milk or water kefir to make kefir from nut/ seed milks?

      regards
      somaya

      • You can use milk kefir but every couple of batches you would have to ferment the grains in milk to keep them alive. You might want to check with some other sites that are devoted to kefir making, however, as you’ll find much more comprehensive information on those sites.

        I’m not sure if water kefir would work as I haven’t used it, but I would google how to make kefir from nut milk. I hope this helps.

    • As far as Paleo goes, I have nothing to back it up but it seems to me that, people of the past would be at least as likely to eat the contents of a calf’s stomach as they would gathering, preparing and making milk from almonds and sunflowers.

  15. What about water kefir? Does it contain the same nutrients. I drink that daily. Quite enjoy it.

    • sorry. just saw the line where you said water kefir is pretty good too. so dairy is still better? I make my own water kefir using sucanat and spring water. souble ferment it with some berries and apple juice after. If milk kefir is much better I will get into making that also. I do buy milk kefir but its pasturized so I doubt the nutrient level is that great.

    • It doesn’t contain the fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients specific to dairy, but it does contain the beneficial probiotics.

      • I have been searching for nutritional data for water kefir. I am trying to lose weight using paleo/wapf principles and keeping my carbohydrates low.
        Will water kefir hinder that? would dairy kefir be better? Or should I just get my probiotics from homemade kimchi?

      • I have an 4 month infant with MSPI soy/milk intolerance .. has so much gas , colic and e.coli infectsion….

        please advice ? shall i start with water kefir or u think milk kefir will help her to get the guts ready for dairy?

        thanks in advance

  16. I try to eat as paleo as possible while also trying to keep my carbohydrate intake low (usually ketogenic but not always). Currently, one of my primary goals is to lose weight. Over the past year I have lost 65 lbs but am currently working on the ever-so-difficult “last ten”. For quite some time now, I’ve felt my gut health could be significantly better and think probiotics could help.

    I know it would vary person to person, but what do you think the insulin response from kefir would be in comparison to other probiotic sources like greek yogurt or kombucha.

    I plan to get a pickling crock in the near future so I can make my own saurkraut but until then, kefir sounds really tasty.

    • You don’t need to spring for an expensive pickling crock to make sauerkraut. I make mine in Mason jars and it is excellent! Can’t get any cheaper than that. 🙂 Check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook for kraut recipes that don’t involve expensive equipment.

      • The book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is also excellent for all things fermented. He has a very informative but laid back approach.

      • yes, yes, you can get a box of 6 wide mouth 1/2 gallon mason jars for about ten bucks. make to jars every week, it takes two weeks to cure, and you always have a fresh batch in the refrigerator that way.

        • Check out second hand stores and garage sales for the old 4L pickle jars. That is what I use to make my Sauerkraut. Amazing what you can add to make it. Most veg, berries, herbs (fresh I use), fruit. I especially like fresh pineapple. I also add whey from a quality biotic yoghourt and the stuffing from an expensive Probiotic capsule (don’t know if it helps, but still . . .)
          I wonder if Sauerkraut means you don’t have to use kefir and yoghourt?
          I do 2 jars at a time and have 1/4 C with every meal of a matured kraut. Amazingly, after about a week or so of my first batch, regularity became my best friend. After a month or so body odour disappeared. Have never seen this mentioned before. I am Ketogenic, low protein, very low carb by nature. Just do not do well on milk, grains, legumes root crops except the beets, yams and sweet potatoes in small quantities.
          NB: I do seal my jars but twice daily I release the gas buildup, reseal and tip them over, revert them to mix the liquid. I have never had a mould problem.
          After six weeks I store one in the fridge (the other one I take some out for the fridge) and transfer the rest to 1L mason jars. And I start a new batch of two of the 4L pickle jars.
          I believe the closed jar system keeps the environment anaerobic and expressing once or twice a day releases the carbon dioxide and other generated gasses.
          If I ever get some Kefir I might add some of the whey from it to my kraut.

