Helios Organic Kefir
Nov 18, 2009 (Updated Nov 18, 2009)
Review by Sara Robinson-Coolidge
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:delicious, tangy, healthy beverage; probiotics; organic
Cons:may be hard to find
The Bottom Line: I never thought I would like kefir, but this product is terrific. I love the vanilla flavor!
I tried kefir - a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt - many years ago when someone recommended it to me and I hated it. I don't know what brand I tried, but it was the only one I could find and it was so tart that it was undrinkable. Yuck. But then a friend introduced me to Helios Kefir when I stayed at her house; I tried just a small amount of the vanilla flavor and I was hooked. I've since tried most of the flavors and, while vanilla is my favorite, the ones that I have tried have all been quite good.
Recommend this product?
Helios Kefir comes in a white plastic bottle that is shaped like old-fashioned milk bottles. The blue plastic cap is safety sealed on; once the safety seal is removed, it's easy to just pop the cap off and pour out some of the product.
The kefir itself is a white and creamy liquid. It's thick enough that it looks like it could be cream. The smell is tangy and pleasant; it smells like liquid yogurt to me. The Helios brand of kefir also tastes like a liquid version of yogurt to me; it's pleasantly tangy, and nothing like the unbearably tart kefir I tried in the 1990s.
This kefir contains probiotics, live microorganisms that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your digestive system. While this may sound a bit gross, it's similar to eating yogurt with active cultures. Other claims on the package include that it this kefir is organic, gluten-free, and has a low glycemic index. It is produced with milk from small, family-owned farms.
Use and Experience
While I am interested in the health benefits of kefir, the primary reason that I drink this product is that I like the taste. I have tried four of the five available flavors - strawberry, raspberry, peach, plain, and vanilla. While vanilla is my favorite, all of the flavors are good. Of the ones that I've tried, the one I liked least is the peach, as it has a slightly artificial note in it. I love the vanilla; the tanginess is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of vanilla, and I enjoy the thick texture as well. It reminds me a bit of the texture of Silk soymilk; not thick enough to be mistaken for something decadent like a milkshake, but still satisfyingly rich.
I have found that drinking a small amount of this with my cereal in the morning for breakfast is a great way to start the day, and that it is also very enjoyable after a workout. I tend to drink small amounts - perhaps one quarter to one half of a cup at a time. The suggested serving size on the bottle is 1 cup, which seems like a lot to me. If you do decide to drink that much at a time, I would recommend working up to it; the probiotics in the beverage could create gastrointestinal distress if your body isn't used to it. I find half a cup to be quite filling.
One final reason I like to have this product in my diet is that it's a good source of calcium. If you do drink a whole cup of it, you will receive about 30% of the adult recommended Daily Value of calcium. Not bad! It also contains Vitamin D (18% of the adult recommended Daily Value), while helps the body to absorb that calcium. As well, there is some Vitamin A (9% of the recommended Daily Value for adults per serving). Each serving contains 160 calories, 35 of which are from fat. This is a total of 4 grams of fat, 3 of which are saturated fat. There are 0 (zero) grams of the dreaded trans fat in this product.
Cost and Where to Buy
We purchase this product at our local food co-op; it costs about $3.50 per bottle here. Co-ops, health food stores, and stores like Whole Foods may carry this kefir. It may also be available at upscale grocery stores such as Lund's and Byerly's. Many grocery stores will order products in for customers as well.
Ingredients List: Cultured organic grade A pasteurized reduced fat milk, organic evaporated cane juice, organic non-fat dry milk, organic inulin/FOS (a natural dietary fiber), organic vanilla extract, live active kefir cultures, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3.
Helios Kefir has become a favorite purchase at our local food co-op. I love it! 5 stars.
Thanks to Epinions lead Bruguru (John) for adding this product to the Epinions database!
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