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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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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!

#MotherCulture Mamas Pt. 2: Our Friend Diana

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/16/2014 6:43 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: Diana Semmelhack, Chicago suburbs, mom of three kids, ages three to six.


Three kids – wow! How have you changed as mom from the oldest to the youngest?

I’m a lot more relaxed now. With Jake, our oldest, everything was done by the book: I sanitized every nipple, heated the milk separately from the bottle, everything was organic, every Baby Einstein movie was played. By the time Max (our youngest) came along, nipples were in the dishwasher; if he was eating on the floor, it was OK. Now, it’s more about managing time and my personal sanity.

When you grocery shop, what do you look for as a mom?

I try to do as much organic as possible - any milk, meat and cheese for the kids has to be antibiotic-free. And lots of fruits and veggies …we eat really clean and healthy. But they’ve had cheeseburgers and fries, of course. They have cake at birthday parties. But when they eat those foods, I try to balance it by giving them some fruit or vegetables, too. If they have fries, the four of us will split one order and they need to eat some broccoli, too. We’re Russian, so they tasted caviar before they could even talk. And I always encourage them to try new foods. Like today: Our daughter tried Brussels sprouts for the first time. She didn’t like them, but at least she tried them.

Also, I’ll add that not a day goes bv that my kids don’t have kefir – ProBugs, ProBoost, they love it all.


Is your family active together?

My husband, Joel, and I are really active, and working out is something we take seriously. I workout four to five days a week and the kids know momma’s getting strong. On the weekends, they might come into basement and watch us – they’ll help me count sit-ups. They love riding their bikes, and they’re outside as much as humanly possible. If it’s nice outside, I tell them it’s time to get out there and play. Any chance they have to run, they run. And I invite them to cook with me, get them involved. I think it’s good for them to see what goes into different foods they enjoy. Once a week, we’ll make bread – banana bread or zucchini bread – and they help mash up the ingredients, mix them up, that kind of thing.


How is it different raising a daughter versus sons? 

There’s more drama with girls. She’s not even five years old and her friends already have cliques. It’s so scary, all the bullying and social media and having such a critical eye towards themselves. We had that, to a point, but I feel like we grew up in a more nonjudgmental environment. Girls today are mean starting at a really young age. My most important goal is to make sure she’s confident. I just want her stand with her head held high and know she’s smart and powerful and beautiful.


Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/15/2014 8:14 AM

Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie  Lifeway

We’re not sure how “vanilla” became synonymous with “plain” or “boring” but were are surely not in agreement with the notion. A hearty dose of vanilla adds some deep, round flavor to our light and refreshing plain kefir. And if you’re looking for a filling way to start your day, we added protein, fiber, and omega-3s to this smoothie in the form of all natural, whole nuts, dates, and flax. This sweet treat is big enough to split!

Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie

1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

6 dates, pitted

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon ground flax

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 teaspoon maple syrup

4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Serves 2

Hibiscus Berry Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/13/2014 7:17 AM
hibiscus berry kefir smoothie lifeway

For those who like a little crunch in their smoothie, a few chia seeds or berries are a great addition. For those who like a lot of crunch, add a lot of both! This floral blend has a nice, light, lemony flavor from adding in a pinch of cardamom and a splash of kefir. Each refreshing sip packs in chia’s omega-3s, blackberries’ antioxidants, and the probiotic power of Lifeway Kefir.


Hibiscus Berry Kefir Smoothie

2/3 cup brewed hibiscus infusion, cooled

1 tablespoon chia seeds

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1 cup frozen blackberries or mixed berries

½ cup Lifeway Organic Lowfat Pomegranate Açai Kefir

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Sweeten with honey to taste.

Serves 1

#MotherCulture Mamas

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/11/2014 7:18 PM

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: Charlotte Hilton Andersen, 35, Denver, CO, mom of four kids, age four to 11.

Q: How have your parenting skills changed with each child?

A: With our first one, I was so anxious. I’d watch him sleep just to make sure he was still breathing! By the last one, we trusted them more and trusted our parenting skills more.


Q: Did you have any strange cravings with your various pregnancies?

A: I had very distinct cravings with each. During my first pregnancy, I was a vegetarian but I craved hamburgers and I thought I was awful for it! With my second one, I craved healthy things like blueberries and lemonade. And with our daughter, I could eat an entire watermelon in one sitting.


Q: Does your family drink kefir or use probiotics to stay healthy?

