By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/15/2014 7:04 AM
With Halloween right around the corner, there’s no better time to get familiar with the scariest-looking health food ingredient trending right now: the SCOBY.
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, and it’s basically a congealed blob of – you guessed it – bacteria and yeast which, when introduced to a mixture of black tea and sugar, ferment it, resulting in the uber-popular drink known as kombucha.
Funky-smelling, cloudy, and flying off store shelves everywhere, kombucha tea delivers a dose of healthy bacteria just like kefir does. It also contains vinegar (lending it that characteristic, pungent smell), B vitamins and several other compounds that fans claim can do everything from ease tummy troubles to boost immunity. While the science behind kombucha’s health claims isn’t rock solid yet, bottles selling out everywhere and plenty of proponents swear by what NPR describes as a taste “somewhere between vinegar soda and carbonated apple cider.”
We called up Renee Renz, a Chicago-area board certified holistic nutrition practitioner who leads the Greater Chicago Area Whole Foods Nutrition Meet Up Group, to ask her some kombucha questions. Renz, herself a fan of drinking kombucha as a means of “getting all your good creatures,” pointed out that there’s a brew for everyone. If you prefer a less-sweet taste, go for a longer-brewed bottle; if sweet is your thing, reach for a kombucha flavored with ginger, strawberry, blood orange, lemon-lime or any other of the dozens of flavors available.
One of Renz’s favorite beginner tips: If you find the taste of kombucha too potent or strong, try diluting it with still or sparkling water. Not only will this mellow the flavor, but it will extend the amount of kombucha bang you get for your buck.
If dressing up like a slimy pancake doesn’t sound appealing, you can always masquerade as one of the many celebrity kombucha fans, like Lindsay Lohan, Gwenyth Paltrow or Madonna. As for us, we’re debating between Polly ProBug
and a life-size tub of Farmer Cheese
. Trick or treat!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/6/2014 8:37 AM
Chelsea Clinton just welcomed her first child, Charlotte, into the world, and we’re guessing this initial week has been a blur of sleepless nights, dirty diapers and happy hearts. If she’s like most new moms, the former First Daughter is so busy with her bundle that she barely has had time to sit down to a meal. But mothers need fuel to get through those long days and even longer evenings, plus a little nutritious TLC to help with some common postpartum glitches. We would like to enter our kefir into the running for First Snack. Here’s why:
Thirst Quenching Hydration
Nursing mothers lose water when they feed their little ones, so keeping hydrated is key not only to maintaining milk supply but also avoiding annoying symptoms like headaches, dry mouth and even more fatigue that usual. Compared ounce for ounce with water, kefir counts towards your daily liquid needs but in flavors like Coconut Chia, Pomegranate-Açaí and Strawberries and Cream, it tastes so much better.
Protein for Late Night Stamina
With 11 grams of protein per serving, kefir can help keep you going when the baby is hollering and you’ve just pulled out the last wipe.
Grab and Go Convenience
Go ahead, skip the glass. Baby shouldn’t be the only one who gets to drink straight from the bottle.
Calcium for Breastfeeding Mamas
Studies show that mothers typically lose three to five percent of their bone mass during breastfeeding. Don’t worry: It’s usually recovered after weaning. But to keep your stores up, kefir’s a solid choice, fulfilling 30 percent of your daily needs in just one cup.
Immune-Boosting for Run-down Parents
Good bye, sleepy weekends and leisurely brunches! The chronic lack of sleep experienced by new parents is bound to run down their immunity. The healthy bacteria in kefir may offer a layer of protection, helping the body fight off viruses.
Fun fact: Did you know that babies born vaginally pick up all sorts of healthy probiotics during their voyage down the birth canal? These happy bugs go on to help form a solid bacterial base in the GI tract, prepping baby for everything from easier milk digestion to enhanced immunity.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/14/2014 9:37 AM
We’ve covered the connection between probiotic food and mood on our blog before. A diet heavy in probiotics has been linked to decreased depression and anxiety, and we’re finding that a great deal of neurological activity happens in our digestive tract. We’ve had a gut feeling about that all along!
Another age old connection between what we eat and how we feel has recently gotten a fresh round of publicity – acting like a jerk when you’re hungry. This feeling has a fancy new name, “hangry,” allowing short tempered dieters and snack-less Sallys to excuse their bratty behavior easier than ever before.
