By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/11/2013 11:37 AM
This week, the Lifeway team joined hundreds of other Anti-Defamation League (ADL) supporters in honoring four remarkable women during the 20th Annual Women of Achievement Awards Dinner. The night’s honorees were Maria Green, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Illinois Tool Works; Mary Ann Hynes, Senior Vice-President, Counsel to the Chairman and Chief Compliance Officer, Ingredion Inc.;Barbara Steiner, Partner, Jenner & Block LLP and Lifeway CEO, our own Julie Smolyansky.
According to the ADL, honorees “embody the spirit and philosophy of ADL through their efforts to improve communication and understanding among the diverse racial, religious and ethnic communities of Chicago.” It was an amazing night honoring women who inspire all of us. We’d like to share Julie’s acceptance speech with you now:
I’d like to thank the entire ADL Family and the nominating committee for their tireless work to end hate in our world. Especially Sonya Jacobs, who has worked so hard on this dinner along with my assistant Megan Starsiak and Lonnie Nasatir, my longtime friend and Director of the ADL. I would also like to congratulate my fellow honorees for being Women of Achievement. I would like to thank my best friend and life partner Jason who has held my hand for the last eight years, and who I lean on for support every day as well as many other wonderful friends who are here supporting me tonight. I would also like to thank the team at Lifeway. I share this award with each and every one of you, and there and are so many of you here tonight.
When Lonnie informed me the nomination committee had chosen me as one of the honorees, I was humbled - both because of the prestigious honorees with whom I am sharing the stage, as well as the fact that this award is coming from an organization that has been fighting bigotry and hatred for 100 years; an organization that means a lot to me personally because I have always believed in advocating for individuals who cannot stand up for themselves.
I would also like to thank and publicly honor the woman to whom I dedicate this award; the woman on whose shoulders I stand, my mother, Ludmila Smolyansky. Mom, please stand up... She is a true woman of achievement. At the age of 26, she and my father risked everything and escaped the Soviet Union in 1976 - with me just an infant - for the promise of a new and better life in America.
My mom taught herself English watching soap operas like General Hospital, Edge of Night and Dynasty. She did not wait for an invitation to lead - she jumped in - and 2 years after settling in Chicago, opened the first Russian Delicatessen on Devon Street.
But more importantly, she modeled what it means to be a woman of achievement for me as she juggled the responsibilities of work during the day and family life at night. She also modeled for me the creative process of risk taking as she expanded her one deli into five, and turned national distribution deals into international importing deals -negotiating exclusively with men - which laid the foundation for our family to ultimately launch Lifeway Foods. So mom, this award is your award.
I also want to remember my father who is no longer with us, but without him as the strongest male figure in my life, pushing education, and if he did not actively point out strong females to me, I really don’t know that I would be standing here tonight. He believed in gender equality, made me realize that I could accomplish anything and taught me to fight for myself.
You see without my dad’s reassurance and support I honestly don’t know that I would have ever had the courage to lead Lifeway after his sudden death when I was just 27. Like my mother, I did not get an invitation to lead. Quitecontrary, what I was told hours after his death was, “There’s no way a 27 year old girl can run a public company” and “You need a CEO with a little gray hair”.But I fought to lead.
Celebrating the success of women, raising them up, providing examples of women who have blazed trails - it is why we gather here tonight. To give examples to the young women and men around the world – if they can see it – they can believe it. Until one day, when we no longer need an event with the title Women of Achievement – we can celebrate gender equality.
I also dedicate this award to 2 little girls who are just starting their journey, my little girls Leah and Misha. Who inspire me and push me and have given me a sense of urgency to keep fighting for rights for women and girls, to fight for a world without hate, and to design the world I want to live in and leave behind for you.
Inequality for women still exists in the United States and injustice toward women exists around the world. While we are fighting to break the glass ceiling here in the US, in countries many countries around the world women are fighting to keep the ground from collapsing beneath them. I will continue to make it my mission to fight for women to have a voice, to help women overseas also have the ability to break the glass ceiling that we have been doing for decades, and to ensure their safety and justice.
At the recent Women in the World conference I just attended, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, and I quote, “When women participate in the economy, in peace-making and peace-keeping, we all benefit. Giving women and girls a fighting chance isn’t a nice thing to do, it’s a core imperative for every society. This truly is the unfinished business for the 21st century.”
