By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/5/2013 10:37 AM
Frozen ProBugs are easy for kids to eat and easy for kids to cook with! Kids can have fun preparing their own snacks and learning how to build nutritious meals and afternoon treats.
Families in New York can even sign kids up for “Kids Cook NYC” Summertime Day Camps with The Creative Kitchen at Whole Food s Market – Bowery. Growing Gourmands to Junior Chefs (ages 2-13) can be registered online.
Anywhere Lifeway kefir is sold, this Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie is a refreshing alternative to a classic kids’ treat on a hot summer day.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie
1 Lifeway Goo Berry Pie Frozen Probug
2 T peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
½ c Lifeway Lowfat Blueberry Kefir
Heaping ½ cup raspberries
2 ice cubes
Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/3/2013 7:37 AM
We at Lifeway love Independence Day! One of our favorite traditions is fireworks. From the giant technicolor bursts to kids let loose on the lawn with sparklers, the patriotic pyrotechnics always put a smile on our face.
So in true 4th of July tradition, we are making a sparkling dessert to set the mood for the fireworks show. Frozen kefir is a great complement to the lemon lime soda, and the bubbles create a refreshing texture, perfect for a hot summer night. Red and blue berries complete the obligatory color trio for July 4th desserts.
July 4th Float
3 small scoops Lifeway Original Tart & Tangy Frozen Kefir
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
8 oz lemon lime soda
Place half the berries in the bottom of a tall glass, add ice cream, then the rest of the berries. Slowly pour half the soda into the glass, let the foam settle, then top with the remaining soda.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 7/1/2013 9:37 AM
Summer travels can be full of adventure! Unlike the winter holidays spent in overcrowded airports, trudging through foul weather and briefly sharing a day or two with family, summer holidays offer a pleasantly relaxing break from the daily grind. But whether you’re stuck on the road eating at any greasy spoon of America or travelling abroad, trying local cuisines, travelling can take a toll on your digestive system and make an otherwise happy trip turn sour.
At Lifeway, our summer travel schedule is packed with trips to music festivals, yoga retreats, food shows, and sporting events, so we are no strangers to trying to eat healthy away from home. We’ve compiled some tips to keep your belly at ease on your relaxing summer getaway.
1. Pre-load on Probiotics Making sure you’re getting your daily dose of gut healthy probiotics before you hit the road helps safeguard your digestive system against foreign, malicious bugs. In the latest issue of food magazine Lucky Peach, Dr. Benjamin Wolfe, Harvard Microbiologist, affirms that current research supports the use of probiotics to prevent traveler’s diarrhea. All Lifeway kefir is chock full of probiotics, but our BioKefir really packs a punch. There are at least 20 billion units in each 3.5 oz bottle.
2. Avoid raw and undercooked food When traveling abroad, your stomach might not be used to the microorganisms in your host country’s water supply. Fresh fruits and vegetables are typically rinsed with tap water, so this is one situation where skipping the salad course might keep you a little healthier. Of course, undercooked meat is a hot spot for some seriously unfriendly bugs like salmonella, especially in countries with less strict refrigeration guidelines.
3. Pack healthy snacks We’ve all had those frantic airport moments where we’re running toward the gate, Home Alone style, and fast food becomes the difference between starving and not starving, but feeling a little queasy for your whole flight. Likewise, a road trip pit stop can easily turn into a cheese fries round table. Make packing healthy snacks like trail mix or fresh fruit part of your pre-trip routine and avoid fat food upset stomachs.
4. Keep moving Cars, trains, and especially airplanes can leave your limbs feeling a little cramped. Make sure to stretch your legs to keep your muscles loose. Standing up and getting the blood flowing is great for the digestive system, too.
5. Drink water If you stay hydrated, you’re less likely to fill up on junk food and you’ll keep things moving in your digestive system. Remember to avoid sugary sodas and coffee as they can do more dehydration harm than good.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/28/2013 8:37 AM
Did you know June is National Dairy Month? It may seem a little out of the blue when fresh milk is available in a seemingly endless supply at grocery stores across the nation, but there is a reason for the season of milk! Cows are naturally inclined to give birth in the spring and start producing milk for their calves. So left to their own devices, cows produce a surplus of milk in June. In 1937, National Milk Month was created to hype up the benefits of milk and increase demand, and the tradition has since morphed into a celebration of all the great products cows milk can become – including kefir!