Renowned researchers are even digging deeper into the connection between attitude and satiety. The “myth-buster” of the social science world, Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, published research linking low blood sugar (a measure of hunger) to increased anger toward a person’s spouse. His study was conducted by having participants measure their blood sugar and stick pins into a voodoo doll representing their spouse before bed. Perhaps dolls made out of Lifeway Kefir bottles? We may never know. We do know that participants with lower blood sugar got after those dolls with statistically significant more zeal. Is being hangry a real excuse for acting like a jerk? Verdict: confirmed!
Luckily, there is a solution – don’t let yourself get so hungry. Lifeway Kefir will give your neurons a little more fuel to function at top capacity and the protein will keep your energy level from crashing later on.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/9/2014 11:02 AM
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
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/7/2014 1:37 AM
Looking for new ways to get your daily dose of immunity-building probiotics?
Lifeway has developed three new varieties of kefir that deliver a trio of fresh choices for drinking to your health. The new stevia-sweetened, oat-enriched and veggie kefirs will be released this spring in 10 fun flavors – the better to start your day, have a guilt-free snack, or add a probiotic boost to any meal.
The latest additions to Lifeway’s collection of kefir products will be previewed at Booth #3448 at the Natural Products Expo West trade show the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, March 6-9 and hitting store shelves later this year!
If you can’t wait to try a delectable new kefir treat, look out for Lifeway Frozen Kefir in pints (Original, Mango, Strawberry, and Pomegranate) and bars (Vanilla, Pear, Coconut, and Raspberry Green Tea) in your grocer’s freezer section! They offer all the tart and tangy probiotic goodness of our smoothies and are fabulously frozen!
Better yet, if you’re headed to SXSW, grab a cool frozen kefir bar from a friendly Lifeway rep, before they get too hot. We’ll be set up at the event for you to get your probiotic fix!
Read on for details on our newest kefir varieties!
· Lifeway Perfect 12 Kefir sweetened with stevia – a perfect combination of 12 probiotic cultures, 12 grams of carbs, and all-natural sweetening with no-calorie stevia leaf extract and no added sugar. The line features the distinctive tart and tangy taste of kefir, 110 calories per serving, and four flavors inspired by dessert favorites: Orange Cream, Apple Pear Cobbler, Triple Berry Tart and Key Lime Pie. Available in 32 oz bottles.
· Lifeway Kefir with Oats – a fiber bonanza featuring 1.5 grams of soluble oat powder that packs the nutritional punch of oatmeal – without the cooking! With a smooth texture and a hint of oat flavor plus 11 grams of complete protein, this ”oat kefir” offers a choice of breakfast-friendly Blueberry Maple, Apple Cinnamon and Vanilla Plum flavors for a complete on-the-go breakfast or a great midday pick-me-up. Available in 8 oz individual bottles and four-packs.
· Lifeway Veggie Kefir– a savory blend of vegetable juices and kefir that lets you drink your probiotics and your veggies at the same time. This new superfood delivers one full serving of vegetables as well as the full nutritional kick of kefir in every 8 oz glass and comes in Tomato, Cucumber and Beet varieties that burst with garden-fresh flavor – no sugar or salt added. Available in 8 oz individual bottles and four-packs.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 2/11/2014 10:37 AM
As Lifeway headed to New York Fashion Week this week we were sure to freshen up our look, but before we let a drop of lip gloss touch our face, we started with a glowing foundation of smooth, balanced skin.
Lifeway fans hear a lot about the microbiome that resides in the gut, but there are peaceful, non-pathogenic bacteria that live elsewhere on the human body, including the skin. Antibacterial products, harsh soaps and even harsh winters can alter the balance of microbes on the skin, making it susceptible to a range of irritations. It’s no wonder generations of kefir fans have been applying the probiotic wonderfood topically to exfoliate, hydrate and re-balance delicate facial skin.
Like many folk remedies, kefir as skin cream has a modern scientific explanation. It contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (an ingredient found in many commercial skin care products) in the form of lactic acid. It rejuvenates the skin by breaking down the lipids that hold skin cells together, allowing older cells to slough off and young, radiant skin to shine through.
