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Quick and Easy DIY Milk Kefir | MOTHER EARTH NEWS – Mother Earth News

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Getting started with fermentation can be intimidating for many people, but it can be so easy, especially if you begin your fermenting journey with a simple recipe like milk kefir. Originally hailing from Eastern Europe, kefir is a cultured dairy product similar to yogurt, with a tangy flavor and creamy texture. It has a thinner consistency that yogurt, however, lending it well to smoothies and sauces and even making it drinkable if desired.
The main differences between kefir and yogurt, besides their thickness, are the organisms that are used to culture the milk and the process by which they are fermented. Different strains of bacteria and yeasts are employed in these two processes, making them so unique in how they are made, their microbial composition and even their flavor. Most yogurts are made with a starter culture of previously-made yogurt and the cultures are thermophilic, meaning they must be incubated in a warm environment for fermentation. By contrast, kefir is mesophilic, meaning the cultures can ferment milk into kefir at room temperature, without any need for incubation. The heating and incubation process keeps some people from trying their hand at yogurt-making; for those folks, quick and easy milk kefir may be a preferable ferment to try.
The starter cultures for kefir are much different than those used in yogurt, as well. Kefir cannot be made by adding a bit of already-fermented kefir to some milk to begin the culturing process (also known as “backslopping”). Instead, you need what are referred to as kefir “grains,” which are actually a kefir SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). This is more similar to the starter culture used for making kombucha, where the SCOBY is added to the medium, sweetened tea in kombucha’s case, to begin fermentation. This is in contrast to “backslopping” as used in the process of yogurt, or even sourdough bread, making.

The kefir grains, which are actually not grains at all, are called this because of their appearance. Where a kombucha SCOBY is a large, disc-shaped pellicle, kefir grains come in a group of smaller pieces, resembling cauliflower-like grains. I think they most look like large curd cottage cheese, both in texture and opacity. The structure and gelatin-like texture of these “grains” come from the microbial activity of the cultures, which emit polysaccharides such as kefirin (named for kefir itself), holding these cultures together in a sort of matrix. While you cannot spontaneously make these starter grains at home, you can easily buy them online from sources like Cultures for Health or Kombucha Kamp. Alternately, you may find a friend or neighbor already making their own kefir, and they can give you some to start your own batch, as the grains do grow and multiply as you produce more and more batches of homemade kefir.
Nutritionally, kefir is a fantastic food to include in your diet. Because it is a fermented food, it is rich in beneficial bacteria and yeasts, which have been shown to benefit digestion, immune function, and more. The microbes that ferment the milk into kefir reduce the lactose content of the final product, rendering it more digestible for some who are sensitive to lactose in most other dairy foods. Kefir, like other milk products, is also a great source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B vitamins, trace minerals and fat-soluble vitamins if whole milk is used.
I like to use it similarly to yogurt, simply in a bowl for breakfast, often with a drizzle of raw honey or some fresh fruit. I also put my kefir in salad dressings, marinades, quick breads, oatmeal, and any creamy sauce in which you might normally use cream or yogurt. If you make your kefir with heavy cream instead of milk, you have yourself a perfect creme fraiche substitute or pancake topping with a bit of raw honey drizzled in! I am sure you will find your favorite way to use your homemade kefir after you have made a batch or two as well.
The basic method for making milk kefir is this: add fresh and active kefir grains to milk in a glass jar, top with a lid, and let sit at room temperature for 1-3 days to culture. That is it! You will know it is done fermenting and ready to use when the milk has thickened and has a tart, tangy flavor. The kefir may just begin to separate, with a layer of thin, yellowish whey floating on top, which is totally ok. That is another sign it is well fermented and is not a sign it has gone bad, simply shake or stir it up and you are good to go. Mold, on the other hand, is a sign of unwanted microbes; in this case, strain and toss the kefir, rinse the grains, and start over.
Once fermented, pour the kefir through a mesh strainer to collect the grains. These can go right into another jar of milk to start your next batch of kefir, or can be stored in the fridge in a bit of milk until you are ready to make another batch. Stored this way, your grains can remain dormant and healthy for a few weeks until used again, or can be fed a bit more milk to keep them well-fed and happy.
Your strained kefir can be used as-is, or stored in the fridge for several weeks. Similar to the kombucha-making process, you can also put your kefir through a round of second fermentation. This adds more effervescence and tang to your kefir through further fermentation, done in an air-tight vessel for an extra 1-2 days. A second fermentation step is not at all necessary, but some people enjoy it for the different flavors and textures it provides. You can add fruit or other flavors to the vessel during the second fermentation to make this ferment all your own. I like additions such as: strawberry or banana puree; cinnamon and a bit of vanilla; or even turmeric, ginger, and honey. These could also be added to flavor single-fermented kefir just before serving, rather than adding in the second fermentation step. Whether doing first or second fermentations, all you need is some good quality milk and a few tablespoons of healthy, active kefir grains, and you are well on your way to super healthy and delicious milk kefir.
Yield 1 quart
Prep time: 5 minutes; Fermentation time 1-3 days
Ingredients:
Equipment:
Directions:
1. Pour milk into a glass jar. Add the kefir grains and stir well.
2. Place the lid on the jar and let sit on the counter, out of direct sunlight, at room temperature.
3. Ferment the kefir at room temperature for 1-3 days until thickened and tart, just beginning to separate. If your kitchen is warmer, than room temperature, this will happen faster; cooler temperatures will cause a slower fermentation process. Check it regularly for signs of fermentation, as time will vary from place to place.
4. Once fermented, pour the kefir through a mesh strainer and into another glass jar, in order to remove the grains, then set them aside. Transfer the prepared kefir the fridge for storage, where it will keep for several weeks.
5. Start a new batch of kefir with the grains right away, or store in enough milk to cover them for up to 2 weeks until using them again. Your grains will grow and multiply as you prepare more batches of kefir; all you need to make a 1-quart batch are 2 tablespoons, so any extras can be used to make multiple or larger batches of kefir, or can be stored in the fridge. There may be someone near you looking for kefir grains so, if you have extras, see if you can share with a neighbor ready to ferment!
6. If doing a second fermentation, put the prepared kefir instead into an airtight vessel, such as a flip-top bottle used in beer brewing, with flavoring additions of your choice or leave plain if desired. Let sit at room temperature for 1-2 more days until effervescent, being careful when opening in case of overflow due to being under pressure. Once fermented a second time, store in the fridge for up to several weeks.
Sources: 
Laura Poe is a Registered Dietitian and traditional foods instructor. She homesteads in Wisconsin where she regular contributes to Edible Madison. Connect with Laura at Laura Poe, RD, for private practice appointments (distance consults available), upcoming classes, newsletter subscriptions, and more. Her nutrient-dense recipes can be found on Laura’s blog, Brine & Broth, and you can see what she has been cooking and creating on her Instagram @brineandbroth. Read all of Laura’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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Health and Lifestyle

