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.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/4/2013 3:34 PM
The health benefits of kefir may be vast and powerful, but we know it’s important to eat a variety of wholesome foods. That’s why we make superfood-packed smoothies! This hearty fall mix of produce starts with an apple and persimmon base, a seasonal fall fruit duo, and mixes in a lot of other great plants with a variety of health benefits:
Turmeric – This vibrant rhizome is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and has been used as a curative in its native India for centuries. It contains a phenol called curcumin which has been studied as a preventative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, allergies and arthritis. It is also a friend to your liver and can even give your skin a healthy glow – do not use it topically, though, it will stain your skin yellow!
Ginger – In the same plant family as turmeric, ginger also shares its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also good for settling an upset stomach, pairing nicely with the digestive balancing powers of the probiotics in kefir.
Kale – Perhaps those most famous of the superfood family, kale is a nutrient-dense beast, and we’re not just talking about the dinosaur variety. It contains omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory benefits. Like turmeric, it can enhance your skin with a healthy dose of Vitamin A. Kale has more iron per ounce than beef and more than 6 times your daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. Kefir also contains Vitamin K2, a Vitamin K byproduct that enhances calcium absorption, a mineral you will once again find in both kefir and kale!
Persimmon and Spice Green Smoothie
1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir
2 medium persimmons, quartered and stems removed
1 medium apple
6 leaves kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and grated (wear gloves to avoid stained fingers! or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
Combine all ingredients together in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
Don't have time to whip up your own green smoothie? Try our Organic Green Kefir!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/3/2013 12:37 PM
One of Lifeway’s favorite local Chicagoland organizations is Common Threads, a non-profit dedicated to teaching children living in underserved communities how to cook wholesome, healthy meals. The after-school classes and summer camps put on by Common Threads focus on empowering kids to make healthy diet decisions with practical kitchen experience and a nutrition-focused curriculum. This year, they launched a goal to get 1 million kids cooking in the next 5 years. They have a great start with programs in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
This week, Lifeway participated in Common Threads annual Cook-Off fundraiser, competing against a slew of talented Chicago chefs to create delicious dishes based on classic cookout food. Participants voted for their favorite dish in each of four categories – on a bun, in a shell, on a stick and in a glass. Our Lifeway kefir lends itself best to sipping, so we made a fun, fall flavor, Caramel Apple, which was a big hit! Our entire batch was enjoyed by guests of the event, but you can make your own with the recipe below. Keep an eye out at your local grocer this fall for our seasonal Pumpkin Spice flavor, too!
Caramel Apple Kefir
1 quart Lifeway Original Plain Kefir or Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
2 cups apple cider
1 cup salted caramel sauce, plus ¼ cup
4 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ pound peanut brittle candy
Combine kefir, cider, 1 cup caramel and lemon juice and whisk together until caramel dissolves. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
In a food processor, pulse the peanut candy into fine, sandy pieces. Dip the rim of your serving glass in caramel and then candy crumbs. Fill the rimmed glass with kefir mix and serve with a straw.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/30/2013 10:37 PM
The glorious internet makes the recipe of your dreams easy to find these days. From your favorite blogs and Pinterest boards to your friends’ Instagram glamour shots and abbreviated recipe tweets, the hardest part of cooking can be deciding which delicious morsels to make next. However some classic, tried and true recipes can still be found, sitting patiently, inked onto paper and printed on plastic packaging, unadulterated by the healthy substitutions and trendy ingredient twists they will encounter in cyber space.
We recently found one such recipe for “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies,” perhaps forgotten, but not vanished underneath the lid of our Quaker Oats. Remembering these simple crowd pleasing treats, we saw a perfect opportunity to test some healthy substitutions and trendy ingredient twists! Swapping coconut oil for butter gave the cookies a hint of tropical flavor and cut the saturated fat, while the honey allowed us to stay sweet and reduce the refined sugar in the original recipe. The kefir glaze adds Lifeway’s signature sprinkle of health-boosting probiotics and makes them oh so pretty! Finally, Grape Nuts gave ‘em crunch!
The final result is lighter and more delicate than the original recipe, with a sophisticated, understated sweetness. They successfully retained their ability to vanish.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Lifeway Kefir Glaze
1 cup coconut oil
½ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup All Purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream together coconut oil and sugar. Add honey and combine. Add eggs and vanilla and combine. In a separate bowl combine flours, oats, cereal, coconut, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and whisk together. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined. Add raisins.
Roll a teaspoon size amount of dough between your palms to form balls. Space out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and kefir in a small bowl.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool and drizzle kefir glaze over warm cookies.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/28/2013 1:36 PM
In the new book Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage
, author Robynne Chutkan, MD, covers a lot of taboo topics. But we were particularly intrigued by her story of a pastor who left Dr. Chutkan a five-minute voicemail of him pathologically burping, to show her just how badly the condition was impacting his life.
Read More »
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/27/2013 10:50 AM
The very best thing about carrot cake is easily the combination of luscious cream cheese frosting and the guilt reducing vegetables baked inside. All that fiber and Vitamins A and C have earned carrot cake a place on our breakfast plates a time or two. It’s not so different than a bagel with schmear, right?
