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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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Demented Fermenters - Contest!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 2/4/2014 9:18 AM

When we read a story in a recent Saturday Evening Post about a foodie movement made up of passionate probiotic fans who call themselves the "Demented Fermenters," we had to hear more. Also profiled in the story was natural foods pioneer Sally Fallon Morell, the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

In her book, Fallon Morell describes her technique for DIY vegetable fermenting that’s so easy, it will turn anyone into a Demented Fermenter. Haven’t dipped your toes into the sauerkraut pool yet? Try her recipe for Ginger Carrots, then go bolder was you cultivate a taste for these pickled treats:

Homemade Ginger Carrots

4 cups grated carrots, tightly packed

1 T freshly grated ginger

1 T sea salt

4 T whey (if whey is not available, use an extra 1 T salt)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl; pound with a wooden pounder of meat hammer to release juices. Place in a quart-sixed, wide-mouth mason jar, pressing down firmly until juices cover the carrots. (The top of the carrots should be at least one inch below the top of the jar.) Screw lid on tightly and leave on kitchen counter at room temperature for three days, then transfer to the refrigerator.

This method can be replicated with cabbage for sauerkraut. (Use one medium cabbage, cored and shredded, plus 1 T caraway seeds.)

Want to try Fallon Morell’s zingy recipes? We are giving away a copy of Nourishing Traditions! To enter the contest, leave a comment below telling us your favorite pickled veggie, or the pickled veggie you’ve always been too scared to try. We’ll notify the winner by Valentine’s Day.

Be an Olympian!

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 »

Hold the Mayo?

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 1/15/2014 1:35 AM

You probably have strong feelings about mayo. Most people either love it or hate it and have a hard time understanding folks in the opposite camp. One thing we may all agree on is that it’s not the healthiest condiment. Whether it’s your favorite indulgence or you haven’t let the stuff touch your lips in decades, you might find a substitute handy as we enter a new year and discover a new you. We’ve gathered some of our favorite mayo alternatives for a side by side comparison on flavor and functionality.

What’s your favorite healthy substitute?

Click here or on the image for a full-size verison.

Lifeway mayo substitutions


Can you fuel up with kefir?

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!


Eating to Beat Diabetes

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.

Read More »

Refocusing on Global Wellness at the Social Good Summit

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/24/2013 7:43 PM

Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky SGS2013

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.

Moo U: Lifeway Milk 101

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/14/2013 11:25 AM

Lifeway’s 12 live & active kefir cultures deserve a lot of credit for creating the delicious, nutritious, probiotic wonder you know and love, but they’re really only half of the equation. Great kefir starts with great milk and Lifeway is dedicated to sourcing some of the best there is. This quick Q&A is here to shed some light on what makes our milk wonderful, why it’s good for you and good for the original “kefir-ization”—fermented milk!

Golden Guernsey cow waukesha
from great cows...

Lifeway Organic Peaches and Cream Kefir
comes great Lifeway Kefir.

1. What animals are we working with?

Lifeway kefir is all made from cow’s milk, but not just any cows! Every farm we source from is located in the Midwest, near our facilities in Illinois, and every animal is of the Guernsey breed. Guernsey cows are known for producing milk that is golden in color, due to a high level of beta carotene, an excellent source of Vitamin A. Their milk is also higher in butterfat and protein than most dairy cows. What makes Guernsey cow particularly special, is a higher prevalence of A2 beta casein protein than any other breed. Most dairy cattle today have the naturally occurring genetic variant, A1 beta casein, which has been studied as a possible cause of several health problems. Soon, Lifeway’s production will be expanding to the recently purchased Golden Guernsey dairy in Wisconsin, famous for their premium milk and fiberglass replica of the majestic Guernsey beast!

2. Is the milk pasteurized?

Yes, the milk is pasteurized before it is inoculated with kefir cultures, insuring that all the bugs are friendly and probiotic. Since many states heavily regulate the sale of raw milk products, Lifeway uses pasteurized milk so kefir fans across the nation can enjoy our product.

3. What do the cows eat?

The cows are fed a grass-based diet. Our milk suppliers have trusted relationships with the small farms that send them milk and supply Lifeway with grass-fed Guernsey milk.  In addition to being a natural, healthy diet for the cows, the feed is GMO free. The Farmer’s Pledge on our bottles tells you we don’t take GMO for an answer—we support GMO labeling by being enrolled in the non GMO project.

4. Are there Growth Hormones in the milk?

Nope! Lifeway does not use milk from cows treated with rBst, rBGH or any other artificial growth hormone.

5. Is the milk organic?

Not all Lifeway kefir is made with organic milk, but we do make lowfat and whole milk organic kefir in several flavors. The organic milk we use also meets every other stringent requirement listed above!

If the Blueberry joined

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/22/2013 10:22 AM

In recognition of
National Blueberry Month, we’ve taken the liberty of writing up an online dating profile for our favorite fruit. Let’s show Blue some love:

Full Name: Vaccinium corymbosum L.

Nickname: Blueberry

Astrological sign: (Anti-) Cancer

Last relationship:Violet Beauregarde, back in 1971. That did not end well.

Body type: Round and pleasingly plump but surprisingly fat free. Smooth skinned. I’ve been called “juicy” before and I didn’t mind one bit.

Kids? Kids love me!

Cause that’s closest to my heart: That’s easy - Every Mother Counts.

Pet peeve: Insects bug me.

Favorite actress: Halle Berry

Favorite childhood toy: Strawberry Shortcake

Willing to relocate? Yes, but only to Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and North Carolina. Those are the states I thrive in.

If I wasn’t a berry, I’d be: A cobbler.

Ideal date: I just want a sweet muffin to grow old with, doing crossword puzzles* and fighting free radicals. Message me and we can meet for a smoothie.

