By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 12/4/2014 1:50 PM
A new Wall Street Journal story is exploring the validity of pet probiotic claims, with companies promoting their products as a way to ease Fido’s chronic digestive troubles and even prevent stress-induced diarrhea in animals during travel. Apparentlynobody likes flying during the holidays.
Pet probiotics typically take the form of powders that can be sprinkled on food, or capsules and chews. Like probiotics for humans, they consist of good-for-your-gut bacteria. But because research on animal-targeted probiotics is still in its infancy, choosing the right strain can be tricky. Also, just as with human-grade probiotics, many products are mislabeled, so it’s tough to know what you’re getting. In a 2011 Canadian Veterinary Journal study
, when researchers looked into 25 popular pet probiotic supplements, 32 percent of them had spelling errors printed on their labels!
But some helpful guidelines can be gleaned from that study, which found that two products out of the 25 studied contained the bacteria they promised and were properly labeled:
- FortiFlora powder by Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. (for cats and dogs)
- Iams Veterinary Formula Prostora Max chews (for dogs)
*Always check with your vet before starting your pet on a probiotic or any medicine.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 12/2/2014 12:44 PM
“Lifeway has always been such a strong supporter for Charity Miles. And we're thrilled to be partnering with them again for Giving Tuesday,” said Gene Gurkoff, founder and CEO of Charity Miles. “The holidays are about coming together with friends. So it's great to kick off the holidays with a great friend like Lifeway.”
Charity Miles is just one of the many charities and organizations Lifeway supports throughout the year. Below are some of our favorite groups to work with. If you haven’t committed to supporting anyone this year, we encourage you to consider one of the following groups:
Every Mother Counts – Every Mother Counts (EMC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother by working to reduce the number of women who die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The agency focuses on education and practical training.
Test 400k – Test400K works to raise awareness, advocate, lobby, and push for innovative new technology to be used in ending the backlog of untested rape kits and make sure communities and law enforcement provide immediate and swift response time to victims of sexual assault going forward. Its goal is to empower healthy and safe communities by ending violence against women and children.
Girl Up – Girl Up’s mission is to give American girls the opportunity to become global leaders by channeling their energy and compassion to raise awareness for and bring attention to some of the world’s most at-risk adolescent girls. They envision a world where all girls, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe and counted.
Common Threads – Common Threads works to empower children to eat healthy, make sustainable behavior changes, and celebrate culture through food via their family-centric cooking and nutrition programs and curriculum. Furthermore they work to prevent childhood obesity.
Bright Pink – Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization that focuses on the risk reduction and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women through breast health education programs.
Malala Fund – the Malala Fund works to break the cycle of poverty and empower girls through education by advocating for and investing in quality education systems and programs.
UNICEF – UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
Pilot Light – Pilot Light’s mission is to empower children with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to have a healthy relationship with food. They work with chefs and teachers to develop and implement classroom lessons that integrate food and nutrition into everyday subjects like math, social studies, English and science.
YWCA – according to their mission statement, the YWCA “is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”
More about #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday, is a day devoted to global charitable sponsorship – a day that people globally come together to give back to their communities. The day is devoted to being UN-selfish, and participants are encouraged to post their own #UNselfie to bring awareness to the day.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/26/2014 3:25 AM
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Thanksgiving series so far. We’ve had a great time coming up with these recipes and look forward to any feedback you have (and leftovers). Our third and final new Thanksgiving recipes turned out to be the fan favorite in the Lifeway Kitchen. As comes with the end of every meal, we’re finishing this series off with dessert.
What would a thanksgiving feast be without a dessert? Not a feast we want to attend, that’s for sure. At the same time, we value our health (and our waist lines). With that in mind, we came up with a dessert we could feel good about eating, and feel good after eating. We’re calling it our kefir pumpkin quick bread (clever, we know). Instead of being laden with excessive amounts of refined sugar, refined oil and general nonsense, this bread is full of generally good for you ingredients while still being downright tasty.
To keep calories in check, we substituted a stevia for baking blend for the sugar, which has already been reduced from traditional numbers thanks to the use of ripe bananas. Molasses offers an iron boost, and the pumpkin puree adds moisture, even more iron, potassium and fiber. As it’s not overly sweet, it’s good for everyone (and perfect for the next morning). Feel free to add in any additional nuts or seeds to your liking.
Kefir Pumpkin Quick Bread
- 1/2 cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir (at room temperature)
- 1/2 Tbsp molasses
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (at room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup stevia baking blend
- Pepitas for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with a rack placed near the lower third of the space. Grease a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with non-stick cooking spray or oil. Set it aside.
In a medium bowl, smash the bananas until it reaches a puree texture. Add eggs and whisk until well combined. Add kefir, vanilla, pumpkin, molasses and coconut oil and mix until combined.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined (careful not to over mix – a few lumps are ok).
