- Place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into glasses. Use a spatula to get all the liquid from the sides of the blender—there are lots of good herbs in there.
- Drink immediately.
If you hang out at my house for very long, you’ll inevitably hear one of my children asking me to “make a shake, please”. We cannot stand to go a day without our “shake”. I love that they ask for this every day because the base that I use for these shakes is milk kefir!
Kefir is one of the healthiest things you can add to your diet. It’s a probiotic drink and so incredibly good for you. If you do it right, you can feed your family this homemade probiotic drink for a lot less than purchasing probiotics in pill form! (I do keep this probiotic on hand in case one of my girls has a tummy ache and can use some extra probiotics.)
I’m going to show you not only how to make milk kefir in 5 easy steps, but I’m going to share how you can make yours taste so yummy that your kids will be asking you for some too!
Milk kefir, (there is such a thing as water kefir but we are going to go over milk kefir today) originating from Russia, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. These grains are a bacterial fermentation starter that when added to milk, make a thick, creamy yogurt-type drink.
Kefir grains look like cottage cheese or cauliflower to me. They feed on the sugar in the milk, which causes them to multiply themselves at a rate of a 10-15% increase each time they are fed.  If you keep your kefir grains well fed with milk, you can have a forever endless supply of inexpensive, homemade probiotics for your family’s good health.
Kefir boasts of high levels of probiotics, calcium, magnesium, vitamins k & b12, biotin, folate, and enzymes.  And according to the University of Florida microbiology class, homemade kefir contains a beneficial bacteria colony of 150 billion per tablespoon! 
While kefir bought at the store does have a lot of good stuff in it, it does not have as much as homemade. Many brands are advertised as having 10 strains, while homemade kefir has as many as 40-60 strains. 
And let’s just mention the savings! The savings of making your own kefir is well worth it. Purchasing kefir is around $.12 an ounce, while making it only costs you the price of milk (once you’ve purchased your grains) and averages to being only $.02 an ounce.  (This price was based on milk being $2.75 a gallon, so if you purchase milk that is less expensive, you save even more!)
Note: When you purchase kefir grains, they will be in a bag of milk. Strain the grains using a plastic strainer and pour a little bit of fresh milk on them to rinse them. This is only necessary when you use them the first time. This helps to activate them and get them going since they’ve been tossed about in the mail and are now in a different environment. Do not rinse with water.
Kefir grains (buy here)
Milk (raw or whole milk)
Breathable material like paper towels, dish towel
A Few Notes and Tips
Kefir is similar to yogurt, so flavor it and use it as you would yogurt. Plain kefir is sour, but you can add sugar, honey, berries, etc. to make it taste good. As I mentioned, my favorite way to use it is by making what we call “shakes” (or smoothies).
For every cup of kefir, we add 1 1/2-2 frozen bananas, about 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of flax or chia seeds, and any herbs that I wish to add to our diet at the time. (Right now I’m adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric.) This is our favorite way, but the options are endless! Experiment and have delicious fun!
Today we have a guest article by Helen of Health Ambition
Achy joints and muscles are an unfortunate part of life that we will all inevitably find ourselves dealing with at some point. As I get older, I notice that my arms and legs sometimes hurt just a little more than they did the night before whenever I flex or move them. As the years passed by, I came to realize that I was experiencing this discomfort more frequently.
Changes throughout my life had taken their tolls on my body. I no longer possess the athleticism that I did during my high school sports days, I have given birth to two children and my body has aged.
As an herbalist, I aspire to find natural remedies to aid in just about any aspect of a person’s overall health. There is usually a solution for just about any type of health condition, and joint pain is no exception. As I researched the problem more, I came to find that a couple of the most useful solutions were not concoctions, but simple lifestyle changes.
These two nutrients are prevalent in many of the foods that are most of us accept as being “good for you.” A manganese deficiency can result in frequent joint pain as well as other symptoms that often accompany it, namely sluggishness and fatigue. A magnesium deficiency can also result in similar signs.
Finding food sources that are rich in these minerals does wonders for your joints, especially if you do not currently have a diagnosis of a pre-existing condition, such as arthritis. I committed to a healthier temporary diet when I noticed my joint pain acting up. Within just a few days, I almost forgot that I had been experiencing discomfort in the first place! Keep in mind, I did not get these nutrients from supplements or multivitamins. Nutrients are far more useful when they come in the form of food as opposed to supplements. Not only are they easier for your body to absorb, but it makes consuming them more enjoyable, too.
*Note: I supplement with magnesium lotion similar to this one. Unlike pills, this form of magnesium goes right into the bloodstream. Besides eating good food sources, you may find this very beneficial if you are deficient in this mineral. It only takes a drop! -Jill
Exercising may seem like a difficult tip to follow if you are suffering from discomfort. However, it is important to make sure that you are keeping your body active to avoid increasing your levels of pain. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous (in fact, I would advise against it), but it is advisable to at least take a 20-minute walk once a day or so.
Daily exercise regimens will give you a chance to loosen up your joints and keep them from getting too stiff. Depending on where you are experiencing pain, you might want to try some of these exercises. These will help you alleviate discomfort while keeping off unwanted weight. Putting on excessive amounts of fat can cause more strain on your body, making mobility even more difficult for your joints.
With or without pain, I am a sucker for just about any type of herbal tea. There are various herbs and spices known to treat symptoms of arthritis and other conditions that cause bodily aches. The beautiful part about this particular method is that you can get creative with it. Brew your tea according to your tastes.
You can try any one of these herbal tea recipes for joint pain or create one of your own using a combination of these ingredients. Even though cayenne, turmeric, and honey don’t sound like they would taste that great in a cup of hot water, you may be surprised.
You can also consume 1-3 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of water every day as it does wonders for joint pain. You can find this amazingly wonderful vinegar here. Your body will thank you for it later.
Remember how we discussed the usefulness of magnesium for aching joints? Well, Epsom salt is chock-full of it. Its magnesium-rich properties are why it’s one of the more popular methods of ridding yourself of joint aches. Epsom salts have multiple health benefits, but perhaps the most well-known one is its use for treating pain.
People suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even stress have benefited from bathing in a mixture of hot water and Epsom salts. Your body absorbs the magnesium through the skin, directly relieving pain from the affected areas.
To use epsom salts, add a cup of the salt to a bath of water and soak for 20 minutes. Buy epsom salts here.
Everyone’s condition varies on a case-by-case basis, even when it comes to joint pain. It may occur due to natural aging, a lack of physical activity, or joint-related diseases.
Your solution may be as simple as making some changes in your exercise and dietary routines. Even if, however, your condition is one which requires regular attention, it is still never too late to commit to any of these natural remedies.
Helen is a wife, mother, and the editor at Health Ambition.