Kefir: A fermented milk drink common in the Caucasus mountains in Soviet Georgia. Milk is cultured at room temperature with kefir grains that multiply and grow with each ferment. Here are some grains.
Kefir tastes like a tangy, slightly effervescent liquid-like yogurt. It has even more probiotics in it than yogurt. Where yogurt adds some good "bugs" to the gut, kefir colonizes the gut with a whole range. Here is a passage from the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon that is quoting from the book The Body Ecology Diet:
Kefir is a cultured and microbial-rich food that helps restore the inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial yeast and bacteria (in a symbiotic relationship) that give kefir antibiotic properties. A natural antibiotic--and it is made from milk! The finished product is not unlike that of a drink-style yogurt, but kefir has a more tart, refreshing taste and contains completely different organisms...kefir does not feed yeast, and it usually doesn't even bother people who are lactose intolerant. That's because the friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast growing in the kefir consume most of the lactose and provide very efficient enzymes (lactase) for consuming whatever lactose is still left after the culturing process...kefir is mucous forming, but...the slightly mucous-forming quality is exactly what makes kefir work for us. The mucous has a clean quality to it that coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating sort of a nest where beneficial bacteria settle and colonize...
You know how you make kefir? You buy some kefir grains, throw the grains in a jar with some milk and every once in a while, as you walk through the kitchen, you swirl the jar. Let the jar sit overnight and the next day you have kefir. That's it!
Dom's Kefir site helps with information on how to make kefir, and what to do with it once you've made it.
A really great book, Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz also has information and recipes for cultured foods.
Why am I telling you all about kefir? After all, what does that have to do with trying to not buy anything new for a year? The thing about kefir is that the kefir grains multiply. You can buy some grains initially and then give away your extra grains as they multiply. And then those who have received your kefir grains will give away their extra, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on. Perfect.
Here is a recipe for a kefir smoothie:
Into a blender throw in,
1/2 cup strawberries
1 to 1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups kefir
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
honey to sweeten
Blend. With any leftovers, you can pour into popsicle forms and have them later.
If you start doing any reading about cultured or fermented food, you find there is a rich history of it in almost every culture and that we, our bodies, are walking collections of microflora. Cultured food, like yogurt, kefir, kim chi, sour kraut all feed and introduce friendly microbes to help your digestion and immunity. You can support that inner ecology, the good bacteria, and build it up for your good health by eating cultured foods.
As Stephen Wright says, "Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have."