By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/16/2013 10:05 AM
“Since our Nation's founding, women have given their all to expanding opportunity for their families and for future generations. Decade after decade, that fierce dedication has been rewarded with remarkable progress in nearly every part of society; yet all too often, advances in women's health and well-being have lagged behind. During National Women's Health Week, we recommit to changing that reality and increasing access to health services that help women and girls get the care they need.” – President Barack Obama
We love our President’s attitude of girl- and woman-power. The above statement is part his proclamation
for National Women’s Health Week, which is happening as we speak.
All too often, women put their health on the backburner, even while actively scheduling doctor’s appointments for their husbands and kids. But if mom isn’t healthy, she won’t be happy, and if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Check out this list of must-have checks for women of all ages, recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. From blood pressure to bone density, dangers are lurking behind many corners – dangers that can be prevented and avoided with proper screening.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 4/3/2013 10:03 AM
Chances are, you know somebody with high blood pressure. Worldwide, a staggering 40% of adults over the age of 25 have it, putting them at risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and other dangerous conditions. In the US, one in every three adults is affected. Seven and half million people die every year worldwide as a result.
Unfortunately, about one in five American adults with high blood pressure don't even know that they have it. You may go for an annual checkup, but how many of us remember – or even ask about – the reading our doctor gets when she wraps the blood pressure cuff around our upper arm? Considering most of us are able to memorize our phone number, our Social Security number, how much we weigh, and plenty more, it shouldn’t be so difficult to remember five digits (ie 120/80.) We owe it to ourselves to take better care of ourselves, to know our blood pressure and, if it’s too high, to do something about it.
First, a little about the number. It’s actually comprised of two figures: Systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic is on top; diastolic, on the bottom. The top number, which is the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting and refilling with blood). In most people, systolic blood pressure creeps up as we age due to stiffening of the arteries, plaque build-up, and increased rates of heart disease.
On April 7, the World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day, and this year, the theme is high blood pressure. They encourage everyone to cut their risk of high blood pressure by:
-Reducing your intake of salt (Scour labels: Up to 75 percent of our sodium is hidden in processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments and canned foods. Look for the words "soda" and "sodium" and the symbol "Na" on labels; these words indicate that sodium is present.)
-Eating a balanced diet
-Working out regularly
-Not abusing alcohol (If you drink, limit it to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.)
We found an intriguing 2009 study in the International Journal of Molecular Science which shows that probiotics may lower blood pressure, suggesting that “good bacteria” (like those founding kefir) may play a role in reducing hypertension. The research is preliminary, but promising. As always, check with your doctor – she may think it’s a good idea for you to drink kefir in addition to taking your prescribed blood pressure medication if you’ve already been diagnosed, or she might suggest you include kefir in your daily diet as a preventative measure.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 3/25/2013 11:11 AM
Social media, social justice, and social change. These are the foundations of the Global Mom Relay
; a virtual relay that connects moms everywhere through the power of social media in support of the United Nation's Every Woman Every Child movement. What does that mean? It’s simple – through May 8th
, moms from all over the world are powering an online conversation about motherhood, while unlocking donations to help women and children lead healthy lives.
Our own CEO Julie Smolyansky contributed her piece, Taking Action to Protect Children, earlier this month, and encouraged readers to share the article online in order to unlock donations from
Johnson &Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to one of the United Nation’s four efforts helping women and children.
“As CEO of a natural foods company and a former social services counselor, I have been a long-time advocate for healthy and safe communities.” Julie said, “Social media and other technologies give us the means to create social change. From global malnutrition and health to educating girls and women to ending violence against girls and women, we can lift humanity in ways not possible 20 years ago.”
Julie, who recently participated in a GoodxGlobal panel titled, "Can Technology Save Women?” is adamant about harnessing the local and global power of technology for social good
. For that reason, she also recently launched Test400k, a campaign to resolve the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. and end violence against women both domestically and globally.
Visit Global Moms Relay to read the daily post, and to share and unlock a $5 donation. To find out more about Test400k, including how you can get involved, visit Test400k.org.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 2/28/2013 10:56 AM
Are you ready for The Bachelor: Kefir Edition?
