Tag Archives: yogurt

Kefir – My Favorite Probiotic

Kefir – My Favorite Probiotic

I have to tell first off that I absolutely despise yogurt. I can’t stand it. I don’t like the texture or the super sour the taste and smell. I’ve tried it so many times thinking that maybe this time will be different but no. I want to like it so bad because of the probiotic benefits. The only way that I can tolerate it is to put it in my protein shakes.

wallaby kefir organic probiotic fermented milk dairy good bacteria immune systemThe story continues to the last time I was at my local grocery store. I noticed a probiotic drink called kefir. The dairy manager happened to be standing right there and asked if I had ever tried kefir. I explained my disgust for yogurt and turns out that he and I shared the same opinion. Surprisingly he said that he loved kefir. Since I’m always trying expand my foodie knowledge, I gave it a go.

Result? I LOVE KEFIR! 

So what is kefir and why is it different than yogurt? 

First of all, our guts are the heart of our immune systems so it’s very important to keep bacteria in balance to keep our immune systems strong. With a good immune system, you have the best chance to fight off illness without antibiotics or medicines. Good health starts with a good immune system.

Probiotics are essential for keeping your gut healthy. Consuming probiotics has numerous benefits.

probiotic immune system healthy bacteria fermented protein calcium digestion vitamin b

www.probiotics-for-health.com

Kefir is defined below. For the full description, go here:

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 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)

Bacteria differences in yogurt and kefir each perform different tasks.

probiotic immune system healthy bacteria fermented protein calcium digestion vitamin bYOGURT: 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.” Meaning when it’s there, it does it’s job and then it’s gone. It doesn’t hang around.

Yogurt is food for the bacteria in the colon. Yogurt only lasts 24 hours while kefir lasts indefinitely. Yogurt helps to ensure that good bacteria grows and remains stable so it is important.

probiotic immune system healthy bacteria fermented protein calcium digestion vitamin bKEFIR: The bacteria in kefir, on the other hand, can actually colonize the intestinal tract and hangs out for a long time continuing to do it’s job. 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 has more strains of beneficial bacteria and good yeasts; over 50 in homemade kefir, while yogurt only has 7 to 10. Kefir bacteria act like a SWAT team entering into the colon and attaching themselves to the colon, pushing away other harmful substances. It has been said that antibiotics cannot kill kefir – it is that strong. If you are someone that routinely takes antiobiotics, this is really important.

The other great thing about kefir is the amount of good yeasts. There is not much said about yeasts but they are extremely important. It is the good yeasts that put the fizz in kefir. They dominate and kill and control pathogens in the gut. They clean house and strengthen the gut, making it harder for pathogens to dominate and parasites to exist.

I’ve also read that even lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate kefir as it soothes the tummy because the “good” bacteria have digested the lactose in the milk. For example, the actual lactose left in kefir is 1% or less. So, kefir is 99% lactose free. It also boasts more protein, B vitamins and more relaxing amino acid tryptophan than yogurt.

probiotic immune system healthy bacteria fermented protein calcium digestion vitamin b

I usually drink my kefir (always organic) straight up but I also use it in my protein shakes and make delicious salad dressings with it. My go-to flavor is vanilla for most things but I use plain for cooking or salad dressings (ranch, goddess, bleu cheese, ceasar, etc). I prefer Wallaby kefir but I hear that Trader Joe’s kefir was ranked #1 by Taster’s Choice.

probiotic immune system healthy bacteria fermented protein calcium digestion vitamin bI’m so happy that I gave kefir a chance because my diet lacks probiotics and they are essential to our immune system.

Be good to your gut.

 

 

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Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

With another snowstorm upon us in the Midwest, staying inside and keeping warm sounds just about right.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend it’s hot as blazes outside.  I mean we don’t stop eating ice cream do we?  Warm and cozy inside or hot as blazes outside still calls for a delicious sweet treat.

What do you get when you combine frozen blueberries and Greek yogurt?  A sweet, nutritious, kid friendly snack that everyone will love.  Even non-yogurt lovers!