And so I accept this award not for what I have done, but as a challenge to do more. And I hope you can join me.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/9/2013 8:22 AM
The following text conversation recently took place between us and some friends:
Us: Where should we go for dinner?
Friends: We don’t care. Seafood? Steak?
Us: How about sushi?
Friends: OK. But we are paleo.
Read More »
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/5/2013 7:15 AM
If you read our previous post about anxiety-fighting foods featured on The Doctor Oz Show
you may have found yourself wondering how to incorporate more mood-boosting foods into your diet. We’ve packed a whole bunch of featured foods into this Soul Bowl - from GABA-boosting kefir to tryptophan-rich pumpkin seeds and soybeans to Magnesium and Vitamin B6-containing quinoa! Top it with grilled chicken or tofu if you like, or serve it with a side of kefir cornbread
! Makes 4-5 hearty helpings. Kefir Ranch Dressing
(adapted from From the Yellow Kitchen
)Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh dill weed, chopped
Whisk ingredients together and refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Quinoa and Soybeans
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 16 oz frozen edamame (soybeans)
- 1 & 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Stir in quinoa and edamame and cover with vegetable broth. Add cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and raise the heat to high until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes. Steamed Kale
Wash and stem one large bunch of kale. Rip the leaves into bite sized pieces. Pour one inch of water into the bottom of a large soup pot. Place a metal vegetable steamer on top. Place the kale leaves on top, cover, and steam on high heat for about 4 minutes. Remove the cover and test for texture - kale should be slightly wilted, but still somewhat crunchy. If you like your kale slightly softer, keep cooking with the cover off until it’s the texture you like. Other Ingredients
- assorted steamed veggies seasoned to taste (zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)
- grilled chicken or tofu (optional)
- BBQ sauce
- pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
To assemble, scoop quinoa mixture into the bottom of a deep bowl. Top with steamed kale and any other steamed vegetables you like. You can also add grilled chicken or tofu. Drizzle with kefir ranch and BBQ sauce, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds for crunch and dig in!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/3/2013 10:03 AM
Chances are, you know somebody with high blood pressure. Worldwide, a staggering 40% of adults over the age of 25 have it, putting them at risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and other dangerous conditions. In the US, one in every three adults is affected. Seven and half million people die every year worldwide as a result.
Unfortunately, about one in five American adults with high blood pressure don't even know that they have it. You may go for an annual checkup, but how many of us remember – or even ask about – the reading our doctor gets when she wraps the blood pressure cuff around our upper arm? Considering most of us are able to memorize our phone number, our Social Security number, how much we weigh, and plenty more, it shouldn’t be so difficult to remember five digits (ie 120/80.) We owe it to ourselves to take better care of ourselves, to know our blood pressure and, if it’s too high, to do something about it.
First, a little about the number. It’s actually comprised of two figures: Systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic is on top; diastolic, on the bottom. The top number, which is the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting and refilling with blood). In most people, systolic blood pressure creeps up as we age due to stiffening of the arteries, plaque build-up, and increased rates of heart disease.
On April 7, the World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day, and this year, the theme is high blood pressure. They encourage everyone to cut their risk of high blood pressure by:
-Reducing your intake of salt (Scour labels: Up to 75 percent of our sodium is hidden in processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments and canned foods. Look for the words "soda" and "sodium" and the symbol "Na" on labels; these words indicate that sodium is present.)
-Eating a balanced diet
-Working out regularly
-Not abusing alcohol (If you drink, limit it to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.)
We found an intriguing 2009 study in the International Journal of Molecular Science which shows that probiotics may lower blood pressure, suggesting that “good bacteria” (like those founding kefir) may play a role in reducing hypertension. The research is preliminary, but promising. As always, check with your doctor – she may think it’s a good idea for you to drink kefir in addition to taking your prescribed blood pressure medication if you’ve already been diagnosed, or she might suggest you include kefir in your daily diet as a preventative measure.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/2/2013 10:09 AM
The Dr. Oz Show recently featured a segment on anxiety-fighting foods
and a familiar bottle popped up in the first minute or so! Mike Dow, Psy.D., had several suggestions for foods that he says can help reduce stress and anxiety by increasing GABA, tryptophan, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 levels.
GABA, or Gamma-Aminobutryic Acid, is a neurotransmitter that helps nerve impulses to communicate. Increasing the amount of GABA in your body can support more restful sleep and relaxation. Dr. Dow suggests consuming foods like kefir, kimchee and oolong tea to achieve a healthy level of GABA.