Govt allows gyms in KL, Selangor, Putrajaya and other CMCO areas to reopen from Oct 19 – Malay Mail

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Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 04:39 PM MYT
BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

Senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference at the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 13, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference at the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 13, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Gyms in areas that have been put under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) can resume operations beginning next Monday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced today.
However, he said strict compliance with government health regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19 must be maintained.
“After looking into the matter, the special meeting agreed to allow gyms to operate normally.
“However it must abide by tight standard operating procedures, like that issued during the initial CMCO,” he said in his security and Covid-19 regulation compliance briefing.
He noted that training in gyms were mostly done solo rather than in groups and that those exercising usually kept a physical distance from others.
Ismail also said that commercial football fields and futsal courts can also be used again, but only for training purposes.
He added that participants in these areas under the CMCO are limited to 10 people at any one time.
Further details will be announced by the Youth and Sports Ministry, he said.
The government announced last week that only non-contact sports and outdoor sports involving fewer than 10 people will be allowed during the October 14 to 27 CMCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

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7 Delicious Snack Ideas for People with Type 2 Diabetes – Prevention.com

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Snacking can actually help manage your blood sugar. Try these tasty options.
At some point along the way, snacking got a bad reputation as something you shouldn’t do. But choosing healthy snacks is actually smart for your overall health—especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Those with the condition don’t make enough insulin or don’t use insulin well. Insulin is something our bodies need to move glucose (sugar) into cells so it can be used for energy. When this process goes awry, it can cause high blood sugar levels.
But what you put into your body may help. “For some people, snacking between meals may help with blood sugar management,” says Liz Weiss, M.S., R.D.N., host of the Liz’s Healthy Table podcast and blog. The goal is to pick nutrient-rich foods and small snacks that help support your healthy eating goals and keep your blood sugar in check.
“Focus on gut-healthy fiber, good-for-you fats, and nutrient-rich foods that provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants,” Weiss says. She recommends reaching for snacks that contain lean protein, whole grains, and non-starchy fruits and vegetables. And try to steer clear of processed foods, refined carbs, sweetened drinks, and high-sodium chips.
Not sure where to start? Try out some of these nutritious, delicious DIY snack ideas from Weiss.

