Posts Tagged With: digestion

Jane’s Homemade Kefir (otherwise known as ‘Bob’)

 

 

The now legendary (and high maintenance spore), 'Kefir Bob'

The now legendary (and surely one of the highest maintenance bacteria/yeast), Mr ‘Kefir Bob’

The Beach House Kitchen has evolved into a vegan food corner, but Jane still loves the Kefir, read on to find out exactly why:

I didn’t know an awful lot about Kefir the wonder-culture, until the day I wandered into Solitude farm, Auroville, India, where a fantastically interesting woman, ecologist and shining light called Aline happened to be volunteering. Seldom found without a hose pipe in one hand (watering her lovely herb garden at the farm), and her jar of kefir yoghurt in the other, she always had a great big grin on her face.

Lovely Aline in her garden  at Solitude Farm, Auroville

Lovely Aline in her garden at Solitude Farm, Auroville

The Origins of ‘Bob’

Aline joyfully travels around the world volunteering at organic farming organisations with an abundance of enthusiasm and her yoghurty-culture in her bag. She is a self-taught kefir ambassador for the world, gladly (and with genuine enthusiasm) educating everyone with her big brain full of knowledge about the clever little bacteria/yeasties. Her particular kefir originated from her friend in Scotland, and since then it has probably become the most travelled bacterial-fungal culture ever. It has flown half the way round the world to several continents, on aeroplanes, trains, and buses, enjoying many a chilled nights’ rest from the tropical madness in numerous hotel fridges…. Most importantly it survived being thrown into the bin every single day (luckily in it’s jam jar and milk bath) by a well-meaning old man who’s daily routine included clearing out ‘off stuff’ from the communal fridge at Solitude farm. Believe it or not, Bob (the Kefir) was mistakenly confused with off-cheese. Poor Bob.

So you can imagine my delight when one day, over vegan chocolate ice cream to die for, Aline offered to give me some grains of Bob to take on my very own special kefir journey! Knowing nothing about how to look after my new friend, and with no time to get ‘kefir lessons’ from Aline before Lee and I departed Auroville, I was suddenly on the road with a fizzing gassing jar of little cottage cheesy looking lumps, demanding milk on a regular basis and semi exploding in 30 degree heat.

rsz_p1040005

Assamese New Year – Getting a ceremonial orchid woven into my hair live on local TV (as you do!)

Bob on tour

The first destination on our travels was Assam which happened to be boiling hot and we stayed at a place with no fridge and milk was in short supply. Feeling a little out of my depth and concerned that I was going to kill off my little lumps of Bob before the journey had even started, I went on a long and protracted hunt for dairy (milk is pronounced ‘dood’ in Assam), and a fine tea strainer which I found in Pondicherry for 8 rupees. Thankfully Bob was kept alive on UHT dood for most of the remainder of the trip, and as we travelled further North into the colder regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Bob relaxed and took it easy in his jar (more often than not carried around in my handbag in the back of bumpy jeeps and on crazy buses). He grew slowly in his ultra-heat-treated milky bath and we became good travel companions. Sometimes he went a bit cheesy though, but I drank most of the yoghurt that he produced and despite tasting sometimes pretty extreme it always settled in my stomach fine and I actually did feel the benefits of having a stomach supporting drink with the highly spicy diet.

Now we have been back in the beach house for a few months I am happy to say that Bob survived the Delhi heat and flight home. He is still with us, thriving fine and dandy. Kefir is pretty much the only non-vegan thing I eat now, and I am determined to start experimenting with it to see if I can make yoghurt out of soy, cashew milk and coconut milk too – yum!

How to make Kefir?

The culture prefers being in a glass jar rather than plastic. My mother-culture lives in the fridge in an old glass jam jars, because old jam jars clean out great with no smell. It’s really easy to make the yoghurt. Spoon a teaspoon of culture into a ramekin, and fill with milk, and stir. Leave out of the fridge in a warm place to ferment for a day, then put back in the fridge after straining the lumps out (re-use the lumps straight in the next batch). Eating a tablespoon of yoghurt with or after eating meals is enough to give the digestive system a boost. When the kefir ‘grains’ grow and multiply you can then give them away to friends and family to start their own culture…. I can’t think of a more fabulous pressie!

rsz_p1230622

Big question: ‘How do you make ‘Bob’ presentable for a photo?’ Answer: ‘You don’t’! He may be ugly, but he’s effective!!!

