Kefir is a thick, tart, fermented drink, often made from milk, which I started drinking when we had our own dairy cow. I liked it, but my husband was crazy about it. He said it instantly energized him.

I liked that after I made an original batch, I could just keep adding raw milk without heating it and let it sit. In doing so, all the enzyme systems remained intact, as did the beneficial bacteria that kefir offers.

I discussed kefir with my friend Katherine Belisle, also a nutritionist. She has researched kefir and has experience making it using what’s called water kefir grains, which are lactic acid bacteria and yeast. The result is a drink that is slightly sweet and carbonated. Water kefir is a great way for people who are allergic to dairy to reap all the rewards that kefir has to offer.

And by the way, Kathy’s kids love the taste.

Here are some other good reasons to give dairy or water kefir a try:

-It’s quick, easy and cheap to make.

-One tablespoon of kefir is stronger than one bottle of probiotics.

-It contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

-There are very healthy strains of Candida in kefir that aid intestinal health and are beneficial for yeast-elimination programs. These yeasts are typically absent in store-bought probiotics.

If you drink a lot kefir right away you risk altering your intestinal microbes too quickly, so 2 to 3 tablespoons per day is a good start.

Kathy will be doing a quick kefir demo at 5:30 p.m. at the Fireweed Market at Shipyards Park in Whitehorse on May 23 and 30 at the Alpenglow Designs tent.

Kathy sells the water kefir grains and starter kits and Riverside Grocery sells pre-made dairy kefir and starter kits.

Katherine Beslisle’s Basic Water Kefir Recipe:

1.5 litres water (not chlorinated);

1/2 cup water kefir grains;

1/3 to 1/2 cup sucanat or raw, organic sugar;

1/4 tsp baking soda (if you are using reverse osmosis or demineralized water);

3 dried apricots and small handful of raisins;

half a lemon, sliced;

metal or plastic strainer;

metal, wooden or plastic spoon;

sterilized 2 or 3L glass jar, or a Yukon Brewery Growler; and

clean glass jars or bottles to store your completed kefir in.

Method:

1. Combine lukewarm water and sugar in the jar or bottle and shake until dissolved. Then add baking soda (optional), dried fruit and lemon chunks. Stir.

2. Add your water kefir grains.

3. Cap tightly if you prefer a carbonated drink, or leave cap loose if you prefer a flat drink.

4. Let sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours (the longer you ferment it the richer it will be in B vitamins/folic acid). My kids prefer it around 36 hours.

5. Using a strainer, pour the kefir into a jar with flavourings of your choice (grated ginger, vanilla extract, maple syrup, etc). Cap tightly. Enjoy within 24 hours.

6. To make another batch: Take the leftover grains and fruit from the strainer, remove the fruit and toss. Gently, briefly, rinse the grains under lukewarm water before proceeding as above.

You can find other great recipes at www.CulturesForHealth.com

Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.