Okay, wrong. We know! But the fall flavors of carrot cake, like baking spice and walnuts, plus the health boosting benefits of those ingredients inspired us to give the confection a healthy, probiotic makeover. Did you know cinnamon can reduce spikes in blood sugar after eating? And walnuts are high in heart healthy Vitamin E!
The delicious tang of our Frozen Kefir and smooth taste of our Lowfat Madagascar Vanilla flavor stand in well for cream cheese frosting without a hint of the guilt!
Carrot Cake Smoothie
1 cup Lifeway Original Tart and Tangy Frozen Kefir
¼ cup Lifeway Lowfat Madagascar Vanilla Kefir
¼ cup carrot juice
2 tablespoons prune juice
¼ cup walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/25/2013 1:41 PM
Football season is upon us and we are ready for some snacking! This game day dip is packed with superfoods that won’t leave you feeling ill after a prolonged noshing session with friends and fellow fans (that is, unless victory escapes your home team!).
Kidney beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and iron that help satisfy your hunger and provide you with the energy you need to reach the top of the cheerleading pyramid! Lifeway Kefir and White Cheese are full of the live and active cultures that tackle bad bacteria in your gut.
So for crisp collegiate tailgates, Sunday afternoon soirees or fantasy football gatherings, delight your friends’ taste buds and slip them some digestion balancing probiotics on a chip.
Kefir and Kidney Bean Game Day Dip
Makes about 12 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced, 1 tablespoon set aside in cold water as a garnish
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced thin, seeds and stems removed for less spicy dip, 3 slices set aside as a garnish
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed, ¼ cup set aside as a garnish
½ cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
1 small lime, juiced
1 oz Lifeway White Cheese or cotija cheese, crumbled
Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion and salt to the hot pan and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, cumin and cook 2 minutes more until fragrant, then remove from heat.
Place kidney beans, kefir, lime juice and onion mixture in a food processor. Process on high for about a minute until the mixture is smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Transfer mixture to a serving dish and top with reserved kidney beans, onions, jalapeños and all of the cheese.
Serve cold or use an oven proof dish and bake for about 10 minutes until bubbly.
Serve with tortilla chips.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/24/2013 7:43 PM
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.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/23/2013 7:37 AM
You can’t open a magazine or click on the TV these days without coming across a story touting the benefits of probiotics. They’re everywhere, and they’re here to stay. We’ve long appreciated the many ways a daily dose of probiotics make us feel, from head to tow, tummy to tush. But it is indeed gratifying to watch the world starting to sit up and take notice. We’ve collected an assortment of stories for you to peruse; grab a glass of your favorite probiotics-boosted kefir and start scrolling…
Probiotics and…psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Probiotics and…stress-induced tummy trouble.
Probiotics and…diarrhea caused by antibiotics.
Probiotics and…cavity-free teeth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/20/2013 9:18 AM
There are lots of interesting personalities at Lifeway HQ. One of the more facinating creatures you'll find roaming our halls is our CFO Ed Smolyansky. He's a true cultured dairy aficionado who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the proverbial table. To our real kitchen table in the office, too. Lots of tables. Lots of knowledge.
Many of our fans know that for the past decade our CEO Julie has not only led the vision for our company, but she has also contributed her personal recipes and beauty tips using kefir. Edward, meanwhile, has stayed busy as Lifeway CFO and off the blogosphere radar.
Today, we're forcing Ed into the limelight to shower us with his kefir wisdom! Having never gone a single day without a bottle of the sour stuff in his fridge, the guy knows a thing or two about kefir and we are delighted to share a few of his tips here.
Morning After Oats!
Ed’s famous recipe for Bircher Muesli
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup Lifeway Plain Nonfat Kefir
½ cup mixed dried fruit (Ed uses Navitas superfood trail mix with mulberries, golden berries and goji berries)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Mix the oats, kefir and dried fruit together in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, approximately 16 hours. To serve top with brown sugar and a half a fresh grapefruit on the side.
Easy Peasy Bachelor Chicken!
Edward favors the savory side of kefir with this recipe and substitutes kefir for cream.
1 lb. box of farfalle pasta
1 8 oz bag frozen peas
1 medium can crushed tomato
1/3 cup Lifeway Plain Nonfat Kefir
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Paprika
¼ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons olive oil.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.
Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium high. Season the chicken breasts with salt and all the spices. Brown the chicken on both sides then add the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 10 minutes, covered, until chicken is done. Stir in the frozen peas and kefir and heat through. Serve the chicken and sauce on top of the pasta.
Aftermarket Kefir Modification!
If you prefer the taste of Whole Milk, but can only find nonfat or lowfat, try this trick.
Rich and Creamy Kefir
1 cup heavy cream
1 quart Lifeway Plain Kefir
Mix cream and kefir together and let it hang out on the counter at room temperature for a little while. Transfer the container to the warmer part of your refrigerator for an overnight stay, then wake up to a more decadent blend.