Month: September 2015

Kefir, Miraculous Kefir

I first heard about kefir from my sister, and there was just something about it that spoke to me…

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I listened to a CD with Donna Schwenk (I think she’s like the godmother of kefir) and was amazed by all that she claimed it could do, and had done, for both her and her family. Now, it has not miraculously changed my life quite the same way. But I do really like it, and I think my youngest gets sick less often because of it…

Kefir is a “probiotic super food.” You can pronounce it two ways- kee-fur, which is how I say it, or ke-fear, which is how you would probably say it if you were from Eastern Europe. (I believe either is correct, but if you’re talking to someone from Russia they may correct you if you say kee-fur, this happened to my husband! And I’m making up my pronunciation key here- sorry!) It is very similar to yogurt, but an even better source of probiotics. There are many health benefits, and it can be a good alternative to yogurt for people who have trouble with lactose.

Here are the good things about kefir:

  • amazing source of probiotics- lots more than yogurt
  • good for your intestinal flora
  • a good source of protein, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A & D
  • may provide a relaxing effect (its name is thought to literally translate to “good feeling”)
  • can neutralize bad stuff in your gut
  • has healthy bacteria that is not found in regular yogurt
  • may play a role in immunity, allergies, and inflammation

My 3-year-old son, my husband, and I are the only ones who drink the stuff here. But, I must say, I think it has made a difference for me. I used to be prone to stomach issues- nausea, upset stomach- and I’m not anymore. I attribute it partially to my better overall diet, but also to kefir.

My son drinks it every morning and loves it; I give him the strawberry flavored one, which probably has too much sugar! One day I’ll make my own and flavor his…Anyway, he has been on antibiotics much less often than my other three children. He has been sick less, and when he does get sick it doesn’t last as long and usually isn’t as bad. This may be due to the fact that he is my fourth, and has been subjected to much more dirt and germs than the others, so his immune system is that much stronger! But, I think it is at least in part thanks to his kefir consumption.

So, Danny drinks his flavored kefir straight, like a yogurt smoothie. My husband drinks plain kefir with chia seeds after his long runs. And I have mine for breakfast with berries and granola. I used to have greek yogurt, but after reading so much about the inflammation associated with dairy, I decided to give it up. I was sad to give up my favorite breakfast, until I just tried it with kefir and loved it. I have also recently discovered a different brand, and the kefir is much thicker, closer to greek yogurt. I love it!

0001-64074696You can see the kefir on the right here is thicker. I’m so happy with my new discovery!

So I think there is really something to this super food. I read somewhere that kefir does the same good stuff yogurt does, but where yogurt just moves through your body, kefir sets up shop. It settles and lives there and provides lots of healthy living organisms to balance your body.

I plan on ordering my own kefir grains to start making my own soon. Homemade kefir is supposed to be even healthier than store bought. I’ll let you know how that goes! It will be like having a pet. My kids want a dog, but I keep trying to get them excited about kefir instead…

The end of summer….

I have had the greatest summer…

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It started out at a place I love in upstate New York. My husband’s family is part of a bungalow colony in the Catskills and it is a very special place. You know everyone there and your kids have a ton of freedom. You get to spend a ton of time with your best friends and lots of people you love. There’s also a lot of family time- extended family time. My husband is one of eight children, so there are lots of cousins and my wonderful father-in-law. Grandpa makes his home feel like our own and we love having the time with him.

After a few days up there, we hopped in the minivan and headed off to Disney for the first time! My oldest is ten and has been asking to go for years. So this was the trip of a lifetime. My amazing family would be meeting us there to celebrate some milestone birthdays…80, 50, 40, and 10! On the way we stopped off in a little Florida beach town and headed to Orlando in the morning. So even the long ride felt like an adventure.

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Disney World was so great. I am not a planner and I was worried about feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, but…it really is a magical place. And to have the chance to experience it with my parents, all of my siblings, and all of my nieces and nephews made it that much better. It was one of the happiest weeks of my life.

The ride home was fun too, including a visit to Nashville! My sister was attending the Beachbody Summit there, and I thought it would be a good excuse to check out Nashville. I’m very jealous I didn’t get to stay for the summit, but maybe next year…

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We also took a scenic ride on the Skyline Drive on the ride home and checked out Shenandoah National Park. I love how tired I look in this picture! I feel kind of like that right now, too, as a matter of fact 🙂

Most of the rest of the summer was spent upstate, with one wonderful week in the middle spent at the New Jersey shore. Lots of quality family time there, too, with just us and with my parents and cousins and aunts and uncles.

I am at the end of the summer and feeling very thankful and very blessed. We are surrounded by so many really good people. I am sad another summer is ending, but there is always a sense of renewal in September.

I am also a little relieved to be home more regularly; living out of bags gets tiring. I also look forward to getting back to food prep and meal planning and a sense of normalcy. As much as I think I’ll feel lonely with the kids and my husband back at school, and not surrounded by a bunch of friends all the time, I think I’m ready to nest a bit and take better care of my body!

I have gotten really derailed with my nutrition this summer and while I’ve been pretty consistent with exercise, I look forward to getting back to a program. I’ve been kind of jumping around, doing whatever workout suited me that day. It’s nice to change it up like that, but I’ll be happy to be back on a schedule.

I think a lot of people feel the same bittersweet feeling this time of year…the fun of summer will be missed, but I just couldn’t keep going like that for too much longer! I’ve also missed keeping up with my little blog; I’m feeling very negligent. Looking forward to fall and getting back into my passion for nutrition and exercise, trying out new foods and recipes, and sharing my progress here.

After too many cheeseburgers and chips, too much ice cream and beer, I also feel like I’ve set myself up for quite a challenge this fall! I have some work to do! I’m hoping the challenge of it gets me going…

Happy September, everyone! What are your goals for the fall ahead?