Tryptophan is another essential amino acid that Dr. Dow believes can help elevate your mood. Sources typically include meat and dairy, but pumpkin seeds, soybeans and shellfish such as shrimp are also healthy sources of tryptophan.
Finally, Dr. Dow suggests foods high in Magnesium and Vitamin B6. Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels while B6 is necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Foods like nori (seaweed) and quinoa are rich in both, and might help to improve your mood if consumed regularly, according to the show.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/1/2013 10:20 AM
At Lifeway Foods we take customer feedback seriously. So when you told us you were having trouble finding your favorite flavors in your local supermarket we sprang into action and increased production to meet growing demand. From adding an overnight shift at our Morton Grove, IL facility to opening up a band-new production plant – on Mars!
It’s true, the future is here and the Red Planet will serve as the new production headquarters for our newest lines! The planet’s dense, metallic core and iron-rich crust contribute a unique, mineral flavor to new flavors such as Strawberry-Hematite and Borealis Banana!
The Martian plant’s close proximity to one of Mars’ two polar ice caps also means our intergalactic kefir varieties will be served extra-chilly, making them thicker and more prone to those delicious, chewy lumps our customers love!
Of course, with no liquid water currently available on Mars staffing has been a little tricky, which is why we are also announcing today that we’re hiring! If you are interested in working with a great team on this exciting project please send your resume and cover letter to email@example.com
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/29/2013 8:37 AM
Earlier this month, European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA scientists unveiled a highly detailed map of the universe
. The Cosmic Microwave Background map shows light that flashed in the sky 370,000 years before
the big bang, so it's kind of like peering back in time. If you put your nose right up to the screen and squint, you might even see Xander, Zoe, Neo and Luna, the newest, extraterrestrial members of the ProBugs family!
Since ProBugs Blast
was created for the kids who will vacation on the moon, we thought this would be a great time to introduce you and your kids to our most recent cast of characters:
Once every 50 years or so, a fantastic burst of light and energy called a Supernova occurs in the Milky Way. A supernova, which is the explosion of a star, can produce the same amount of energy in one second as an entire galaxy! Our friend Xander
uses his super telescopic vision to spot these amazing phenomenons throughout the universe. Cherry Lime Supernova
kefir helps him to stay healthy and strong as he observes star-splosions far and wide!
Comets, which are chilly masses of ice, dust and rock whizzing through the atmosphere, are cool to watch - but as Zoe
will tell you, they’re even more fun to ride! Zooming through the sky at up to 40 miles per second, our pink-haired hero screeches to a halt once a day to grab a bottle of Strawberry Kiwi Comet
kefir. The tart n’ tangy treat is full of “good bugs” that leave those bad stomach bugs in Zoe’s cosmic dust.
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled from home? If your name is Neo
and you have a blue mohawk and green skin your answer might be 13.37 billion light years from Earth! Hopping from one galaxy to another can really wear a kid out, which is why Neo never leaves the Milky Way without a pack of Grape Galaxy
kefir. Packed with protein and calcium, it’s a blast of nutrition that’s out of this world!
Nearly 4.5 billion years ago, there was a giant space-crash - a mass of rock the size of Mars smashed into the Earth and from the flying debris, Earth’s moon was formed! With only 1/6th of Earth’s gravity, our moon is an extra bouncy place to play, which is why you’ll find Luna
there just about every day. She uses one pair of hands to snap pics of the Earth from 238,900 miles away while her extra set grips two bottles of Peach Mango Moon
kefir at a time!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/28/2013 9:37 AM
Congrats to our fanny pack giveaway winners Jason, Julie & Nicole! The giveaway is now closed!
Our favorite epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones
kicks off its third season this Sunday, and we can’t wait! Between the official trailers and the memes popping up everywhere, the entire Internet is buzzing with excitement – so it was only a matter of time before some genius paid tribute to the series with this hilarious 1995-style intro:
Suddenly our Xena Warrior Princess fandom days came rushing back to us, and we started reminiscing about our own 90s memories. Please enjoy this quick trip in the Lifeway Time Machine. (Oh, and if you want more Game of Thrones goodness, check out our Kefir is Coming
To put things in perspective, check out what our bottles looked like back in the day. Are those eggplants on the vanilla bottle? We don’t know.
Hey girl, want to pop some popcorn and watch Young Hercules re-runs with me?