We’ve combed the nation for the 20 most eligible drinkware bachelorettes – glasses who have been unlucky in love, unable to find the perfect drink to be filled with. Like Lindzy, a glass who dated a carton of skim milk for six months only to split when she realized he didn’t want kids. Or CassiDee, a parfait cup who met a bottle of yogurt at a trendy LA bar but couldn’t make it past the first date because of his vanilla personality. Or Samantha, a can of root beer who was exclusive with a frosty mug for two years but split after she found him cheating with a carton of ice cream.
Our Bachelorettes are stunning drink receptacles searching for their beverage match. Will it be Lifeway kefir? Stay tuned…for the most dramatic season of The Bachelor: Kefir Edition – EVER.
Highlights from the 2013 season will include:
THE MOST SLIPPERY GROUP DATE EVER: Kefir wrestling! Our Bachelor takes seven glasses on a competition-themed group date where they all change into skimpy bikinis and, one by one, jump into a pool of Lifeway lowfat blueberry kefir and wrestle until someone gives up.
CATFIGHTS: Blakesley, a curvy hurricane glass from New Orleans, gets ganged up on by the other ladies and is reduced to tears as she breaks down in her bunk bed. “She’s so plastic,” one of them is overheard snarking.
HOT TUB ACTION: Chantal the shot glass and Alexi, a bleach-blonde margarita glass, get frisky in the hot tub when Lifeway kefir is turned the other way.
FIREPLACE ROMANCE: Lifeway kefir invites Brandi, a tumbler with legs that won’t quit, to relax in front of the fireplace, and cameras catch a hot and heavy makeout session that will leave you THIRSTY!
During the final rose ceremony, Lifeway kefir will be asking one lucky glass, “Will you accept this bottle of kefir?” Stay tuned to find out…on the most dramatic season EVER.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 2/19/2013 9:01 AM
“It’s not easy eating clean.” So begins Natural Health magazine’s 2013 Good Food Awards, a compendium of best-for-you noshes – packaged foods and drinks you can feel good about including in your diet. It features 30 top picks for your pantry, fridge and freezer that are good for people as well as the planet.
We are thrilled to announce that the “Best Kefir” award (in the fridge category) went to Lifeway Green Kefir. Other healthy, cool treats include Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods All Natural Wasabi Hommus, Earth Balance Roasted Garlic & Herbs Organic Culinary Spread, and Veggie Patch Mediterranean Spinach & Chickpea Patties.
In the same issue of Natural Health, a feature story on fermentation highlights the health benefits of incorporating probiotic foods into one’s diet. “Even once-exotic kefir and spicy kimchee are now headlining supermarket aisles on both coasts,” note writers Nicole Dorsey and Jill Neimark, and traditional items like Japanese miso soup, Chinese kombucha and German sauerkraut are being touted as hot new superfoods.
“Probiotics promote the health of your entire digestive system,” says Richard Sarnat, M.D., author of The Life Bridge: The Way to Longevity With Probiotic Nutrients. “The process of fermentation breaks down the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the food before we eat, unlocking all of these wonderful nutrients.”
The authors explain that, “Fermenting foods do not cook, marinate or decompose. They actually synthesize, and undergo biochemical reactions that break down particles into more accessible, healthful versions.”
Try Natural Health’s recipe for
Cultured Cabbage Salad with Tarragon Kefir Dressing, whichcombines multiple fermented elements into one mouth-watering bowl. Feeling even more adventurous? Their Young Coconut Crème Pudding with Almond Whipped Cream calls for a hammer and cleaver in addition to a home kefir starter kit.
*Recipes created by Donna Gates.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 2/14/2013 11:00 AM
Our boss is quite the globe trotter. Whether she's meeting with retailers far and wide to expand distribution of kefir or spreading the word about healthy foods and probiotics at numerous speaking engagements, the Lifeway mission travels with her. Earlier this week she participated in a Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee for job-creators from across the country. Julie shared the Lifeway story and conveyed the importance of working with lawmakers to help responsible businesses can grow and create jobs in their communities.
