I’m not shy about my adoration of bacteria. The “good” kind stole my heart about three years ago when I was recovering from an illness that landed me in the hospital (in China!) and on 3 different antibiotics.
I’d flirted with the lil guys before, been a big yogurt fan most of my life and started drinking kombucha way before it was a household name. My dad taught me about miso soup (“add the miso at the end and don’t boil, it will kill off the good stuff”) and lacto-fermented pickles back in the ’90s when he was on a macrobiotic diet.
But it wasn’t until that fateful summer of 2010, when my poor body was wrecked from 18 months of third world countries (so much bacteria! not all bad but very foreign!), a possibly life threatening kidney infection, and a good dose of antibiotics that I truly started to admire and respect bacteria.
I started making kimchi, saurkraut, kombucha, kefir soda, and eating more miso. And of course eating lots of yogurt, even started making it too to save money and use the best quality (grass-fed) milk I could get.
I’ve noticed a HUGE improvement in my health since I started eating cultured/fermented/good-bacteria filled foods.
One of the few cultured foods I never really got into was the yogurt-like dairy kefir. I like my yogurt thick and substantial, the kefir I’d had in the past was always too thick to enjoy as a drink and too thin to eat with a spoon. And honestly, I just didn’t get it, I thought it was completely interchangeable with yogurt.
But I have an open mind and have become much more adventurous and accepting with my eating habits lately. Latta, a company making traditional Russian kefir, offered to send me some samples right as I was dealing with Lyme disease last month and in turn on antibiotics*.
*As you probably know, antibiotics kill ALL bacteria in the stomach, as they eradicate the “bad” ones the good ones get taken out as well. Our health, as in our immune system, relies on the “good” bacteria of the stomach to be flourishing and balanced, when it’s less than stellar all kinds of nasty can occur, including most commonly yeast infections, elimination issues. And, turns out, skin break outs! My skin was horrible for 2-3 weeks after my 10 days on doxycycline.
I lika Latta a lotta!
Awesome things about this company; their kefir is thick and creamy with a similar consistency to yogurt and they offer kefir in both organic and grass fed categories and all their kefir is certified gluten free.
So now that I was a kefir convert I still didn’t understand why it was different than yogurt in terms of nutrition.
Here’s the deal.
While yogurt and kefir both contain probiotics, or helpful bacteria, the types of bacteria are different, with kefir having many times more total bacteria than yogurt. In this case more+different=better.
The fantastic all-things-fermented company Cultures for Health has some interesting information if you want to learn more on kefir vs. yogurt.
Do you have a preference between yogurt and kefir?