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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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#MotherCulture Mamas Part 5: The Nutrition Expert

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/11/2014 8:37 AM

As part of our new #MotherCulture campaign, we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!


Mom: Rebecca Scritchfield, Washington, DC, 37, mom to a 19-month-old daughter and a newborn baby girl.

 As a registered dietitian, people might assume that healthy eating is a snap. But the truth is, being a member of the #MotherCulture leaves you with almost zero time to care for yourself. How do you make sure you’re feeding your body well?

For me, when I’m the only one eating, I have to make sure I’m putting some effort in. Otherwise, it’s too easy to just pop in a frozen meal or eat a bowl of cereal for lunch, and if I’ve already had cereal for breakfast, that makes it almost impossible to get all of your nutrients for the day. So I try to balance grabbing something quick with grabbing something healthy. There’s no time to make egg salad from scratch, so I’ll buy some egg salad from the grocery store along with some bagged salad greens. Or I’ll make a smoothie for lunch, with lots of fruit and dairy for protein. Moms need to remember that their time is worth a healthy meal, too. 

Have you had any challenges in terms of encouraging your toddler to eat healthy foods?

One of my biggest challenges has been being flexible with changes in her appetite and food preferences. One day, she loves blueberries; the next day, she’s off of blueberries and only wants raspberries. Then, on other days, she doesn’t want any fruit at all. That’s normal. Some days, I don’t want fruit either! With veggies, raw leafy greens are so nutritious and they’re easy for older kids and adults to eat but harder for kids, so we’ll do peas, corn, cooked carrots. I’m always trying to add in nutrition – if I make her mac and cheese, I’ll add in small pieces of broccoli and cooed chicken to make her plate more balanced. Even if she picks around it, I’ve done my part. Or if I cook her eggs in the morning, I’ll add in avocado with fruit on side.

So many myths are out there about exercising while pregnant. Did you continued to workout through your pregnancies?

Absolutely. I take a 50-minute strength training class two or three times a week, and it’s kind of like Pilates on steroids. I ran two to three times per week for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Sometimes it starts with a 20-minute walk but then something clicks in my body and I feel ready to start jogging and by the end, I’m like, “Where is this energy coming from?!” because I feel so good. And I tried to take 10 minutes a day to practice calm, relaxed breathing, where I lay down, breathed in lavender oil and touched my belly. It was for stress management and relaxation, and those skills can be utilized during delivery.

You are all about promoting “Me first” time, encouraging women to take time to care for themselves – a crucial but often overlooked part of #MotherCulture. What are so ways moms can remember to put themselves first?

Prenatal massages are wonderful, plus your baby benefits from the positive effects of touch.  If massages are too expensive, try a warm bath with some lavender oil, ask your partner for a foot massage or get a spa pedicure.

What inspires you most as a mom?

That I have an opportunity to help shape another person’s life, to continue on another generation. I’ve inspired clients and coworkers before, and those are great accomplishments, but it’s different than shaping your child’s health and life. That’s motivating, and it keeps me going day to day. 

Lifeway Bug Bites: Beet Dip with Kefir

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/9/2014 8:37 AM

You can’t beat beets when it comes to pretty summer vegetables. Their color is magnificent and stands front and center in this healthy dip recipe. The sunflower seeds add some nutty flavor and a splash of kefir and orange juice brighten things up.

This dip would also make a great addition to a veggie wrap or spread on some hearty whole grain bread with goat cheese for a more grown up version of a pb&j – another classic sweet and salty combo!

kefir beet dip lifeway

Beet Dip
1 large beet, cooked, peeled and roughly chopped

½ cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

¼ cup sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute.  Serve with pita, crackers, or sliced veggies.


#MotherCulture Mamas Part 4: The Chocolate Maven

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/4/2014 8:37 AM

As part of our new
 #MotherCulture campaign, we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!


This week, we’re chatting with Katrina Markoff, renowned chocolatier and founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat.



