Kefir, kephir, drinkable yogurt, yogurty milk, sour yogurt; call it what you will, because this yogurt-like substance is about to become your new right-hand man, even if you can’t pronounce it. Let’s start with the basics, like what the heck is kefir anyways?

Without getting too scientific here, kefir is a fermented milk drink made from what are called ‘kefir grains,’ and it can be made from any type of milk (calling all vegans!). Kefir grains are essentially live cultures made up of yeast and bacteria, they aren’t actually wheat grains they just resemble grains. Because kefir is made from live cultures the flavor is a very refreshing but also a little sour and has a hint of carbonation, think kombucha.

Not only does kefir have a uniquely sour and naturally sweetened taste, it also has a ton more health benefits than yogurt (sorry beloved Greek yogurt craze). We’re talking nearly three times the amount of probiotics that yogurt has, which means kefir is your digestive and immune systems best friend. It also packs a huge protein punch, in a less than 100-calorie serving you’ll be getting over 10 grams of protein (just be sure you’re not getting kefir with added sugars). Additionally, kefir provides significant sources of B vitamins, calcium and tryptophan, which is an amino acid that gives you a happy and relaxed feeling.


Photo by Sarah Silbiger

If you haven’t already dashed out to the store to pick up a lifetime supply of the stuff, here are some ways you can easily incorporate kefir into your life:

1. Add it to your smoothies. Forego your typical milk or yogurt and add kefir for a perfect protein boost to your breakfast or post-workout green smoothie.

2. Use it in place of milk in your cereal. It is only a bit thicker than milk making it a perfect pair for cereal or even some fruit and granola.

3. Cook with it. Want to make a creamy sauce without all the added fat and calories, reach for your kefir instead of heavy cream. You can even marinate meats with it for a tangy flavor.

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