Questions About Goat Milk Kefir
Q: What are probiotics?
A: Probiotics, which literally mean "beneficial to life," are live cultures that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Most probiotics include the live active cultures often added to foods like yogurt. Researchers have studied bacteria extensively and considerable evidence indicates that there are several strains of essential bacteria that are good for you.
Redwood Hill Farm's Goat Milk Kefir contains Flourish®, our custom blend 10 live and active cultures. The Flourish® blend of probiotics include: L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, L. lactis, L. diacetylactis, S. thermophilus, L. cremoris, Leuconostoc cremoris and B. bifidum.
Q: Why should I add probiotics to my diet?
A: The bacteria in the digestive system play a very important role in our health and can easily be thrown out of balance by our everyday lifestyle. Factors that can upset this precious balance include: antibiotics (which sometimes kill both "good" and "bad" bacteria), infections (bacterial, viral and fungal), alcohol consumption, chronic diarrhea, travel, a highly processed low fiber diet and stress. Including probiotics in your diet is an easy way to help combat these stressors, keeping harmful bacteria in check.
Q: What is the difference between kefir and yogurt?
A: Although kefir and yogurt are similar in taste and texture, Redwood Hill Farm's Kefir has 10 live and active cultures, more than twice the amount of yogurt. Most yogurts have 2 or 3 cultures, while Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery goat milk yogurt has four.
Q: What is the difference between cow milk kefir and goat milk kefir?
A: It's all in the milk! Goat milk protein, carbohydrates and fats are all easily digested. Goat milk is similar to human milk in its protein composition, having more short and medium-chain fatty acids, whereas cow milk tends to contain long-chain fatty acids. Cow milk contains agglutinin, which also hinders digestion. Agglutinin causes the fat particles in milk to group together, forming clusters which can be difficult for humans to digest.
Q: Can I have too much kefir?
A: You can have too much of any food. What is a healthy portion for one person can be harmful for another. Negative effects of kefir intake are not known, however, people with lactose intolerance should start with very small amounts like a teaspoon at a time to see how they do. That being said, many people with lactose intolerance can consume kefir because the bacteria in the kefir feed on the lactose.
Q: Does your kefir contain gluten?
A: Not a bit! Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Kefir, like all of our dairy products, contains no gluten nor do we produce any products in our creamery that contain gluten. In addition kefir is a low glycemic food.
Q: Why don't you add inulin to your kefir like other brands?
A: Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), or inulin, is a soluble fiber often referred to as a "prebiotic." Essentially it serves as fertilizer for the bacteria in your colon. Studies show that inulin/FOS seems to favor certain lactobacillus species of bacteria, especially the Bifidus species.
For this reason, it is being promoted as a supplement to feed the "good bacteria" in our stomachs. Studies show that inulin can also increase the absorption of several minerals, including calcium, which is why it is so prevalent in dairy products.
Although inulin has many beneficial actions, there are disadvantages for some people; primarily taking inulin when the colon is filled with "bad" bacteria and yeast because inulin may promote their growth as well. Recent studies have shown that inulin encourages the growth of Klebsiella, a bacteria implicated in Ankylosing Spondylitis and in increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). In addition, there has been one documented case of anaphylactic (allergic) reaction to inulin, and foods containing it can be rather gassy.
Inulin is found naturally in many foods and we believe this is the best way to utilize its many health benefits. Asparagus, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root and leeks to name a few. Instead of adding refined, super concentrated inulin to your food, we recommend eating the foods that naturally contain inulin.
Q: Why is Kefir tangy and slightly carbonated, or bubbly?
A: Since our Kefir contains live and active cultures, there will be a small, varying degree of effervescence. This means that the probiotic kefir cultures are active and working. This does not mean the product is spoiled in any way. Spoiled kefir will resemble spoiled milk and have a very pungent odor.
Q: How can I flavor Redwood Hill Farm Traditional Plain Kefir?
A: With your favorite fruit and extracts. One of our favorites is adding maple syrup and pomegranate juice!
Q: Can I use Kefir in cooking?
A: Absolutely! Try Kefir in any recipe where yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk is called for.
Q: What kind of milk is your kefir made from?
A: Redwood Hill's Cultured Kefir is made with 100% fresh grade A goat milk from our family of farms.
Q: What method do you use to pasteurize the milk?
A: For Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery goat milk products we use the "Vat Pasteurization" method. This requires that the milk be heated to 145 degrees F for a minimum holding of 30 minutes and then immediately chilled. This is the lowest temperature for pasteurization allowable by law. By comparison, HTST or "High Temperature/Short Time" requires that the milk be heated to 162 degrees F for 17 seconds. HTST is the method used most frequently by creameries because of the shorter time. UHT or "Ultra High Temperature" requires heating the milk to 275 degrees F for one second and will render the product virtually sterile for long lasting time on the shelf. We prefer the "Vat Pasteurization" method for our goat milk dairy products We feel it is the best method for preserving the integrity of the milk when preparing for culturing our delicious cheese, yogurt and kefir.