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If You Drink Raw Milk, You’ll Want to Know This.

If raw milk is good for you, then raw milk kefir is magic!

Alright, I may have fibbed a bit – kefir isn’t magic, it’s science!! But it sure seems magic from all of the health recovery stories I hear from customers sharing in our farm store.

Acid reflux – gone!

Colitis – disappears!

I get calls every single week from people with health challenges and they’ve finally stumbled on the recommendation that they drink raw milk kefir to help.

They come out to our store and get the supplies to start, and then very soon I know I’ll be hearing their health recovery story, it’s that consistent.

You might think I’m nuts – how can some strange tasting, bubbly fermented food like kefir change people’s lives so dramatically?

Luckily, Champoeg Creamery’s resident Microbiologist (my daughter, Hayden), has been diving into the research to find out exactly what’s going on in your glass of kefir. And you’re going to be BLOWN AWAY by what she found out.DSC_0818

(Also – it’s important you differentiate between store-bought & homemade with raw milk.  they are two different foods! Store bought is no substitute and this miracle food is super easy to make at home.)

Alright Hayden, take it away!

Kefir is a Living Food

It’s true. There are thousands and thousands of living creatures inside one spoonful of kefir! These creatures are so tiny, you can only see them with a microscope.

These microbes (there are both yeast and bacteria in kefir), are called probiotics. That’s because they’re beneficial to your health. You need daily doses of probiotics to boost immunity, heal your gut, and beat digestive problems. The best probiotics don’t come in a pill, either. But more on that later.1372-fitandcrop-484x305

You see, your body is teeming with live microbes, especially your digestive system. Your gut is filled with trillions of microbes, both good and bad guys, and all have a direct influence on your health.

There’s both bacteria and yeasts in there (don’t worry, they’re not the kind of yeast that gives you a yeast infection!), and both are necessary for good health.

Harmful Microbes Thrive on Processed Food

Sure, there are definitely harmful bacteria out there that want to hurt you. But they only grow when you give them their favorite foods, like sugar, grains, and other processed food, or when you kill off lots of good bacteria after a round of antibiotics.

You can kill off all your bad gut bacteria by eliminating these harmful foods from your diet completely. Once you stop eating these things, the harmful microbes will starve and die.

The Sad Truth about Store Bought Kefir

Homemade kefir is full of thousands, if not billions, of beneficial probiotics. But the stuff in the store is NOT the same.

Heritage Kefir Grains

Heritage Kefir Grains

  • Lots of times, it’s even pasteurized after it’s fermented into kefir, totally killing any of the good bacteria that were in there!!
  • Also, store bought is full of sugar and additives, not what you want in a health food 🙁
  • Lastly, store bought kefir has only a few different types of bacteria and yeasts, but homemade kefir has TONS of them!! Variety is the spice of life, and that’s especially true when it comes to your microbes. More diversity = healthier gut.

Microbes Found in Store Bought Kefir:

  • Bacteria: Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus cremoris, Lactobacillus diacetylactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces martiniae, Saccharomyces unisporus

Microbes Found in Homemade Kefir:

  • Bacteria: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens, Lactobacillus kefiri, Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides, Pseudomonas, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas putida, Lactobacillus sake, Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Yeast: Candida humilis, Kazachstania unispora, Kazachstania exigua, Kluyveromyces siamensis, Kluyveromyces lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces martiniae, Saccharomyces unisporus

You get the idea 😉

Probiotics Send Signals to your Brain, Skin, Gut + More

At the teensy tiny microscopic level, our body operates by sending signals between cells. For example, when we eat certain foods, our stomach produces hormones that act as signals to the brain and say, “Hold up!! Enough ice cream already, I’m full!!”

Woman Suffering From Stomach Ache

Probiotics create signals, too. They produce acids, proteins, sugars and fatty acids that travel throughout our body signaling things to happen.

But bad, harmful microbes give off bad, harmful signals. Signals that might tell our brain, “Nope, keep that ice cream coming, I’m starving!!”. Or, signals that poke holes in our gut or signals that cause inflammation in our joints.

The point is, when we eat beneficial probiotics found in fermented foods, they give off these signals that keep our body healthy and strong.

Probiotics Turn Genes On/Off, Prevent Cancer, & Change how we See the World

The signals from probiotics are so powerful they can do things like turn our genes on or off. That means, when your doctor tells you you’re doomed to be obese because you have certain DNA markers, you can rest assured knowing that your kefir could actually turn that ‘fat’ gene off!! This is a pretty literal example of how food is medicine!

The probiotics in kefir can even signal your body to start repairing your DNA when it gets damaged from UV radiation, potentially preventing cancer.

