I JUST STARTED DRINKING KEFIR AND I FEEL WEIRD…

When you drink kefir for the first time, you are ingesting millions and millions of beneficial bacteria and yeast from over 30 different species! This can be a shock to your digestive tract, especially if it has become overrun by harmful bacteria. So basically you will have World War 3 taking place in your digestive tract for a little while! The beneficial bacteria will start killing off the harmful bacteria, and in the process toxins can be released into your bloodstream.

These toxics can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, flu-like symptoms, nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation, headache, sore throat, rash, muscle and joint soreness or pain, or sweet cravings.

Although inconvenient, these symptoms are actually a good thing! They mean that the kefir is fighting off the bad bacteria which has overrun your digestive tract.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to decrease the amount of kefir you are consuming each day. You can drink just a small spoonful per day,  and then gradually increase the amount as tolerated.

I JUST ADOPTED SOME KEFIR GRAINS WHICH I PUT IN FRESH MILK, BUT NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING.

It usually takes kefir grains a few days to adjust to a new environment. When I travel with my kefir grains, for example, I may have to strain the grains several times before they taste normal. So don’t throw those grains away until you wait a few days.

If (after straining your grains and putting them in fresh milk for several days) your milk is not thickening and has a funny smell, your grains have likely died.

I JUST STRAINED MY KEFIR AND REALIZED I DON’T HAVE ANY MILK IN THE HOUSE!

Don’t panic! You can just return the kefir grains to some of the kefir you have just strained, and put it in the fridge until you’re able to get more fresh milk.

I LEFT MY KEFIR IN THE FRIDGE (IN MILK) AND FORGOT ABOUT IT. HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S STILL ALIVE?

The only way to determine if they are still alive is to allow the milk to ferment at room temperature and see if the milk turns into kefir. You may have to strain the grains for several days to allow time for the grains to bounce back.

If (after straining your grains and putting them in fresh milk for several days) your milk is not thickening and has a funny smell, your grains have likely died.

MY KEFIR IS TOO THICK OR SOUR.

You can solve this by doing one of the following:

  • Increase the amount of milk in which you put your grains.
  • Decrease the amount of grains you are using. (See question above about what to do with extra grains)
  • Decrease the fermentation time.

MY KEFIR IS TOO THIN.

If you have neglected your kefir grains for too long, there is a possibility they may have died. But in my experience, kefir grains are very hardy fellas and usually just need time to readjust to a change in environment. Try putting the grains through a few cycles of milk and see if they revive. 

If the grains are otherwise healthy and you want the kefir to be thicker, you can:

  • Decrease the amount of milk in which you put your grains.
  • Increase the fermentation time (especially in the winter months, when fermentation can take more time).

HELP! MY KIDS (OR SPOUSE) WON’T TOUCH KEFIR WITH A 10 FOOT STICK!

Our Western palates are often unaccustomed to the unique sourness of fermented foods, and often it just takes time to acquire the taste.

Our favorite way to consume kefir is in a smoothie, with berries and bananas added (here’s a recipe). You can try making a smoothie with ⅓ kefir, ⅔ milk, and then gradually increase the amount of kefir as your family gets used to it.

I also like to use the opportunity to sneak into the smoothie some other healthy foods, such as spinach, avocado, flax or chia seeds, nut butters, hemp hearts, or goji berries.

 

Do you have any questions about making kefir?