A:  My oldest, Micah, was in hospital at nine months old with an unknown infection and a fever of 108 degrees. He almost died. Doctors gave him IV antibiotics, and they worked, but they wiped out all of the good bacteria in his gut and he would up contracting C. difficile, abacteria that can cause all kinds of horrible symptoms. He had diarrhea all the time. Finally, one doctor prescribed probiotcs, and it turned Micah around so fast – it was the closest thing to a medical miracle I have ever seen. I’ve kept probiotics on hand ever since, in all different forms: I sprinkle the powder on their food, my kids drink dairy kefir and I drink the non-dairy kind. We have the Mother Culture at home! I make a kind a homemade soda with it, fizzy and delicious.  Any time one of my kids complains of a tummy ache or constipation, they get probiotics. It’s one of the rare “medicines” that don’t have side effects. 


Q: Any good tips for work-life balance?

A: I’m not great at finding that balance - I wake up early and stay up super late. But I do believe mothers should be kinder to themselves and know that they’re doing their best no matter what they might think. A lot of us have guilt, but if your kids are healthy and happy, whatever you’re doing is working.


Q: Where can we learn more about you and your take on all things health, fitness, nutrition and parenting? 

A: Check out my blog, The Great Fitness Experiment, and my book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. I also blog for the Huffington Post.

Follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlotteGFE

Sharing our #MotherCulture and a simple probiotic baby food recipe

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/11/2014 5:00 AM

The benefits of abundant and diverse microflora in infants have been in the news lately. The news that a healthier community of gut bacteria can help babies calm down from colicky episodes has had our phones at Lifeway ringing off the hook!

“How soon can I start giving my baby your probiotic kefir?” deranged and sleepless parents ask us.

We suggest checking with your doctor before making any dietary shifts for your little ones, but in general, you can give your baby kefir at the same time they would start eating yogurt. It is not a substitute for breast milk or infant formula.

To get a first hand perspective on the subject of babies who love kefir, we sat down with our Vice President of Project Management and new mom, Fallon Fleyshman Morgan to talk #MotherCulture, perfect purees, and morning routines with her adorable daughter, Siena.

fallon and siena lifeway

What does #MotherCulture mean to you?

I’m a new mommy so I’m still figuring out what #MotherCulture means to me. I am shocked by how easily I adapted into motherhood and have naturally figured out what is important to me like making sure my baby eats organic produce. We’ve been making all her food since she was 6 months old and she has quite the developed palate now.

Any baby food making method or recipe you’d like to share?

Something super easy and quick… I’ll steam peeled/chopped apples and pears and puree them. Then I make a small bowl of organic oatmeal and top it with Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir mixed with the apple/pear puree. She’ll usually have that for breakfast.

How do you find time to connect with your child one on one during the week?

I love waking up with her in the morning. Every morning I make Sienna breakfast, we eat together and then get to play before I run off to work. We read books, talk and play music. Once in a while, hop back in bed to wake her dad. It’s the best part of our day.

sienna lifeway

Probiotic Cantaloupe Soup

1 cup cantaloupe, cubed

1 cup mango, peeled and cubed

½ cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

Puree melon and mango in a food processor until smooth. Stir in kefir. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


Creamy Kefir Greens

2 cups broccoli or green beans

1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

Steam greens until fully cooked. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in kefir. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

“Live & Active” Mother’s Day Gifts

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/9/2014 9:37 AM

lifeway love moms guts

Breakfast in bed can be a great treat, but don’t be lazy about your Mother’s Day gifts! Get mom on her feet and enjoying her special day! #MotherCulture is always being up for a new adventure!

cruiser bike

Cruiser Bike

Send your mom out on the town in style with a cool cruiser bike! We are not going to suggest fitness gear, as moms of all shapes and sizes are beautiful the way they are. But cruising around on a rad bike will get her blood flowing, her skin glowing, and her inner confidence showing!

hip hop moms

Dance Classes

Appreciative sons and fathers might grab mom by the elbow and whisk her away to a swing dance lesson or a tango session. Daughters might get a kick out of tapping the night away or learning a little hip hop ditty at your local studio!

flowers for mom


Fresh cut flowers are popular for a reason, they are beautiful and liven up any room, just like Mom!

painting with mom

Learn to Paint

Take mom to your local studio for a painting class. Learning new skills is said to keep our minds sharp as we age. We’ve also heard a glass of red wine is good for your heart and the brushes and bottles classes are all the rage these days!

birds for mom

Low-maintenance pets

Did you know birds are pretty easy to take care of? Fish are another good option! Don’t let Mom suffer from empty-nest syndrome when all the kids move out; get her a parakeet or two to keep her company!

lifeway culture shoppe

Frozen Kefir Sundaes

The perfect probiotic end to a breakfast in bed or brunch extravaganza! Lifeway frozen kefir has all the live & active cultures you love from your daily smoothie and is available nationally in your grocer’s freezer aisle. Or if you are in Chicago, check out this sweet Kefir Truck Groupon deal and have our very own Starfruit Frozen Kefir-mobile parked in your deserving mom's diveway, for half off the normal price!