Also, the next time your hubby’s a little grumpy after a night of eating burgers and hot wings at the football game, don’t blame him, blame his microbes! The signals probiotics send off actually change our mood and behavior. So your husband’s gut microbes are having a little party of their own after all that processed food – sending all sorts of signals throughout his body.

Ready to make your Own Kefir? Here’s How.

If you’d like to make your own, here’s how:

Homemade Kefir & Kefir Grains

Homemade Kefir & Kefir Grains

You’ll need a traditional, heritage kefir grain. We carry them in our farm store, otherwise you can find some online or get some from a friend who makes kefir. Since kefir grains are alive, they grow and replicate and can be cut up into smaller pieces to share.

Put your kefir grain in a quart to ½ gallon jar of milk. Let it sit on your countertop at room temperature for 24-36 hours. It may take longer if your house is cold, or it may ferment quickly if it’s really warm.

After it’s sat on your counter, remove the kefir grains from the milk that was in the jar. The kefir grains can be stored in a small jar with a ¼ cup milk in your refrigerator. The remaining milk in the jar might be liquidy, chunky, or creamy. That’s kefir!

Put it in the refrigerator and keep it for up to 2 weeks. Drink a glass everyday and share your health recovery stories with us – we love hearing what it’s done for you!

Can I drink it if I have Dairy Intolerances?

The quick answer is usually you can drink without any problems!! I haven’t met anybody who couldn’t eat kefir. If you’re worried about it, you can slowly incorporate it into your diet by drinking a tablespoon a day and slowly working your way up to a cup a day over a month long period.

The amazing part about the microbes in kefir is that they eat dairy sugars, like lactose, and break it up into little pieces that your body can easily digest without any difficulties.

There’s even research showing that the probiotics in kefir break up the milk protein casein, breaking it down into small pieces and basic amino acids that your body doesn’t react to.

Troubleshooting your Homemade Kefir

The first time I made kefir I thought it was a science experiment gone wrong – but don’t worry, now that we’ve been making kefir for so long we’ve seen it all!! Here’s just a few of the most common Q’s people have when they start making kefir:

1. It doesn’t matter what type of milk, as long as it’s dairy, it will work

Sheep, goat, cow, camel, whatever it is, you can make kefir out of it. You can even make kefir from store-bought pasteurized milk!

2. It doesn’t work with alternative dairies

Kefir grains need dairy to thrive so it doesn’t work very well in things like almond or coconut milk. There has been some success with coconut milk kefir, although you’ll need to make a batch of dairy kefir every other time to make sure the grains don’t die


Homemade kefir may separate into solid kefir + whey on top. Totally normal!! Just shake up the jar to integrate the whey back in the kefir.

3. Water kefir grains are totally different than dairy kefir grains

Water kefir is NOT a substitute for dairy kefir. Dairy kefir has trillions and trillions more probiotics than water kefir.

4. Kefir is very forgiving

Your kefir may look chunky, creamy, liquidy, and it could smell like yeast, beer, or like rotten fruit. It’s all very normal! Every batch will look a little different.

Ready to Start Making your own kefir?

A glass of kefir a day has the potential to totally change your life…what are you waiting for?

Be sure to forward this to your friends who might be looking for a non-medical way to feel better.

Love and hugs,

Charlotte and Hayden

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Susan March 30, 2016, 5:03 am

    I do not like the flavor of kefir so I make a smoothly.I mix kefir, raw milk, a frozen banana, and some type of frozen berries. My question is am I changing the probiotics in the kefir by adding the fruit and milk?

    • Charlotte Smith April 2, 2016, 4:44 pm

      Nope, not changing them at all. Great idea and I have to do the same thing for my daughter, plus adding a bunch of raw honey to try to mask the sourness.

      Thanks, Susan!!

      xo Charlotte

  • Teresa King Chione September 15, 2016, 1:19 am

    I have had huge success with kefir. I no longer have problems with my thyroid. The fungus on my feet seems to be improving. I don’t have that exhausted feeling even if I’ve had a full nights sleep.

    I’ve found that adding a banana to my kefir smoothie cuts the sour taste. A friend wants to start giving it to her 11 year old daughter who has horrible stomach pains. Someone told her that adding sugar destroys the probiotics. Is that true? If you can add honey, why not sugar. I know it’s not the best. But the one it’s for is an 11 year old. My 12 year old won’t go near it!

    • Linda December 31, 2016, 9:30 pm

      I make my own yogurt from store bought milk. can I add the kefir to my milk before I start heating it???? a friend gave me some powdered kefir I added it to my yogurt, (I’ve since lost the batch) I put it in w/milk when I heated it to 175 degrees and cool to 25 degrees, do you still get millions more probiotics by this method?????

