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 now becoming more popular because of their health benefits.
Although not as widely popular as other fermented products like cheese and yogurt, Kefir is still consumed by quite a number of people.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus and Mongolian mountains. It is prepared by fermenting milk with kefir grains which are a combination of yeasts and bacteria.
What makes the milk kefir unique from other fermented foods like Kimchi is the process of making it. Unlike yogurts where you heat the milk before adding culture, making milk kefir is easier. All you need to do is to add kefir grains.
These “grains” are not actual grains. So, you don’t have to worry about gluten. Kefir grains are tiny cauliflower floret looking structure that contains a combination of yeast and bacteria that ferments the milk.
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.
What are the health benefits of Kefir?
The name Kefir is from the Slavic term “keif” which means “well-being” or “living well” because of the overall benefits on health and well-being to those who consume it.
Kefir, like any other probiotic product, is associated with various health benefits.
Regular consumption of kefir is suggested to have an antibacterial and anti-hypersensitive effect, anti-inflammatory activity controls cholesterol and plasma glucose levels, and improves digestion and gut microbiota.
Is Kefir Lectin Free?
If you are following Dr. Steven Gundry's lectin free diet then you will be pleased to know that Kefir is actually lectin free. Dairy-milk in it's pre-fermented form does contain lectins but during the fermentation process the good probiotic bacteria is able to break down these lectins thus making fermented Kefir lectin free.
According to research, kefir has more than 50 different Lactobacillus strains, and this strain inhibits the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine, consequently lowers the circulating cholesterol levels in your body. Kefir is also enriched with plant-based compounds that can lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood. (1)
Plasma Glucose Levels
The regular consumption of probiotics is suggested to improve blood glucose levels. Studies found that Kefir probiotic strain can improve the function of insulin receptors resulting in better control of blood glucose. (2)
Digestion and Hypertension
Kefir may have a positive effect on blood pressure levels by promoting good brain-gut connection. The regular consumption of kefir helps in improving gut microbiota. A healthy gut appears to influence the brain to control blood pressure levels. The huge microbiota present in kefir also improves your digestion and promotes bowel motility.
The yeasts present in kefir also produce different vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12, magnesium, folate, amino acids, and some growth factors which makes kefir a good source of nutrients. (3)
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.