I’ve been enjoying my daily glass of homemade kefir now for the past month and am very excited to share this great food with you!

Kefir (the ‘ke’ pronounced as in ‘kettle’ and ‘fir’ as in ‘fear’) is a powerhouse of good stuff for the body. Homemade has a much higher content of beneficial microflora as compared to store bought.

I want to share with you an easy way to have your own homemade kefir ready for you to consume every single day! It really doesn’t take too much effort to prepare, and it is so worth it for your body.

In case you’re not sure it may be worth it, here is what some say about kefir:

Kefir is the champagne of yogurt.   ~ Unknown

Kefir contains 30 – 35 major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in
yogurt, kefir is a turbo charged energy-anti-biotic-colonic cleanser drink.                     ~ Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food Life
Kefir is one of my top healing foods!   ~ Antonio Marxuach, former vegan-turned omnivore, recovered from Crohn’s on GAPS Diet x2 years
Kefir, because it is such an easily digested nutritious food, is ideal for infants, pregnant
women, nursing mothers, convalescents, the elderly, people who suffer from constipation
or those who have other abnormal digestive activity.  ~ Dr, Steven Novil, Ph.D. (National Kefir Association)
Constipation is a thing of the past. If you drink Kefir at night no acid reflux.                 ~ Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food Life

First, let me explain a little bit about what kefir is.  Then we’ll jump into the steps you can take now to get ready to make your own homemade kefir.

What is Kefir?

  • a fermented milk beverage, much like a drinkable yogurt – tart, fizzy and slightly alcoholic (1%), loaded with probiotics (good bacteria to support your immune system), B vitamins, protein, calcium, fiber, and amino acids
  • “Grains of the Prophet” Mohammed
  • made from ‘kefir grains’, which are a symbiotic mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, polysaccharides, and proteins, the  matrix resembling pieces of cauliflower of various sizes
  • believed to be the reason for longevity in cultures where it was widely consumed for centuries – the Russian Caucasus Mountain people lifespan exceeds 110 years of age, which is primarily because of kefir consumption
  • self-perpetuating grains increase in size over time, allowing for excess to be shared with others

NOTE:  You may also use water kefir grains, but my personal preference is milk kefir.  Check the resources I have provided below for more information about water kefir.

Getting Started

  1. Purchase your kefir grains or find someone who can give you some of their excess grains.  (I purchased my milk kefir grain kit here.)
  2. Purchase (if necessary) glass jars (32 oz are great!) to use — you’ll want to have at least 4-6 of these on hand or at least plenty of other glass jars.  I also recycle my large glass jars and bottles for kefir storing.  I love my 80 oz. recycled raw honey jar for storing kefir in the fridge during the week as I keep producing more along the way.
  3. Purchase a tightly woven cheesecloth to cover the jar with (I use a rubber band to hold it in place).
  4. Purchase the milk product you will use to make your kefir.  Preferred is raw milk. Where raw milk is illegal or difficult to obtain, try to find the best source of low heat pasturized and non-homogenized <em>organic, whole (full fat) milk.  I use the Kalona brand that I get at my local Whole Foods Market.
  5. Now the fun part — once the grains have arrived, you are ready to add your grains to the milk as per packet instructions.  I first used one cup of milk to the initial packet of grains that I received from Cultures for Health.  After 4 weeks, my grains have almost tripled in size (they are still mostly small, but I have about one tablespoon in volume).  Stir to mix the grains well with the liquid.
  6. Cover your glass jar with cheesecloth, secure well, and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours (and up to 36), stirring the mixture 2-3 times during the 24-hour period is recommended.
  7. Using the provided strainer (in the milk kefir kit) or one you purchase separately (ensuring it is not metal — you do not want metal to come into contact with your grains), strain the kefir into a clean glass jar by pouring the contents through the strainer, using a wooden spoon to gently push through the liquid.  You will separate the grains, which at first may seem tricky.  In my experience, the grains were difficult to differentiate from the curds (they appear cottage-cheese-like).  Allow yourself to place your clean fingers in the contents of the strainer and feel the difference between the curds and the grains. You can find the grains because of their slightly hard, rubbery texture.  I set these aside in another clean 32 oz. jar. Notice the creamy kefir collecting on the underside of the strainer as you strain and periodically scrape it and allow it to fall into your jar of kefir.  Once this is mixed into the liquid, it becomes nice and creamy textured.
  8. Reserve your strained kefir for consumption.  Add fresh milk to the clean  jar with kefir grains and start the process all over again!