      • Charlotte Smith January 2, 2017, 6:02 pm

        Hi Linda!

        You don’t want to heat up kefir. Yogurt you have to heat up, but kefir is just made at room temp and ferments on the countertop. So unfortunately, heating it up that hot will kill all the good probiotics. If you’re making kefir, there’s no reason to heat up the milk. Hope this helps!!

  • Dave Morgan September 25, 2016, 10:44 pm

    Please let me know if/when you have some kefir grains available. I am ready to start making kefir!
    I live in Sandy, but work in West Linn, so it is a short country drive to your farm.


    Dave Morgan

    • Charlotte Smith September 27, 2016, 7:39 pm

      Hi Dave – we do have kefir grains available in the store now! Feel free to come on out when the store is open and pick some up.

      Thank you so much!!


  • Brian Noel December 6, 2016, 4:33 am

    Hi, my wife and I are into healthy eatting and lifestyle medicine.
    I would luv to start making some of this Kefir.
    Can you send me the grains etc. or whatever I need to get started.
    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Charlotte Smith December 6, 2016, 5:19 pm

      Hi Brian!

      We’d love to have you out at our farm store to pick them up! You can check the Farm Store page for hours/location 🙂 We don’t ship our kefir grains, but we have some available right now if you’d like to to come out to the farm!

  • Julia Bell December 19, 2016, 1:14 pm

    We have been making Keizer since Thanksgiving, I use it as a base for my homemade ranch dressing mix and in smoothies. I just realized we haven’t been sick this year yet!

  • Julia Bell December 19, 2016, 1:15 pm

    *ah, keifer…autocorrect!

  • Cliff March 24, 2017, 4:57 pm

    Thought I’d share some of my issues and how I think Kefir may be helping me.
    I’ve had stomach issues going on 8 years or so bouncing in and out of the doctors office only to feel like guinea pig and never finding any real answers. I’ve been on many acid reducing pills, pills for intestinal spasms, antibiotics etc. I’ve tried adding Braggs vinegar with mothers which seemed to help at times and other times not. I was scoped 3 years ago and found inflammation in my stomach but was told it was nothing serious. I cant count the times I’ve had blood work done and even stool sample taken. Tried eating all veggies and even all meet with no carbs. Nothing really seamed to remedy me of any of my conditions. Two years ago I developed vitiligo. Nothing serious, its on my hands and a couple small places on my chin and neck. Not to mention all the brain fog I had. A year ago I started taking probiotics but they are so expensive. However they seemed to make me feel a little better. I really cant remember everything that I tried there has been so many. I just kept googling.lol So anyway…. I travel for work and I am 700 miles away from my home. My wife and I met one weekend half way. Just so happened that a friend of hers had kefir grains so my wife brought a batch with her. Not thinking much about it or even knowing anything about them I sat the jar with the grains and milk in the back seat of my truck and just forgot about it. They sat back there for a week before I realized that I had left them back there. Anyway, long story short I drank it. I drank it in the morning and instantly felt great. This was the best I had felt in years. Cleaned my camper and truck both top to bottom inside and out. I was just full of energy. That was two weeks ago and I’ve been continually drinking it and still full of energy every day since. Seems strange that I haven’t heard of anyone mentioning an energy rush from this stuff. I’m still getting an occasional reflux but its not nearly as bad as it was prior to Kefir. Just thought I’d share my story even though its still a little early in the game for me.

    • Charlotte Smith March 24, 2017, 7:50 pm

      Thank you for sharing your powerful story! You’ll give so many others hope; I appreciate it.

    • Sally Parker November 21, 2017, 5:47 pm

      Hi Cliff,

      I also get an energy rush from kefir, it’s an amazing feeling!! 🙂

  • Sandy July 21, 2017, 12:11 am

    Hi Charlotte
    I’ve made kefir in the past. Wondering it it’s ok to eat while doing the Candida protocol? I’ve been avoiding dairy but totally appreciate how raw is different.

    Do you have kefir grains in stock at the store now?


  • Paulette July 21, 2017, 1:40 pm

    Hi Charlotte and Haydyn

    I am in London, United Kingdom incidentally.

    I got halfway through telling you about my hearing loss which appears to have been improved/cured by consuming kefir. This wasn’t my reason for taking it. It was to help with arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, which I thought maybe linked to leaky gut syndrome. I didn’t want to keep taking painkillers and statins but instead I’ve been able to ditch the hearing aids I’ve had to wear plus all my other health problems have improved or disappeared.

