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Welcome to Kefir Kommunity! This is your one-stop-shop for nutrition news from around the blogosphere. If it’s got to do with kefir or probiotics, chances are, it’s here. But you’ll also find cutting edge information, articles and links to stories about all things health – from workout trends to cool food science research, delicious recipe suggestions to expert Q & As. We love to share our passion for what we do with the best customers in the world, while offering you exclusive info on special events, deals, promotions and all sorts of other happenings at Lifeway HQ and beyond. We encourage  you to tap into the power of Kefir Kommunity’s blog by reaching out to us or fellow kefir fans with comments or questions. So make yourself at home, pull up a chair and stay a while. We promise to treat you right. 
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Throwback Thursday: The Mayor

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/22/2014 8:37 AM

 Julie with Mayor Daley in 1998 at Fancy Food Show in NYC

Charity Miles is so #MotherCulture

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/21/2014 7:37 AM

Our friend Gene is the founder of Charity Miles, an app we frequently partner with to raise money for worthy causes through physical activity. He even won a Webby this week for his incredible work. Plus
he met Doge at the ceremony!

Below is a quick Q&A with Gene about  fitness and #MotherCulture. Enjoy, and don't forget to walk, run or bike for a good cause with Charity Miles. Every mile matters!

You sure are an active guy these days. Did you grow up running marathons? How did your family influence your physical fitness habits? 

 I didn't grow up running. But my family was always active. We'd go skiing together on the weekends— a tradition my mom started with her parents as a little girl. I'd throw the baseball in the front yard with my dad after dinner. We rode bikes and rollerbladed together. It was just a way of life for us.

 Do you find that contributing to charitable causes helps you stick to your fitness routine? What else keeps you motivated to get moving?  

 For me, running is about storytelling. Maybe not through words, but through action. When I started running marathons, it was a way for me to express my commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease (in honor of my grandfather). But as I got more into it, I became even more inspired by other runners' stories. I remember being at the starting line of my first marathon: Chicago, 2002. Looking around at the 20,000 other runners, I could see that each one had a story on their face. And each story was about to change over the course of the next 26.2 miles. I was (and am) honored to share in these stories. This is what really motivates me.

 Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions in your family?

 We usually have some kind of brunch with my Mom in the morning and then go to my aunt's house for a barbecue in the afternoon. When I was younger, my cousins and I would play roller hockey all afternoon. In the last few years, my mom and I have rented bikes in New York City and rode around Central Park or down the Hudson River Greenway.

 For folks who are new to a daily exercise regimen, or those who really just like to push themselves to exhaustion, what would you recommend in terms of a refreshing, high protein snack to have after working out?

 Lifeway Kefir, of course! I like mine with fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries :)

Green or Gold, Bananas are Money

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/20/2014 6:37 AM

There’s more to bananas than just a hearty dose of potassium.

If you get them on the green side, they are packed with complex starches that keep you fuller longer, and if your digestion is going in overdrive, they can help slow things down and get your body back on track. The potassium also helps keep your body’s fluid levels in balance. They also contain short-chain fatty acids that feed the cells that line your intestines. These cells are also responsible for absorbing nutrients like calcium into the bloodstream so it’s essential to keep them in good health! Green banana fans are definitely out there, but they do have a waxy texture which can leave a bad taste in your mouth and a bad feeling on your teeth.

Ripe bananas, sweeter and flecked with brown speckles, offer their own nutritional boost. As the banana ripens, the starches break down into pectin, a soluble fiber that helps speed up digestion. Soluble fiber also gives the healthy bacteria in your gut something to eat and allows those probiotics to flourish. The sweetness of ripe bananas combined with their high fiber content makes them a great alternative to more processed sweeteners in smoothies.

This recipe uses strawberries for some bright berry flavor and peanut butter for added protein. Lifeway’s Plain Unsweetened Kefir is a great probiotic, no sugar added base.