Best way to reach me: Try me on my Blackberry.

* In one study, 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption boosted scores on two different tests of cognitive function, including memory, in older adults.


Ditch your diet soda

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/19/2013 9:37 AM

There’s a reason we don’t make Diet Soda-flavored kefir. Besides being filled with fake chemicals, diet pop cause gassiness and bloating, and has been shown to increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Now we can add another reason to the list: Diet diet soda (or “pop,” as we Midwesterners call it) actually causes you to gain weight.

lifeway kefir takes diet soda down

A brand new study in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism found that the artificial sweeteners in no/low-calorie soft drinks trick your body, making it think it’s getting real sugar. But when your system realizes no calories are coming in, it gets confused and basically forgets how to function normally. The next time you consume real sugar, your body forgets to release the proper hormones that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, and voila…you gain weight. Ain’t nothing “diet” about that.

In fact, other recent research has shown that diet soft drink users have 70% bigger waist circumferences compared with non-drinkers; people who threw back two or more diet sodas a day experienced 500% greater increases! What would Sofia Vergara say about that?! The theory: Super sweet artificial sweeteners trigger the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar. But because no calories are coming in, your blood sugar drops, triggering hunger and sugar cravings…and you wind up eating more.

More incentive to put the can back on the shelf: Caffeine withdrawal is now included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the psychiatric world’s umbrella list of official mental disorders), and many diet sodas contain caffeine. Researchers also now know that mixing diet soda with alcoholic drinks causes you to become about 20% more intoxicated compared to mixing with regular soda, and that can lead to all sorts of trouble. 

Listen carefully: Put down the can and step slowly away from the pop. Instead, grab an 8-oz bottle of kefir. We won’t make you pack on the pounds (in fact, we’ll probably

help you stay at a healthy weight); we fight gassiness and bloating; we won’t get you drunk and we’re only addictive in the best way possible.


We’re nutso for NuttZo!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/23/2013 7:37 AM

When Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi and her husband, Kevin, adopted two young boys from the Ukraine, they were vitamin-deficient, malnourished orphans who weren’t very accepting of new foods  - all they knew how to eat was porridge and they were unable to digest fibrous foods or any animal protein except eggs. Back home in San Diego with her new family, Dietz-LiVolsi wanted to feed her boys something that was high protein and nutrient-rich, so she began whipping up homemade nut butters in her blender. The boys loved their new snack, and a business was born: NuttZo, a line of organic, all-natural nut butters that are a complete source of protein (it contains all of the amino acids) and are rich in heart-healthy, brain-powering omega 3s. We’re gaga over these outrageously tasty spreads – Crunchy Original contains peanuts, cashews, almonds, Brazilian nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and hazelnuts; Creamy Chocolate is made with Peruvian Organic 70% Dark Chocolate; and there are peanut-free versions as well.  

Greg and Matthew are now 14 and 10, respectively – and thriving. (Dietz-LiVolsi also has a daughter, Jackie, who is 24.) Dr. Oz recently endorsed NuttZo as "The Secret Thing Dr. Oz Can't Live Without." We caught up with the yogi mompreneur and asked her a few Qs…nothing too nutty:

Why is it so important to get high-quality nutrition into our children?

In today’s age, everything is so on the go, everyone is so busy, and many parents feel like they don’t have enough time to provide nutritious food options between running to baseball and ballet and everything else. But it’s so important to give kids high-quality foods – they’re growing, their cells are regenerating, and childhood is such an important time for brain development.

I’m a huge fan of organic food and am very opposed to GMOs (foods that have been genetically modified.) There needs to be more research before these foods are put into our food chain, and they already are there. We’re messing with Mother Nature and putting it into kids’ bodies. (Lifeway kefir does not use GMO ingedients.)


What if you can’t afford to go organic?

Grow something in your backyard! It’s fun for kids to see and get involved. Kids are starting to think that food only come out of boxes. My finest childhood memory is of pulling a carrot out of Grandma’s garden and washing it off with a hose and eating it. We grow tomatoes and blueberries at home now.

You can also go to the farmer’s marker and ask the sellers if they use pesticides. Many of them grow their produce without pesticide but can’t afford the organic certification. But it’s still organic!


What’s your secret to balancing 60-hour work weeks and being a mom?

You definitely need to find Me Time. It’s a necessity for me - at least 30 minutes a day of running or yoga makes me a better mom and a better businesswoman.


What is Project Left Behind?

When we got Gregory and Mathew from the Ukraine, there were so many other kids who needed homes. They stick with you and the statistics are so sad – at 14, if you haven’t been adopted, you are out of the system and on your own. That’s one reason why prostitution and drugs are such big problems in the Ukraine. It makes it hard to sleep at night, but you can only adopt so many kids. So we started this non-profit to benefit orphanages in Nepal, Thailand, Guatemala and elsewhere, and 1% of NuttZo’s gross sales go to Project Left Behind. These kids have the world stacked against them so early, and we help fund their education, as well as basic necessities like shoes and putting a roof on a boys' and girls’ dorm.


Your boys are Ukranian. Do you drink kefir in your house?

Oh yeah – we love the stuff! We put it in smoothies. The boys like raspberry and blueberry. I gravitate towards the pomegranate for the antioxidants.  I like to add the peanut-free NuttZo for a smooth texture, almost like almond milk.


NuttZo Kefir Summertime Smoothie

(2 servings)

1 T NuttZo PF

1 cup Lifeway Pomegranate Kefir

1 cup coconut water

10 ice cubes

1 tsp Maca powder

10 black berries

10 raspberries

1 tsp organic vanilla

1 kale leaf, de-stemmed

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Sprinkle with raw hemp hearts for extra texture and nutrition. 

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