    • Both Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation are excellent – I use them both. However, I would recommend that instead of sealing your mason jars tightly as Sally Fallon suggests, try leaving the jar open, inserting a smaller jar as a weight to push out the air bubbles, and lightly covering it with a cloth. In my experience, this helps the sauerkraut ferment faster and better because it keeps the environment anaerobic.

      Also, eating probiotics can be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight because, at least for me, I feel satisfied and full faster when I eat them.

  17. Not specific to kefir, but whenever I consume lots of fermented dairy (up to 2500 calories), I have a very good sleep. Lactobacillus is pro-GABA, so I wonder if it’ll benefit other neurological conditions.

    • Hydrolyzed casein is a popular insomnia treatment in Europe. And of course grandma always recommends warm milk at bedtime!

      • I suffer with insomnia. Where can I get hydrolysed casein? I already take home brewed rice milk kefir which I feed on goats milk every 10 daysdays. This is to treat candida and ME.

  18. Can you comment on nutritional differences/benefits of Kefir vs high quality Yogurt? I know the low fat stuff is laden with HFC and other junk, but does high fat yogurt have similar levels of K2 and other vitamins?

    • “Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.

      Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

      It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

      Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.”…from the kefir.net website.

    • Ed, while yogurt is a wonderful food, especially when made with full-fat (preferably Jersey !-) ) raw milk from a pastured herd, it only contains 2 or 3 probiotic strains. Kefir on the other hand has anywhere from 24-36! Hence, it is much more potent. For those with damaged guts who are in the healing process, it is usually best to start with the weaker yogurt first, and then step up to kefir. The K2 is probably similar, but may be higher; this has never been measured as far as I know.
      You can usually acquire kefir “grains”, the self-perpetuating sort that never wear out, from a farmer who sells raw milk, or a WAP-connected type. Around my house they never seem to last for more than a few months, however, as one of the kids will occasionally mistake the grains for something the chickens will want to eat…

      • If the Kefir actually colonizes the gut, is it necessary to keep drinking it regularly to prevent the colonies from dying off or can they still maintain themselves somewhat?

  19. Hey Chris, great article. Also really enjoyed the Paleo Summit presentation! I just want to ask if there’s an amount of kefir you recommend consuming. A couple ounces a day with breakfast?

    • It really varies from person to person. I drink at least a cup a day, but I do very well with fermented dairy.

      • What about someone who is blood-type O and apparently not meant to have any dairy or fermented foods? … Just try and see how it feels? What would be the signs of an adverse reaction to kefir?

        Thanks.

        • I just want to mention that I have blood-type O and have NO problems with drinking our raw goat milk, eating the cheddar I made from it, and I consume at least 8 ounces of home-brewed milk kefir a day. In fact, I recently cured myself of a case of the common cold by going on a raw goat milk only fast for a couple of days. Obviously, if the milk was bad for me, I would not have had such remarkable health benefits. I think there must be something wrong with the theory.

          • I would say the one thing wrong with the theory of blood type diet is, that it is based on evolution theory and that is not the truth. The truth is we were created and not evolved from nothing. There are many mentions of the milk and fermented foods in the Bible.

            • The theory of evolution is an established scientific fact. Much like the ‘theory of gravitation’ or the ‘germ theory’.

              • The theory of gravitation is still just a theory. When will we have flying cars with this “theory”, hmmm?

                And last I heard I never seen a germ, let alone a germ evolve into a dog.

              • The theory of evolution is still a mere theory. There’s not a single “bone” to support it. It’s a travesty of honesty and truth that science and the secularly-blackmailed educational system teach it as a proven theory. It’s a sham and a shame.

                • This is a thread about facts of objective reality and scientific fact. Religious whackjobs have no place in this discussion. Now if you don’t mind I have to get back to shaving my beaver. Thank you

                • you are correct. congratulations, it is nice to see a person with a working brain, and common sense.

