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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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CEO Julie Smolyansky
CEO Julie Smolyansky

Our good Fortune

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/16/2014 12:08 PM
We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that our CEO, Julie Smolyansky, was recently named to Fortune Magazine's prestigious "40 under 40", an annual list of the country’s top innovators, gamechangers and trailblazers. Among the influential leaders, all under age 40: Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) and 37 other passionate leaders. In addition to highlighting her business prowess, Fortune called out Julie’s involvement in pressing social issues such as sexual assault on college campuses. They also featured a “5 things you don’t know about Julie” list – things we at Lifeway know but the world didn’t…yet:

Read More »

Guest Post: Being Lifeway CEO for the Day

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/19/2014 12:54 PM

Lifeway CEO for the Day Ethan
Follow Ethan's journey as Lifeway CEO for the Day on Julie Smolyansky's Instagram (our CEO for every other day)

Hi I’m Ethan. Today I got to be CEO for the day at Lifeway Foods. My mom won this for me at a silent auction fundraiser that provides scholarships for my school.

Lifeway CEO Uber

The day started off heading to Lifeway Foods headquarters in an Uber Black Car, true CEO style! On the way, we had a conference call with the legal team at Lifeway. I loved chatting with the legal team; if I don’t become a CEO I want to be a defense attorney.  They advised me to be truthful, treat others as you want to be treated yourself, be conscious of the constitution – assume innocence until proven guilty, and be a good listener.

Lifeway CEO mfg

Before the tour of Lifeway’s manufacturing facility, we took a quick food safety lesson and put on a lab coat and hair coverings.

lifeway CEO tanker

Lifeway CEO line

lifeway ceo checking

lifeway ceo shipping

I met the production team and really liked how they produced stuff, it’s awesome! The amount of milk used every day is a lot – 8 tankers! They taught me about day to day production at Lifeway.

lifeway ceo marina

I got to help brainstorm a fun activity for Kidzapallooza. Lifeway does fun games with beach balls and hacky sacks, and makes custom ProBugs backpacks to give away to winners.

lifeway ceo call

We talked to the PR team on a conference call, too, with a briefing on the #MotherCulture campaign. I learned that a PR team does Public Relations and talks to media and press.

Lifeway CEO flavor

After that, we went to the flavor lab in Lifeway’s test kitchen. The flavor lab was cool. It was simple to put a bunch of flavor concentrates together and make a new type of kefir! I picked caramel and raspberry because it’s one of my favorite combinations. I added a bit of lime to make it taste better. At first it was really tart, but the flavors made it taste better. I added a little extra honey at the end to make it perfect. I added beet juice to make it pink because raspberries are kind of pink, and thankfully it didn’t really do anything to the flavor.

lifeway ceo blogging

When I finish up my blog post, I’ll head back to school, but just for band practice. I play saxophone. And I’ll be sure to pack some ProBugs Blast for my band mates!

lifeway ceo starfruit
pit stop at Starfruit Cafe!

Lifeway Spa Day: Moisturizing Kefir Facial

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.

Lifeway Kefir moisturizing facial

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. 

Kefir in the News

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 12/20/2013 9:08 AM

It’s great news to see kefir and Lifeway in the news! 

dr oz battle bloat with probiotics
Dr. Oz battles bloat with probiotics

Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz, the great and powerful health guru, breaks down the best and worst health trends of 2013. In the weight loss category, he pits gluten free against probiotic and the good bugs come out on top! The benefits of probiotics in weightloss may be old news to loyal Lifeway fans, but we are always excited to see more people feeling great and getting their daily dose of fermented foods. He sheds light on the hidden calories in wheat substitutes, but foods like kefir are naturally gluten free and don’t have any hidden, high-calorie fillers if you feel better following a gluten free diet anyway.