Pour batter into the prepared bread pan. Sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds and additional cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, if you’d like. Bake for 55-65 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, cover the top with foil to prevent excess browning and burning. After 55 minutes, insert a toothpick into the center of the bread to test for doneness. It should come out clean. If it doesn’t return the pan to the oven and check every five minute until the bread is completely cooked.
Remove the pan for the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack before removing. Enjoy smothered with butter, whipped cream cheese or spread of your choosing!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/25/2014 6:45 AM
Our second Thanksgiving recipe creation is a nutritional powerhouse – Kale Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Farmers Cheese. So good.
When it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes, most tables are stacked with starchy casseroles, sugary fruit salads and butter-drenched vegetables laced with “cream of something” soup. While they can be absolutely delicious (once again, Green Bean Casserole?), they’re also heavy and leave us feeling fuller than we’d like.
To combat side dish sabotage, we’ve developed a simple kale and quinoa salad. On any regular night, this dish could substitute for a light dinner, as it’s full of complete proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Served in smaller portions, it makes a great addition to a Thanksgiving plate for anyone who is watching what they eat.
What We Love About It
What’s not to love? Made with readily available, seasonal ingredients, this salad provides a spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Kale - Kale contains vitamins A, C, and K and folate. It also contains 3 grams of protein in one cup
Quinoa – quinoa is a plant-based complete protein and is full of fiber, lysine and magnesium
Pomegranate – pomegranate is high in antioxidants and vitamins A and K
Cranberries – cranberries contain antioxidants and are a known anti-inflammatory
Nuts – nuts provide an assortment of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals (they differ per nut)
Lifeway Farmer Cheese - our high protein, low fat, probiotic-rich soft cheese
Kale Quinoa Salad with Cranberry and Orange
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- One bunch of Lacinato/Tuscan kale
- Dash of salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
- 1½ Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp minced shallot
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Rinse quinoa with running water until the water runs clear. Transfer rinsed quinoa to a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Continue to about 12-15 minutes, or until the water is gone (be careful not to overcook).
Prep the kale by washing and drying it well. Remove the stems and finely dice or chop the kale into bite sized pieces. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
After the quinoa has cooled for five minutes (but is still hot), fluff with a fork and transfer to the bowl with the kale. Mix well and let cool completely. The heat from the quinoa "cooks" the kale, making it more palatable.
In a small blender or food processor, blend the ingredients for the dressing. Pour dressing over kale/quinoa mixture and toss in nuts, pomegranate and dried cranberries. Top with a heaping ¼ cup of Farmer Cheese and mix with a salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, serve salad into individual bowls and top with dollops of Farmer Cheese.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/24/2014 1:06 PM
Thanksgiving week is here and we’re so excited to spend time with our families and chow down on some delicious, healthy, kefir-ized Thanksgiving dishes! We’ve once again been perusing our recipe archive for things to make. We wanted to stretch our culinary skills and incorporate our favorite seasonal ingredients into dishes everyone will love.
Last year, we made a Green Bean Casserole. It was delicious, but a bit heavy (and we know there will be one at every celebration. We love mashed potatoes, but you can’t go wrong with our Farmer Cheese Mashed Potatoes, so we’re not going to mess with it. How about dessert? Sweet Potato kugel, or pumpkin pie? They’re everywhere, and frankly, kind of boring. We want so surprise our guests with dishes they’re not tired of before they reach our table. Can you get behind that?
This week (starting today) we’re going to share with you three brand new kefir-infused recipes for Thanksgiving that we know you’ll love. So when you make your next grocery run, be sure to stock up on Lifeway Kefir (you know you’ll need it for the day after anyway!).
The first new recipe we’re sharing with you today is our version of butternut squash soup. Soup, though not common at the table, is a great addition to any fall meal spread. It’s warm and light and adds a different texture to the meal, making your dining experience all the more interesting.
All varieties of squash are abundant this time of year, but one of our favorites is the butternut. It’s rich in fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and most notably carotenoids, which are shown to protect against heart disease – never a bad thing! The subtly sweet, creamy flesh of the squash is typically paired with sweeter mates, such as apples and cinnamon, but we love the contrast a hot curry powder offers, in addition to the tang of our Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir (you could sub plain lowfat, if whole milk isn’t available in your region).
You can buy canned or boxed butternut squash puree, if you’re short on time, but we definitely recommend roasting your own.
Fall Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 cups cooked butternut squash
- 1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 heaping Tbsp curry spice (heat to preference)
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- Basil, extra spices, pepitas and olive oil for garnish
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and place the racks in the middle. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and cover the cut half with tinfoil .Place the squash skin-side down on a greased baking sheet and roast for roughly an hour (until fork tender). Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.
Once the squash has cooled, scoop the flesh into a blender or food. Add the kefir, olive oil, and spices and stir.
Pour the soup into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat until desired temperature is reached. Garnish with more spices. Serve with a light salad or baked bread for a hearty meal, or as part of your holiday celebration!
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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 Brûlée 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 straight from 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 Brûlée 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 for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 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 eight 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.
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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