    I’ve been wearing prescribed hearing aids for at least the last ten years, suffering for at least ten years prior to that. I was always being moaned at for saying “pardon” and for having the tv on too loud. One morning two weeks ago, I woke up and could hear the radio although the volume was only on very low to help me get to sleep.

    My life has been transformed and I am once again back in the world, instead of being isolated, frustrated and depressed.

    I am a kefir convert and evangelist now and will continue to consume it daily. I love it!

  • Kathy Vimont December 5, 2017, 5:23 pm

    Hayden and Charlotte,

    Thanks for all the great information in this article! I have heard that you must never use metal with your kefir, such as a metal spoon or strainer. I bought a fine plastic strainer which I use exclusively when I make kefir. Have you heard anything about this?

    • Charlotte Smith December 5, 2017, 5:27 pm

      Yes, you want to keep the interaction with metal very brief – a metal strainer is ok because it passes through quickly. You don’t want to store it in metal though. Your plastic strainer sounds perfect! Thanks, Kathy!!

  • Shiela January 10, 2018, 2:03 am

    Hi Charlotte, I have a question for you. I stopped drinking store-bought milk many long years ago and then my daughter got her first milk cow and I tried the raw milk. It was delicious and gave me no ill side affects like the homogenized milk. I love milk and have been drinking it ever since – Until about six months ago when I all of a sudden developed some nasty “afib.” To make a long story short I did a lot of research because I started noticing that every time I took a drink of milk, my heart went into afib. Do you know why this might be? Thank you.

    • Charlotte Smith January 13, 2018, 5:29 pm

      Hi Shiela – sounds like you need to work with a doctor on this one. I wish you the best!


  • Jesse segal August 5, 2018, 11:57 pm

    I bought farm fresh raw dairy kefir , it’s great but it isn’t chunky and it didn’t separate with whey on top at all ??

    It’s like really runny yogurt and a little sour but delicious

    • Anna September 18, 2018, 12:42 pm

      Jesse Segal, That is perfectly ok. You are probably fermenting it in a cooler area. It will have to sit a little longer if you want it to separate. I live in Georgia, in the summer my kefir would be thick in about 4 hours, by 7 hours it would be separated. Like Charlotte said, the kefir is highly variable in taste, smell, and texture–unless it is cultured in an highly controlled environment, with only certain bacteria. Raw kefir, by nature will have many variations. If it tastes or smells just plain horrid, throw it out, otherwise enjoy!

  • shonagh home September 18, 2018, 2:31 pm

    I drink my kefir daily with a bit of real vanilla added to it and it tastes delicious! Raw milk kefir is a comfort food for me and I love the creamy consistency. I drink it first thing in the morning and again before bed. Your articles are fantastically informative, thank you so much!!

  • Cory Ives March 11, 2019, 3:19 pm


    Do you think the dairy company “Organic Pastures” has healthful kefir known as Golden Kefir even though it’s not homemade version?

    Thank you,
    Janet & Cory

    • Charlotte Smith March 11, 2019, 8:06 pm

      Homemade kefir will have beneficial yeasts which aren’t allowed in the storebought kefirs. If you have time – homemade is best. If not, OP will be second best for sure!!

  • Christian April 8, 2019, 3:02 am

    Would store bought whole milk still have as many benifits as raw….? How do you keep raw milk from forming a skim of fat on top and keeping the grains from breathing? Thanks!

    • Charlotte Smith April 8, 2019, 2:46 pm

      Unfortunately, no, Christian.

      Pasteurized milk, no matter where you buy it, is the number one most allergenic food in America and fewer and fewer people can drink it each year.

      So no, not only does pasteurized milk not have the benefits of raw milk, it will most likely give you digestive upset and perhaps instigate an allergic reaction or asthma attack or skin condition, such as eczema and psoriasis. Better to not drink milk at all if you can’t get raw.

      When a kefir grain is in raw milk, the fat does not prevent the grain from breathing. They don’t breathe. Go ahead and make your raw milk kefir with whole, raw milk and cream on top. The most healing food there is.

      Best of luck!

  • Christian April 10, 2019, 2:41 am

    Thank you so much for your answer and your help! As far as only raw milk what if I can only get milk fed grass and conventional grains… not organic feed and not strictly grass fed? Will the fermentation Remove toxicity from what the cows ate?

    Does goats milk work or just cow?

    • Charlotte Smith April 10, 2019, 3:54 pm

      Goat and cow’s milk works great 🙂 No, fermentation won’t remove toxins. Find the highest quality milk you can and use that. Many people don’t have access to raw or organic. Good luck!

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