Why eat Kefir in the first place?

Originating from the Caucasus mountains in the former Soviet Union, it is a fermented drink, loaded with nutritional benefits. The yeast and bacteria kefir grains (they look a little like cauliflower) ferment the milk, using up most of the lactose making a slightly sour yoghurt filled with friendly bacteria – it is one of the most potent forms of probiotic. Regularly eaten it helps to clean the intestines, maintain a good balance of stomach bacteria, promotes a healthy immune system, as well as being an abundant source of vitamins (B12, B1 and Vitamin K and Biotin), minerals (calcium and magnesium) and essential amino acids. It even balances the nervous system (thanks to the tryptophan).

Kefir has also been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer, and has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)! It reminds me of Spirulina in a way – these little critters are so good for us.

Thank you micro organisms!

Actually, now I am already off on a microbial tangent I just want to take this chance thank our microscopic friends all round the planet for doing what they do. Incredibly microbes make up around 60% of the world’s biomass, including a large proportion of our own body mass. They generate a staggering 50% of all the oxygen that we breathe! So this is a big and overdue thank you, dear fungi and bacteria. You who break down leaf matter in our forest floors and give us nutritional humus, you who live inside us and help us to digest our food, you who grow on tree trunks and help us in our research about pollution. Thank you for sustaining life on our planet!

Love and Smiles, Jane x x

Carol (Lee's Mum) and I half way up Mount Snowdon, Wales

Carol (Lee’s Mum) and I half way up Mount Snowdon (surrounded by microorganisms)

Categories: Healing foods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Big Four Raw No-no’s

On a rope bridge in Panama

For me an introduction to raw food came quite unexpectedly while I was working and staying with a friend out in Panama; home of some fantastic and enormous fruit and veg. Kami prepared delicious salad after salad; we ate little and often, with the right combinations of foods and two weeks later I was veritably zinging.

We thought it would be a good idea to share Kami’s words of wisdom; after all one of the biggest reasons for going raw is to help the body with its mineral and vitamin absorption and efficient digestion. After some extra research I realised it is easy to get bogged down in this subject. So I squeezed it down into a few main points.

The Big Four Raw no-no’s

1. Fat and carbohydrate: Avoid having sweet fruit like bananas, nuts, seeds, avocados etc together in the same meal. If you do eat them together the fats and proteins (which are slower-digesting foods) will cause the sugary fruit to ferment in your stomach. This cannot be good. You can eat the fats or proteins four hours before, or a couple of hours after the sweet fruit instead – because the sweet nutrients will have had time to dance through your digestive system by then.

2. Carbohydrate food and acid food: Like with fats, acid foods need longer to digest. If they are eaten with sweet fruits they can also cause fermentation in the stomach.

3. Acid food and proteins/fats: Citrus fruit, pineapple, strawberries and other acid fruits should not be eaten with nuts or avocados; otherwise the protein will not digest properly. Acid fruits inhibit the flow of gastric juice whereas digestion of protein requires an unhampered flow of juice.

4. Keep the amount of fat to a minimum: Fat has an inhibiting influence on digestive secretion and also slows down digestion of other foods. It is generally a good idea to reduce fat intake; it is surprising how little of it we need. Delicious but notoriously fatty avocados are best eaten with a green salad but never with nuts sweet fruit, especially melons.

We feel the trick to this diet is to keep it simple. After all we just want to help our bodies digest this lovely fresh food. Tips like sticking to one type of protein in meals (some raw foodies even stick to just one type of nut or seed). By not eating a huge variety of food types in one meal will help to stop our bodies having to work too hard and will avoid most of the no-no’s too.

We’re just looking forward to getting sensitive with our own bodies; listening to how it feels after eating different combinations of food, and how we feel after these small easy to digest portions.

We want to live in the best possible way for our whole lives so that we can be the healthiest and best we can be for ourselves and for other people! Apart from the eating (which has a huge impact) we also want to focus more on sleeping, exercising, relaxing, being creative, being in nature, having fun so we can shine together brighter from the inside out – yay!!

Have fun trying out our recipes and join us in Raw June!

Love Jane xxxxx

Categories: Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: