9 Ways To Level-Up Your Family's Gut Health

By Ann Pearly

It's become widely known that gut health and wellbeing are closely linked. Poor gut health can lead to poor mental health, as well as a plethora of other disease and discomforts within the body. Make sure you're giving your family the BEST chance at a life of health and happiness, and include Kefir into your daily food routine. Here's how!

Kefir (pronounced keh-fuh) and other fermented products are becoming increasingly popular as

people realise the benefits of maintaining good gut health. Sold in supermarkets and health food

stores alike, kefir is now easier to purchase than ever.

Kefir originates in Eastern Europe and is traditionally made from fermenting cow’s or goat’s milk

with kefir grains. It is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals and is a far more potent source of

probiotics than yogurt. It also has strong antibacterial properties to help protect against infections,

making it a real superfood!

But while you’ve probably tried drinking the ‘liquid yogurt’, you might not have tried using it in your

cooking. It’s actually great when used in dishes like this cheesy bacon fritters recipe.

Here are 9 creative ways to include more kefir in your diet:

1. Baked goods

Next time you make a cake or loaf of banana bread, try replacing the buttermilk or milk with kefir.

The acid in the kefir makes baked goods deliciously moist and adds extra nutritious goodness. It’s a

great, cheeky way to make kids birthday cakes healthier!

2. Cheese

Kefir cheese is similar to cheese made from yogurt, featuring a thick, spreadable consistency like

cream cheese. Make it yourself by lining a stainless-steel strainer with 100% cotton fabric and

pouring kefir into it. The whey should drip out (you can use the whey for soaking grains). Then, tie

the ends of the cloth to keep bugs out and leave it in the strainer for an hour. Then tighten the cloth

and hang it up so that the kefir hangs over the strainer. Leave it to hang for around 24 hours until its

consistency is similar to sour cream. Then, take the bag down and scrape the cheese into a

container. Rinse and clean the cloth to use for next time. Feel free to season your cheese with herbs,

salt or whatever you like!

3. Overnight oats

Level up your overnight oats by adding a few spoonfuls of kefir grains before soaking them. The kefir

kick-starts the fermentation process, helps to break down the toughness of the oats and provides

extra flavour. Add cinnamon, seeds and berries for extra yum!

4. Ice-cream

Replace yogurt and milk with kefir the next time you make frozen popsicles or ice-cream for a

healthier alternative. Blend them up with some fresh blueberries and strawberries for a refreshing

summer’s treat. The kids will love them! Adult flavours include coffee, Pina colada, apple cinnamon

and pumpkin.

5. Salad dressing

We all love a good salad dressing. But sometimes ranch and Italian can get a bit old, and if you’re

making a new salad it’s always fun to try out a new dressing. Creating a kefir-inspired salad dressing

allows you to make something that will surprise and delight your dinner party guests. Try a creamy

kefir honey mustard dressing or cilantro lime dressing for a tangy, healthy alternative.

6. Sourdough

A sourdough starter can easily be made using milk kefir thanks to the bacteria and yeasts present.

And the best part? You only need three simple ingredients – flour, salt and kefir! Simply combine

flour and kefir in a jar, stir, cover with a breathable lid and store for 2-3 days until it’s active. You can

then use your starter to make yummy sourdough bread! Feed it with flour and water to keep it alive

and give it a kefir boost if it needs it. Kefir-leavened sourdough tends to last longer than commercial

varieties thanks to kefir’s naturally-occurring acids and bacteria.

7. Smoothies

Smoothies are an easy way to make the most of kefir due to its liquid consistency and pleasant tang,

which makes it similar to milk and yogurt. It’s an easy way to ease yourself into the world of kefir if

it’s your first time trying it. Add some kefir to a banana, berry or green smoothie for a hearty dose of

probiotics. Other smoothie flavours you might want to try include watermelon, peach, cranberry,

peanut butter, cantaloupe or even pumpkin!

8. Dips

Dips are a fun, delicious party food that is super easy to make. And adding kefir makes it super

healthy, too! Try adding kefir to a Turkish dip, onion dip, spiced cauliflower or beetroot dip for

something different. Pop it on a plate with some crackers and your platter is served!

9. Soup

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day (or a cold bowl on a hot afternoon!). If

you haven’t tried it yet, adding kefir to your soup gives it a delicious tangy base that works great

with pumpkin. Other options include chilled cucumber, sweet potato and leek.

From making cheese to jazzing up a smoothie, there are so many things you can do with kefir. Add it

to your daily menu for extra probiotics and enjoy improved gut health and overall wellbeing for the whole family.

- Ann Pearly

P.S Do you know someone who could really benefit from reading this? To give them the motivation and push they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of the young people around them? Share this post with them. Even if they don't embrace it straight away, you've done your part. Thank you.

Ann Pearly - Writer

Ann is a Writer and Editor at Good Food, and has spent over a decade covering recipes and news related to food around Australia and across the world. She routinely travels around the country for food and wine events, and attends major international food festivals looking for new trends. Outside of food and drink she also has a keen interest in fitness and nutrition.

Enjoy more of Ann's work at Good Food: Australia's Home Of The Hats

The next step:

A great place to start is with my IHH 10 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Sign up now to receive your FREE 13-page eBook.

#wellness #youth #mentalhealth #wellbeing #happiness #gratitude #positiveeducation #positivity #love #health #kids #mum #dad #children #child #adolescent #meditation #visualization #visualisation #positivepsychology

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