This is a question that we actually get quite a bit.
Given sometimes that raw milk is difficult to find or even illegal in some states, is store bought kefir a good substitute?
Here is one reader’s email…
“I recently read your book – which I really enjoyed. I found the information very helpful, and I really appreciated hearing your personal story woven throughout.
I was recently diagnosed with MS and have already modified my diet significantly, which incorporates several of the suggestions that you reference within your book. One element you referenced was real milk and making kefir from real milk – as a good option for people with autoimmune disease. Is there any benefit for people to have kefir as available in the grocery (even though pasteurized)? The bottles have lots of claims of bacteria and enzymes… just wanted to confirm whether there was any advantage? I don’t have access to raw milk at this point, so am not having dairy at all right now. Just curious as to your thoughts.”
Well here are some of my thoughts, …
Some brands of store bought kefir can have up to 11 strains of beneficial bacteria, so why wouldn’t it be a good substitute for kefir made from raw (real) milk?
Unfortunately, for some very important reasons, kefir purchased at the store is not only not beneficial, but may actually be detrimental to someone with autoimmune disease.
1) Far Fewer Beneficial Bacteria-Most, if not all, of the kefir purchased at stores has been pasteurized by law; meaning all of the beneficial bacteria has been killed and then they add one or two strains back in after the fact. The number and variety of bacteria in store bought kefir is far less than that of real milk kefir. Real milk kefir actually contains more than 30 strains of beneficial bacteria, far more than just one or two! Since part of what these foods are designed to do is repopulate your GI tract with beneficial bacteria, we want them to contain as many beneficial bacteria as possible.
2) High Amounts of Sugar- Store bought kefir often contains high amounts of sugar which can feed unwanted bacteria and yeast, contributing to Candida overgrowth yeast infections. Whereas, real milk kefir contains beneficial yeasts that can penetrate where Candida albicans hides and kill it, actually helping prevent and correct candida overgrowth and yeast infections.
3) Destruction of Vitamins and Nutrients-Pasteurization also results in the loss and/or adulteration of vitamins A, D, and E. Up to 60% of these fat-soluble vitamins are lost. Vitamin C loss is upwards of 50%. Vitamin B6 and B12 are completely destroyed.
4) Increases Inflammation-Of keen interest to the autoimmune sufferer, or anyone wanting to avoid unnecessary inflammation, the amino acids and proteins in store bought have been denatured by the pasteurization process. These denatured proteins are unrecognizable to your body, and will actually illicit an immune response and contribute to inflammation.
5) Destruction of the Enzymes Your Body Needs to Help Digest the Kefir-The pasteurization process also destroys all of the enzymes that were originally present, in fact, the death of these enzymes is how they determine the pasteurization process was successful. These enzymes are designed to help your body assimilate and metabolize all the vitamins and nutrients that are present in real milk kefir.
For instance, one of these enzymes called lactase is designed to help your body digest the lactose in milk. The absence of these enzymes, means the burden of digestion is entirely on your body. These enzymes are the reason why that many people who are lactose intolerant or even allergic to milk have no difficulty with real milk kefir.
Want to learn more about making real milk kefir or purchase kefir grains? To get started visit please visit:
Shared at Simple Lives Thursday