This dish is simple to make, and it’s packed with good-for-you nutrients. “Tuna is a source of high-quality protein,” Weiss says. “And avocados promote satiety and are low in sodium, sugar, and cholesterol.” Together, these ingredients can help fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady.
To make, mix a can of tuna with a few tablespoons of chopped red onion and dollop of light mayo or plain Greek yogurt. Then, halve an avocado and scoop the mixture inside a half. (You can wrap the other half and save it for tomorrow.)
Prefer something on the sweeter side? This delicious snack uses BOOST Nutritional Drinks to help you get plenty of protein along with important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Choose between chocolate-flavored BOOST Glucose Control Nutritional Drink or BOOST Glucose Control Max 30g Protein Drink—both drinks are clinically shown to produce a lower blood sugar response compared to a standard nutritional drink in people with type 2 diabetes —but the latter may be a better bet if you want even more protein in your diet to support your active lifestyle.

To make this recipe, pour just eight ounces of either drink into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Add three to four tablespoons of chia seeds, secure the lid, and shake vigorously. Refrigerate until thick, anywhere from three hours to overnight. Divide between two bowls and top with berries and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. The nutritional drinks combined with chia seeds give you a protein-packed snack that can help you feel full for hours, Weiss says.
“Half a cup of small curd cottage cheese has over 12 grams of satisfying protein, and some research shows that it may help manage blood sugar,” Weiss says. And berries are packed with fiber to help slow digestion and keep your blood sugar even. Opt for reduced-fat cottage cheese to keep saturated fat in check.
All you need to make this dish is a bit of cottage cheese, some berries, and pantry staples. Layer cottage cheese in a small bowl with a handful of fresh blueberries or raspberries, along with a few tablespoons of whole grain breakfast cereal and chopped nuts.

A nice perk of this snack is you can mix it in bulk and split it into handful-sized portions to eat throughout the week. The sweetness in the mix comes from the raisins and dried apricots, which don’t contain added sugar, Weiss points out. “A handful of this trail mix delivers healthy fats, fiber, and protein,” she says, and can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
To make it, simply combine lightly toasted walnuts and almonds with pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Then mix in raisins or chopped dried apricots. Be sure to keep the serving of fruit to 1 or 2 tablespoons to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Got peanut butter and an apple at home? You’re ready for this snack. Core a red or green apple and cut it into thick rings. Then spread one to two tablespoons of peanut butter over the rings. Top them with a few tablespoons of chopped nuts and raisins, and a sprinkling of whole-grain oats.
“​​One medium apple has over four grams of fiber,” Weiss says. “Add some nut butter, chopped walnuts, oats and raisins to the mix and you’ve got a snack that’s filling and satisfying with over seven grams of fiber.” Fiber, she points out, can help manage blood sugar as well.
Traditional store-bought muffins are packed with white flour and added sugar, Weiss says. And that can lead to blood sugar spikes and drops, leaving you feeling lousy. Instead, use protein-rich eggs to create snack muffins.
To make, whisk together six eggs with two tablespoons of shredded reduced-fat cheddar or mozzarella cheese. Add a cup of finely chopped non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, or onion, or a blend of each. Spray six muffin tins with nonstick spray, fill them with the egg mixture, and bake at 350°F for about 18 minutes. Snack on one today and refrigerate the others in a sealed container to eat later in the week.
Make your own charcuterie board at home! Weiss likes this snack because it’s packed with protein and fiber. “Hummus is often enjoyed as a dip, which encourages more vegetable consumption,” she points out.
Start with a mini serving board and set a small bowl of hummus alongside carrots, broccoli florets, radishes, celery or any other combo of non-starchy vegetables. Apple slices and almonds round out the mix.