NOTES: I do this each day in the morning as part of my normal routine now.  It takes only 10 minutes each day and is well worth it!  I save money by making it at home vs. buying at store, it is much higher quality due to greater number of beneficial microflora vs. store bought, it replaces the need to purchase a probiotic supplement, and it is a wonderful health tonic.  If you want to store your kefir grains and not make any more right away, place them in a jar with fresh milk to cover well and keep in refrigerator until ready to use again.  You may also dehydrate them and store for future use or to give away.

I believe you have enough to get started from here, but be sure to check out these other great websites and resources to learn more about making kefir, health benefits, the history, and more.

Here is my favorite recipe for our kefir smoothie:

Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothie

25 oz. kefir
1 frozen banana
10 frozen strawberries
3 teaspoons Great Lakes Gelatin (kosher) — purchase here
3 tablespoons hot water
Honey to taste (you can use stevia or other sweetener)
1-2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)

Place hot water in cup and stir in the gelatin.  Stir to mix well until dissolved and set aside for about 5 minutes.  Add kefir to blender with desired sweetener, vanilla, and gelatin mixture. Blend to mix well.  Add frozen banana and strawberries.  Blend for about 2 minutes. Serve in glasses.  This yields about 6 cups!
Optional ingredients:  cocoa, coconut oil, raw egg yolk (pastured eggs from a trusted source).

Resources
As promised, below are several great resources for you as you learn more about kefir and for once you decide to accept my challenge to introduce it into your life!  :)

Here is where I purchased my milk kefir grains kit (only $21.99):  Cultures for Health

My favorite go-to kefir (and other ferments) website:  Cultured Food Life by Donna Schwenk

The kefir guru:  Dom in Australia    Sidenote:  funny thing… I first learned of kefir in my own research several years ago, but I was not yet at the point in my journey that I could really grasp it or wrap my head around it.  This has been a frequent occurrence for me as I’ve traveled this natural health journey of my own for the past 35 years (since my teen years)… yes that does age me.  :)   I am in great health for a 53-year old grandmother!

The Probiotic Revolution document has great information to explain what probiotics are, why they are important, etc.



I really hope that I’ve inspired you to give kefir a try — I am convinced that daily consumption of kefir is what will help me to support a healthy immune system and much more!

Let me know about your experience with kefir!  How long have you been consuming kefir?  What great benefits have you seen with consumption of kefir?  What is your favorite kefir recipe?

What I’d like to do is to have you share your own kefir story here on my blog with a guest post after you start making it yourself. I’d love to see great recipe ideas, creative ideas to make the best use of your kefir, etc.

Please share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, too!  Let me know if you’d like to share a guest post about your own kefir experience.

Your Partner in Health,

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Last month I was contacted by TLC Book Tours and asked if I’d be willing to read the book Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness and write a review of it on my blog.

This is a virtual book tour that has ‘stops’ at various websites or blogs for a particular book over the period of one month with April being the month for this book tour.

I was immediately intrigued by the book first with the title.   As a Holistic Health Coach, I understand the importance of having a balanced life in all aspects.  The picture of health is more than the food we feed our body, and our emotions play a big part in how we relate to those around us.

I feel the tools provided in Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness can be very valuable for most everyone.  I know it is very valuable info that I will pass along to my clients on a Recommended Reading List.

In fact, I will say this book will transform your life.

I received the book just four weeks ago today and knew I had limited time to read it, apply it and write my review.  I had a perfect window of opportunity with a break from our major home project work for a few days as my husband traveled over several days.  I am very thankful for the rare opportunity of two full days to do nothing but read and reflect as I read the book.

I finished reading the book — pages folded, text underlined and highlighted throughout.  What an incredible book!  But I was not done yet — there was yet work to be done.  Next on my list was to work through the Four Step Process sometime over the next few weeks — either with a partner or on my own.  More details about this process a little later.

I will say again:  This book will transform your life.


The worst thing about this fog of distress is that it can be so persistent that we come to think of it as “normal”.  We are designed with extraordinary capacities for growth, self-regulation, and self-healing.  Our innate blueprint is beautifully crafted to produce a life of productivity, creativity, fulfillment, and joy.  We are meant to be happy.  Instinctively, we all know this somewhere deep inside.  We all know what it’s like to feel a burst of delight.  Every one of us has at some point in our lives experienced a sense of ecstatic joy, of euphoria at the sheer sensation of being alive.

Have you ever wondered why that experience has to be so rare and fleeting?

The answer is, It doesn’t.

~ from Code To Joy

What is this fog of distress?  It can be described as:

  • a nagging feeling of unease, though we’ve been blocking it from our conscious awareness
  • it stays with us like the headache that is persistently ‘barely there’
  • it interferes with our life in many aspects, including relationships, work performance, finding/achieving fulfillment in career, marriage and relationships with friends, family and colleagues.
  • it is made of feelings and beliefs consisting of part subconscious and part bioelectrical (like radio static)
  • it may manifest as an anxiety, a fear, or a particular problem

How do we dissipate this persistent fog of distress?

Acclaimed clinical psychologists George Pratt, Ph.D. and Dr. Peter Lambrou, Ph.D. have worked with more than 45,000 individual clients over decades and have seen remarkable consistent and reliable results.  They have developed this protocol with four simple, proven steps to help you unlock the secret to your innate happiness.

This four step program has been adapted into a simple protocol that you can self-administer with effective results.  I encourage you to consider taking this step in self-discovery and growth!

Here is an overview of the Four Steps:

  1. Identify your “asteroid strikes” (past events that had the deepest or most significant negative impact on you and Identify your strongest self-limiting beliefs, and finally Verify (with neuromuscular feedback, also referred to as muscle testing or kinesiology) which elements are pertinent to your past event that are getting in your way.   The purpose of this step is to identify your strongest self-limiting beliefs.
  2. Clear or neutralize/balance your neuromuscular system.  This involves a breathing exercise called Crosshand breathing, a Grounding exercise, and a few other optional exercises, if necessary.  The purpose of this step is to rebalance your body’s energy system and prepare it for repatterning.
  3. Repattern or remove the self-limiting beliefs — effectively, in a way think of this as your ‘reset’ button.  This will be accomplished with some visualization exercises and acupressure.  The purpose of this step is to release negative beliefs and install new empowering beliefs in their place.
  4. Anchor these new empowering beliefs for a deep and long-lasting effect.  These final steps will be practiced several times over the next 30 days as your Daily Refresher.  The purpose of this step is to ensure that the results of the first three steps are deep and long-lasting.

What I love about this process as learned while applying the Four Steps is the attention to the intimate connection between body, mind, and spirit.  Our body is an energy field, and through the book you will come to better understand how important it is to balance our polarity.

As I already mentioned, I read through the book over one weekend and had time to list my possible ‘asteroid strikes’.  I had the three weeks in between to either find a partner for the neuromuscular feedback exercise or learn to master the self test — watch the video here.  I found the self test to work for me after some practice.

I have completed the first three steps in the Four Step Process and am practicing my Daily Refresher exercises going forward.  I have selected the image for this post to represent my personal Symbol of Balance.

I encourage you to preview the book and read the foreword by Larry King.  See if you are not also intrigued and inspired to purchase this book to help you unlock your personal state of happiness.

We were designed and created to be happy.  It’s our nature.  It just gets covered up by the fog of disasters.  And once we’re able to clear away that dark cloud of debris left by the asteroids, earthquakes, and volcanoes of our past, we can see the clear blue skies above and feel the bright, warming sun that never really left us.

~ George Pratt, Ph.D. and Peter Lambrou, Ph.D.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for reaching out and offering me this opportunity! It has been a pleasure to experience this in my life. My hope is that you are inspired to go on this journey of discovery for yourself.

I look forward to feedback from those of you who may have already read this book and certainly from those of you who decide to read the book. Share this post with those you know on Facebook and Twitter — this may be exactly what they’ve been looking for!

Your Partner in Health,



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This week’s radio show will be a replay of a recorded interview of me by a friend of mine named Chante earlier this year in January. The show is titled Nourishing Traditions, GAPS, Gut Health and Healthy Babies — click on the link to go to the show.

The show will air on Wednesday evening, April 11 at 8:30 p.m. EST. This is a departure from the norm since I launched my radio show in late December 2011. I have had to take some time away from the show to focus on getting our condo on the market — this has been a major undertaking of painting literally every square foot of wall space, doors and trim in the unit, as well as replace tile flooring and re-carpet. I will be so happy to see this big project come to an end in a couple of months.

In the meantime, my radio show will air only twice per month on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month with the hope of returning to a weekly schedule by early summer. I am also looking for a co-host who can help with the show — I love what I do, but it is a lot of work for one person to keep up with!

I know I am hearing some great feedback from people who are thankful for the resources, and I feel there is a definite need for these stories of healing to be shared. I really do appreciate the feedback, so keep it coming!

Now about the wonderful woman who interviewed me:
Chante and I connected on Facebook about one year ago. We both have launched websites using the Site Build It! product. It was last January when we crossed paths on the Site Build It! Facebook Page and became friends.     

Be sure to visit Chante’s website My Natural Motherhood Journey for great resources! There you will find information on things such as breastfeeding, homeschooling, vaccines, natural birth, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, and more!

You may also want to check out Chante’s interview with Kathy Medina, author of Finding God in Autism. You’ll want to visit Chante’s Blog Talk Radio Show channel at Natural Parenting Tips Radio.

Chante felt it would benefit her audience to gain a better understanding of the extreme importance of a healthy gut flora — meaning having a healthy balance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut — for healthy mom, healthy baby, and healthy children.