Above is Julie with IL Senator Dick Durbin, who had this to say:
We can continue growing our economy from the middle-out by supporting job-creating small businesses like Lifeway Foods and the hundreds of others across our state and the country. I was pleased to welcome Julie Smolyansky to Washington and to hear from her and other entrepreneurs and business leaders regarding their successful strategies for expansion and job growth. We can learn a lot from them.
Today Julie will be on WGN Radio at 12:35pm CST speaking with Carol Roth about job creation, healthy eating and kefir/probiotics, her new role with the UN as part of the Global Entrepreneurs Council, and her participation in today's One Billion Rising rally at the Daley Center here in Chicago. Listen live to the show on WGN 720 AM Chicago or stream it online here: http://tv.trb.com/extras/wgnam/player/listen.htm
EDIT: Don't worry if you missed the show! WGN is hosting a special page for us with a recording of the full program: http://wgnradio.com/2013/02/14/living-a-healthy-lifestyle-with-lifeway-foods/ (Thanks to Carol and all of WGN!)
Which brings us to a very important point. You should follow Julie on Twitter for all the latest: @JulieSmolyansky. We can barely keep up with her!
By Julie Smolyansky on 11/1/2012 10:31 AM
By Julie Smolyansky
If you have ever trained for a marathon, you know that somewhere about Mile 17, it becomes a lot easier to keep pushing through if you can find some purpose to the challenge. Meditating on what your run means in the grand scheme of things puts your sweat and pain in perspective. At different points in my life, my runs have inspired different thoughts and emotions. I ran my first marathon in Chicago one month after 9/11 and thought about the thousands of people who ran out of Manhattan and the World Trade Center in complete terror, dressed in their business suits, untrained, without the fancy water stops or energy gels that a marathon offers. Yet these people ran till they got home, some almost 26 miles. And I thought about the 3,000 people who never returned home. In comparison, my 26.2 miles seemed easy.
One year later, I ran the Chicago marathon again, but this time I thought about the heartache I felt after suddenly losing my Dad a few months earlier. The pain in my muscles and joints paled in comparison to my broken and shattered heart. I felt I could run forever if it would somehow bring my father back to life. I could not, of course, and so 26.2 miles felt like a good place to stop.
Sunday, I am planning to run the New York Marathon with Every Mother Counts for the second year in a row - my eighth marathon. I, along with 40,000 other runners, will make our way through the broken streets of New York. This week we were reminded how insignificant we are in the face of Mother Nature. How the devastation of a hurricane or other natural disaster can bring even the most resourceful community to its knees and keep millions of people at the mercy of time and chance as they await power to return, roads to be cleared, water to empty out of communities that have now more closely resemble the canals of Venice than roadways of the East coast. We put politics aside for a few hours and prayed for the safety of all those that live in this great country. I found myself reaching out to friends and associates on the East urging them to stay safe, offering housing to anyone who was willing to travel to Chicago when evacuations were ordered. Feeling helpless, I asked my staff for an inventory count on kefir we had in stock that could be donated to the Red Cross to help feed the thousands of people living in shelters. I am working closely with East Coast Distributors who are holding food drives in communities hardest hit, communities like in Brooklyn who were the very first Lifeway customers outside of Chicago. I attempted to donate blood. I gave money to the Red Cross. And still it feels like it can never be enough after hearing about the personal loss our neighbors have experienced. I was heartbroken to hear of the mother whose car started taking in water and her four- and two-year-olds slipped away from her into a street that turned into lake in minutes. I have two daughters the exact same ages as she does. Did.
I think I am not in the minority when I say the heroic efforts of humanity practically brought tears to my eyes. I sat glued to my television Monday night as NYU NICU nurses carried vulnerable preemie babies down nine flights of stairs in the dark, delicately embracing them with skin-to-skin contact to keep them warm and safe. Back-up generators failed and these nurses were also forced to manually pump air into not-yet-developed lungs as they made their way down the murky stairwells. They were greeted with an army of ambulances and first responders ready to safely transport these tiny souls to safety, even in the eye of perhaps one of the most devastating hurricanes we have yet to see. Not surprising, we heard of a woman who went into early labor and delivered her baby in a truck while Hurricane Sandy pummeled her neighborhood. People were rescuing strangers in kayaks meant for hobby, not saving lives.I dedicate my New York Marathon run to the heroes of Hurricane Sandy: the doctors, nurses, law enforcement, fire fighters and other first responders, as well as all those whose lives have been touched by the devastation from the storm. Because Every Person Counts. We will run in solidarity.
