Since beginning the GAPS diet back in March, our family has been dairy-free. Although we are currently not on the GAPS diet anymore, through doing the diet we discovered that at least two members of our family react poorly to dairy.
Though I am a huge advocate of raw milk (and cheese and creme fraiche and yogurt, etc.), we've had to say good-bye to this part of our diet, at least for the time being.
I am preparing a post that will hopefully go up later in the month, detailing some of the fantastic dairy alternatives are out there, which are easy and kid-friendly, while sticking to the principles of traditional foods. Yes, there are LOTS of options. Soon, I promise I'll share them!
In the meantime, here is one of those alternatives that we have been greatly enjoying lately: Coconut Milk Kefir!
There are lots of reasons that this is a fantastic combination, but I'll boil them down to these:
- Coconut oil/milk are traditional dietary components in many cultures. Coconut contains medium chain fatty acids, including lauric and capric acid. These are GOOD fats, ones that boost the immune system, fight against yeast overgrowth, and have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities.
- Kefir is a wonderful source of beneficial bacteria. It is like a drinkable or more liquid form of yogurt, except that the bacterial strains are different. It helps digestion and overall gut health in particular, and supports good health in many ways.
When I first began making coconut milk kefir, I didn't actually know that there was information out there on how to do so. I just tried it on a whim, because I was really missing kefir. I simply hoped it would work, and was so pleased when it did!
I've since found a few other tutorials in making coconut milk kefir. I will link to them below, for those who would like to look into this further.
One thing to note is that both Mare and Lindsay recommend using coconut milk that has not been diluted with water, which is how I make mine. I have since tried this and it makes a wonderful, thick and creamy kefir, which can be used more in place of yogurt, sour cream, in ice cream, etc.
However, I began diluting mine for two reasons:
1) Cost. I needed to make it stretch a little bit further, and because coconut milk is so rich and creamy, diluting it works well for this purpose.
2) Texture. I actually wanted a more drinkable kefir, not quite so thick. I like to use it as a base for smoothies, as a drink, or in place of milk to pour over homemade granola.
Although I have read that diluting it can lessen the effectiveness of the grains, and result in not enough natural sugars for the kefir grains to consume, I (happily) haven't found this to be true in my experience. I am diluting it at a 1:1 ratio. After over a month of frequent use, my kefir grains are working as well as ever.
In my video, I will show you how I make my frugal, diluted version of coconut milk kefir, perfect for smoothies, drinking, pouring over cereals, etc.
If you would like to make the thicker, undiluted version, simply follow the same steps, but do not add any water to your can of coconut milk.
**Wondering what that banging noise is in the background? 8 month old Johanna in her high chair, happily kicking the footrest!**
For those who want to learn more and see how others do make their coconut milk kefir, here are a couple more links:
How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir @ Passionate Homemaking
How to Make Coconut Kefir @ Just Making Noise