Kefir: Food of the Week

Kefir: Food of the Week
Presented by Spartan Training®

Simple Kefir Recipes

Strawberry Banana Smoothie


  • 1 large banana, broken into 4 chunks
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup Maple Hill 100% Grass-Fed Organic Strawberry Kefir
  • honey to taste


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Tip: Add healthy fats with either a tablespoon of chia seeds or a tablespoon of almond butter  (or both!)

Chai Pumpkin Latte


  • 1 cup 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Plain Kefir
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin purée
  • 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 organic chai tea
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
  • ice


Break open the organic chai tea bag. Empty loose tea into blender. Add all other ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Vanilla Pancakes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Vanilla Kefir
  • ¼ cup 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Whole Milk
  • Butter or coconut oil


  1. Whisk together kefir, egg, and milk, then stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until it just smooth (don’t over mix).
  2. Let batter rest 10-15 minutes. Batter will be thick.
  3. Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add a generous pat of butter or coconut oil to pan Working in batches, use ¼ cup measure to pour batter onto pan. Lower heat to medium-low, and once bubbles appear on surface, flip. Cook until fully browned, about 1 minute more.
  4. Hint: You may want to add this topping for improved workout recovery.

Morning Blast Cantaloupe Smoothie


  • 1 cup 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Plain Kefir
  • 1 ½ cup fresh cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • Ice, as needed
  • Optional: Honey to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Can’t get enough smoothies?

Probiotic Bites


  • ¼ cup 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Vanilla Kefir
  • ½ cup dates, pitted
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup oats of your choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp each ground turmeric and ground ginger


  1. Mix first 5 ingredients together using a food processor.
  2. In a small bowl, combine hemp hearts, turmeric, and ginger.
  3. Roll Kefir mixture into small balls (add a additional oats or ground flaxseed if mixture is too loose).
  4. Roll each bite in hemp, turmeric, and ginger mix.
  5. Enjoy immediately or freeze.

Kefir Ranch Dressing


  • 1 1/2 cups 100% Grass-Fed Organic Maple Hill Plain Kefir
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

What is Kefir?

In simple terms, Kefir is the end-product of what happens when milk is fermented.

In detail, the process occurs when a yeast and lactic acid bacteria culture are added to milk and are able to work in a symbiotic fashion to produce changes to the original make-up of the milk itself.

The original production of kefir utilized what was known as kefir “grain”. It was the properties of the kefir grains that gave kefir its valuable probiotic benefits. These grains, which look similar to cauliflower, were then left to ferment, usually for a 24 hour period, at room or refrigerator temperature.

During this time the following processes occur:

-         Kefarin (a water-soluble polysaccharide) within the grain is creating a creamy texture

-         Lactose within the milk is broken down mostly to lactic acid (making kefir a suitable part of a diet for someone usually not able to tolerate lactose)

-         Changes in the composition of the nutrients occur, including the breakdown of lactose into ethanol and carbon dioxide

-         The live micro-organisms that live through the fermentation process then become the added nutritional beast that help promote positive gut bacteria.

For consistency, most manufacturers have replaced the kefir “grain” with a powdered yeast and bacteria. This allows for a more consistent quality in the product, including the amount of live-microorganisms that are available.

So just what does an 8oz glass provide?

  • Calories vary based on level of fat
  • 9 grams of quality protein
  • Calcium for muscle contraction and nervous system function
  • Vitamin D for hormone production and nervous system function
  • Phosphorus for the body’s acid base balance and hormone activations
  • 3 different B vitamins to convert food into energy, help build red blood cells, and maintain the central nervous system
  • Beneficial probiotics that can include over 10 active and live cultures and 15-20 billion beneficial colony forming units in your microbiome.

Why is Kefir Important for Spartans

Spartans understand the benefits of cross training to avoid overuse injuries and maintain the strength and agility that the obstacle racing sport demands. Training different muscle systems helps support a strong overall frame of muscles, ready to react on multiple platforms.

Think of this as cross training for your diet.

One of the most beneficial aspects in nutrition is variety. A diverse diet helps promote

good gut health and above all else, keeps life interesting. Having a variety of protein sources to play with gives your body a variety of nutrients to utilize, food cross-training.

The more easily digestible form of dairy known as kefir provides beneficial amino acids,

promotes good gut bacteria, and provides two key nutrients of concern for most Americans: Calcium and vitamin D. But beyond bone health, what do these two nutrients offer to an athlete?

Calcium & Vitamin D both contribute to:

Constriction and relaxation of blood vessels, important for helping regulate heart rate and assist recovery from high intensity bouts of activity

Muscle contraction, calcium plays an intricate role in helping muscles function the way you want, when you want. This may also assist with decreased muscle cramping during endurance activity

Nervous system function, which coordinates signals and actions throughout the body as your sensory nerves are gathering information from your outside environment. Translation for Spartans: calcium plays a role in helping your body make quick maneuvers on race course as you zig and zag through treacherous terrain.

Always remember, there is no magic bullet. No one food that will make or break performance. By including a variety from dairy, plants, lean proteins, and some whole grains you help maintain a fueled body and healthy gut.

Kefir the Way Nature Intended

Keep your kefir real. Keep it pure. The best way to do this is to make sure your milk comes from 100% grass-fed organic cows.

100% grass-fed milk is everything you love about organic, and more. Drinking milk from grass-fed cows is better for you, better for cows, better for the land and better for farmers.

Cows bodies are designed to eat grass – only recently have humans begun to feed them corn, grain and other foods. This affects not only the cow’s health but the quality of the milk.

This is why Spartan partners with Maple Hill.

Maple Hill’s cows eat only 100% organic grass, year-round, as nature intended.