Mom: Katrina Markoff, Barrington Hills, IL, 41, mom to two boys ages 4.5 and 1.5



What’s one of your favorite parts about being a mom?


The stories they tell me. The other night we had “tea” together – my older son set out peppermint tea, cookies, chocolate. He was telling me all sorts of stories that gave me some insight into what he thinks about, and listening to his mind work is one of my favorite things ever.



As a culinary artist and chocolatier, taste is obviously critical to your livelihood. How do you get your kids interested in eating healthy when kids today are surrounded by junk food that, admittedly, often tastes delicious?


I’ve found that if you offer your kids the healthier choices early on, they’ll love it – mainly because they don’t know any different. So if I give them chocolate, I give them 72% cocoa dark chocolate, which is good for you, and they love it.

I mostly repare meals based off of olive oil, quinoa and other whole grains, roasted veggies, grilled fish and meat. We do a ton of cooking from scratch and we make our own applesauce, kale chips, that sort of thing, and I’ll get Rowan [our older son] involved. He cracks eggs, helps me set the table. And anytime he wants to make something, I’ll do it, because I love the idea of creation and want him to realize that he can do anything.


We don’t eat a lot of gluten in our house, so I pulverize oats in blender to make a substitute flour. And I’m not opposed to treats, but if we make cookies, I’ll throw in Chia seeds, maca, or spirulina to give them a superfood punch.



Do you ever use kefir in cooking of recipe development?


Sometimes I’ll use it with my pancake mix – it acts like buttermilk. But mostly we drink it cold in smoothies.



Part of #MotherCulture involves asking people to think about what inspires them, much like kefir’s actual mother culture creates the tangy drink we all know and love.  Where do you look to for inspiration?


Many of my chocolate ideas come from travelling. Right now, I’m obsessed w Peru, home of some of most unique, interesting superfoods. I have trips coming up to Israel, France, Bali, Mexico and Peru and can’t wait to see what I discover.  My favorite way to cook is in the Lebanese/Turkish/Moroccan style – lots of cumin, paprika, cinnamon, harissa. If I had to pick one favorite spice, it would be cumin. We do a lot of smelling in our house: I’ll ask my kids to smell different spices and guess what they are. I ask them to smell the leather purse, to smell the paper bag. When you’re familiar with a large range of scents, it allows you to be more present in everyday life; it really gets you in your body.



Hanuman Yoga Festival Ticket Giveaway

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/3/2014 5:15 AM

hanuman ticket giveaway

Lifeway is giving away two 3-Day passes to the
Hanuman Festival in Boulder, Colorado, June 12-15 2014! To enter, comment on this post and tell us which Lifeway product you reach for when you need to refresh after your practice. We will choose one winner at random to receive the two tickets. The winner will be responsible for covering costs of travel, lodging, dining, and any additional costs beyond festival registration. Last minute registrants will be limited to indoor classes as the al fresco sessions have already sold out. The remaining open sessions, musical guests, and abundant positive yoga vibes are excellent reasons to enter! On top of that, Lifeway will be there making sure you get your daily dose of probiotic kefir with free samples!

Hurry to enter now! The deadline to enter our contest is June, 4, by 5pm CST. Winners will need to register for classes as soon as possible to get their preferred spots. Lifeway will contact the winner via email with registration details, so make sure to check your email the afternoon of June 4th! Check out the schedule for a look at class options and the teacher lineup for class descriptions. Good luck!

#MotherCulture Mamas pt. #3: The "personal chef"

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/30/2014 8:08 AM

As part of our new #MotherCulture campaign, we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!

Mom: Sarah Goldman, 33, Los Angeles, mom to two daughters, age five and three


What was one of the most surprising parts of becoming a mom?

How many physical ailments they complain about from day to day: “My leg hurts,” “My tummy hurts,” “My hair hurts,” “I can't get in the bathtub because my boo boo might hurt,” “I have to poop,” “I ate too much,” “Can I have a vitamin?” I have to play doctor and diagnostician constantly.  It’s like you need a medical degree just to function as a mother!


