One of my neighbors gave me some kefir starter. It's like sourdough starter, that is, you leave it on the kitchen counter and feed it every so often, only instead of baking with it you make smoothies with it.
Kefir contains different types of beneficial bacteria than yogurt. Yogurt's bacteria is like a team of maids and cooks, making sure the digestive system stays tidy and providing food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir's bacteria and yeasts form a virtual SWAT team that destroys pathogens and strengthens the intestines by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting E. coli and intestinal parasites.
We took home the starter, filled its jar with whole milk, and attached a paper coffee filter to the top. Two days later, the jar was full of nice curdy kefir. We strained it into a blender, added peaches, honey, and frozen strawberries, and made a smoothie. It looked good.
Then I took the lid off. Phew! It smelled like garbage. I tentatively dipped a spoon in and had a taste. Not bad. I poured a small cup to try. Quite good, in fact.
My kids liked it, too.
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