                • As with many words in the English language – theory as has more than one definition. When used scientificly theory means: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. —– it does not mean it is not proven. To the individual who thinks gravity has not been proven… *rolls eyes* well I just have nothing to say to them – however that gave me a very good laugh. Thanks. 🙂

              • you are wrong!!!! Evolution is not and has not been proven as a fact. Anyone who says this as you did is as ignorant as the statement made. Science and the Bible go hand in hand and most scientific discoverys were first proclaimed in the Bible.

              • Evolution is not a fact it is a theory. If not, prove it to someone. You can’t, point taken.

                • Evolution is a well-supported scientific theory. In science, a hypothesis is tested, and if it consistently explains phenomena well, and simultaneously explains those phenomena better than the previous theory, then it is adopted as a scientific theory. As time has gone on, evolutionary theory has been tweaked, and has been found to be nearly infallable as a description of what probably happened during times humans were not able to observe. If a theory is particularly poor at describing observed information, such as the case of the bible and other mythology, then it is rejected by science, and rightfully so.

              • Evolution is a theory, not a fact and never will be a fact. If evolution was a fact we’d still be evolving, wouldn’t we? But we aren’t evolving because we and everything on this planet were created by the Creator, God Himself. But it is your right to believe someone’s theory just as it is my right to believe the truth from the inspired Word of God.

                • If evolution is true, why can you not get two different species of animals to produce another species? A horse and donkey can produce a mule, but a mule cannot breed with another and have offspring. It’s mutation. So how did all the variety come about?

                • I can’t believe how many people are hijacking this thread. FYI – evolution happened. Evolution goes slow. We have plenty of examples of adaptations that result in new species, including dogs (which we domesticated from wolves) and bacteria, which we see are developing adaptations to be resistant to antibiotics.

                  When you start to dig into what’s going on at the cellular level (where chromosomes/genes/dna live), it’s a huge corroboration of evolutionary theory, when you see that humans share 25% of their genes with trees. We are 95+% genetically similar to bonobos and chimpanzees. We can determine the age of soil by measuring the uranium:lead ratio (and other ways too). We see increasingly human-like skeletons as soil gets younger (and likewise, decreasingly human-like skeletons as it gets older).

                  Evolution happened, and it happened over a couple billion years. There is no scientific debate about that. Anyone who claims “evolution is a theory, therefore God did it” doesn’t understand what a scientific theory is. Scientific theory is accepted as fact by the scientific community – hypotheses are greeted with more skepticism because they’re less tested and corroborated.

              • According to mainstream “science” we are products of evolution. According to abundant but suppressed information we are genetically modified beings to a lesser or greater degree. Go and refresh your scope of knowledge by reading up for example the fantastic information uncovered by a South African scientist with the surname Tellinger. It is even wrong to talk about the human species and it’s diverse races as one unit but political correctness forces us to form our arguments on a platform of lies.

                • Good to see another Michael Tellinger fan. Have you read Slave Species of God? On the same subject the Earth Chronicles are a good basis for people to read about the Annunaki and their claims to have engineered the currently human animal using what was on the Earth at that time and their own genes. You might also like O’Brian’s, Genius of the Few, if you haven’t already read it.

              • Many scientists agree that evolution is what it states, a theory. Also, growing numbers of scientists are finding from there scientific research that their discoveries could not have come about by chance, but reflect evidence of design. Design indicates a designer or creator. Evolution is nothing more than a form of religion that they have still been unable to prove.

                • Barbara, Evolution is not a theory in the same sense as a loosely-formulated theory that we talk about. For e.g. “My theory is that Jack never really liked drinking milk”. You’re using the term “theory” far too loosely. It will help if you read a few good books on the science behind evolution. After you read them, it should be abundantly clear that evolution is as much as relativity, or older theories of gravity (which are revised from time-to-time and improved upon),

                • I came on here to read about kefir and its benefits, not about your theories on evolution. Its incredibly rude to hijack a thread like this and go off on your own tangent and push your opinions down eveyrone elses throat when most of us couldnt care less. If i wanted a lecture on how we all got here I would have searched for a topic containing that! Whatever you believe, common courtesy has not evolved in your over active egos!

