I was walking down the street here in Moscow a few months ago, when BAM!, out of nowhere, I was hit with a hankering I get every six months or so. As usual, it started off with the faint recollection of the wonderful feeling of my thirst being quenched with the unmistakable flavor of chunky sour milk. And only a moment later I knew I was having yet another kefir withdrawal episode. As I know these cravings to be simply irresistible, I glanced both ways down the street and then quickly stepped into the nearest grocer and bought a bottle. Outside, my stroll continued and I slowly sipped, allowing my tongue to not only sense the sour, but also enjoy the texture of the lumpy goodness of this fermented milk product.
I then looked at the side of the bottle and was reminded that kefir has probiotics. It’s all very embarrassing to discuss in the very public arena of a blog, but I must admit that I understood that probiotics would be something that perhaps the abdominal regions of my body would appreciate, so I finished off the bottle and decided to start drinking kefir every day to see what would happen.
I am no doctor, but it the very next morning I woke up and noticed a few changes:
- I had more money than before I had drunk the kefir.
- My wife was more beautiful than the morning before.
- My children had become better behaved overnight.
- The sun was shining behind the clouds and although it was snowing, I could hear birds chirping in the distance.
- And my gut was not grumbling and heaving as it had every morning for many years.
Kefir is one of those things from Russia that foreigners usually roll their eyes at when they come. The flavor is foreign and the promised results seem exaggerated. And I can remember years ago being asked how to say “kefir” in English. I wasn’t sure, so I said that I thought it was buttermilk. My answer may have been ever so slightly inaccurate. But the truth is, I had never heard of kefir in America, but as often happens in these situations, what was once “eye-rolling” has now become popular and trendy. I am also happy to report that I now know how to say kefir in English.
I found that out this morning when I chanced upon this helpful article in a friend’s Facebook feed, touting the wondrous results of kefir konsumption. SPOILER ALERT: Kefir is mostly laktose free. Also, the Russians were right… again (not that the article makes that point).
Kefir is not trendy in Russia. It is just there, and as it is originally from the Caucusus, it is a part of the history of the nation. It is in every single supermarket. It costs about $1 (USD) per liter, and usually just comes in its own very special sour flavor. I spent two minutes doing a google search on kefir in America and saw that it is now available in various places, such as Trader Joe’s ($2.99 for 32 ounces), but is usually offered in a
typical American masking of the original blueberry flavor.
So, if you are looking for significant and real changes in your life: if you would like a more beautiful wife, better behaved children, and more money, AND you’re not afraid to admit that the Russians were right (yet again!) on the positive effects of some quirky homey product, be sure to pick up a liter of kefir at Trader Joe’s. Try to find a bottle of this life improving elixir with no extra flavor added. Then be sure to send us at Planet Russia a thank you note, if you begin to hear the birds chirping, as the sour lumpy (former) lactose begins to course down your throat. For in this moment, when your taste buds send an all new flavor signal flare to your brain, you will know that your life enhancement has only just begun. One small sip of kefir, one tidal wave of lifestyle breakthrough.