That’s hysterical! And so true. How about one of the happiest parts of being a mom?

Watching them learn is incredible. Watching our older daughter figure out how to read has been joyous and rewarding. They work so hard – first they learn their letters, then their name, and now she just finished reading a 50-page book, Little Bear, over the course of three days. It was amazing! My husband and I just looked at each other and smiled.


One unfortunate part of the current culture of motherhood is the war between working moms and stay at home mom. Do you ever feel pressure to defend your decision as a SAHM?

There’s definitely a war, and we all face different pressures, as well as some similar ones. As a SAHM, I feel like my house should be perfectly spotless. I play the role of personal chef, doctor, chauffeur, personal shopper, cleaning person, event coordinator, party planner and housekeeper. In the beginning stages [of infancy and toddlerhood], I think SAHMs have it harder – I was home all day 24/7 with these crazy kids. There’s a lot of burnout. My friends who worked, they got to leave that insanity. But by the time the kids are in school, I’d say SAHMs don’t have it as hard as working moms. I have time to run errands and go grocery shopping while the kids are in school, and working mothers don’t have that luxury.


You’re passionate about cooking for your family – any tips?

I’ve found a nice system of grocery shopping: I make sure to do most of my shopping at a natural foods store so I don’t have to work as hard - even if I don’t read every label, I still come out ahead because everything is organic or at least local, less processed, non-GMO. Another tip is to make extra food for dinner on Monday so you have enough for leftovers on Tuesday, and maybe just add a steamed veggie. Then do the same thing when you cook on Wednesday night and have leftovers for Thursday.

We also try to integrate healthy eating into fun family activities – we might go blueberry picking, beet picking; when they actually get to pick the lettuce out of the ground, that makes them want to eat the lettuce. And we visit the farmer’s market every weekend.


If we were to open your refrigerator, would we find Lifeway kefir?

Absolutely!  I buy it in the large bottles and then I pour elderberry syrup into it – it makes the kefir turn pink, which the kids love, plus it’s healthy and immune boosting.


Lifeway Bug Bites: Probiotic Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/28/2014 8:37 AM

This summer, Lifeway is cooking, baking, and blending our favorite summer treats with our favorite probiotic kefir. Full of the good bugs that keep bellies happy year round, our summer recipes are keeping things fresh and fermented. If you're itching to get in the kitchen, try one of our Bugs Bites for a refreshing take on some summertime classics. 

lifeway strawberry shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is a perfect summertime dessert. A quick biscuit, a sprinkle of sugar, and a creamy topping transform a simple berry into a towering treat.

The biscuits we like to use to build our strawberry shortcakes are light and crumbly instead of flaky and crisp, no match for our eager forks. This is not a biscuit sandwich you can pick up and eat with your hands. A pale color visually lightens the dessert up, too, but if you prefer a more toasty look, you can brush the biscuits with a little egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water) before baking. Like buttermilk, kefir’s tangy bite helps the biscuits rise and stay light and airy.

If you don’t keep heavy cream around to whip up, a little probiotic Lifeway Farmer Cheese is a delicious and nutritious replacement for a creamy topping. If your local grocer doesn’t carry this tangy, spoonable delight, you can substitute ricotta.

Kefir Biscuits

Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 1998

Makes 4 large biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, chilled

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add kefir, tossing with fork until large moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into 3-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Bake biscuits until tester inserted into center comes out dry, about 20 minutes (biscuits will be pale). Transfer biscuits to rack and cool to lukewarm. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cool. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and store at room temperature. Before serving, rewarm in 350°F oven for 5 minutes.)

Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 4 large servings

4 Biscuits

1 quart fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 tablespoons Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

1 cup Lifeway Farmer Cheese

Pinch salt

Slice strawberries into halves or thirds depending on their size. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir the remaining sugar and kefir together until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the farmer cheese and salt and stir to incorporate.