We put together this seasonal concoction to help us through the rough winter, our hometown of Chicago’s coldest in 30 years! It’s very moisturizing for dry skin and doesn’t require an extra trip to the grocery store – all the ingredients can be found in most every kitchen. And if you’re looking to rejuvenate in Chicago, check out our CEO Julie Smolyansky’s list of favorite places to refresh in the city during the cold winter months on Racked.
Moisturizing Kefir Facial Mask
2 tablespoons Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg yolk
Mix all the ingredients and spread a thin layer onto clean skin. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Splash a little cold water over the skin to close up the pores. Moisturize as usual.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 1/30/2014 11:53 AM
When Michael Phelps won an incredible eight
gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, people started paying attention to everything from his 12-pack abs to what he ate for breakfast (he was rumored to throw back 12,000 calories a day; a myth he later debunked.) With the 2014 winter Olympics fast approaching, athletes are no doubt searching for the most effective foods to complement their rigorous training schedules.
Read More »
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 1/27/2014 8:52 AM
A new year brought several new scientific studies on the effects of probiotics to the mainstream media. Both look at the effects of gut bacteria on health, but their subjects span from babies to bubbies.
While Twitter was abuzz last week about a crying baby at the fine dining establishment Alinea, researchers in Italy published a study showing that giving probiotics to newborns can decrease episodes of colic (crying), constipation, and regurgitation. Maybe the Alinea baby forgot to pack his Lifeway ProBugs? Whether you’re dining out or just trying to catch a little shuteye, a colicky baby is never any fun and new ways to calm the tears are likely worth a try.
On the other end of the age spectrum, the Buck Institute for Research on Aging published a study looking at the immune response to an overload of gut bacteria in aging flies and discovered that managing the bacterial balance will alter the immune response to prolong the lifespan of the flies. Considering the intestinal immune response’s association with diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and cancer, this study has the potential to spawn more research, possibly developing new treatments that could increase longevity in human populations.
Thankfully, probiotic Lifeway Kefir is fun for all ages, with sippable ProBugs pouches for little ones and heart healthy BioKefir shots for cardio conscious adults. Our 12 live and active cultures love your guts, and this new research suggests life is a little better when your guts love you!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 12/5/2013 9:29 PM
It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re wide awake, hacking and snorting from your annoying, disgusting December cold. You can’t sleep because every time you drift off, you choke; you can’t get comfortable because your mouth is so Sahara-dry, you might as well use it as a pantry to store flour and brown sugar.
Read More »
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/28/2013 8:24 PM
We recently received the following letter from a hard-working customer:
To whom it may concern,
I have started drinking Kefir for my health and absolutely love it. As I am trying to stick to a strict whole foods diet I only drink the plain and have found it is not only delicious but extremely nutritious. I have one question: as one of the rages right now is to drink chocolate milk after a workout (i.e. the carbs and protein are utilized to help post-workout stress) one thing I have started to do is drink Kefir after my workouts instead of chocolate milk as a post-work out replenishment drink. I do this because of the higher protein content and that it is a 50/50 mix of carbohydrates to protein. And as it is similar to whey protein (but unprocessed) I assume that it is as quickly digested. And that is my question, is there any information available that would help back up my assumption? Or anything that would show the benefits of Kefir as a post-workout replenishment drink? Anything would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you from one satisfied customer,
Well, R, we're glad you wrote!
The reason chocolate milk has been touted for its potential in workout recovery is, as R notes, its mix of protein and carbs - both essential for helping your muscles heal and your body regenerate. Lowfat chocolate milk boasts an ideal 4:1 carbohydrate:protein ratio, which is similar to many commercial recovery beverages. It also has sodium and is a fluid, both of which are known to assist in post-workout recovery.
We asked San Diego-based exercise physiologist Pete McCall for his take on substituting choco milk with kefir and he confirms that yes, drinking plain kefir offers very similar recovery benefits as chocolate milk. McCall points out that, as our customer mentioned, plain lowfat kefir has a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. McCall also likes kefir as a workout recovery drink because it’s “relatively easy on the stomach due to the probiotics, and has carbs for energy replacement.”
So what are you waiting for? Go hit the pavement for a nice run and afterward, reward yourself - and your muscles - with a tall, cold glass of kefir!