By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/21/2014 2:00 PM
Everywhere we turn it seems like one dilapidated and forgotten house, shopping center or road is being torn up and pulled down. In these vacant spaces, seemingly overnight, new structures pop up – structures that are near replicas of their lot’s previous occupant. “Why not just keep what was there and fix it,” we ask ourselves? “Why abandon so much material – create so much waste – when you’re building almost the exact same thing?”
e.a.t. spots is the inaugural social venture created by e.a.t. (education, agriculture and technology), an Illinois-based non-profit that promotes and supports innovation in local food systems. In their own words, “e.a.t promotes new models of food production, processing, sales, and distribution to increase access to local, healthy, sustainable food throughout Chicago.”
Wanting to know more about e.a.t. spots, we reached out to e.a.t. project manager Alex Schultz. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us. According to Alex, e.a.t. spots was a collaborative initiative with StreetWise
– a non-profit that assists with workforce development, and Fresh Picks
, a home food delivery company.
The mission of e.a.t. spots is to increase access to and awareness of healthy, local food – for everyone. More than a food service provider, e.a.t. spots also delivers real, sustainable jobs for those who are seeking work or transitioning in the workforce. There are currently four e.a.t. spots located in downtown Chicago (two of which Lifeway sponsors!), but their ultimate goal is to be in every neighborhood in Chicago.
Lifeway is a proud partner of e.a.t. spots, as our missions naturally fit together. We both support local farmers and suppliers and share the vision of creating nutritious, delicious food products that people can feel good eating and feel better by eating.
Want to know more about e.a.t. spots
? They’re always excited to hear from the community! Visit one of the four e.a.t. spots locations (we suggest the ones on Madison and Wacker or Randolph Street, but we’re a bit bias…) or check out eat-spots.com
. They’re also on Facebook
is the December 2 this year. If you’re looking for a non-profit/charity to support, think about e.a.t. spots!
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/20/2014 8:54 PM
Thanksgiving is all about tradition: Stuffing the turkey, playing football with family, watching the Macy’s Parade on TV, sampling all of those delicious sides, unbuckling your belt and relaxing into a food coma. Some of you may have participated in another T-Day tradition – cracking the wishbone. But why do we delight in snapping apart some poor poultry’s collarbone?
According to Mental Floss, the practice was started by an ancient Italian civilization called the Etruscans. The Etruscans were known to idolize chickens – they believed the foul were oracles who could predict the future. Kind of like a cross between Donald Duck and the Long Island Medium. When the birds died or were killed, the wishbone, the bone formed by the fusion of the two clavicles, was dried in the sun in an effort to maintain access to the prophet chicken’s power.
As legend has it, the Romans came along and started snapping the wishbones in two in an effort to spread the love – why pray on one large wishbone when two people can pray on a halfsies? Two people would grab opposing ends and pull; whoever got the bigger piece would see their wish come true.
The tradition requires patience –you can’t just debone a turkey and start a tug of war, as the bone will still be too moist to snap (incidentally, Too Moist to Snap would be an awesome name for a band). But come on, when was the last time you saw someone patient around a roasted bird at supper time?
So if we do come into possession of a wishbone, here are a few of the things we’ll be for this Turkey Day:
- To see a massive blow-up Polly ProBog floating over the streets of New York City.
- To watch as a winning football team douses their coach with an ice-cold cooler full of Lifeway kefir.
- That there’s enough Kefir Pumpkin Pie to go around, and maybe even a little pumpkin pie in a cup.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/20/2014 3:00 PM
Last week, a loyal Lifeway kefir drinker called in requesting a smoothie recipe for his pregnant wife. He had read that drinking kefir was good for women who are pregnant and wanted to ensure she was eating the healthiest foods she could to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
While a healthy diet is just one factor to consider when pregnant, we were happy to do some digging and for foods commonly recommended for pregnant women, and to develop a smoothie recipe that incorporates them!