Slice the biscuits in half, spread a layer of farmer cheese mixture on the bottom half, and top with strawberries and their juices.  Add the biscuit top and garnish with a spoonful of cheese mixture and a few strawberries.  

Revving up the Kefir Truck for Taste of Chicago 2014

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/23/2014 9:37 AM
Starfruit Kefir Truck Taste of Chicago Lifeway
Photo by Maura Daley

Lifeway’s hometown of Chicago has a lot of great summer festivals: Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and many more musical mashups pop up all over the city to turn up the noise as the temperature rises outside. But the city gets hungry, too, and one of our most famous, longstanding traditions is the Taste of Chicago. Vendors from all over the city congregate in Grant Park to sample bite-sized portions of their famous fares to fans from near and far.

This year, Lifeway’s Starfruit Kefir Truck will be at the Taste of Chicago, July 9-13 in the food truck village! Admission is free and our bitty bites will be on sale at a special Taste of Chicago price.

You can also catch the Kefir Truck anytime you’re in Chicago by following @StarfruitCafe on Twitter! 
millennium park beans

Brunch Recipe Roundup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/22/2014 11:37 AM

kefir brunch

Brunch season is upon us. We're dining al fresco, mixing savory and sweet in the same meal with reckless abandon, celebrating mothers, fathers, grads, and all other rad spring events. 

If you find yourself in the kitchen, tasked with making brunch, and out of milk, have no fear. Lifeway Kefir is a great in many recipes that call for milk, buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. If you want to start your kefir cooking experimentation with a tested recipe, we've got your covered there, too. Here are a few of our favorite brunch recipes with a tart &
 tangy twist. 

Kefir Apple Pancakes with Burnt Sugar Sauce

Breakfast Baked Eggs

Grapefruit Kefir Granita

Lightened Up Lemon Kefir Cake

Birchir Meusli

Kefir Challah French Toast

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Scones

Kefir Overnight Oats

Throwback Thursday: The Mayor

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/22/2014 8:37 AM

 Julie with Mayor Daley in 1998 at Fancy Food Show in NYC

Charity Miles is so #MotherCulture

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/21/2014 7:37 AM

Our friend Gene is the founder of Charity Miles, an app we frequently partner with to raise money for worthy causes through physical activity. He even won a Webby this week for his incredible work. Plus
he met Doge at the ceremony!

Below is a quick Q&A with Gene about  fitness and #MotherCulture. Enjoy, and don't forget to walk, run or bike for a good cause with Charity Miles. Every mile matters!

You sure are an active guy these days. Did you grow up running marathons? How did your family influence your physical fitness habits? 

 I didn't grow up running. But my family was always active. We'd go skiing together on the weekends— a tradition my mom started with her parents as a little girl. I'd throw the baseball in the front yard with my dad after dinner. We rode bikes and rollerbladed together. It was just a way of life for us.

 Do you find that contributing to charitable causes helps you stick to your fitness routine? What else keeps you motivated to get moving?  

 For me, running is about storytelling. Maybe not through words, but through action. When I started running marathons, it was a way for me to express my commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease (in honor of my grandfather). But as I got more into it, I became even more inspired by other runners' stories. I remember being at the starting line of my first marathon: Chicago, 2002. Looking around at the 20,000 other runners, I could see that each one had a story on their face. And each story was about to change over the course of the next 26.2 miles. I was (and am) honored to share in these stories. This is what really motivates me.

 Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions in your family?

 We usually have some kind of brunch with my Mom in the morning and then go to my aunt's house for a barbecue in the afternoon. When I was younger, my cousins and I would play roller hockey all afternoon. In the last few years, my mom and I have rented bikes in New York City and rode around Central Park or down the Hudson River Greenway.

 For folks who are new to a daily exercise regimen, or those who really just like to push themselves to exhaustion, what would you recommend in terms of a refreshing, high protein snack to have after working out?

 Lifeway Kefir, of course! I like mine with fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries :)

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