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Kefir Kommunity

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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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Lifeway Frozen Kefir at the Common Threads World Festival

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/28/2014 3:32 PM

lifeway frozen kefir common threads dc

The tiny chefs of
Common Threads are teaming up with Lifeway once again! This time, they’re bulking up their tiny biceps by helping scoop frozen kefir at the Common Threads World Festival in Washington DC. This annual event is a fundraiser for the organizations programming in DC, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, where they teach kids in underserved communities cooking and healthy living skills. Perfectly plated by DC’s finest culinary disciples, Lifeway Pomegranate and Original Frozen Kefir was a hit!

To recreate these perfect probiotic bites at home, grab a pint of Lifeway Frozen Kefir at your local grocer, scoop, and top with chocolate chips, blueberries, and popped quinoa. The quinoa is a fun, crunchy topping that’s healthy too! Just toss a spoonful of quinoa in a pan over medium high heat and give the pan a gentle shake while the seeds pop like tiny popcorn kernels. Check out popped quinoa tutorial for tips. They won’t expand as much as regular popcorn, but they will certainly give your kefir sundae a good crackle!

Feeling a little (coco)nutty?

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/24/2014 11:23 AM


Wonder Woman, Batman, The Hulk and Captain America have some competition; a new superhero who goes by the name of Coconut Oil Man.

Honestly, is there anything coconut oil can’t do? A fantastical new health claim pops up every day, with fans claiming the liquid gold can do everything from sooth skin to shed weight to whiten teeth.

Smile brightening: Oil pulling is the hottest trend to hit mouths since Miley Cyrus’ tongue got its own Twitter account. According to the ancient practice, you swish coconut type of oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes a day, with the goal of whitening your teeth and preventing bad breath. Just be sure not to spit it out in your sink; the oil will harden and could clog your pipes.

Tasty baked goods: Coconut oil is extremely heat stable, meaning it tolerates high temperatures well. Use it to stir fry Asian veggies, in fragrant Indian curries, or as a substitute for butter or shortening in muffins, brownies or scones. Beware: It’s solid at room temperature, so you’ll need to melt it down first (you can just set the jar in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.) Or leave it as a solid and…

Supple skin: …rub it on your elbows, knees and heels to soften your skin. You can also add a few spoonfuls to a hot bath, or smooth a tiny amount over your hair to ease frizz. 

Weight loss: Coconut oil has long been on nutritionists’ hit lists, thanks to its higher amounts of saturated fat. But the types of triglycerides it contains are metabolized differently in the body from other saturated fats; they’re typically used for energy rather than stored as fat. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that women who ate four teaspoons of purified Medium Chain Triglyceride oil (the type of fat found in high concentrations in coconut oil) daily for four months lost twice as much weight as those eating the same amount of olive oil. In fact, Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr has revealed that she consumes four tablespoons of coconut oil every day.

Coconut oil too…oily for you? Lifewat kefir makes a tasty lowfat Coconut Chia Kefir and Tart and Tangy Frozen Coconut Kefir Bars. Feel free to swish. 

Mango Açai Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/24/2014 7:37 AM
 mango acai kefir smoothie lifeway

There may be dozens of ways to say “kefir,” but there is only one açai (and that’s, ah-sigh-EE)! Some people call açai fruit a berry, but it’s really a drupe, a “stone fruit” of sorts, with a pit in the middle and fleshy fruit on the outside like a cherry, nectarine or even an olive. They are eaten in both savory and sweet applications in the Amazon and are renowned for being very high in antioxidants.

You can find açai pulp in the freezer section of any good health food store or ethnic grocer. It is sold pre-sweetened and packaged in individual plastic pouches for measuring convenience. The purple pulp will stain everything, including your teeth and countertops, so be swift and deliberate in your smoothie making movements. Not great for business meetings, but a perfect refreshing start to a day at the beach, even if you’re not in Brazil!