Whole Grains – high in soluble and insoluble fiber; enriched varieties also contain folic acid
From our research, we found the following foods recommended most:
Beans – high in fiber and protein, they also contain iron, folate, calcium, and zinc
Eggs – a good source of protein and fat, they’re also high in choline
Salmon – rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of protein and B vitamins
Dark, leafy greens – rich in calcium, protein, folate, vitamins, minerals and fiber – they’re nutritional powerhouses
Colorful berries – full of potassium and a slew of vitamins and minerals necessary for development
Walnuts – a high plant-based source of omega-3s, they’re also good sources of protein and fiber
Low fat kefir – like other low fat dairy, kefir is high in protein and calcium, but it also contains live and active probiotic cultures, which keep momma’s tummy happy and baby healthy
Looking at that list, doesn’t it seem like ANYONE could benefit from drinking a smoothie made from those fabulous ingredients? We’re certainly enjoying the following blend, – pregnant or not!
Pregnancy-Supporting Kefir Smoothie
- 1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
- 1 large handful organic spinach
- ½ cup organic frozen mango chunks
- ½ cup organic frozen berries of choice
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- Water and ice to taste/desired consistency
Put all ingredients into a blender (the higher the power, the better the consistency) and blend until smooth. Enjoy fresh!
Please note, we chose to create this recipe using organic ingredients intentionally, however use your discrection and source where you can. Check out this list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 foods to eat organically and conventionally, where you can.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/18/2014 9:30 AM
As the continues to weather cool down and the nights become downright chilly, we’re excited for any excuse to turn our ovens on in the morning and cook up a great breakfast! Winter is fast approaching and we’ve been experimenting in the Lifeway Kitchen with a few of our favorite seasonal flavors – Cranberry Crème Brulee and Eggnog (currently available in stores - ask your dairy manager to order some for you)!
If you ask us, nothing goes better with a hot cup of coffee or tea on a lazy weekend morning than the perfect scone. Our Cranberry Orange Kefir scones are golden brown and slightly crunchy, tender, moist and hearty on the inside. Even better, the can be made the night before and baked right out of the freezer! How easy is that?
Cranberry Orange Kefir Scones with Orange Glaze
Adapted from: Ashley Marie’s Kitchen
Yield: 8 (or 16) scones
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 4 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, grated/finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (heaping)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ¾ cup Lifeway Lowfat Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir
- 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp warm water) - sub one large egg if you don't have flax seed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp Lifeway Kefir1/4 teaspoon of orange zest
Nuts, seeds, or dried berries of your chosing.
In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of ground flax meal and three tablespoons of warm water. Mix with a fork and set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to chill.
In a large bowl, sift flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. In a separate bowl, add sugar and orange zest. Mix the sugar and zest with your fingers until well combined. Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture and stir well. With two knives, a fork, a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the chilled butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add in the cranberries and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the kefir and flax egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and the kefir mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough just comes together, being mindful not to over mix. The dough will be sticky.
With floured hands, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (tip: dust wax or parchment paper with flour for easy clean up). Pat the dough into a round with a 1-inch thickness, spreading out from the center with the heel of your hand. If the dough is a bit shaggy you can knead it 3-4 times to further incorporate the ingredients.
Cut the dough into 8 triangles and space the triangles out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze the scones for 30 minutes (the goal is to get/keep the butter as cold as possible). Alternately, you can roll the dough thinner into a rectangle and score into 16 triangles (see image below). Adjust baking time accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Once the oven is preheated and the scones are finished chilling, place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until firm to the touch and cooked through. Allow to completely cool.
While the scones are cooling, prepare the orange glaze. In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Slowly add the orange juice and zest, careful to remove any lumps. Once the scones are completely cool, pour or brush the glaze onto the scones. We've topped ours with goji berries.
*Again, feel free to substitute any flavor kefir of your liking, or to add nuts, seeds or other dried fruit in place of the cranberries.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/14/2014 3:34 PM
Two years ago, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring October 11 to be “International Day of the Girl” to, “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” The day places the spotlight the hardships women and girls face every day.