Here at Lifeway, we are proud of the millennia old tradition of drinking kefir for good health. So in honor of National Dairy Month, we are shedding light on some unique ancient and modern reasons to celebrate the drink from which all kefir is born -- milk!
According to ancient Greek mythology, the goddess Hera created the Milky Way when she refused to feed Heracles and spilled her breast milk. It looks like spilled milk, but it’s just a few hundred billion stars in the sky!
Milk maids in the 18th century were famous for being immune to smallpox. More than just folklore, these resilient dairy maids were infected with the related disease cowpox. Combining this knowledge with his medical expertise, physician Edward Jenner created the smallpox vaccine. Thanks for the milk and the life-saving inspiration, ladies!
Just last year, scientists found inspiration in their milk. But they also found a frog! Russian tradition tells us that milk will stay fresh longer if you put a frog in it. A curious group of scientists tested the theory in a lab and found new antimicrobial enzymes that fight off bacteria and microorganisms on the skin of the Russian Brown frog. We just about croaked when we heard that one – crazy!
Today, Lifeway makes 73 distinct flavors and varieties of kefir, but the two things they all have in common is fresh, grass-fed, synthetic hormone-free cow’s milk and all the probiotic cultures you love!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/26/2013 9:37 AM
Fourth of July gatherings are full of tradition. Whether you're picnicing at the park, grilling in your backyard, boating with friends, or barbequeing with family, one tradition that remains the same is eating together. Traditional American foods like hot dogs and potato salad are perfect for this all-American holiday, but one old-staple that has fallen off the menu at many modern american tables is the jello-mold. Laden with artificial coloring and flavors, we're not ready to bring back Grandma's exact recipes, but we do miss the light, cool, smooth texture and the striking beauty of a jiggly, molded dessert!
What better substitute than a tart, refreshing, berry-filled kefir panna cotta! Flavoring the cream with bay and lemon gives it a great flavor without changing the color. With red and blue fruit, this Italian treat becomes a patriot of the USA!
Kefir Panna Cotta with Cherry, Blueberry & Bay Leaf
1 ½ c cream
1 packet (¼ oz or 2 ¼ t) powdered gelatin
¼ c sugar
3 fresh bay leaves
3 large strips lemon zest
1 ½ c Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
1 pint blueberries
2 c sweet cherries, halved and pitted
Sprinkle gelatin over cream in a small saucepan and let sit for 2 minutes until the gelatin blooms (the surface will look wrinkly). Whisk in sugar, zest and bay and heat on low until sugar and gelatin have dissolved and the grainy texture is completely gone (do not boil or scald the cream). Pour the mixture through a strainer into a mixing bowl. Add the kefir to the warm mixture about ¼ cup at a time, whisk as you go to lower the temperature slowly and avoid lumps.
Fill small, individual serving dishes with blueberries. Pour the mixture over the blueberries and chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator until set. Can be made a day before serving.
Once it is firm and jiggly, the panna cotta can be served in the dish or unmolded. If it sticks, dip the bottom of the dish in hot water for a few seconds to loosen it. Scoop a few cherries on top before serving.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/25/2013 10:37 AM
For our next installment of updated Fourth of July recipes, we are tackling an American junk food staple: the french fry. To start off on a more healthful foot, we're subbing vitamin packed sweet potatoes for regular potatoes and tossing them in a hot, hot oven to crisp and leaving the fryer out of the equation.
Lifeway kefir finds its way to the dish in the form of a tangy chipotle dipping sauce. Garlicky, smokey and with a slow hint of heat, you won't miss a high-fat, store bought ranch dressing.
Sweet Potato Fries with Kefir Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Sweet Potato Fries
3 large sweet potatoes
1/8 c olive oil
1 ½ t salt
1 t cumin
Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Chop the ends off the potatoes and slice into ½ inch planks, lengthwise. Slice again lengthwise for ½ inch thick sticks. Toss with olive oil, salt and cumin in a large mixing bowl and lay out on a baking sheet with 1 inch of space between pieces (crowding will result in a less crisp fry). Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and flip fries with tongs and bake again for 6 minutes or until dark and crisp on both sides. Serve with Kefir Chipotle Dipping Sauce.