Mango Açai Kefir Smoothie

½ ripe mango, cut into pieces

3.5 oz frozen açai

1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Mango Kefir

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Serves 1

Freeze your greens and other Smoothie Prep

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/23/2014 3:37 AM

Lifeway smoothie prep greens

Stretch the life of your baby spinach by freezing the leaves raw in a plastic bag or put cooked spinach into an ice cube tray. Kale, chard, or collards can also be frozen.

Preserve your herbs

Ice cubes with a few herbs in the middle add a refreshing kick to your drinks. Try mint, basil, tarragon or parsley for a savory twist.

Ice your tea

Brew your favorite caffeinated or decaf tea or herbal blend and pour into an ice cube tray for extra flavor and energy in your smoothie!

Go bananas

Follow the Bluth Family Motto, “There’s always money in the banana stand” and keep a few frozen bananas on hand at all times. It’s a great way to save bananas before they cross over to the land of overripeness, just make sure to peel them before you put them in the freezer.

Pre-portion

Add a couple berries, half a banana, and a handful of greens to a plastic sandwich bag and freeze individual “smoothie packs” to have on hand for busy days. Mix it up with whatever you have on hand or whatever is in season!

Lunch box double duty

You can blend a kefir smoothie and freeze in a reusable plastic bottle. Toss one in your kids’ lunch boxes and they work as a freezer pack during the morning, and a delicious slushie at lunch!

How we reached the equivalant of 44,034 seedlings of love for Mother Earth

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/22/2014 11:35 AM

lifeway earth day

In honor of Earth Day, we invited Amy Haddon, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Renewable Choice Energy to author this guest post. We are pleased to work with Renewable Choice Energy to get our company a little more green and spread the word on how Renewable Energy Credits help make the world a better place.


For the past eight years, Lifeway Foods has purchased renewable energy from our team at Renewable Choice Energy.  This partnership has enabled Lifeway to continue its longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility.

But just how does this partnership work?  Lifeway buys what are known as renewable energy credits, or RECs, from Renewable Choice to offset the environmental impact of its purchased electricity.  Lifeway purchases enough RECs to offset 100% of the electricity used to produce its products, an ambitious commitment that helps the company avoid over 3.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution annually.  This reduction has the same impact as planting 44,034 tree seedlings and growing them for ten years, or removing 362 cars from the road for a full year.

RECs are how green power is tracked and traded in North America.  While businesses are implementing onsite renewable energy production in increasing numbers, it is still cost- and operationally-prohibitive for many companies to do so.  The alternative is to purchase RECs, which are produced at the same time clean energy is in a one-to-one ratio.  While the clean energy itself gets blended into the power mix that we call the “grid,” along with electricity from carbon-based sources like coal and natural gas, the RECs become a tradable commodity that represent the environmental benefits of the clean energy produced.  RECs are the standard and accepted way for companies without onsite clean energy options to help neutralize their carbon footprint, and are recognized (and used) by environmental agencies, including the U.S. EPA.

Because Lifeway purchases RECs to offset 100% of its grid electricity consumption, the company can make the claim that it is 100% wind powered.  The RECs that are purchased by Lifeway are tracked, certified, and retired by Green-e® Energy, the leading renewable energy certifier in the U.S., which ensures that no other company can claim the environmental benefits attached to Lifeway’s RECs.

Purchasing RECs also helps to stimulate the development of a vital clean energy industry.  The use of RECs provides financial feasibility for renewable energy facilities and their development.  Voluntary purchasers like Lifeway have helped to significantly grow U.S. renewable energy in the past decade, keeping energy production here in the U.S., promoting job growth, and helping to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and ecosystem degradation.

Alongside its green power purchase, Lifeway has undertaken additional steps as a leader in voluntary environmental action, including the use of local ingredients and biodegradable or recyclable packaging materials, both of which further contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions.  

We’ve been a proud partner of Lifeway Foods and look forward to continuing to work together toward solutions for a cleaner, more sustainable environment.  Happy Earth Day from all of us at Renewable Choice!

You can read more about the partnership between Renewable Choice and Lifeway here.

Dear Kefir: Stay smooth! Have a great summer! XOXO – Pectin

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/21/2014 8:00 AM

lifeway kefir pectin

When it comes to our fans, there’s room for everyone in the Lifeway family. But when it comes to the ingredients we use in our kefir, Lifeway is pretty picky. Our milk is crème de la crème of the Midwest, our flavorings and colorings our all-natural, our cultures are live & active & abundant, and our sweetener is a minimally processed cane sugar. We’ve recently added a pinch of pectin, a natural stabilizer, to the mix to keep things smooth throughout the seasons, so we thought a quick spotlight on pectin was in order for our fans.

With our commitment to keeping things natural and unprocessed, comes some natural variation in our non-homogenized milk, and in turn our kefir, as the seasons change. In the summer, cows in our Midwest region eat more fresh grass which adds more water to their diet and results in thinner milk and thinner kefir. In the winter, the extra thick milk can lead to extra kefir lumps.

This can be upsetting. Kefir is supposed to be thick, luscious, creamy, and smooth! You let us know on Facebook, Twitter, via email, on the phone, and with one sky written message over Lake Michigan, and we listened. We went on a mission to find a natural way to make kefir thick and delicious all year round. In came pectin to save the day!

The pectin in our kefir is a flavorless fiber derived from citrus fruits, added in a very small amount that doesn’t affect the nutritional profile. It will help to stabilize the kefir to avoid major lumping (but will still leave a few lumps for good measure), and thicken it a little when the consistency of our milk supply fluctuates. 

We think you will notice a pleasant upgrade in the quality and texture of our signature drink and hope that you are enjoying this little tweak to our formula as much as we are!

Just remember, you’re not off the hook when it comes to shaking! The milk solids and pectin may settle at the bottom and a vigorous shake will keep your kefir and your biceps in great shape.

So fresh and so green, green

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/17/2014 7:30 AM

Lifeway Probugs fresh and green

With Earth Day 
dawning on April 22, people everywhere will be celebrating the awesome power of one big bad mother: Mother Earth. We’re big fans of ME here at Lifeway – that’s why we package our kefir in BPA-free bottles made from recycled materials, the labels on our bottles are treated with EcoPure (an additive that allows the label to break down in compost) and our Starfruit frozen kefir stores use biodegradable utensils and unbleached, 100% recycled napkins.

If Mother Nature cooperates, the weather will be nice and sunny on her birthday, offering families the chance to head outdoors and turn Earth Day into a fun learning activity. Check out some of these ideas for celebrating with everyone’s favorite planet: 

Read outside: Grab a picnic blanket and some books and read to or with your kids with the sun shining on your backs.

Take a (family) hike: Make everyones you’ve got sunscreen, hats and snacks (ProBugs, maybe?) and visit some local trails, a nearby wooded park, or, if you’re a city-dweller, attempt an urban hike and explore a new part of your hometown.

Paint on rocks: Some darker types of cement and stone turn dark when wet, which lends itself to this cool kind of “painting.” All you need are paintbrushes and water. Be sure to snap a pic before the artwork disappears! (Source)

Visit a local recycling plant, the start recyling:
If your family still lives in the dinosaur age and hasn’t started recycling, now is the perfect time. Visit a local plant for inspiration, then set up bins at home, clearly labeled “Plastic,” “Paper” and “Aluminum.” They’ll enjoy sorting through their garbage, knowing it will be reborn as something special.

Make it a Disney adventure: Rent the Disney adventure, Earth, and host a screening for all the neighborhood kids. (Parents will love this “epic story of adventure, starring some of the most magnificent and courageous creatures alive,” too.)

 

Strawberry Kiwi Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/11/2014 10:42 AM

Things are getting a little greener in Lifeway world. Our offices in Illinois are finally seeing some spring flowers emerge from the ground after a long winter. Our new Cucumber Veggie Kefir is getting rave reviews from green fiends across the nation.

We thought we’d celebrate with a green smoothie in a classic warm weather flavor. Strawberry Kiwi is one of our favorite classic combos and it’s not just for Gushers anymore! Our ProBugs Blast come in an awesome Strawberry Kiwi Comet flavor that you can use as a base for this smoothie for an extra kick of flavor. For an extra dose of green goodness, fresh spinach gives this smoothie a boost of antioxidants, fiber, and a bright springy hue!

Lifeway Kefir Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie

Strawberry Kiwi Spinach Smoothie

1 cup Lifeway Organic Lowfat Plain Kefir

1 kiwi

3 strawberries

½ cup fresh spinach

1 tablespoon honey

4 ice cubes

Cut the kiwi in half and scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a blender. Remove the tops from the strawberries and add the berries to the blender. Add kefir, spinach, and honey and blend until smooth. Add ice and blend a few seconds more.

Serves 1

Spring clean your belly!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/9/2014 11:02 AM

lifeway kefir spring cleaning

Your kitchen cupboard wasn’t the only thing growing dust bunnies this past winter. All that time spent curled up on the couch, indulging in comfort food while donning elastic waist sweatpants catches up with you, and come Springtime, your gut could use a good cleaning out.  We’re not promoting extreme “cleaning” methods, like colonics or juice fasts, but more gentle, sustainable clean-up efforts.

Spring cleaning tool #1? Probiotics. These good bacteria keep things smoothly moving through your GI tract (think of gunky winter snow melting in the April sun, rather than creating a muddy eyesore on the side of the road.)

Some other here-comes-the-sun clean-up methods, gathered from around the web:

Go green: "Raw, steamed, sautéed , chopped, shredded—no matter how you eat them, they have lots of nutrients that will help make your skin glow, rid your body of toxins, and rev up your immune system," says board-certified health coach Arielle Fierman. "They're loaded with fiber and phytonutrients to help your organs do their best work. My favorites include frozen spinach blended in a smoothie for breakfast, hummus and veggies wrapped in a collard greens for lunch, and kale sautéed with coconut oil and sea salt as a side dish for dinner." - Glamour.com

Get your sweat on: "Choose an exercise that you love—dance, stretch class, biking, swimming—and do it just for 20 to 30 minutes per day,” Fierman suggests. “Sign up for a group class or pre-pay so you don’t have an excuse not to go. Pack your workout clothes with you when you go to work—or better yet, wear your workout tank under a cute blazer and you'll be half ready to hit the gym later on." - Glamour.com

Try meatless Mondays: Some health experts believe that meat and dairy products create an acidic environment within the body, paving the way to disease. Vegetables are considered more alkalinizing: Try plant-based foods like leafy greens, broccoli and asparagus. - Care2.com

Head outside: According to naturopathic physician Kim McQueen, “Sunlight converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D. It’s difficult to get enough of the right sun exposure (especially in the winter) to provide the body with adequate vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and best consumed as supplements or through foods like eggs, salmon and soy.” - Huffington Post

 

From Sea to Kefir Sea

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/4/2014 3:21 PM

Lifeway recently debuted its frozen kefir across the Atlantic in the UK, and our new international kick is extending beyond the freezer aisle – we sponsored Girl Up London, a UK charity event, and are hosting a Russian mentee in Fortune Magazine, Vital Voices, and the US State Department’s mentorship program for global entrepreneurs.

girl up uk frozen kefir lifeway

girl up uk frozen kefir lifeway

Girl Up London was a big success! The voices of women refugees from Ethiopia were loud and clear, raising awareness for the difficult issues women face in tragic political circumstances. Our CEO Julie Smolyansky met with  Mr. Ziauddin Yousafzai who refused to clip his daughter Malala’s wings and allowed her to protest the Taliban for girls’ rights to education. Other women came to support the Girl Up cause and enjoy a scoop of Lifeway Frozen Kefir, like Disney’s High School Musical star Monique Coleman.

zhanna sharipova lifeway

zhanna sharipova lifeway 2

Back at Lifeway headquarters in weird, wonderful Niles, IL, we are hosting Zhanna Sharipova, a marketing professional from Moscow who came to the US for a little business entrepreneurship inspiration exchange with our CEO Julie Smolyansky and her team. Kicking off her two week stay with a cocktail party in downtown Chicago, Ms. Sharipova is touring all of Lifeway’s kefir-riffic facilities and even squeezing in a little fun, like the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field Opening Day  baseball game!

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