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10 Ways To Lead An Eco-friendly Lifestyle With Kratom – E/The Environmental Magazine

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Worldwide environmental changes are the most important topics that have received far too much attention recently. Living things, such as animals and plants. People have made big changes as a result of these worries. Eco-friendly alternatives, for example, have been making a huge move away from plastic.
Kratom may be used as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, what exactly is an “eco-friendly lifestyle with kratom”? When you choose, it has a positive impact on the environment and reduces your carbon footprint. Consequently, your daily routine will become even more ecologically and energy-conscious. You may not believe it, but Kratom may play an important role in helping people live more ecologically.
Products derived from Kratom make a substantial contribution to living by assisting in developing an environmentally friendly ecosystem and fostering sustainability, among other things. Here are a few examples of how Kratom helps to a more sustainable way of life:
Keeping kratom farms running is among the most environmentally friendly farming methods on the globe. Kratom may be found in Southeast Asian jungles. Rather than cultivating fields, these peasants use decentralized agriculture, which is a more energy-efficient farming method. Kratom trees can thrive in tropical jungles because of decentralized agriculture, enabling them to flourish with their natural ecosystem.

Furthermore, kratom growers do not disrupt natural habitats in these locations. As a result of deforestation, the habitats of many species are completely destroyed. Ecologically responsible production cycles may be achieved with Kratom since these ecosystems are not disturbed. There’s no such thing as a plantation-based farming system.
The health and the environmental advantages are inseparable. Even though Kratom isn’t well studied, it’s becoming more and more popular throughout the globe. The medicine is receiving less attention, but that doesn’t mean it’s missing out on being seen as less important. The therapeutic advantages of red vein sumatra kratom have been openly discussed by many users, including first-timers and aficionados. This is proof that Kratom should rise in popularity.
Kratom leaves may only be gathered from mature trees that are at a minimum of 3 years old. This means that the tree may continue to grow naturally for a long time before it has to be taken down. One of the most crucial aspects of Kratom’s eco-friendly living. These trees benefit the ecology since they are seldom cut down. It’s also worth noting that mature trees provide a higher quality yield.
There is an issue with the notion of self-sufficiency since palm trees are indigenous to Africa, and oil palm is made from palm oil plants. How? Palm oil plants emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; plantation of palm palms has contributed to an increase in world temperatures; 193 highly endangered species throughout the globe are directly impacted and impeded by palm oil production.
It’s also bad for the environment since palm tree cultivation produces a lot of destruction, and its manufacturing greatly influences groundwater levels. Moreover, the kratom business in Southeast Asia is already in direct competition with palm oil plants. Oil palm tree planting, on the other hand, is more appealing to farmers.
Removing rainforests for agriculture directly impacts a variety of species, including those found in the rainforests. However, natural ecosystems and animal habitats are not disrupted by decentralized kratom cultivation, which is environmentally friendly.
For a variety of reasons, Kratom is becoming more popular. One of the chief causes is that it encourages rainforest preservation, which is excellent for the environment. Also, it offers several health advantages. As a result, demand is expected to skyrocket in the next months or even years.

Some jurisdictions prohibit the sale or ownership of Kratom altogether. For example, it is now prohibited in Washington, D.C., to possess or use Kratom even though it is allowed in Virginia as of February 2019. However, the FDA has utilized its jurisdiction to regulate dietary supplements to limit the importation of Kratom.
Thanks to the rise in reputation and demand for Kratom, farmers no longer have to pick between a healthy way of life and financial success. Instead, farmers can enjoy the best of all worlds because of the increasing popularity and demand for Kratom.
Additionally, Kratom may be cultivated in farming pods in tiny backyard farms — as a result, when collected, there is no substantial impact on the ecology.
Kratom has been investigated as a possible supplement for sexual enhancement purposes. Experts looked at various clinical investigations and revealed their results on the aphrodisiac properties of Kratom, which they called amazing. They concluded that Kratom is a powerful plant-based sexual enhancer.
According to other research, kratom has also shown promise as an antidepressant and a hunger suppressant. For example, in one experiment conducted, researchers discovered that Kratom reduces the levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in rats. Elevated corticosterone levels have been linked to Depression in the past.
Leading a sustainable lifestyle may be challenging. The influence you can make, on the other hand, is enormous. Using Kratom to lead a healthier approach helps you contribute to the preservation of the health & welfare of our planet for future generations.
Just keep in mind that lowering trash and carbon emissions may go a great, long way toward achieving a more environmentally friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, using natural goods like Kratom derived from sustainable agriculture techniques will help you minimize your carbon impact significantly. We can make a difference in the world if we work collectively.
If we are serious about protecting our ecosystem and Mother Earth, then we must act quickly. Our activities have a direct impact on the ecology and our immediate environment. Furthermore, these farming methods, which kratom farmers have implemented, encourage long-term viability, and we must ensure that they are carried along for future generations.
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