Body Ecology Kefir Starter Culture
Kefir is an ancient cultured food known for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties. It aids digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates; helps establish beneficial microflora in the intestines; and is an excellent source of amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins K and B.
Superior to commercial kefir and yogurt, homemade kefir is easy and fun to make using Body Ecology’s kefir starter culture. Simply take one packet and combine it with milk—full instructions are included inside the box, and each box contains six packets. You can use about a quarter of a cup from your first batch to “transfer” the friendly bacteria to your next batch of kefir. Do this up to seven times with one package of starter.
Enjoy your kefir plain or flavored, mix it with fruit, or use it as a base for smoothies, dips, or salad dressings. You can also make a delicious, health-enhancing kefir from young green coconut water.
Regularly drinking kefir will:
- Increase lactobacillus bacteria and beneficial yeast in the intestines
- Restore beneficial microflora after antibiotic use
- Help regulate the body’s water balance and maintain proper internal pH
- Aid in vitamin and mineral absorption
- Lower cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease
- Alleviate cravings for unhealthy foods, including sweets
- Provide excellent nourishment for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Coconut Water Kefir
A young green coconut is really the same food as the mature (brown, hairy) coconuts most Americans are familiar with—it’s just younger. The green outer shells are sometimes removed before the young coconuts are shipped to U.S. markets, but you can still identify them by the white “husk” if the outer shell has been cut off. Although large-chain supermarkets may not carry them, you can find them easily in Asian, Latin, and other ethnic or farmer’s markets, and many health food stores will carry them upon request.
Young green coconuts have an abundance of minerals and a sweet flavor. Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet, sensed they would be a perfect medium for the growth of beneficial microflora. She combined the kefir starter with coconut water and created a “fizzy, sour, champagne-like drink, similar to a spritzer.” (Full directions for making coconut water kefir are included in the kefir starter box).
Soon people were reporting miraculous results from the coconut water kefir:
- Stops cravings for sugar
- Aids digestion of all foods
- Tonifies the intestines
- Appears to cleanse the liver
- Eases aches and joint pains
- Strengthens hair, skin, and nails
- Appears to have a beneficial effect on the endocrine system
- Increases energy and overall feelings of good health
You can use the young green coconut to make several delicious foods. Not only can you ferment the coconut water into kefir, you can also make a kefir “cheese” from the young green coconut meat. Although technically a seed, this meat is soft and pudding-like, and very easy to digest. It is rich in protein and enzymes, and is an excellent source of lauric and caprylic fatty acids. By adding the coconut meat to Body Ecology’s kefir starter, you can make a fabulous fermented base for salad dressings or dips—or just eat the delicious kefir “cheese” as is, as a dairy-free yogurt-like treat.
Coconut water kefir can be enjoyed in many different ways. Drink a half-cup with meals to aid digestion—with ginger, stevia, lemon, or lime, if you desire. A half cup at bedtime will help establish a healthy inner ecosystem, as microflora reproduce more quickly when you are lying still during sleep.
You can even use coconut water kefir and “cheese” to help overcome lactose intolerance caused by a lack of dairy-loving microflora in your system. Simply add the beneficial microflora to your system by drinking the kefir and eating the “cheese.” You’ll soon be able to choose organic dairy milk as one of your many options for making kefir.
To learn more about coconut water kefir and young green coconuts, see Donna Gates' book, The Body Ecology Diet, from which the above information was adapted.
How to Make Your Own Milk Kefir at Home, by Donna Gates
Generations have been making these cultured dairy foods using the same foolproof methods: Combine raw or minimally processed dairy (organic, non-homogenized milk) with a starter culture. Place the brew in a warm place. And wait, usually 1-2 days.
Kefir is traditionally made with cow's milk. If you are unable to tolerate cow’s milk, it can also be made using coconut, goat, or sheep’s milk:
- Mix one package of Body Ecology Kefir Starter with one quart of slightly warm milk (at body temperature or 92°). Place into a glass container. Secure lid.
- Allow your ferment to rest in a warm place (around 72-75°F) for 18 to 24 hours. You will know that it is ready when the milk has thickened. The final consistency should be easy to pour but not suitable to eat with a spoon. When ready, your kefir will have a sour fragrance.
- Stir well and place in the refrigerator. The fermentation process will continue even in the refrigerator, but chilling will slow down the fermentation of the beneficial yeast and healthy bacteria.
- When you are ready to make your second batch of kefir, use a few tablespoons of your first batch and add it to freshly warmed milk.
The shelf life of Body Ecology’s Kefir Starter is 12 months from the manufactured date when kept refrigerated or longer when it is stored in the freezer.
About Body Ecology, the company
After years of extensive study, Body Ecology founder Donna Gates created a back-to-basics approach to restoring health and vitality by understanding the invaluable balance of the human body's "inner ecology".
Donna Gates is a respected authority in the field of digestive health, diet, and nutrition. Donna coined the phrase “inner ecosystem” to describe the network of microbes that maintain our basic physiological processes from digestion to immunity.
In her 30s, Donna began searching for answers to lifetime of health issues. Several years of research and examination of her own diet led her to slowly heal from years of sensitivity and infection. She replaced her standard American diet with one rich in probiotics and fermented foods and beverages. Donna decided to put together everything she had learned into a book that would be easy for others to follow, and the Body Ecology Diet was born. Through Body Ecology, Donna is able to bring the best of medical science, naturopathy, and ancient Chinese medicine together so that everyone can access her system of health and healing.
Body Ecology offers products geared to one fundamental law of nature: the fact that our digestive systems are intimately linked to our immune, endocrine, circulatory and central nervous systems. Profoundly affecting all these interlocking systems is an amazing world of benevolent bacteria: the microscopic “good guys” that must be present in your intestines for you to be healthy.
Often forgotten or unconsidered, probiotics and enzymes are crucial to a healthy and efficient internal system. When this system is out of balance, a host of medical issues and conditions can arise.
Body Ecology's products are all designed to help cultivate, nourish, cleanse and repair the body's abundant inner ecosystem.
The Body Ecology system of health and healing is comprised of three simple dietary principals that can have a profound impact on how you feel:
• The addition of cultured foods to your diet
• Changing the quality of fats and oils you consume
• Drastically reducing your intake of carbohydrates and sugars
Body Ecology products are designed to restore your system’s harmony through effective nutritional therapy.
More about Donna’s contributions: Donna’s groundbreaking work has been instrumental in transforming the natural foods industry. Donna first introduced the natural sweetener stevia to the US in 1994. Her dedication to educating society on the value of coconut oil has turned the once-demonized ingredient into one promoted by holistic doctors and medical doctors alike.
Donna is also a key figure in the autism movement, working with doctors in the field who view her diet as instrumental in the treatment of the disorder.
Donna has certified hundreds of “Body Ecologists”, who passionately spread her teachings throughout the US, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand.