I have been suffering chronic sinusitis over the past couple of months and I have ended up having to take very strong anti-biotics to treat it, and all up I have been on these for over 25 days. I am incredibly grateful that I seem to have kicked the infection for the moment, but I am still reeling from the physical impact of taking such powerful medicine. A few months ago I began experimenting with making my own home-made fermented kefir and I am so glad I did as I think it has saved my gut from much of the nasty side-effects of anti-biotics. I still had many days of upset tummy and IBS pain, but it could have been worse.
When starting to making kefir, I read that generally it is recommend that you start with a tablespoon at a time, as the probiotic bacteria strains (up to 50 different types apparently) can be a shock to the system, especially if your gut is in a bad way. I have gradually built up to taking up to 1 to 1 and a 1/2 cups a day – I figure that I need all the healthy bacteria I can get at the moment!
The process of fermenting kefir in milk removes much of the lactose, but if you are lactose intolerant you can also make kefir with nut milk or coconut milk. I have also experimented with 1/2 milk and 1/2 almond milk which I found reduced the lactose content enough for me. I also “ripen” the kefir a further 24 hours after the initial 24 hours of fermentation which helps reduce the lactose further, read about this at “Reducing the lactose content of kefir“.
I suspect that dairy is currently aggravating my sinus/hayfever issues, so at the moment I am minimizing dairy and so I am experimenting with nut milk and have success making kefir with unsweetened almond milk and So Good unsweetened Almond & Coconut milk. I don’t think it has as good a probiotic hit as the kefir made with milk, but it is helping. I haven’t tried coconut kefir but I hear that it is also very good (just be sure to limit consumption to no more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut milk as it is a fodmap in larger servings, read about coconut products in my popular post here).
There are so many great blogs written about making kefir, so I won’t try to replicate the wonderful information that is out there, but I can share some great sources that inspired me:
- Growing up Herbal
- Cultures for health – into to using kefir
- Cultures for health – choosing milk for making kefir
- Grow Youthful
- Yemoos – everything you need to know about kefir, includes FAQ, and thoughts on using non-dairy milk
If you live in Australia and are inspired by this post to try making your own kefir, I would be more than happy to share my kefir grains with you free of charge (if you don’t mind covering the postage costs) so that you can try making your own kefir. Please “Follow” my blog and get in touch with me directly via the contact form on the “About” page and we can work out how to get the grains to you.
As a word of caution: during the elimination phase of the low fodmap diet it is best to avoid probiotics such as kefir (and supplements), and be careful when you do introduce probiotics, including kefir, as for some people they can be very problematic. I have heard of people who found that it made their IBS worse and a friend thought it caused a flare-up in candida symptoms. I am not a medical specialist and I am only in a position to share my own experience.
If you do decide to experiment with kefir, please let me know how it impacts you one way or the other.
All the best,