Gut-Healing Coconut and Ginger Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage with origins that trace back to the Caucasus Mountains in Russia. It is traditionally made by mixing kefir grains and cow’s milk, but goat and sheep’s milk can be used as well.1

Kefir is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and probiotics, all of which provide multiple health benefits that contribute to your overall well-being.2

The key to making kefir is the kefir grains, a live culture composed of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that ferment the milk. What’s interesting about them is that they never stop growing and can be reused for an indefinite period of time.3

However, this recipe by renowned chef Pete Evans doesn’t use kefir grains at all. Instead, it uses probiotic capsules. This not only allows you to choose your preferred probiotic strains, but it can also be a good alternative for those who are having trouble acquiring kefir grains.

Before you start making your own coconut and ginger kefir, there are a few things that need to be checked off. You will need a glass jar that can hold 3¼ cups of liquid. It will need to be washed well in hot soapy water, then run through the dishwasher on a hot rinse cycle to sterilize. 

It is imperative that all materials that come into contact with the ingredients have been sterilized. You don’t want to cultivate bad bacteria, but enable only good bacteria to flourish, so you must sterilize, including your hands, in very hot water. 

Gut-Healing Coconut and Ginger Kefir

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (plus 24 to 30 hours fermenting time)    Total Time: 24 to 30 hours fermenting time

Ingredients
  • 3 young coconuts
  • 1 to 2 probiotic capsules
  • 1 Tbsp. of finely grated fresh ginger
Serving Size: 3 cups
 
Procedure
  1. Open the coconuts by cutting the top of the shells on each side. Strain the coconut water into a sterilized jar and set aside. 
  2. Open the probiotic capsules and add their contents to the coconut water, then add the ginger. Using a non-metal spoon, stir the mixture.
  3. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin and tighten the cloth with a rubber band. Place the jar inside your pantry, or on top of the kitchen counter in a dark area for 24 to 48 hours to allow the mixture to ferment. The kefir will be ready when the water turns from a relatively clear to a cloudy white appearance. 
  4. You can taste test the kefir after 24 to 30 hours of fermenting. Pour some into a glass — do not taste directly from the bottle. The kefir should taste sour, with no sweetness left, like coconut beer.

    Some batches are fizzier than others, but all are beneficial. If it still tastes a little sweet, place it back in the pantry for the remaining recommended fermentation time.
 
Tip:
It’s very important to use fresh coconut water from young coconuts. Store-bought coconut water will not work as the product is pasteurized.

What to Look for in Probiotic Capsules

I am a firm believer that probiotics play an essential role in keeping your entire body healthy. Many inflammatory diseases such as asthma, eczema and multiple sclerosis stem from having gut problems. These problems cause an adverse autoimmune reaction, which then leads to systemic inflammation that will follow you for years to come.

To optimize your gut microbiome properly, your recipe will need to use a high-quality probiotic supplement that has the following qualities:

Purchased from a respectable brand. The potency count (colony forming units of CFUs) should be at least 50 billion or higher. This is the number of bacteria being delivered per dose.
Avoid capsules that only declare the CFUs at the time of manufacture. Instead, review their shelf life. The supplement must contain various strains of probiotics, as a high diversity usually leads to better health. At the very least, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains should be present in the product.
The supplement comes from a non-GMO brand. The product is manufactured according to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP).4

Fresh Coconut Complements the Probiotics

Coconut is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It contains a healthy dose of beneficial fat, vitamins and minerals that may help:

  • Prevent overeating: Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that when digested, helps you feel full longer. In one study, men who ate MCTs at breakfast consumed fewer calories at lunchtime.5
  • Maintain a healthy cholesterol level: Coconut contains healthy fats that can help raise your HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. In a study published in Lipids, this benefit was observed in participants who consumed coconut oil on a regular basis. It even gave them an additional benefit, which is reduced weight.6
  • Kill bacteria: Half of the healthy fatty acids found in coconut is composed of lauric acid. When digested, this acid transforms into a monoglyceride called monolaurin, which has been known to help fight harmful microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus7

(staph infections) and Candida albicans (yeast infections).8

Ginger Adds Flavor to the Kefir While Providing Its Own Health Benefits

Ginger is one of the most popular cooking ingredients around the world, and has been used in various cultures for over 2,000 years. It is loaded with various antioxidants that are known for their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

In one study, participants with moderate-to-severe knee pain who were given ginger extract noted a reduction in their symptoms, which resulted in improved mobility.9 In another study, female athletes who took ginger powder daily for six weeks reported reduced muscle soreness after physical activity.10

For this recipe, it’s important that you use fresh ginger so that all its beneficial compounds are as close to their natural state as possible.

About the Author

Pete Evans is an internationally renowned chef who has not only cooked for the general public, but also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart and even represented his hometown at the gala GʼDay U.S.A. dinner for 600 in NYC. Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances, including Lifestyle Channel’s Home show, Postcards from Home, FISH, My Kitchen Rules and Moveable Feast. 

Pete’s latest endeavor, The Paleo Way, is a vibrant health, weight management and fitness program, tailored to a Paleo lifestyle. Its 10-week activation program teaches you the synergy between eating good food, moving your body every day and looking at the positive sides and secrets to a healthier and happier life.

Sources and References
Nutritional Type Cookbook

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