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.
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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 plainkefir 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 fot? Go hit the pavement for a nice run and afterward, reward yourself - and your muscles - with a tall, cold glass of kefir!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/16/2013 10:59 AM
This month's issue of Family Circle magazine features a story on diabetes-fighting foods, and we were psyched (but not surprised) to see kefir listed among their top 10. Many people know that salmon and kale are ridiculously good foods for preventing all sorts of ills, but not too many are aware that creamy, tangy kefir has a place in thwarting diabetes.
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/24/2013 7:43 PM
This afternoon, Lifeway's CEO Julie Smolyansky participated in the Social Good Summit's panel discussion, "Refocus Wellness: How Shifting the Basics Can Change the Course of Global Health." Her panel, along with many more on a myriad of social change-related topics, are all posted online for viewing at your convenience.
As an advocate of probiotic foods like kefir, Julie's healthcare lens focused on getting people set up for health success before they get sick. She noted that "we don't have a healthcare system, we have a 'sick-care' system." Rather than waiting for health problems to become unmanageable, kefir and other probiotic foods can enhance our health rather than damage it like a lot of processed, less wholesome foods that make their way into our diets today.
To sum it up, our CEO quoted famous nutritionist and whole foods advocate Ann Wigmore - "Food is either the best medicine or the slowest form of poison." The kefir we make at Lifeway certainly doesn't fall into the latter category.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/23/2013 7:37 AM
You can’t open a magazine or click on the TV these days without coming across a story touting the benefits of probiotics. They’re everywhere, and they’re here to stay. We’ve long appreciated the many ways a daily dose of probiotics make us feel, from head to tow, tummy to tush. But it is indeed gratifying to watch the world starting to sit up and take notice. We’ve collected an assortment of stories for you to peruse; grab a glass of your favorite probiotics-boosted kefir and start scrolling…
Probiotics and…psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Probiotics and…stress-induced tummy trouble.
Probiotics and…diarrhea caused by antibiotics.
Probiotics and…cavity-free teeth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/3/2013 7:25 AM
We recently read an incredible story on TheVerge.com which told the story of Mary. A teenage girl struggling with ADHD and severe OCD, Mary’s parents had taken her to multiple doctors and clinics, trying to alleviate her suffering. Medication wasn’t helping, and the whole family was feeling hopeless.
Then they met James Greenblatt, a Waltham, MA-based psychiatrist who believes that the future of psychiatry may lie inside our stomachs. After inquiring about Mary’s digestive wellness (it turns out she struggled with constipation, diarrhea, and everything in between), Dr. Greenblatt prescribed a twice-daily regimen of probiotics (the “good bacteria” found in kefir, yogurt and other fermented foods) along with psychotherapy and medication. “The change in Mary was nothing short of miraculous,” the writer describes. “[w]ithin six months, her symptoms had greatly diminished. One year after the probiotic prescription, there was no sign that Mary had ever been ill.”
As Greenblatt explains, “The gut is really your second brain. There are more neurons in the GI tract than anywhere else except the brain.”
Anyone who has ever felt butterflies in their stomach before a big speech or has lost their appetite during a breakup has experienced firsthand the link between the brain and the belly. But emerging research is suggesting that it’s not just our thoughts influencing our gut: the communication works the other way around, too.
A 2011 Canadian study looked at the behaviors of eight-week-old mice – some who had had their GI tracts stripped of bacteria, and some who had not. The bug-free mice were more stressed according to multiple scientific criteria, including higher levels of risk-taking and higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Future research out of the same university showed that when scientists swapped transplanted microbes from shy mice into the guts of risk-taking mice, the outgoing mice became timid.
Read more here…
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/29/2013 8:00 AM
At Lifeway, we of course wouldn’t consider our kids’ lunch complete without a delicious kefir to go like ProBugs pouches or new ProBugs Blast (available at SuperTarget!), but since kefir is only part of a balanced meal, we thought we’d share some tips on how we pack the nutrition into every corner of our kids’ midday meals.
Make some noise
Crunchy snacks are popular for a reason. Hearing that crunch sends a signal of satisfying hunger to the brain, but you don’t need fried potato chips to make it happen. Fresh snap peas, baked crackers or brown rice crisps will give a sack lunch some satisfying texture along with filling fiber and essential nutrients. Our Crunchy Kale Chips are another great munchie for lunchies!
Keep it cool
The environment and your kids will thank you for keeping their lunch cool with a reusable, insulated lunch box. Instead of tossing in an average ice pack, give your kids an icy treat that will double as a refreshing treat. Blend Lifeway Kefir and fresh, seasonal fruit into a smoothie and freeze in a small plastic bottle. At lunch they’ll find a slushy treat along with their fresh, chilled meal. Check out our smoothie recipe below!
Get your kids to help
Skip supermarket treats that can be full of artificial ingredients and unhealthy additives and get your kids cooking. Use wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour to make muffins. Or have your kids pick their favorite veggies to make lunchbox friendly veggie sushi with brown rice and nutrient rich nori. Kids deserve something sweet, too! Homemade cookies can be packed with dried fruits and nuts instead of hydrogenated oils and refined sweeteners. Letting your kids have a hand at what goes in their lunch will make trying healthy new things easier. This Pumpkin Muffin recipe is a healthy one that kids can help with!