Lifeway banana strawberry kefir smoothie

Banana Berry Kefir Smoothie

1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

6 frozen strawberries

½ ripe banana

1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter or nut butter

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Guest Post: Being Lifeway CEO for the Day

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/19/2014 12:54 PM

Lifeway CEO for the Day Ethan
Follow Ethan's journey as Lifeway CEO for the Day on Julie Smolyansky's Instagram (our CEO for every other day)

Hi I’m Ethan. Today I got to be CEO for the day at Lifeway Foods. My mom won this for me at a silent auction fundraiser that provides scholarships for my school.

Lifeway CEO Uber

The day started off heading to Lifeway Foods headquarters in an Uber Black Car, true CEO style! On the way, we had a conference call with the legal team at Lifeway. I loved chatting with the legal team; if I don’t become a CEO I want to be a defense attorney.  They advised me to be truthful, treat others as you want to be treated yourself, be conscious of the constitution – assume innocence until proven guilty, and be a good listener.

Lifeway CEO mfg

Before the tour of Lifeway’s manufacturing facility, we took a quick food safety lesson and put on a lab coat and hair coverings.

lifeway CEO tanker

Lifeway CEO line

lifeway ceo checking

lifeway ceo shipping

I met the production team and really liked how they produced stuff, it’s awesome! The amount of milk used every day is a lot – 8 tankers! They taught me about day to day production at Lifeway.

lifeway ceo marina

I got to help brainstorm a fun activity for Kidzapallooza. Lifeway does fun games with beach balls and hacky sacks, and makes custom ProBugs backpacks to give away to winners.

lifeway ceo call

We talked to the PR team on a conference call, too, with a briefing on the #MotherCulture campaign. I learned that a PR team does Public Relations and talks to media and press.

Lifeway CEO flavor

After that, we went to the flavor lab in Lifeway’s test kitchen. The flavor lab was cool. It was simple to put a bunch of flavor concentrates together and make a new type of kefir! I picked caramel and raspberry because it’s one of my favorite combinations. I added a bit of lime to make it taste better. At first it was really tart, but the flavors made it taste better. I added a little extra honey at the end to make it perfect. I added beet juice to make it pink because raspberries are kind of pink, and thankfully it didn’t really do anything to the flavor.

lifeway ceo blogging

When I finish up my blog post, I’ll head back to school, but just for band practice. I play saxophone. And I’ll be sure to pack some ProBugs Blast for my band mates!

lifeway ceo starfruit
pit stop at Starfruit Cafe!

#MotherCulture Mamas Pt. 2: Our Friend Diana

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/16/2014 6:43 AM

As part of our new #MotherCulture campaign, we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!

Mom: Diana Semmelhack, Chicago suburbs, mom of three kids, ages three to six.


Three kids – wow! How have you changed as mom from the oldest to the youngest?

I’m a lot more relaxed now. With Jake, our oldest, everything was done by the book: I sanitized every nipple, heated the milk separately from the bottle, everything was organic, every Baby Einstein movie was played. By the time Max (our youngest) came along, nipples were in the dishwasher; if he was eating on the floor, it was OK. Now, it’s more about managing time and my personal sanity.

When you grocery shop, what do you look for as a mom?

I try to do as much organic as possible - any milk, meat and cheese for the kids has to be antibiotic-free. And lots of fruits and veggies …we eat really clean and healthy. But they’ve had cheeseburgers and fries, of course. They have cake at birthday parties. But when they eat those foods, I try to balance it by giving them some fruit or vegetables, too. If they have fries, the four of us will split one order and they need to eat some broccoli, too. We’re Russian, so they tasted caviar before they could even talk. And I always encourage them to try new foods. Like today: Our daughter tried Brussels sprouts for the first time. She didn’t like them, but at least she tried them.

Also, I’ll add that not a day goes bv that my kids don’t have kefir – ProBugs, ProBoost, they love it all.


Is your family active together?

