Growing yogurt? Kefir restores,maintains healthy digestion

by Katie Skero, news editor

Meet kefir, your newest, cultured, enzyme-rich friend chock full of probiotics and healthy micro-organisms that will help you balance your inner ecosystem.

Kefir is in the yogurt family, but it goes far beyond the reach of Dannon and Yoplait. This wonder-food supplies complete proteins, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. It has also been known to restore bodies and even save lives, as in the case of Hannah Gabizon, senior Jewish studies major, whose mother saw dramatic restoration through the daily consumption of kefir.

“In 1998, my mom was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease,” explained Gabizon. “This is an inflammatory disease of the intestines in which one cannot digest certain foods.” Having just moved to Japan with her young family, Gabizon’s mother faced a decision. She could either undergo major, life-threatening surgery or seek another solution. “During that time, a Japanese believer gave [my mom] this special probiotic, homegrown yogurt: kefir… Through the discipline of drinking kefir [daily], she became healthy again.”
Gabizon’s entire family began growing and drinking kefir together, all seeing health benefits in their lives, including relief from asthma and allergies for Gabizon’s sister. She said they are all eager to share this provision of God’s grace with the people around them.

Gabizon views the consumption and sharing of kefir as a ministry. “Though God has created our bodies to take care of themselves, we also need to pay attention to our bodies and do healthy things as to render ourselves as holy temples to Him. Part of our ministry to our families and friends also involves taking care of ourselves.”

Kefir is easy to grow at home or in your dorm with only two ingredients: milk and kefir grains. Grains can be purchased through websites or at health food stores, but are best if found from a friend already growing them. Kefir is safe for those who are lactose-intolerant, since the grains actually “eat” most of the lactose out of the yogurt, according to Body Ecology, Inc.’s website, kiefer.net.

Pre-made kefir is the next best thing. Kefir frozen yogurt is carried at Starfruit Cafe, located at 2142 N. Halsted St. and 108 N. State St. Other Lifeway Kefir products can be found at Starfruit Cafe as well as at Whole Foods, Dominick’s, and Jewel-Osco.

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