Add a little culture
Multicultural menus are a great way to add variety that keeps lunch interesting and provides diverse nutrients. Spanish tortilla is packed with protein rich eggs, and fried rice can be a great vehicle for your kids’ favorite veggies. Even Lifeway Kefir brings some Old World tradition to the table. Kefir originated over 2,000 years ago in the Caucuses Mountains and the Lifeway brand was founded by the Smolyansky Family shortly after their move from Russia to the United States!
Lunchbox Confetti Slushie
2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
2 kiwis, peeled and cut up
2 apricots, washed and cut up
1 nectartine, washed and cut up
Blend all ingredients together and pour into 4 8 oz plastic containers with lids. Freeze overnight and add one to your kids lunch to keep their lunch fresh and your little one refreshed with a lunchtime slushie! Leaving the skin on the fruit adds lots of vitamins and fun, colorful confetti to the smoothie!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/19/2013 11:53 AM
If you’ve ever had butterflies in your stomach, or found yourself doubled over in the bathroom before a major event, you know firsthand that the brain sends signals to the gut.
But up until now, researchers haven’t been able to prove that the opposite is true - that the GI system sends signals to the brain, as well. The theory was suspected but had only been proven in animal studies.
But thanks to a brand new UCLA study
, there is now evidence that when bacteria is ingested in food in the form of probiotics, it can favorable impact brain function. The research, which appears online in the journal Gastroenterology
, could pave the way toward treating brain disorders with food or dietary approaches.
Study lead author Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, an associate professor of medicine in the digestive diseases division at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says their findings indicate that probiotics “may actually change the way our brain responds to the environment. When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings 'you are what you eat' and 'gut feelings' take on new meaning.”
Other researchers are investigating the potential of certain probiotics to lessen mood symptoms such as anxiety. UCLA says that as more and more research emerges linking GI function to the brain, we may find probiotic approaches to treating chronic pain conditions, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and autism.
Some other proof of the two-way street that exists between the gut and the brain:
Probiotic bacteria may one day be the new Prozac
: Mice who were fed Lactobacillus rhamnosus
JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviors than those fed with broth.
More than 90% of children with autism spectrum disorders suffer from chronic, severe GI symptoms, such as diarrhea. In fact, Canadian researchers have developed a vaccine for gut bacteria common in autistic children which might help control certain autism symptoms.
Emotional stress alters the balance of bacteria that live in the gut, reducing immune function, according to research
in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/6/2013 12:11 PM
Writer Sunny Sea Gold, the former health editor at both Seventeen and Glamour magazines and the daughter of hippies, is no stranger to probiotics. “I grew up in a very health conscious household,” she recalls. “We were vegetarians for a few years, and when I’d get sick, we didn’t go to the drugstore; instead, out came the Acidophilus bottle and I drank kefir and yogurt.”
So when the editors of O: The Oprah Magazine approached Gold with the idea to write a story about the Human Microbiome Project – and the opportunity to have the bacteria in her body identified and mapped – she jumped on it. After all, our microbiome is our unique organism fingerprint; the result of the 10,000 or so species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi we have living inside of us at any given time. Thoughts like that might skeeve most people out, but when you were raised in a family where “good bugs” were a favorite snack and not the well-trained fleas residing in your dog’s fur, it’s no big deal.
And so Gold found herself locked in her bathroom with some latex gloves and two swabs; one of which she rubbed inside her cheeks and the other which she - TMI alert - swiped across a sample of her poop. The swabs were mailed in to the folks at uBiome, a biotech startup that sequences the bacteria living inside a person's body. “Microbiome research [is an] an emerging field that's investigating how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health,” Gold writes in her story, A Few Good Bugs: The Surprising Health Benefits of Bacteria. “The potential for far-reaching medical change is high—what scientists find could revolutionize how we fight infection and treat or prevent everything from obesity to cancer.”
In return for her swabs, Gold learned what percentage of her bugs fell into four basic categories of bacteria, including firmicutes and proteobacteria. Based on available evidence, the uBiome scientists believed that her levels appeared to be within a healthy range. (Oodles of firmicutes may be linked with inflammatory conditions like heart disease; elevated proteobacteria levels may be a predictor of type 2 diabetes.)
To read more about what Gold learned, and to see how science is taking advantage of our natural bacterial potential (poop transplants, anyone?), visit Oprah.com and read Gold’s piece. And follow her @SunnySeaGold.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/3/2013 11:46 AM
This weekend, we took part in two exercise-centric events. We are proud to support the AIDS Walk and 5K Run in Boston and the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. It was great to see everyone staying active and we were happy to add some active kefir cultures to the events!
You’ve heard us tout the health benefits of drinking kefir and we think our product packs a pretty solid nutritional punch. But if there is one ingredient we wish we could fit in every serving it would be exercise! The benefits of staying active go hand in hand with many of kefir’s health boosting powers.
Everyone knows that exercise helps you lose weight and lowfat kefir is a great food to incorporate into a weight loss plan, too. Staying at a healthy weight isn’t just about looking good (though it’s not a terrible side effect!), but also feeling good, staying energized and lowering your risk for diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Balancing digestion is another major benefit of drinking probiotic-packed kefir. When antibiotics, alcohol or poor diet lead to an imbalance in your body’s process of digestion, the helpful bacteria help reset your system. Staying physically active can also keep your digestive system running at an even pace. While not recommended on a full stomach, light exercise can keep gastrointestinal problems like constipation and heartburn at bay.
Health practitioners like Dr. Oz list kefir as a top anxiety fighting food. Exercise is also known to boost your mood and fight anxiety and depression. Both solutions trigger the release of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters that help you relax and fight off the blues.