            • The Tora bible is proven false by science. We know for a fact that humans lived long before Adam & Eve of the Tora bible.

            • Just because something written in the bible does not make it divine or out of this world. So called holy scriptures are claims not proofs.

              Milk has been around for a long time before the bible was written. If someone included it in the bible, that does not mean that it is divine.

            • I do not think the bible has anything to do with what we were discussing.
              It is a great book of words written by men/man.
              Science is a good and compelling thing for everyone to learn and absorb. We are evolved.

              • Even if you don’t believe in God, evolution is a dead end theory. It “seems” to explain things by using the broad brush of time, but the devil is in the details. It’s absurd to imagine creatures with appendages that for eons are not quite fins and not quite legs surviving in any environment… but that is what those who proclaim the “proven fact” of evolution would have us believe. People accept it without question without thinking for themselves – then accuse others of being religious whackjobs. Hmmmm…

                • Any science attempts to explain things as much as it can using theories formulated. Relativity is also as much a whack-job as is atomic theory (quarks, gluons?). Unfortunately, for all the religiously-inclined, these are the best games in town folks. If you think that talking snakes and a woman born from the rib of a man is doing a better job, then the case rests.

          • what about possible bacteria in milk.? Redwood Hill Farm says any such bacteria will multiply when culturing the kefir.

            • I culture my milk kefir grains in organic grass-fed raw milk. Have been doing this for 9 months. I sell my grains too, and I have never heard from anyone that they got sick from drinking raw milk kefir. Quite the opposite, drinking kefir will protect you from contracting all kinds of viruses and bugs, that have been going so strong this winter. People we know, have been sick- whole families for the fourth or fifth time this season, and our family is just going strong.The reason why people of Caucus mountains made milk kefir was, to preserve the milk. Raw milk in itself if it was handled correctly, has a natural protection of the good bacteria in it. You can do an experiment of raw milk and store milk. Raw milk will not go rancid, because of the good bacteria in it.In a month it might turn sour, buttermilk kind of sour and still eatable. As is with any natural fermentation process, fermented food becomes preserved, through the chemical process and the good bacteria has overtaken the small amount of the bad bacteria. I am talking about the milk kefir grains kefir, if you make it with the powdered culture, I don’t know much about that one.

        • I have that blood type and use a milk based kefir because i have tried the water and coconut milk kefirs and did not like them (personal preference). Kefir is one of those interesting foods because it is so nutritious and strange especially if you make it at home and it doesn’t typically bother those who have an intolerance to dairy. I have been making and using kefir for the last three years. I don’t drink a lot of it but I do use is as a supplement in my daily routine. I will add it to my fruit smoothies 1/4 cup or so. Some of the adverse side effects you may experience if you eat way too much is diarrhea, gas, bloating etc. Some of the good side effects are better digestion, sleeping more soundly, and all of the good things this article mentions. I would suggest doing your own research and deciding for yourself. When people who are unaccustomed to eating kefir first start they may feel butterflies in their stomach that is normal. I am not a doctor but a frequent user of kefir and these are my experiences using it as well as reports from my close family and friends who like kefir as well.

          • Blood type diet is silly pseudoscience. Colds are self-limiting conditions that get better no matter what you do. It wasn’t the milk.

            • Absolutely and well put. There are a great many things which are “blamed” on science …and used in an attempt to disqualify actual scientific evidence – when in fact they are “psudo-science” …or in other words…make believe.

          • I cannot believe that doctors do not recommend kefir! It is a true miracle. Just stay away from sugar, and you will be a different person.

