Trader Joe’s KEFIR


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RAVE

What is KEFIR? Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink, basically kind of like a “drinkable yogurt”. It’s It’s all the rage in Media and the natural health community. Kefir is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and most importantly is extremely high in Probiotic bacteria. So it is considered very beneficial for general health, digestion and especially one’s 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. Like yogurt. kefir is made from fermenting milk but it is unique and different from yogurt. Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt as it has way more varieties of 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 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 I understand that plain kefir is quite sour on its own. However 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). I haven’t tried the Plain yet. If you didn’t grow up drinking plain Kefir, I am told it might take you some getting used to as being quite tart?

The Mango 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 now tried the Strawberry* Kefir and realized it says LOW FAT and the MANGO version says  WHOLE MILK. Whole milk is 4% and the low fat milk is 1-2%. So go for the strawberry kefir if you want lower fat/calories.

Nutrition (per 1 cup):  180 Cal. and  4.5 g of sat. fat for 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 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, many bottles later. The whole milk mango kefir is def. not as thick as when I first reviewed it. Other readers have also stated the same thing, it’s not as thick as it was originally. They have def. changed it so it is thinner compared to when it first was introduced. I have found product changes at TJ’s again and again on some products. I wonder do they get feedback and make changes based on the customer feedback? My gut feeling (ha!) tells me people may have complained the kefi was too thick.

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, if you know what I mean!)

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Strawberry Low Fat Kefirlofatkefir