Daily Shot on Yahoo

Yahoo’s Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth also featured kefir as the first of five healthy foods you’re not eating. Finding this study in the New England Journal of Medicine, Ali’s guests saw that a diet including probiotic yogurt or kefir was associated with a greater weight loss than any other food in this 20 year cohort study of over 100,000 people. Sugary drinks were associated with weight gain, so Ali’s kefir was blended with antioxident and fiber packed blueberries for sweetness, yum!

Blue Sky Innovation – The Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune shared a few of our CEO Julie Smolyansky’s tips for staying active with a busy work schedule. Managing a dynamic business doesn’t mean your body can’t keep moving too!

Bootstrapping in America

Bootstrapping in America's Tom and Tony talk to CEO Julie Smolyansky about Lifeway Kefir. The business of creating a new category in the dairy aisle, from an idea, to public offering, to the company’s contemporary innovation strategies are on the docket.

@JohnCusack Tweets

John Cusack’s alter ego Shocko declares his love for Frozen Kefir, “The holy grail of frozen dessert treats.”  A confection fit for King Arthur!


Hungry for Kefir

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/3/2013 3:31 PM

Deepak Chopra in Chicago

Well-known for his writing on holistic health and spirituality, but with roots in Western Medicine, Deepak Chopra easily weaves together his knowledge of contrasting ideologies and uses the tapestry as a foundation for his guidance through contemporary life. With a growing, global audience, Chopra counts Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz and Lifeway CEO, Julie Smolyansky among those inspired by his teachings.

Drawing from traditional, alternative medicine and modern scientific breakthroughs, Mr. Chopra’s new book, What Are You Hungry for? delves into topics such as how food affects our brain. Familiar with new research on how gut bacteria can affect psychology, we are excited to find some complementary perspectives on how easy it is to eat well and feel well.

The holiday season is a particularly apt time to be mindful overindulgence. It's easy to overeat when you're surrounded by friends, family and lots of delicious food. Taking steps (literally, too!) to be mindful of consumption habits over the holidays is important for keeping up with your healthy routine. A probiotic boost from Lifeway Kefir can be a tasty way to help support digestion, and the immunity benefits of probiotics like those found in kefir may help you fight the flu this season.

For our fans in the Chicagoland area, we are excited to offer one of you a first-hand telling of the latest Chopra wisdom! Tell us what flavor of Lifeway Kefir you are hungry for in the comments and you’ll be entered in our drawing to win 2 tickets to see Deepak Chopra and get a copy of his newest book! The event, An Evening with Deepak Chopra, is on November, 12th, 2013, at 7pm at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theater in Chicago (travel expenses will not be covered). Mr. Chopra will explore the relationships between one’s physical, mental and spiritual hungers and Ms. Smolyansky will kick off the evening with the introduction and bring with her some free samples of our favorite Lifeway kefir treats to share!

We'll be choosing a winner on the morning of Monday the 11th, so make sure to supply an email address you check frequently!

If you're planning on purchasing some tickets anyway, try this special offer!

25% Off Tickets

Ticketing Link:

Code: 25DISC

Happy Birthday United Nations!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/24/2013 10:36 AM

Today is UN Day! A day to reflect on why and how we support the United Nations as it celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. Here at Lifeway, we have many reasons to love the UN.

Our CEO Julie Smolyansky, as a member of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, is passionate about advocating for global health initiatives and the UNF’s Shot at Life campaign as well as getting US girls involved in promoting global gender equality through Girl Up. The UN contributes so much that listing every good deed would exceed the size limit for this blog post. Here are just a few of our favorites:

un day 2013

un day 2013

un day 2013

Other staff at Lifeway are passionate about determining which global issues are important to all citizens of the world with the MY World Survey. Finding out which issues people care about will help world leaders plan future initiatives to battle poverty and inequality.

Did you know that regardless of gender, age and country of origin, more people put access to a good education in their top 6 priorities than any other issue?

Take the MY World Surveyand share your cares with the UN!

un day 2013 infographic

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #UNDay!

