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The Benefits of Non-Dairy Coconut Kefir

I can’t quite remember where I first heard about coconut kefir, but I do remember what made me look into it enough to try it. Donna Gate’s important book about controlling candida, The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, was my catalyst.

For 21 days so far, I have followed her guidelines. I have suspected for quite a while that I have a Candida Albicans overgrowth. I have experienced many of the symptoms, and if they weren’t enough to prove it to me, actually experiencing the drug-addiction-like withdrawl from sugar the first week, did. See, sugar is the food for yeast and without it, yeast will die off and the yeast doesn’t want to die so the cravings are off the charts.

I cannot explain how important this experience was for me. It was shocking. The changes I see in my body, strength, focus and sleep so far have me almost convinced to never eat sugar again. While I know that is definitely not possible, and that once I get control over the candida overgrowth I can have sugar here and there again, my feelings about sugar have changed. I look forward to the benefits of keeping it to a minimum in my diet and truly enjoying it when I occasionally “go there.” As Dr. Jenna Taylor said in a recent YU interview, “When you see [changes] firsthand, it is always more meaningful.”

One of the important ways to keep a candida overgrowth from occurring is to populate your intestinal microflora with plenty of the ”good guys”—probiotics. Probiotics are the organisms that help your body defend against disease causing bacteria, viruses, yeast and other unwelcome and dangerous invaders. You want more probiotics than yeast in your gut to keep a healthy balance, which results in a strong immune system. Say goodbye to colds, folks!

Taking probiotics also encourage the growth of other friendly bacteria in the gut or intestines. They do this by attacking microbes that are not good for the body and destroying them. Probiotics also compete for food that organisms like Candida Albicans thrive on. This competition for food ensures that all the microbes do not dominate the body and a balance is maintained.

You can easily take probiotics is capsule or powder form, but you can also prepare “food tools” to create a vibrant inner ecosystem. Coconut kefir yogurt and fermented beverages, in addition to fermented veggies, are a way to do this.

Traditional kefir is made with dairy and kefir grains (bacterial colonies), and while I am completely behind the probiotic benefits, dairy is acid-forming and not for me. Plus, I’m not a baby cow, but I digress.

To make non-dairy kefir you can ferment the water in a fresh young coconut to create a champagne-like, fizzy probiotic beverage and/or blend the highly digestible, enzyme- and protein-rich meat into a pudding and ferment it into yogurt. The liquid of the young coconut has an abundance of minerals and electrolytes. Check out this list of coconut kefir benefits from The Body Ecology:

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It stops your cravings for sugar.
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It aids digestion of all foods
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It has a tonifying affect on the intestines and flattens the abdomen
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It appears to cleanse the liver. In Chinese medicine, the liver rules the skin, eyes, and joints. Coconut water kefir eases aches and joint pains. Many people report having a prettier complexion. They experience the brown liver spots on the skin fading away and skin tags, moles, or warts drying up and disappearing. Vision also improves.
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It contains high levels of valuable minerals, including potassium, natural sodium, and chloride, which explains why the hair, skin and nails become stronger and have a prettier shine.
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It appears to have a beneficial, cleansing effect on the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries). Women find that their periods are cleaner and healthier; some who had experienced early menopause have found this important monthly cleansing returning again.
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It increases energy and gives you an overall feeling of good health.
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I have experienced many, if not all, of these benefits so far this month.

Over the past year or so, I have tried many of the methods you can to make coconut kefir—starter packs, kefir grains and probiotic capsules. Over the next few days, I will be posting the simple recipes that I use for making coconut kefir two ways—yogurt and beverage. All without the commitment of maintaining kefir grains, or the cost of purchasing kefir starter kits.

 

Try making your own:

Coconut Kefir Yogurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Water Kefir

 

 

Read the comments or add yours.