No one is safe from this flashback – not even Every Mother Counts
founder Christy Turlington Burns.
We ran this Natural Health ad in the 90s, as if our model’s haircut didn’t already tip you off.
Fannypacks! Considered by some to be a fashion faux pas, these gender-neutral hip bags have been spotted on celebs such as Rihanna, Kaye West and Chuck Norris.
Win a Fannypack!
Would you like a Lifeway fanny pack full of swag to call your own? Leave us a comment about your favorite 90s fashion fad, TV show or music memory. Three of you will be randomly selected to receive our nostalgic prize! (Be sure to enter your email address so we can contact you if you win!)
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/25/2013 11:11 AM
Social media, social justice, and social change. These are the foundations of the Global Mom Relay
; a virtual relay that connects moms everywhere through the power of social media in support of the United Nation's Every Woman Every Child movement. What does that mean? It’s simple – through May 8th
, moms from all over the world are powering an online conversation about motherhood, while unlocking donations to help women and children lead healthy lives.
Our own CEO Julie Smolyansky contributed her piece, Taking Action to Protect Children, earlier this month, and encouraged readers to share the article online in order to unlock donations from
Johnson &Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to one of the United Nation’s four efforts helping women and children.
“As CEO of a natural foods company and a former social services counselor, I have been a long-time advocate for healthy and safe communities.” Julie said, “Social media and other technologies give us the means to create social change. From global malnutrition and health to educating girls and women to ending violence against girls and women, we can lift humanity in ways not possible 20 years ago.”
Julie, who recently participated in a GoodxGlobal panel titled, "Can Technology Save Women?” is adamant about harnessing the local and global power of technology for social good
. For that reason, she also recently launched Test400k, a campaign to resolve the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. and end violence against women both domestically and globally.
Visit Global Moms Relay to read the daily post, and to share and unlock a $5 donation. To find out more about Test400k, including how you can get involved, visit Test400k.org.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/20/2013 2:16 PM
It all started with a text message conversation between two Lifeway staffers in the security line at O’Hare International Airport.
Natalie: I just had a genius idea: kefir nacho cheese. I’m going to work on it as soon as we get back from Expo West.
Derek: Yes. Nachos forever.
When we got back to the office, Jerry decided he wanted in on the nacho game, and proposed making his own version with our white cheese
. Suddenly, we weren’t just having a nacho party - we were having a nacho throwdown!
Jerry and Natalie both started with locally made tortilla chips, and the rest was up to their imaginations.
Jerry’s Salsa & Homemade Sour Cream
Jerry topped his chips with a light-and-fresh combination of salsa and a combination of farmer cheese
and Greek Style Kefir that closely resembled sour cream. Chunks of fresh white cheese took the place of queso fresco and made for a tasty nacho treat.
- 4 tomatillos
- 3 red tomatoes
- 1 jalapeño
- ¼ cup white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- Small handful cilantro
- Pinch salt
Place the tomatillos, tomatoes and jalapeno in a large pot and cover them with water. Cover with a lid, and heat on high until the water boils. Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft enough to easily puncture with a fork.
Carefully drain the water, and give the tomatillos, tomatoes and jalapeno a rough chop, then place them in a food processor or blender with all of the remaining ingredients. Blend until you have a consistent texture – there should be no large chunks.
Even Better Than Sour Cream
In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients until completely smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Natalie’s Not-Cheese Nachos
With the help of B-12-rich nutritional yeast, Natalie turned our lowfat kefir into a cheesy sauce that would be just as tasty poured over pasta or fresh veggies as it was in nacho form. She also made a side of Game Day Guacamole
and served her nachos DIY style with olives, shredded lettuce, Upton’s Chorizo Seitan
and chopped green onions.
Kefir “Cheese” Sauce
Add cashews to water and soak for at least 1 hour.
- small bowl of warm water
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 & ½ teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Drain the cashews, and place into a food processor along with all other ingredients - blend until smooth. There will be specks of pepper visible, which is fine – taste at this point and determine if you’d like to add more peppers. If you’d like to keep all of the probiotics intact, do not heat the sauce; simply serve it at room temperature. Otherwise, transfer the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium flame, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until it’s hot to the touch and the sauce is thick.
After a lot of smack talking, and even more eating, we were able to decide on a winner – our Marketing Director, Marina. After all, it was her birthday and she got to spend it eating nachos with her friends.