In the Flavor Lab for Chicago Ideas Week

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/17/2013 9:37 AM

This week Lifeway opened our doors to the intellectual playground known as
Chicago Ideas Week! The city-wide event brings together over 25,000 attendees to talk, listen and inspire, with curated talks and innovation labs at some of Chicago’s greatest businesses and organizations.

We love coming up with wackyideas here at our Niles, Illinois offices, but we love even more to get our friends and fans in on the fun. For Chicago Ideas Week, our CEO Julie Smolyansky gave a talk on Lifeway’s history and our plans for dairy innovation in the future. We then welcomed guests to put their lab goggles and thinking caps on and create a new flavor of Lifeway kefir!

Armed with Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir, a little sugar, and dozens of fun flavor essences like marshmallow, tomato, passion fruit and ginger, our guests came up with some great concoctions! Last year we brought to life our favorite flavor, Honey Fig! What flavor would you like to see kefir-ized on your supermarket shelves? 

Special thanks to our friends at KIND who provided their KIND Healthy Grains as a topping for our frozen kefir!

Girl Up and Celebrate the International Day of the Girl

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/9/2013 6:37 AM

Has anyone ever told you to girl up? A feminine twist on “manning up,” you might say that to “girl up” is to tackle tough challenges just as fearlessly but also communally. The United Nations Foundation group,
Girl Up is dedicated to doing just that. They assemble groups of American girls who are passionate about empowering women and girls in developing countries to earn an education, access healthcare and realize their full potential.  To spread the word about the global issues facing women today and what we can do to tackle them together, Girl Up is celebration 11 Days of Action that will culminate with the International Day of the Girl on October 11th. Click here to register!

Lifeway’s CEO and UN Foundation member Julie Smolyansky is excited to be a special guest at the International Day of the Girl’s Chicago event. Girl Up gives us a full rundown of the star-studded event:

There will be a special appearance by Danni Allen, the current winner of NBC’s Biggest Loser, and a musical performance by teen pop stars Megan and Liz.  The event will also feature an exclusive screening of Girl Rising, a film and global action campaign that advocates for educating girls in developing countries.  Lisa Parker from NBC5 Chicago will emcee. 

Attendees will have the chance to virtually travel around the globe and learn about issues facing girls through games, activities, and unique physical challenges. This multimedia tour provides an opportunity for people in the United States to experience what it is like to be a girl living in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Liberia and Malawi.

If you can’t make it to this event, there are still many great ways to get involved! Girls anywhere can start a club and anyone can make a donation to help girls in developing countries get essentials like school books, solar lamps and adequate health care to make getting an education possible.

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.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Scones

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/2/2013 9:50 AM

Summer berries are at their best right now and when we don't finish them off before the groceries are even unpacked, our baked goods get a fresh twist at this time of year! This Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scone recipe from the kitchen of Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky makes a perfect summer breakfast with a spot of tea or kefir on the side!

Like all berries, raspberries are chock full of antioxidents and have anti-inflammatory superfood powers! At peak season, it's easiest to find very ripe raspberries which have been shown to have even higher levels of antioxidents--top notch flavors aren't the only benefit to eating seasonally! Bumping up the delicious and antioxident factors in this recipe for scones is a little sprinkle of dark chocolate chips. A splash of kefir in place of a classic buttermilk gives the pastry a delicate, tender texture.

raspberry chocolate chip scones with vanilla kefir
Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Scones
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 3/4 cup plain or Madagascar Vanilla Lifeway Kefir

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)

  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar


Preheat oven to 400. Mix together flour, cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse with a hand mixer until pea-size pieces form. In a small bowl, whisk together kefir and egg yolk. Slowly pour kefir mixture into flour mixture, mix using hand mixer until dough just comes together.

Sprinkle raspberries and chocolate chips on top. Knead three times to fold in raspberries & chocolate chips. With your hands, mold together dough into 2-inch pieces. Place pieces, about 2 inches apart, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle tops with raw cane sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 20 minutes. Let scones cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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