Is Kefir Vegan? Non-Dairy Probiotic Recipe Inside
Kefir uses milk and contains dairy. Sadly, Kefir is not vegan.
However, there are simple ways in which you can make it vegan.
In this kefir guide, I will be sharing with you my secret vegan kefir recipe. So, be sure to keep reading until the end.
Fermented dairy products are gaining popularity due to their numerous health benefits. Among them, Kefir, a fermented milk drink originating from the Caucasus and Mongolian mountains, is consumed by a significant number of people. Kefir is prepared by fermenting milk with kefir grains, which are a combination of yeasts and bacteria, making it unique from other fermented foods like Kimchi.
Unlike yogurt, which requires heating the milk before adding culture, making kefir is an easier process. All that is needed is to add kefir grains to the milk. Kefir grains, which are not actual grains, resemble tiny cauliflower florets and do not contain gluten.
The combination of yeast and bacteria in kefir grains ferments the milk, resulting in the characteristic tart and tangy taste. Kefir is also packed with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and boost the immune system.
Dr Sara Mesilhy our in-house Gastroenterologist told me that "Kefir is like a drinkable yogurt. It's made when kefir grains, which are colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria, ferment the sugars in milk, Similar to yogurt, kefir contains a lot of beneficial probiotics."
How To Make Non-Vegan Dairy Milk Kefir
Making milk kefir is really easy. You can make it in three simple steps. All you need is a teaspoon of active kefir grains, a cup of whole fat milk, a pint-sized glass jar, a cheesecloth or paper towel, and a rubber band for securing the cloth.
To start, you have to pour the milk into a clean glass jar and then stir in the kefir grains. It is best to use glass jars than metal jars to avoid any alteration in flavor and to easily see the state of your kefir during fermentation. After mixing milk and the kefir grains, cover the glass jar with a cheesecloth or paper towel and secure it with a rubber band.
Fermentation will take 12 to 48 hours depending on the temperature conditions. The milk will ferment faster with warmer temperatures and slower at cool temperatures. The jar should ideally be stored a room temperature away from direct sunlight. The milk kefir should be ready if it appears thickened and tastes tangy. If it hasn’t fermented after 48 hours, strain the kefir grains and try again with a fresh batch.
That’s mostly it. Three easy steps—Combine, cover, and ferment. And another thing. You can use these kefir seeds indefinitely, as long as they stay healthy. That only means more milk kefir for you.
How To Make Vegan Coconut Milk Kefir
If you are a vegan, no need to worry. You can still make milk kefir without using any dairy. Even though kefir grain works best with whole fat milk, you can still use plant-based milk as a substitute. The process is as easy as making non-vegan kefir.
Vegan kefir is most commonly made with coconut water or almond milk. When making kefir using nut milk or coconut milk, it is important to know that the kefir grains do not get any nutrients from these kinds of milk and will eventually perish. In order to make it work, you can use water kefir which is made by combining water and sugar with regular kefir grains.
You will need ¼ cup of prepared water kefir which can be homemade or store brought. You’ll also need four cups of coconut milk. Pour your coconut milk into a blender and add one teaspoon of organic sugar to keep your cultures healthy.
Blend the mixture and put it in a glass jar. Then, put ¼ cup of water kefir to the milk and mix it gently enough to combine the mixture. Put the lid on the jar and let it ferment for 12-24 hours until it’s thickened and tangy.
Is Kefir Lectin Free?
If you are following a lectin-free diet, you'll be happy to know that Kefir is lectin-free. While dairy milk in its pre-fermented form contains lectins, the fermentation process breaks down these lectins through the action of beneficial probiotic bacteria, making Kefir a safe option.
Dr. Steven Gundry's lectin-free diet promotes the avoidance of certain plant-based foods that contain lectins, which are proteins that can bind to cells and cause inflammation. However, fermented dairy products like Kefir are considered safe for consumption on this diet due to their low lectin content.
During the fermentation process, the probiotic bacteria in Kefir grains metabolize the lactose and other compounds in milk, creating a tangy, flavorful beverage with numerous health benefits. The breakdown of lectins during this process further enhances the nutritional profile of Kefir, making it a great addition to a healthy diet.
This makes Kefir lectin-free due to the fermentation process, making it a suitable option for those following a lectin-free diet. The beneficial probiotic bacteria in Kefir also contribute to its health benefits, making it a great choice for promoting digestive health and overall well-being.
Kefir, like most other probiotic drinks, contains a lot of good bacteria and is associated with a range of health benefits including improved digestion, controls cholesterol levels, and boosts immunity.
It is traditionally made from milk and kefir grains, but if you cannot tolerate dairy, there are many non-dairy options available for you. However, kefir milk contains more probiotic strains than the non-dairy version because of the lactose in milk.
But whatever type of kefir you decide to have, both dairy and non-dairy kefir offer probiotic and health benefits. I hope that this vegan / non-vegan kefir guide has helped.