My husband, Joel, and I are really active, and working out is something we take seriously. I workout four to five days a week and the kids know momma’s getting strong. On the weekends, they might come into basement and watch us – they’ll help me count sit-ups. They love riding their bikes, and they’re outside as much as humanly possible. If it’s nice outside, I tell them it’s time to get out there and play. Any chance they have to run, they run. And I invite them to cook with me, get them involved. I think it’s good for them to see what goes into different foods they enjoy. Once a week, we’ll make bread – banana bread or zucchini bread – and they help mash up the ingredients, mix them up, that kind of thing.


How is it different raising a daughter versus sons? 

There’s more drama with girls. She’s not even five years old and her friends already have cliques. It’s so scary, all the bullying and social media and having such a critical eye towards themselves. We had that, to a point, but I feel like we grew up in a more nonjudgmental environment. Girls today are mean starting at a really young age. My most important goal is to make sure she’s confident. I just want her stand with her head held high and know she’s smart and powerful and beautiful.


Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/15/2014 8:14 AM

Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie  Lifeway

We’re not sure how “vanilla” became synonymous with “plain” or “boring” but were are surely not in agreement with the notion. A hearty dose of vanilla adds some deep, round flavor to our light and refreshing plain kefir. And if you’re looking for a filling way to start your day, we added protein, fiber, and omega-3s to this smoothie in the form of all natural, whole nuts, dates, and flax. This sweet treat is big enough to split!

Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie

1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

6 dates, pitted

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon ground flax

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 teaspoon maple syrup

4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Serves 2

Hibiscus Berry Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/13/2014 7:17 AM
hibiscus berry kefir smoothie lifeway

For those who like a little crunch in their smoothie, a few chia seeds or berries are a great addition. For those who like a lot of crunch, add a lot of both! This floral blend has a nice, light, lemony flavor from adding in a pinch of cardamom and a splash of kefir. Each refreshing sip packs in chia’s omega-3s, blackberries’ antioxidants, and the probiotic power of Lifeway Kefir.


Hibiscus Berry Kefir Smoothie

2/3 cup brewed hibiscus infusion, cooled

1 tablespoon chia seeds

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1 cup frozen blackberries or mixed berries

½ cup Lifeway Organic Lowfat Pomegranate Açai Kefir

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Sweeten with honey to taste.

Serves 1

#MotherCulture Mamas

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/11/2014 7:18 PM

As part of our new #MotherCulture campaign, we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!

Mom: Charlotte Hilton Andersen, 35, Denver, CO, mom of four kids, age four to 11.

Q: How have your parenting skills changed with each child?

A: With our first one, I was so anxious. I’d watch him sleep just to make sure he was still breathing! By the last one, we trusted them more and trusted our parenting skills more.


Q: Did you have any strange cravings with your various pregnancies?

A: I had very distinct cravings with each. During my first pregnancy, I was a vegetarian but I craved hamburgers and I thought I was awful for it! With my second one, I craved healthy things like blueberries and lemonade. And with our daughter, I could eat an entire watermelon in one sitting.


Q: Does your family drink kefir or use probiotics to stay healthy?

A:  My oldest, Micah, was in hospital at nine months old with an unknown infection and a fever of 108 degrees. He almost died. Doctors gave him IV antibiotics, and they worked, but they wiped out all of the good bacteria in his gut and he would up contracting C. difficile, abacteria that can cause all kinds of horrible symptoms. He had diarrhea all the time. Finally, one doctor prescribed probiotcs, and it turned Micah around so fast – it was the closest thing to a medical miracle I have ever seen. I’ve kept probiotics on hand ever since, in all different forms: I sprinkle the powder on their food, my kids drink dairy kefir and I drink the non-dairy kind. We have the Mother Culture at home! I make a kind a homemade soda with it, fizzy and delicious.  Any time one of my kids complains of a tummy ache or constipation, they get probiotics. It’s one of the rare “medicines” that don’t have side effects. 


Q: Any good tips for work-life balance?

A: I’m not great at finding that balance - I wake up early and stay up super late. But I do believe mothers should be kinder to themselves and know that they’re doing their best no matter what they might think. A lot of us have guilt, but if your kids are healthy and happy, whatever you’re doing is working.