Until recently I have never ever been a fan of yogurt of any kind.  Trust me, I wanted to love it.  My husband eats it like it was going out of style.  But I recently found a way to love Greek yogurt and I can’t believe how simple it is.

Ingredients:

  • Organic blueberries (I used fresh)
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt (or any flavor of your choice)

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

Directions:

Seriously, these are so easy that you will be like “is that it”?

  • Line a pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil if you have no parchment paper.  I used a glass pan because I like how cold they get.
  • Using a toothpick, dip each blueberry in the yogurt of your choice.  Get it nice and covered.  Place it on the parchment paper.  Try not to let them touch otherwise they will all freeze in one big clump. 

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

  • Place pan in freezer for about an hour.
  • Take pan out, enjoy fruity yogurt treat.
  • IF you have any leftovers just keep them in the freezer covered until the next time.

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

These are a delicious and fun healthy alternative to high sugar popsicles and ice cream.  But I’m not waiting until summer, these are too good to wait for.

You can use this same technique with green grapes or even raspberries using any flavor of Greek yogurt.  Let the kids make up their own flavor combinations.

See, I told you they were easy.    Enjoy.

Top 7 Favorite Healthy Snacks

Top 7 Favorite Healthy Snacks

Losing weight and eating healthy doesn’t have to mean no yummy snacky things.  Whether you want something crunchy, sweet or salty, there’s a snack for that.  Here are 7 of my favorite snacks that completely satisfy my urges!

1. Dehydrated veggie snacks –  We make ours in the oven or in our dehydrator.  Both ways work.  They also sell them at Whole Foods.  Just make sure to check the label for any hidden ingredients that may not be so good for you.  They are also great with Hellavu Good Greek Style Yogurt dips.

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2. Kale Chips – We do make these at home too but I’ve recently found bradsrawfoods.com brand.  Their Pina Kale-Ada (Coconut and Pineapple) flavor is awesome.  I could and have almost eaten the whole container in one sitting.  The www.bradsrawfoods.com brand is USDA Organic, vegan, kosher, raw and non-GMO.

Kale is a rockstar when it comes to vegetables, it’s actually a super food.  By super I mean they top the charts as far as nutritional value.  Give them a try.

kale chips

3. Oven Roasted Chickpeas – I always have a stash of these in the house.  Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) can take on almost any flavor combination you come up with.  My favorite is a honey/vanilla/cinnamon mixture.  They are full of fiber and have a really good crunch.  They remind me of corn nuts.  Look for the recipe in future posts.

roasted chickpeas

4. Hellavu Good Greek Style Yogurt Dip – Let me start by saying that I do NOT like yogurt at all.  No way no how.  But…I LOVE this dip.  I love all the flavors but my favorite is the French Onion.  You would never know it had yogurt in it.  It’s low in fat and calories, only has 3 carbs and even has protein in it.

You can dip your veggies, veggie chips or parmesan chips in it.  I also use it as a dip for chicken and fish.

hellavu good greek style yogurt

5. Dry roasted pumpkin seeds – I especially like the Eden Organic brand because it is low sodium, has fiber, protein and is magnesium rich.  It’s also a good source of iron and zinc.  Plus it only has 2 ingredients, organic pumpkin seeds and Eden Portuguese Sea Salt.  The fewer ingredients a product has, the better.

Eden Organic pumpkin seeds

6. Parmesan chips – An all time favorite of mine.  I discovered a store bought brand at Whole Foods and went through them so fast that I figured I better learn how to make them myself.  They are the easiest snack to make by far.  Look for the recipe in future posts.

Parmesan Chips gluten free low cab high protein snack homemade the organic rabbit

7. Honey fried banana – Last but not least are honey fried bananas.  This simple recipe turns an ordinary banana into some crazy gourmet decadent dessert.  A great way to sneak in a fruit and some potassium too.  Look for the recipe in future posts.

honey fried banana cinnamon vanilla healthy snack potassium easy delicious rich dessert

Finding the right snack is half the battle.  Just because you may not like a particular good for you snack doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there that you won’t love.

Just some little changes that will make a big difference.

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