Kefir Chipotle Dipping Sauce
1 c Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
¼ t garlic powder
½ t dried, minced onion
2 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo, chopped
¼ c cilantro, chopped
1 t salt
¼ t black pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight before serving.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/24/2013 9:37 AM
Independence Day is just around the corner! We're gearing up for fireworks, boating excursions, and of course, Fourth of July food! Whether you're barbequing with a few friends or gathering the whole family for a potluck, we hope you have plenty classic American dishes to honor the anniversary of our nation's independence.
Potato salad, pasta salad and creamy dips and dressings don't have to be mayo-laden calorie bombs, though. We've lightened up a few of our favorite recipes and will be bringing them to you as we prepare for our upcoming holiday weekend. First up is a pasta salad that cuts the mayo completely. Lifeway Kefir makes a great tangy dressing with in a healthy shade of green with the addition of fresh peas.
Pasta Salad with Kefir, Peas & Cheese
1 lb pasta shells
1 ½ c Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
½ t cayenne pepper
1 lb fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
6 green onions
½ c mint leaves
½ lb Lifeway White Cheese (or feta)
Cook the pasta shells in salted water until al dente. Drain and while it begins to cool, make the dressing and prep additional ingredients.
In a blender, combine kefir, olive oil, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper and 1 cup of the peas. Blend until smooth and pale green.
Chop the green onions into thin slices. Stack the mint leaves and slice crosswise into thin ribbons. Dice the cheese into ¼ inch cubes or crumble if using feta.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, dressing, green onions, mint, cheese and remaining peas and stir to combine. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight before serving. If the pasta absorbs the dressing, add more kefir before serving.
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
1 T NuttZo PF
1 cup Lifeway Pomegranate Kefir
1 cup coconut water
10 ice cubes
1 tsp Maca powder
10 black berries
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.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/21/2013 9:37 AM
Festival goers cooling off with frozen ProBugs at Solid Sound
Culture at Lifeway isn’t just about live and active bacteria in our diet, it’s about the live and active festivals of human creativity we all know as music festivals! The season to enjoy full and consecutive days of live music are upon us and we are rolling out the kefir to keep your satisfied while you festivate!
This weekend, we are headed to Solid Sound in Massachusettes, June 21-23, the music and arts festival brought to you by the band Wilco. Expect alt rock that is down-to-earth with a country twist, much like Lifeway Organic Lowfat Peach kefir!
Next up, we’ll be seeing you at Pitchfork! In Chicago’s Union Park, July 19-21, the festival features indie rock performers that are too good to stay on the small stage. Our new Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars feel the same way! They’ll be hitting store shelves near you soon.
The last stop on our music festival tour is Kidzapalooza in Chicago, August 2-4, the kid-friendly stage of Lollapalooza. Just like the upbeat jams you’ll hear at Kidzapalooza, Lifeway Frozen ProBugs are a hit with both kids and their music-loving moms and dads.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/19/2013 11:53 AM
If you’ve ever had butterflies in your stomach, or found yourself doubled over in the bathroom before a major event, you know firsthand that the brain sends signals to the gut.
But up until now, researchers haven’t been able to prove that the opposite is true - that the GI system sends signals to the brain, as well. The theory was suspected but had only been proven in animal studies.
But thanks to a brand new UCLA study
, there is now evidence that when bacteria is ingested in food in the form of probiotics, it can favorable impact brain function. The research, which appears online in the journal Gastroenterology
, could pave the way toward treating brain disorders with food or dietary approaches.
Study lead author Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, an associate professor of medicine in the digestive diseases division at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says their findings indicate that probiotics “may actually change the way our brain responds to the environment. When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings 'you are what you eat' and 'gut feelings' take on new meaning.”
Other researchers are investigating the potential of certain probiotics to lessen mood symptoms such as anxiety. UCLA says that as more and more research emerges linking GI function to the brain, we may find probiotic approaches to treating chronic pain conditions, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and autism.
Some other proof of the two-way street that exists between the gut and the brain:
Probiotic bacteria may one day be the new Prozac
: Mice who were fed Lactobacillus rhamnosus
JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviors than those fed with broth.
More than 90% of children with autism spectrum disorders suffer from chronic, severe GI symptoms, such as diarrhea. In fact, Canadian researchers have developed a vaccine for gut bacteria common in autistic children which might help control certain autism symptoms.
Emotional stress alters the balance of bacteria that live in the gut, reducing immune function, according to research
in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.