Q: Where can we learn more about you and your take on all things health, fitness, nutrition and parenting? 

A: Check out my blog, The Great Fitness Experiment, and my book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. I also blog for the Huffington Post.

Follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlotteGFE

Sharing our #MotherCulture and a simple probiotic baby food recipe

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/11/2014 5:00 AM

The benefits of abundant and diverse microflora in infants have been in the news lately. The news that a healthier community of gut bacteria can help babies calm down from colicky episodes has had our phones at Lifeway ringing off the hook!

“How soon can I start giving my baby your probiotic kefir?” deranged and sleepless parents ask us.

We suggest checking with your doctor before making any dietary shifts for your little ones, but in general, you can give your baby kefir at the same time they would start eating yogurt. It is not a substitute for breast milk or infant formula.

To get a first hand perspective on the subject of babies who love kefir, we sat down with our Vice President of Project Management and new mom, Fallon Fleyshman Morgan to talk #MotherCulture, perfect purees, and morning routines with her adorable daughter, Siena.

fallon and siena lifeway

What does #MotherCulture mean to you?

I’m a new mommy so I’m still figuring out what #MotherCulture means to me. I am shocked by how easily I adapted into motherhood and have naturally figured out what is important to me like making sure my baby eats organic produce. We’ve been making all her food since she was 6 months old and she has quite the developed palate now.

Any baby food making method or recipe you’d like to share?

Something super easy and quick… I’ll steam peeled/chopped apples and pears and puree them. Then I make a small bowl of organic oatmeal and top it with Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir mixed with the apple/pear puree. She’ll usually have that for breakfast.

How do you find time to connect with your child one on one during the week?

I love waking up with her in the morning. Every morning I make Sienna breakfast, we eat together and then get to play before I run off to work. We read books, talk and play music. Once in a while, hop back in bed to wake her dad. It’s the best part of our day.

sienna lifeway

Probiotic Cantaloupe Soup

1 cup cantaloupe, cubed

1 cup mango, peeled and cubed

½ cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

Puree melon and mango in a food processor until smooth. Stir in kefir. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


Creamy Kefir Greens

2 cups broccoli or green beans

1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

Steam greens until fully cooked. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in kefir. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

“Live & Active” Mother’s Day Gifts

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/9/2014 9:37 AM

lifeway love moms guts

Breakfast in bed can be a great treat, but don’t be lazy about your Mother’s Day gifts! Get mom on her feet and enjoying her special day! #MotherCulture is always being up for a new adventure!

cruiser bike

Cruiser Bike

Send your mom out on the town in style with a cool cruiser bike! We are not going to suggest fitness gear, as moms of all shapes and sizes are beautiful the way they are. But cruising around on a rad bike will get her blood flowing, her skin glowing, and her inner confidence showing!

hip hop moms

Dance Classes

Appreciative sons and fathers might grab mom by the elbow and whisk her away to a swing dance lesson or a tango session. Daughters might get a kick out of tapping the night away or learning a little hip hop ditty at your local studio!

flowers for mom


Fresh cut flowers are popular for a reason, they are beautiful and liven up any room, just like Mom!

painting with mom

Learn to Paint

Take mom to your local studio for a painting class. Learning new skills is said to keep our minds sharp as we age. We’ve also heard a glass of red wine is good for your heart and the brushes and bottles classes are all the rage these days!

birds for mom

Low-maintenance pets

Did you know birds are pretty easy to take care of? Fish are another good option! Don’t let Mom suffer from empty-nest syndrome when all the kids move out; get her a parakeet or two to keep her company!

lifeway culture shoppe

Frozen Kefir Sundaes

The perfect probiotic end to a breakfast in bed or brunch extravaganza! Lifeway frozen kefir has all the live & active cultures you love from your daily smoothie and is available nationally in your grocer’s freezer aisle. Or if you are in Chicago, check out this sweet Kefir Truck Groupon deal and have our very own Starfruit Frozen Kefir-mobile parked in your deserving mom's diveway, for half off the normal price!

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