It all starts with the mother’s gut health and is passed on to the baby during the natural birthing process. A baby born via C-section will not pick up any gut flora from the mother. Breastfeeding the baby plays a crucial part in providing the essential nourishment required to support a healthy immune system. This healthy immune system is needed now more than ever with the substantial increase in the rate of autism, asthma, eczema, allergies, ADD/ADHD in our children! These are all signs of a gut flora imbalance, also referred to as gut dysbiosis.

Our children need a healthy gut flora in order to help their body to detoxify from exposure to toxins. We must know how to do the best we can to remove the toxin exposure in our homes: clothing, personal care products, water (bathing and drinking), construction materials, food, etc.

Today our children are inundated with exposure to chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins from the time they are a developing fetus. In fact, the video Ten Americans by Environmental Working Group will be quite an eye-opener for you, so I encourage you to watch this and share.

The good news is that we do know how to support the body in the best way possible to withstand the onslaught of the toxins in our world today, and it all starts in the gut. Plain and simple, as Hippocrates said:

‘All disease begins in the gut.”

This show will give you more insight into who I am and what my passion is. I share some personal stories and my journey that has brought me to where I am today.

I share in the interview my mission and my plans for a new group coaching program for women, and particularly for mothers and daughters to participate together, as well. I will share more about my plans for this group coaching program in future shows — it will be a virtual program, over the telephone, right from the privacy of your own home and will run for 3 months. More details to follow later.

Click here for the radio show!

I encourage comments and feedback from you listeners. Please share comments below to tell me what you think! And don’t forget to share it on Facebook and Twitter! :)

Your Partner in Health,

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Continue Reading 0 comments }Coaching, GAPS Diet, Health, Health Counseling, Lifestyle Choices, Nutrition, Radio Show, Real Food, Work with Beth

Radio Show 3/28: Judy Tsafrir, MD, Psychiatrist & Certified GAPS Practitioner

by Beth Wiles March 23, 2012

Photo Source It is with pleasure that I introduce to you my next radio show guest, Dr. Judy Tsafrir, Adult and Child Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst and Certified GAPS Practitioner located in Newton, MA. Be sure to tune in to Judy Tsafrir, MD, Psychiatrist & Certified GAPS Practitioner on Wednesday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. EST. [...]

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Radio Show 3/21: Real Food, Traditional Cooking and More with Wardeh Harmon

by Beth Wiles March 16, 2012

Some of you may already be familiar with the guest for the radio show on March 21st. Her name is Wardeh Harmon. Wardeh is best known for her website, GNOWFGLINS… Enjoying “God’s Natural,Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season”. I found Wardeh’s website several months ago in my early days of researching Nourishing Traditions and [...]

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Losing Peyton Manning — Grieving in Indianapolis

by Beth Wiles March 10, 2012

The pain is very real.  It comes and goes in waves.  It is getting a little easier with each passing day. It is real grieving.  It is okay to admit.   It is nothing to be ashamed of.   It is a part of life. People grieve.  People grieve after the loss of a loved [...]

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Radio Show 3/14: Kitchen Fun, Real Food and GAPS with Katy Marquez Carter

by Beth Wiles March 9, 2012

Photo Credit: Modern Alternative Mama I have often shared my conviction that women need to get back into the kitchen to reclaim the health of themselves and their families. I am excited about our next guest, Katy Marquez Carter, who is completely self-taught and had a very late start in learning how to cook. Katy [...]

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Radio Show March 7th: Former Vegan Recovers from Crohn’s Disease on GAPS Diet with Antonio Marxuach

by Beth Wiles March 2, 2012

Photo Source My next radio show guest is Antonio Marxuach. It is my pleasure to feature Antonio’s story, which is already a bit of a different featured story. To date, all of my guests have been women, and many of them mothers working on recovering themselves and their children from various health issues. I found [...]

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Oxtails: Stew and Broth plus Bonus Chicken Skillet Recipe

by Beth Wiles February 27, 2012

By popular request, I am writing this blog post to share what I have discovered as I’ve recently experimented with Oxtails for stew/soup/broth. This past Thursday before leaving the house for the day, I put together our dinner in less than 20 minutes.  It was that simple before walking out the door!  The bonus was [...]

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Radio Show 2/29: Healing Allergies, Asthma, Adrenal Fatigue, Low Thyroid with Biliana Kovacevic

by Beth Wiles February 24, 2012

I am very excited about introducing to you the guest for our next radio show on Wednesday, February 29th at 8:30 p.m. EST Healing Allergies, Asthma, Adrenal Fatigue, Low Thyroid with Biliana Kovacevic I’ve met Biliana along the way as she is another former graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training Program. [...]

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