The Confidence Coalition identifies itself as “an international movement that encourages women and girls to stand up to peer pressure and media stereotypes, say no to risky behavior and abusive relationships, and put an end to relational aggression, such as bullying – on the playground and in the office.” International Girls’ Day is a way to celebrate these principals on a global scale.
To celebrate, we wanted to focus on some of the impressive women we admire, both past and present.
Women Who Paved the Way
Technical, scientific and artistic achievements by women aren’t few and far between anymore, but for a long time, they were. Women weren’t granted the same rights as men, so they had to work extra hard to achieve any sort of recognition and, in many cases, opportunity. Below is list of historical women whose scientific and technical achievements helped pave the way for modern women.
Initially a Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor and weapons systems developer for the US Navy during World War II. Her “frequency hopping” technology led to the development of spread-spectrum communication technology (think BlueTooth and Wi-Fi).
Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist who served in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.
While with DuPont in 1971, Stephanie Kwolek discovered a liquid polymer solutions that eventually led to the invention of Kevlar®. Kevlar® is the tougher-than-steel synthetic material used in a variety of modern applications, including body armor.
Quite by accident, Patsy Sherman and her partner Sam Smith developed the versatile stain repellant and material protector known as Scotchgard™. ScotchgardTM is used today in countless settings, including homes, laboratories and medical facilities.
Women Moving Mountains Today
While things are much different than they were 100 years ago, women are still grossly outnumbered when it comes to leadership positions in the work force, especially larger/Fortune 500 companies. Below is a list of some of today’s most prominent (and up-and-coming) women who are shaking up the status quo.
Our list of powerful modern women would be remiss if we didn’t include our CEO Julie Smolyansky. Julie became the youngest female CEO of a publicly traded company in 2002 and has since grown Lifeway’s annual profits to over $100 million in 2013.
Elizabeth Holmes, at 30 years old, is America’s youngest self-made female billionaire. But what’s really impressive is her company, Theranos, which is shaking up the medical testing industry by revolutionizing the way blood samples are taken and processed (hint: less time, less blood, lower cost to the consumer).
One of the initial employees of Google, Susan Wojcicki is now the CEO of YouTube, one of the largest search engines in the world. Wojcicki recently took over this position and was formerly the senior vice president of Advertising & Commerce at Google.
We’re looking forward to updating this list as women continue to make important and exciting contributions to modern society!
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day will be celebrated at the United Nations in New York City on November 19th, 2014. The day, which is in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the US Department of State, will be the world’s largest celebration of women innovators and job creators. Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky will be a part of the Health, Beauty, Fashion and the Arts: How Women Entrepreneurs are Changing These Industries” panel. Find out more about the celebration here and be sure to follow Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on Twitter and Facebook.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/12/2014 2:33 PM
This time of year, few things seem as difficult as waking up in the morning. The sun comes up later (and goes down earlier…) and frost blankets our windows, making heading out the door a daunting task.
There’s a bright spot to the cold, dark mornings of late fall and winter, though: it’s hot breakfast season!
Oh yes, we dare you to find something more satisfying and comforting than a hot bowl of thick, delicious oatmeal. It’s not only warming for your tummy, it’s healthy and filling, too!
Below is our recipe for cinnamon apple oatmeal with kefir and pecans, or as we like to refer to it, "Fall in a bowl." It’s our new go-to recipe that can be doubled to feed as many people as needed. Even better, it's made with wholesome, natural ingredients you can feel good about eating.
Steel cut and rolled oats are full of soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber helps keep us full (and our hands out of the chip bag). Steer clear of instant and quick oats – they’re highly processed and not the best option.
Like oatmeal, apples contain soluble fiber for fullness. They also contain a wide variety of antioxidants and minerals – things that are beneficial for good health.
Cinnamon is more than just a delicious spice; it’s also good for your health, according to some studies. Cinnamon has been used as a traditional health remedy and weight loss tool for generation, though modern scientific studies are inconclusive.
