I started with milk kefir grains I ordered from Cultures for Health. It took two to three weeks for my grains to hydrate and balance themselves. Then I found myself buying milk each week just to feed my grains. No one in my family enjoyed milk kefir so I only used it in smoothies. I found myself rinsing rotten milk kefir down the kitchen drain, and my refrigerator over crouded with jars. My milk kefir never seemed completely balance. I finally threw out my grains in a at of rotten milk and, go figure, they seemed healthier than ever. Oh well, I have recently been able to find whole milk kefir from grass-fed cows frequently on sale which I buy now and then when I want an extra probiotic punch. In the end I decided Milk Kefir is just one of those things I would rather buy than make myself.
After the struggle with Milk Kefir grains I decided to try out my Water Kefir Grains I also ordered from Cultures for Health. These hydrated and started culturing after one use. I had some difficulty finding ways to flavor the water kefir that my family enjoyed, but now I make a half gallon each week that I drink instead of soda pop. I have also been able to share my grains with my brother who loves water kefir and now drinks it everyday. My brother has always been a soda and Koolaid buff, so I am so excited he now has a fabulous alternative he loves and will help him stay healthy. So Water Kefir ended up being an easy fun way to get more probiotics into my diet.
I recommend starting with water kefir if you are thinking of home making some probiotic rich foods. Mostly because it is easier and more economical to maintain. You just need sugar and purified water, and sometimes a bit of sea salt to make it. Flip-top bottles are great for making it fizzy and easy to reuse if you ever buy carbonated juices. Just keep in mind when you start making water kefir, it takes a while to find which flavors you enjoy. It can be really fun to experiment and find what suits you.