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  1. I’m really looking forward to your posts about this! I just ordered the body ecology online a couple days ago. I’m so sure I have candida, it would explain my constant tiredness, bloating and skin problems. I’ll be posting recipes as well as soon as I start the diet! Have you tried to make cultured vegetables yet?

    • J&J~
      I have 4 containers of veggies “culturing” as we speak! I have been making them for a few years now, but will be posting a simple recipe any day now. You wont believe how much they help digestion…just 2-3 bites before a meal works wonders. Looking forward to your posts about anti-candida goodness…I have a lot of discoveries from this past month to share…hope it inspires.

  2. AJ

    Great article, Heather!

    I am going to begin making coconut kefir—dairy free—without milk grains. Do I purchase the water kefir grains? I found some at culture’s for health and hope they are good? I haven’t purchased them yet.

    I’m working on a homemade baby formula for my 9 month old so I’ll need the fat included in the kefir. Do I use plain coconut milk? Or a mixture of the coconut water/milk to culture the grains? I’m confused:)

    Thank you so much for your great post!!

    • Hi there AJ~
      When I experimented (for about 5 months) with kefir grains, I used water grains. I found that I was able to achieve the same results with the quality probiotic capsule, so I opted for that, since for me, time is an issue and I went on vacation and my kefir friends didn’t make it. I bet you could try making the Coconut Kefir Yogurt, either with grains, or the capsule, and more water than called for, to achieve a milk-like beverage that has the fat that you want. And coconut fat is quality stuff! Great for energy and digestion. I would just ask your grain source what grains would be hearty enough to culture a coconut milk.

      And to clarify, coconut milk is just coconut meat and water blended together (see this recipe). You can culture grains in coconut water, milk, or a homemade yogurt, you just want to have strong grains—and this you will need to discuss with your source. This is also why I personally use a probiotic capsule, since it works no matter what coconut product I’m culturing—yogurt, water or milk.

      You will absolutely want to start with live coconuts, not coconut milk from a carton or can. Same goes with water if you want to culture a coconut water beverage—the liquid must not be pasteurized. Pasteurization kills the “aliveness” that the grains/probiotics eat. Let me know if you have any additional questions. Have fun!

  3. AJ

    Awesome info, Heather!

    I have probiotics here. Two jars – one is Udo’s brand and the other is a dairy free infant multiple strain from Klaire labs. They aren’t in capsule form – but I imagine they would be fine? Lots of strains – not just a couple – so that is good! Soo – I may as well opt for the probiotic since it sounds like you have equally good results with it.

    I have a young coconut here and will try this tomorrow – making raw fresh coconut milk! My husband and I want to order some really good ones online soon as the variety we have in our stores is OK – not awesome.

    Anyway, I’m excited! Happy that I can use my probiotic and not have to purchase kefir grains and have yet another thing to keep up w/ in the kitchen. I’ll have to figure out how to get into a rhythm w/ it as new things in the kitchen always take a bit of time to get used to.

    Thank you again!!

    • AJ, I’m glad you are going the probiotic route. It seems to take the overwhelming aspect out of making your own kefir. You’ll find your rhythm much sooner and before you know it, you’ll be making it with ease all the time. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

      • I would guess that one of my capsules holds about 1/4tsp of probiotic powder. You could try 1/4tsp probiotics per 1 1/2-2 cups liquid, milk or yogurt base and I’m sure you’ll have great success—it doesn’t take much.

        Kefir can stay good for a few weeks in the fridge. The cold merely slows down the fermentation process.

  4. AJ

    2 quick questions, Heather:

    How much of my probiotic should I add? 3/4teaspoon or so? Just checking to see about how much probiotic is in your capsules as mine is just in powder form.

    Lastly, how long would you say this lasts in the fridge? I would say a good while?

  5. AJ

    Heather!

    Perfect timing! My husband and I just opened our three coconuts and I have the pureed mixture in my glass bowl ready to add the probiotic. I’ll head in there now and finish it off – I’ll report back and let you know how it tastes. Yum – can’t wait!

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