Pecans are a great source of natural, healthy fats and contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and manganese.
No Lifeway recipe would be complete without kefir! Pouring cold kefir over slightly cooled oats makes completes the bowl in creamy perfection. Plus, the added protein and probiotics keep you full longer and your digestive system working well.
Cold Morning Oatmeal: Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal with Kefir and Pecans
1 cup thick rolled oats
2 cups water
1 medium/large sweet apple, chopped
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
Honey, to taste
Bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add oatmeal and apple. Simmer 8-10 minutes, or until water is absorbed (to taste). Turn off heat and cool for roughly five minutes. Stir in kefir, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Spoon into bowls and top with pecans and more cinnamon to taste.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/11/2014 9:37 AM
Ah, the ice cream sundae! No summer is complete without indulging in at least one of these comfort food classics. While the birth place of the original ice cream sundae is still heatedly contested
, according to What’s Cooking America
, “some historians claim…that the name ‘sundae’ was created in response to the Blue Laws
which said that ice cream sodas could not be sold on Sundays because they were to ‘frilly.’”
‘Frilly’ is right. Deliciously frilly.
Unfortunately, the ice cream of old and (most) ice cream today are far from the same thing. With modified milk, artificial ingredients and additives, plus excessive sugar-filled toppings, today’s ice cream sundae is less of a treat and more of a threat. Even frozen yogurt, originally thought to be a healthier option, can be loaded with added sugars and flavors. No, when looking for a sweet treat to satisfy our sundae sweet tooth (without worrying about our waistlines), we turn to our fabulously frozen Lifeway Frozen Kefir
Our frozen kefir (available in five flavors in pints
, four in frozen bars
!) is a tart and tangy, healthy treat that can be enjoyed by just about anyone! It’s:
- Low in calories (90 per ½ cup scoopable, 60 calories per bar)
- Low in fat
- Made from milk that isn’t treated with hormones or pesticides
- Contains 10 active probiotic strains
- 99% lactose free
- Gluten free
- Full of protein and calcium
When topped with fresh fruits and nuts, your Lifeway Frozen Kefir
sundae is a treat you can feel good about eating.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/9/2014 8:37 AM
Peanuts are like the superheroes of the snack world. At first glance they look so small and unassuming, but inside they hold secret superpowers, including:
- They transform before your very eyes, from a handful of nuts to creamy or chunky peanut butter
- They fight health crimes such as heart disease and Type-2 Diabetes
- They save the day when you’re starving and can’t possibly wait another hour for lunch
- Additionally, they’re packed with protein and healthy fats, are naturally gluten free, and are an important (and yummy) part of the all-important plant-based diet
Why are we gushing about these little nuts? Because November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month. And baby, we're lovers, not fighters. To celebrate, we’ve cultivated a handful of nutty facts*along with a few recipes so you can celebrate in sticky style:
- It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter
- Four of the top 10 candy bars manufactured in the USA contain peanuts or peanut butter
- The average child will eat 1,500 PB & J sandwiches before high school graduation
- Mr. Ed “talked” on TV thanks to peanut butter; he was fed the sticky spread that created a natural talking motion as he moved his tongue and jaws
- Six U.S. cities are named Peanut: Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut West Virginia
- Goober—a nickname for peanuts—comes from “nguba,” the Congo language name for peanut
- When making Girl ScoutsDo-Si-Dos, peanut butter cream is deposited onto the cookies at the rate of 2,800 cookies per minute
What better way to celebrate this fantastic month than with peanut butter kefir recipes, right? Below are two of my favorite: Peanut Butter & Kefir Dip with Apple Slices, and the ever delicious (and appropriate) Peanut Butter and Jelly Kefir Smoothie.
The easiest peanut recipe simply calls for you to open a jar of peanuts, shake some out and toss ‘em back. But those things are addictive, so it’s easy to OD on them. A one-ounce serving (you know, one serving) is a small handful – about 40 peanuts or 2 Tbsp of peanut butter. If portion control is tricky for you but you still want to enjoy the taste and health benefits, you’d be nuts not to try these recipes.