            • “Doctors” or as I call them: Licenced Drug Dealers (LDD) don’t recommend Kefir because they know almost nothing about nutrition ( not their fault, Big Pharma does not want nutrition in the curriculum of study to become physicians, maybe 1/2 to 1 hour); besides, it would create a conflict of interest for the doctors to know and talk about nutrition with their customers (not patients) because a patient cured is a customer LOST, the gods are not in the business of losing customers, they are in the business of treating symptoms and managing disease, in other words: milking the sick for the last Dollar.

          • If you have gas and bloating from drinking kefir, that may indicate that you are experiencing die-off from Candida and that you need to back off on the dosage to let your body acclimate.

        • I am allergic to dairy-even clarified butter or ghee. I make water kefir every day to get my probiotics its easy and tastes fantastic! Im also diabetic so cant have sugar but I find the kefir uses the sugar so by the time I drink it there is not enough left to raise mine. Water kefir “grains” are adifferent strain than milk kefir, so you need to get the correct ones for your purpose. You can by on amazon where I got mine or find someone giving away in your area. Im giving away starters of mine on craigs list and at the common market in frederick, md.

        • Aaron, I’ve read that kefir is meant to be good for those with Crohn’s – I sure hope so, since I’ve got it!! “Patient Heal Thyself” by Jordan Rubin recommends it – the author had terminal Crohn’s and made a full recovery.

          I’ve recently started my own home batches, and while I’m currently dealing with some detox gas (at least, that’s what I think it is), I do feel certain it’s helping. Still hoping for lots of improvement!

            • Hi Orly, I’d be interested to know if you’ve had any Crohn’s episodes since starting thr fenugreek? Also was your Crohn’s active at the time you started the fenugreek? I have Crohn’s – thankfully in remission at present but wondering if fenugreek would help me even while in remission?

            • I’d also like to know if you can convert water kefir grains over to produce milk kefir. Does anybody know if this is possible?

              • You cannot. Sorry buddy! I know it’s harder to find milk kefir grains, but it is well worth the search 🙂

              • Randy, no you can not “convert” the milk kefir grains to make water kefir or vice versa. They are completely different organisms and the yeasts and bacteria’s on the actual grain surface are all different. If you put your milk grains in water they will die. Milk kefir grains need food aka milk lactose which is then converted to lactase, there is no food for them in water. I sell milk grains grown in A2 organic grass fed jersey raw milk on Ebay. One customer contacted me how, excited he was to be able to find these milk kefir grains. He told me I am the only one on the internet. My family will never go back to stoer bought milk! My husband has Chron’s, that is why we started with kefir in the first place.

              • Hi Randy
                It’s not about “converting”.
                Water kefir (tibicos) will work with water, milk, soy, rice…
                Only needs some form of sugar to feed on.
                I used to add sugar to a bio soy/rice drink.
                Here in Portugal it’s harder to find. Milkkefir is very common.

        • Oh, and I do goat’s milk rather than cow’s milk. The proteins are meant to be easier to digest.

      • Hi, It would also be nice if people learned how to make their own kefir as MKG (milk kefir grains) are available and cheap. There are many forums pertaining to kefir that can help locate grains nearest to you here is one : [email protected]

      • Lifeway is now putting pectin in all their USA kefir products. (No longer reading their labels, I found out the hard way.) A company representative told me it was an ingredient which would stay in the formula from now on.

      • Chris, Can I drink kefir milk during 30 days reset mentioned in your PPC book? I love it, got no problem with it at all.

        • Hi John, did you get an answer about the Kefir on the 30 day reset? What did you end up doing?