Join us for a #MotherCulture Twitter Party!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/7/2014 9:15 AM

Lifeway is celebrating
#MotherCulture this Mother’s Day, with our Lifeway Team and our legions of kefir fans. Tonight we are hosting a Twitter Party at 7pm CST to get the #MotherCulture spirit flowing. Dress code is mom jeans casual, but the door birdie is pretty relaxed about attire. Just follow the #MotherCulture hashtag and chirp in with your thoughts on moms!

We’ve interviewed a few Lifeway staffers and IRL moms to get you in the #MotherCulture spirit.


sofia lifeway probug frozen kefir

Marina Nikolenko, Vice President of Marketing

What does #MotherCulture mean to you?

For me #MotherCulture is spending quality time with my kids, whether it’s going outside for a walk or reading a book at bedtime. Those moments are really special to me.

What are some of your favorite Mother’s Day traditions?

To me this day is about my Mom.  I thank her for everything she does for me and for my family.

We usually host a brunch for Mother’s Day at our house and it’s a chance for my husband and I to try out new healthy recipes and treat our moms to a fun day with the family.

What is your little one's favorite Lifeway product?

My daughter loves Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars, she thinks all ice cream is made from kefir.

maria a motherculture

Maria Adamovich, Accounting

What does #MotherCulture mean to you?   

Finding balance between kids and work

What are some tips for getting your family or kids to eat healthier? 

Not giving them any junk food choices as an option to begin with :)

How do you encourage your kids to be active throughout the day? 

Going to play outside at least twice a day

What is your little one's favorite Lifeway product?  

ProBugs, hands down!

Thanks for chatting with us, Lifeway Moms!

Calypso: A Mediterranean Smoothie Dream

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/5/2014 7:19 AM
Starfruit Calyspo Smoothie Lifeway 

Lifeway operates three cosmic cafes in Chicago called Starfruit. The local hot spots serve up soft-serve frozen kefir to hungry Chicagoans who need a break from hot dogs, beef sandwiches, and deep dish pizza - the only other foods served in the Windy City.

In addition to delicious sundaes in fun flavors like Pear, Green Tea, and Blood Orange, Starfruit mixes up some of the most delicious smoothies in town. Creamy frozen kefir, a splash of Lifeway liquid gold, and fresh fruits and veggies are whirring together all day long in signature and custom blends. One of our favorite new menu items of 2014 is a Mediterranean dream. The Calypso’s refreshing cucumber and mint, along with a hint of coconut and a tart & tangy kick are a new local favorite.

If you can’t make it to Chicago to try one out this summer, all you need is a quick trip to your local grocer’s freezer aisle and a pint of our Lifeway Tart & Tangy Original Frozen Kefir will get you on the right track. Happy Blending!



1 cup Lifeway Original Tart & Tangy Frozen Kefir

½ cup Lifeway Lowfat Coconut Chia Kefir

½ cucumber, cut into pieces

6 mint leaves

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Serves 1


What Does #MotherCulture Mean to You?

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/2/2014 9:19 AM

Share your images, recipes, pictures and stories of

Lifeway is proud to unveil our #MotherCulture campaign with a series of ads featuring real moms who drink real kefir. Everything, including kefir, starts with a mother. We’re sharing our real stories, now we want to hear from our friends and fans. Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky is utilizing her leadership role to make the world a better place for her kids to grow up and for all mothers to build healthier communities. She is dedicated to empowering families across the country to bring wholesome, nourishing foods to the table and to their busy lives, while sharing the stories of how real moms strengthen and inspire every day.

Participate in the Conversation! Sample Tweets:

• I believe every child deserves access to healthy food, a good education and a safe world to fulfill their dreams. #MotherCulture

• As a working mom, family dinners aren’t always possible, but every Sunday my kids and I enjoy a grand brunch! #MotherCulture

• My kids always treat me to flats of flowers on Mother’s Day because I love to garden and enjoy seeing them all summer! #MotherCulture

• My doula introduced me to kefir during my first pregnancy and I’ve kept up the habit! Now my 5 year is crazy about ProBugs! #MotherCulture

• I’ve saved every handwritten note my daughter has given me on Mother’s Day – my box of 33 notes is my greatest treasure! #MotherCulture

Look forward to seeing your favorite probiotic treats advertised in some of your favorite magazine publications. It’s Lifeway’s biggest ad spend to date! A #MotherCulture message might find its way to some of your favorite websites, plus on May 7th, we’ll be hosting a #MotherCulture Twitter party for our loyal fans and all maternal members of the Twittersphere. Join us!

It all starts with the #MotherCulture and what better time to celebrate the origins of life than Mother’s Day! Lifeway looks forward to celebrating the diverse cultures our fans represent in the future!

So please, tell us what 
#MotherCulture means to you!

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