Trader Joe’s KEFIR


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RAVE

So what’s KEFIR? Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink, kind of like a “drinkable yogurt”.  Kefir is all the rage in the media and natural health community of late. It’s an excellent source of calcium, protein, and most of all, is extremely high in Probiotic bacteria. So it is considered very beneficial for general health, digestion and especially your Gut Health, a huge new topic of interest in the medical research community.

Kefir’s origins are from the mountainous regions that divide Asia and Europe. Kefir like yogurt is made from fermenting milk. It’s similar but unique and different from yogurt. Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt as it has way more kinds of probiotic bacteria. Look at the label listing the active bacteria cultures, you’ll notice there are a lot more bacteria kinds (12) than are typically in a yogurt, usually 3-5. I recognized the first three L.  (Lactobacillus) bacteria listed but I don’t recognize most of the others listed off the top of my head. The bottle says it contains 12 active (live) cultures. Therefore there are more kinds of diverse bacteria in kefir than in yogurt, more diverse probiotics going into your gut. Kefir is also supposed to be better tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant. I’m not lactose intolerant so I can’t say.

I wanted to try Kefir for a while so bought the bottle of Mango flavor I saw at TJs to try. Review? Taste-wise I found the Whole Milk KEFIR to be quite tasty. This Mango version’s been sweetened (with natural cane sugar) as plain kefir I hear is pretty sour on its own. But I found the mango is not too sweet, you still get that tangy sourness. They also carry a Strawberry* flavor kefir which I would buy next time as I would like to try that flavor also. (UPDATE: I tried the Strawberry and it was also good) Plain Kefir is supposedly pretty tart. If you didn’t grow up drinking “straight” pure Kefir, I am told it might take you some getting used to? I haven’t tried the Plain. The whole milk kefir drink was pretty thick, almost a smoothie. In fact, one can use this in Smoothies. It’s great for them.

BASIC KEFIR SMOOTHIE RECIPE: In a blender, try 1 cup Kefir, 1 cup of ice, one banana (could be frozen), a 1/2 cup of some fresh or frozen berries, tablespoon of chia seeds and/or flax seeds and a drizzle of honey ?

I’ve been using the kefir also pouring some over my morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Or over some fruit. Its seriously yummy. Even kids might like the Mango and Strawberry versions. So kefir is both super healthy and super tasty. A 32 oz bottle sells for about $3. If you like yogurt, this is something well worth trying. There is also a Plain Kefir (unsweetened) if you are inclined to try it “au natural” (very tart I hear). TJ’s even sells one made from Goat’s Milk (!) The Mango one is rich it’s made with whole milk. I would not drink this a full glass at a time, I take a small glass of it as a little will go a long way. Take only a few ounces at first, till your body gets used to all that extra probiotic healthy bacteria, lest it work “too well”… If you know what I mean!

UPDATE: I bought the Strawberry* Kefir and realized it says LOW FAT milk. The MANGO KEFIR says  WHOLE MILK. Whole milk is 4%. Low fat milk is 1-2%. So go for the strawberry if you want lower fat/calories.

Nutrition (per 1 cup):  200 Cal. and  4.5 g of sat. fat for the MANGO Whole Milk Kefir. VS 160 Cal. and 1.5 g sat. fat for STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir which interestingly also seems to have 1 more gram of Protein per cup serving? Plain Kefir=100 cals (1 cup) So if you want to save some calories get the STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir or PLAIN Low Fat Kefir (though the Mango was very tasty!) Honestly, I can’t see anyone drinking it a whole cup at a time straight though of any variety straight, this is a small glass thing, or mix with some ice and a dash of water….

Has anyone tried Plain Kefir version ? Is it really sour or tart? Let us know in the comments. And if you are so inclined try out the Goat Milk Kefir and please report in the Comments section as well. I am curious about that one, too.

(update fall 2019: many bottles later. The whole milk mango kefir is def. not quite as thick as when I first tried it and reviewed it here. They’ve changed it and now make it less thick. I have found product changes again and again on some TJ products. Do they get feedback and change the products based on the customer feedback? My gut feeling (ha!) tells me people may have complained it was too thick. Other readers have also stated what I’ve found that it’s not as thick as it used to be.)

Is KEFIR worth buying? Definitely! Try it. Your personal biome may thank you (but go slow at first, lest it do its magic too much!)

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Strawberry Low Fat Kefirlofatkefir

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steven Christenson
    Jul 23, 2019 @ 13:17:06

    Mango here. Does anybody know why the last two times (month) I picked up my supply it has been so thin it is practically like drinking a glass of milk? Seems a cheat.

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    • promacnyc
      Jul 23, 2019 @ 15:03:06

      Ditto, prefer the Mango flavor the best. Mine, usually is too thick and I sometimes thin it with a little water or milk! I’ve found, shake shake shake hard for 30 seconds to be answer to get it off the bottom and sides!

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    • promacnyc
      Aug 01, 2019 @ 15:03:26

      I just got a bottle and agree now it was def. thinner than the last bottle I bought. (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)

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    • promacnyc
      Nov 25, 2019 @ 15:00:47

      (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)
      Update: it seems to have gotten a bit thicker of late…. (winter 2019)

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  2. yabs
    Aug 06, 2020 @ 00:35:47

    I’ve been drinking kefir since I was a little kid – I’m now 40 – so I love the stuff! Lifeway is the main brand I grew up on, but in the last few years discovered TJ’s. I enjoy them both. Your comment re: can’t imagine anyone drinking a full cup… well, I’d like to introduce myself! lol! I definitely drink kefir by the cupfuls and bottle-fuls 🙂 A bottle of kefir in my household can easily be gone in a day. I think it’s delicious!

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  3. girl
    Mar 12, 2021 @ 15:39:13

    This comment is terribly late, but during the summer months, cows consume more water which causes their milk to be thinner, and therefore the Keifer from the milk to be much thinner as well! Also fun fact, Lifeway is the supplier of the Trader Joe’s Keifer!

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  4. rteplow
    Mar 22, 2021 @ 14:37:11

    Another late comment: just discovered your blog and love it!

    I always have TJ’s mango and plain in my fridge. I have the plain kefir with fruit (usually berries) and nuts many mornings as week. I started out with greek yogurt instead of kefir, but found I wanted some sweetener with it; somehow I don’t need it with kefir, even if it’s unsweetened.

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  5. Trackback: TJ’s BUTTERMILK PANCAKE MIX | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (Mostly Raves with a few rants!)
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