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<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper qc_box_container_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_9' ><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_9' class='qc_box_container' action='/kefir-the-not-quite-paleo-superfood/comment-page-1/'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_9' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_9_1' class='gfield field gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_1' >Email<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_1' id='input_9_1' type='email' value='' class='large' placeholder='Your Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_9_2' class='gfield health-concern field field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_2' >I want to improve my...</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_2' id='input_9_2' class='large gfield_select' aria-invalid="false"><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>I want to improve my...</option><option value='Weight' >Weight</option><option value='Energy' >Energy</option><option value='Digestion' >Digestion</option><option value='Brain' >Brain</option><option value='Overall Health' >Overall Health</option><option value='All of the Above' >All of the Above</option></select></div></li><li id='field_9_4' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_4' id='input_9_4' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='2809' /></li><li id='field_9_5' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_5' id='input_9_5' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='Heartburn/GERD' /></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_9' class='gform_button button' value='Download eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} jQuery("#gform_9").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='9' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_9' value='WyJbXSIsIjVkYTAyNjYxOTg4ZDNhZGQwOTU0Yzc4NDcyNDk5YmM4Il0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_9' id='gform_target_page_number_9' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_9' id='gform_source_page_number_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='popup_name=Heartburn%2FGERD' /> </div> </form> </div><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 9) {if(typeof Placeholders != 'undefined'){ Placeholders.enable(); }} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [9, 1]) } ); </script>
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<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper qc_box_container_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_9' ><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_9' class='qc_box_container' action='/kefir-the-not-quite-paleo-superfood/comment-page-1/'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_9' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_9_1' class='gfield field gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_1' >Email<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_1' id='input_9_1' type='email' value='' class='large' placeholder='Your Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_9_2' class='gfield health-concern field field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_2' >I want to improve my...</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_2' id='input_9_2' class='large gfield_select' aria-invalid="false"><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>I want to improve my...</option><option value='Weight' >Weight</option><option value='Energy' >Energy</option><option value='Digestion' >Digestion</option><option value='Brain' >Brain</option><option value='Overall Health' >Overall Health</option><option value='All of the Above' >All of the Above</option></select></div></li><li id='field_9_4' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_4' id='input_9_4' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='2809' /></li><li id='field_9_5' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_5' id='input_9_5' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='Gut Health' /></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_9' class='gform_button button' value='Download eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} jQuery("#gform_9").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='9' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_9' value='WyJbXSIsIjVkYTAyNjYxOTg4ZDNhZGQwOTU0Yzc4NDcyNDk5YmM4Il0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_9' id='gform_target_page_number_9' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_9' id='gform_source_page_number_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='popup_name=Gut+Health' /> </div> </form> </div><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 9) {if(typeof Placeholders != 'undefined'){ Placeholders.enable(); }} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [9, 1]) } ); </script>
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<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper qc_box_container_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_9' ><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_9' class='qc_box_container' action='/kefir-the-not-quite-paleo-superfood/comment-page-1/'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_9' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_9_1' class='gfield field gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_1' >Email<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_1' id='input_9_1' type='email' value='' class='large' placeholder='Your Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_9_2' class='gfield health-concern field field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_2' >I want to improve my...</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_2' id='input_9_2' class='large gfield_select' aria-invalid="false"><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>I want to improve my...</option><option value='Weight' >Weight</option><option value='Energy' >Energy</option><option value='Digestion' >Digestion</option><option value='Brain' >Brain</option><option value='Overall Health' >Overall Health</option><option value='All of the Above' >All of the Above</option></select></div></li><li id='field_9_4' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_4' id='input_9_4' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='2809' /></li><li id='field_9_5' class='gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><input name='input_5' id='input_9_5' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='Diet-Heart Myth' /></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_9' class='gform_button button' value='Download eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} if( !jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity || jQuery("#gform_9")[0].checkValidity()){window["gf_submitting_9"]=true;} jQuery("#gform_9").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='9' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_9' value='WyJbXSIsIjVkYTAyNjYxOTg4ZDNhZGQwOTU0Yzc4NDcyNDk5YmM4Il0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_9' id='gform_target_page_number_9' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_9' id='gform_source_page_number_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='popup_name=Diet-Heart+Myth' /> </div> </form> </div><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 9) {if(typeof Placeholders != 'undefined'){ Placeholders.enable(); }} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [9, 1]) } ); </script>
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