Support me in my effort here.
PS I broke my arm two weeks ago and will be running with a cast. Show me the love.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/10/2012 10:40 AM
Here at Lifeway Foods, we're passionate about women's health. Whether our CEO, Julie Smolyansky, is running marathons and traveling to Bangladesh with supermodel Christy Turlington-Burns to raise awareness for global maternal health, or we're supporting pelvic floor health fundraising events, we walk the talk and do what we can to support women, wherever they are.
Besides non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer to hit US women - 210,203 were diagnosed in 2008 alone (the most recent year for which CDC statistics are known.) In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re featuring a guest post by Paulette Kouffman Sherman, PhD. An author and psychologist currently fighting breast cancer, Dr. Sheman is currently writing a book called The Cancer Path:
"I am just coming out of a long treatment experience for breast cancer-including a lumpectomy, 8 chemotherapy treatments and 33 radiation treatments. Although I am very grateful for modern medicine, I've found that healing takes place most rapidly if you address it on all four levels: Body, mind, emotions and spirit. So here are some suggestions for things that you can address on your own if you are going through this:
BODY You will probably be going through medical treatment in the hospital but there are many things you can do to heal your own body as well. Look into improving your diet, doing some kind of movement, speaking lovingly to your body and spending some time in nature and the sun. Also make sure that you are getting enough sleep.
MIND Our thoughts affect our emotions, actions and our nervous system. When we are contented and peaceful our nervous system doesn't go into fight or flight mode and we are better able to heal. To become more peaceful in our thinking, we can meditate, do affirmations, do practices of gratitude and challenge our negative thoughts, especially when we are projecting into the future things that may never happen.
EMOTIONS Our emotions affect our physiology, according to [neuroscientist] Candace Perth. It's normal to feel sad and to cry when we are experiencing illness but 'what we focus on expands' so we can be cognizant of feeling appreciation and relishing the love in our lives, to attract in even more. We can examine where we are angry and seek to understand and forgive. We can look at where we feel anxious and learn to trust more. Then we will have more energy to focus on our healing because it won't be siphoned off through these emotional detours.
SPIRIT When we are confronted with a life and death illness like cancer we tend to ask metaphysical questions like why we are here. Such a large challenge often demands a larger context. If you are spiritual you may find ways to develop a connection with God, such as prayer, meditating or working with angels. If you are agnostic, you may source your larger connection in nature, community or in developing a healing cause or purpose. Your illness may cause you to journey inwards to be led by your Higher self more than your ego.
It helps to pay attention to yourself as a whole person when you are healing and to become an active participant in your process. I have found that by doing so my path with breast cancer became a spiritual journey that has made me more aware of important things in my life. I wish you the same, as we honor breast cancer awareness month."
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/16/2012 12:29 PM
If you’ve seen teal ribbons lately – worn by 5K runners, painted on colorful manicures or pinned to Bill Cosby’s lapel – it’s because it’sNational Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. We’ll soon be featuring an interview with a cancer doctor to help spread awareness but in the meantime, enjoy this Q & A with Joy Huber, a stage four young adult cancer survivor and the author of the book Cancer with Joy.
You were diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March of 2010 at the age of 33. Tell us a bit about what led up to the diagnosis and how you felt when you heard the words.
Yes, I faced not only cancer but stage four cancer, and as a young adult. I've heard older people say, "They lived their life,’ [when speaking about cancer patients] and I didn't feel that way at all when I got diagnosed. At 33, my life was just going good!
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By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/10/2012 7:54 AM
Some people will do anything for a laugh.
Bozo painted his face white, wore a crazy orange wig and ran around in giant shoes. More than one dad has allowed his wife to send in a tape of their son nailing him in the crotch with a soccer ball to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Steve Carell had his chest hair ripped off to the tune of Kelly Clarkson. Cameron Diaz wore some very special hair gel in There’s Something About Mary.
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