Peanut Butter & Kefir Dip with Apple Slices
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
¾ cup Lifeway Greek Style Kefir
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 apple, sliced
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter for about 20 seconds. Once melted, stir in the kefir, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Wash and slice the apple into pieces. Snack away!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Kefir Smoothie
1 Lifeway Goo Berry Pie Frozen Kefir Probug Pop
2 Tbsp peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
½ c Lifeway Lowfat Blueberry Kefir
½ banana, frozen
Heaping ½ cup raspberries
2 ice cubes
Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
*Courtesy of the National Peanut Board.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/7/2014 11:45 AM
According to Karen Tulloch
(YWCA Board President) and Dorri McWhorter
(YWCA Chief Executive Officer), the mission of the YWCA is to eliminate racism and empower women in the Chicago area and throughout the world. The honorees of the event, including Julie, are concrete examples of how passion and career can be used to transform the lives of women everywhere.
Christy Turlington Burns, founder of the women’s health advocacy non-profit Every Mother Counts
, introduced Julie with the following video:
"The fight for women's rights is everywhere. It is global, and we must scale it," Julie said during her acceptance speech. We couldn’t agree more, or be more proud to call her our leader.
On a lighter note, no luncheon would be complete without an appearance by Lifeway kefir, and the culinary team for the event certainly didn’t disappoint. They served an incredible dessert – milk chocolate tart with Italian meringue, roasted peaches, pistachio anglaise and candied pistachios – that was made with our scrumptious Lifeway Peach Kefir
. Hello, yum!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/4/2014 7:37 PM
We’re always talking about the incredible health benefits of our kefir has for adults (not to mention how good it is), but it’s also great for kids! It’s true – kefir can (and should) be fed to your children (under the right circumstances, of course). After all, everyone appreciates a happy tummy, right?
Though it’s not discussed enough in our opinion, a healthy digestive system is crucial for childhood development. But with all of the artificial “foods” available today, on top of marketing, TV and general confusion, it can be hard to find snacks that both parent and child can agree on. That’s why we developed a special line of products developed just for kids called ProBugs!
Probugs and Frozen ProBugs are Lifeway’s 99 percent lactose-free, gluten-free and synthetic hormone-free kefir drinks designed specifically for small tummies and taste buds. Made with organic whole milk kefir, they’re high in healthy fat, protein, calcium, vitamin D and contain 10 live and active probiotic cultures. Designed just for kids with exciting characters, delicious flavors and small hand-friendly pouches, they’re perfect for an afternoon snack, in lunch boxes, on long car rides, and more! Find you favorite flavor here.
Still not convinced? Check out the following Lifeway Probugs Kefir provides children – we’re sure you’ll change your mind:
Kids need probiotics just as much as adults do to maintain healthy tummies, but getting them to eat many cultured foods (such as kimchi, sauerkraut or miso) can be a challenge. Giving your child a Probugs pouch is an easy way to add healthy, cultured foods to their diet in the form of a treat.
Healthy fats are essential to proper cognitive development, digestion and overall health. Lifeway Probugs kefir is make with organic whole milk that hasn’t been treated with hormones, pesticides or antibiotics. It’s natural, healthy fat.
One serving of Lifeway Probugs Kefir contains 10-15 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium for a child. Calcium is important for building strong bones (we know how accident-prone children can be…) and assists in weight management.
Protein is essential for a body to rebuild, maintain and replace body tissue – muscles, organs and, you guessed it, your immune system. As children grow rapidly, it’s important to consistently supply them with complete proteins. One serving of Probugs Blasts contains five grams of protein!
Bonus: Probiotics May Help Infantile Colic
There are loads of reasons to include probiotic-rich kefir in your child’s diet and we’ll be sharing more over the coming weeks. In the mean time, what’s your favorite way to enjoy kefir? Comment below!