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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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Tips for Healthy Exercise Habits – The Flu Season Edition

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/22/2013 1:37 PM

lifeway healthy exercise tips

The health benefits of exercise are abundant. People who exercise tend to have more energy throughout the day, a more positive self image and, most importantly as we enter flu season, have a stronger immune system.
Experts recommend a moderate amount of cardio exercise to boost immunity and flush germs out of your system before they make you very ill.

In case you aren’t sold on adding a little walking, jogging, or biking to your weekly routine, Lifeway is sponsoring the Charity Miles App this holiday season to aid victims of Hurricane Haiyan and start Giving Tuesday on December 3rd a little early. When you download the app and enable GPS tracking, you can choose a charity to support and Lifeway will donate to that cause based on the miles you log.

Lifeway wants you to stay healthy no matter how you get moving this winter, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips for keeping your immune system strong and avoiding illness while you exercise.

Be germ conscious at the gym

The gym can be a hot spot for germs, but a few easy habits can help keep you from getting sick.

  • Wipe down any shared equipment like treadmills or free weights with disinfectant spray or wipes before and after you use them, and when possible, bring your own supplies like yoga mats and boxing gloves.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and wipe off sweat with a clean towel while you’re working out.
  • Cover any open cuts or scrapes with a clean bandaid before you workout to keep germs out.
  • Wash your hands with soap when you’re done to rinse away any lurking germs.

Take to the streets

Avoid the germs of the gym altogether by hitting the pavement! Remember to stay visible and avoid unsafe areas as the days get shorter if you plan on heading out in the dark. Watch for icy roads as you run, walk, bike, or skate your way to a stronger immune system!

Bend and Stretch

Stretching exercises help engage all your muscles and promote the functioning of your detoxifying organs like your lymph nodes. Try this yoga sequence from Yoga Journal  with some easy inversions to push nasty germs out of your respiratory organs. As if we needed more reasons to practice yoga!

Help your body recover with healthy foods

Your body will likely be hungry for a few carbohydrates after a workout for energy, but it will also need protein to rebuild the muscles you’ve exercised. Some people recommend chocolate milk for its healthy balance of protein and carbs, but we are partial to Lifeway Kefir! Check out our recent blog for more details of the benefits of drinking kefir post-workout or grab a pack of our Immunity BioKefir shots to drink alone or add to a smoothie. Lifeway’s 12 live and active cultures may also help boost immunity by building an army of beneficial gut microbes that battle the bad ones like influenza in case some slip by your other precautionary measures!

De-germ your workout clothes

Germs can lurk in your gym clothes and intimate apparel, sometimes even after they’re washed, yikes! Use bleach or bleach alternative to sanitize your threads (most machines don’t have hot enough water to kill all the germs, so stick with more eco-friendly cold water). Or for a chemical free clean, let your clothes hang dry in the sun and the UV rays will eliminate bugs.

Don’t overdo it

Training intensely for rigorous races like marathons or ultra-distance races can be taxing on the mortal human body. If you feel completely wiped out, you’re immune system might be a little tired, too. So make sure you save some energy for your body to fight off infection and to run to the store for more kefir when you’re thirsty! Intense exercise while you’re sick can also have adverse effects on your own body and negative effects on public health if you’re exercising at the gym around others.

Fall for Kefir: Cranberry Creme Brulee Kefir Mousse

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/22/2013 7:37 AM

Nothing could be easier than pouring a tall glass of Lifeway Kefir for a sweet, refreshing, and healthy dessert (except for taking a swig straight from the bottle!), but during the holidays, it’s nice to make things a little extra fancy. Our recipes for Cranberry Crème Brulee Mousse is still pretty easy, requiring no baking and no heavily processed ingredients. Its rich and decadent enough to please a crowd at a holiday gathering and tart and tangy enough to please the most discerning kefir fans!

No special torch is required with all the delicious crème brulee flavor in our special holiday edition Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir, but if you want a little of that sugary crunch, we suggest using a crunchy candy like peanut brittle and making a crumb topping to sprinkle on top. If you can’t find our holiday flavors (including Pumpkin Spice and new Eggnog!) ask your friendly dairy manager to bring some in on their next order, or substitute with one of our red berry flavors like Raspberry, Strawberry or Pomegranate.

Cranberry Creme Brulee kefir Mousse

Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir Mousse

Makes 6 generous servings

Ingredients:

14 oz can all natural cranberry jelly

8 oz lowfat cream cheese, softened at room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir

1 cup peanut brittle (optional)

Instructions:

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, add cranberry jelly and sugar and beat on high until well combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream and kefir until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cranberry mixture and fold 6 times, so some swirls of cranberry remain.

Spoon into crème brulee dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Using a food processor, chop the peanut brittle into crumbs. Sprinkle over cheesecakes before serving.

Fall for Kefir on Twitter and at The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – And win a blender!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/20/2013 5:55 PM

lifeway fall for kefir blender giveaway

Thanksgiving is almost here! We know if it were up to you, everyone at your Thanksgiving table would be sharing in your daily tradition of a cup of
Lowfat Pomegranate Kefir or drizzling a little over their pumpkin pie for a little extra zip, but not everybody is hip to the delicious taste and feel-good-feeling of being a Lifeway Kefir devotee.

That’s why this holiday, we’re making it easy to fall in love with kefir by sharing some probiotic twists on classic Thanksgiving and Hanukkah recipes with the #FallforKefir hashtag on Twitter! Follow @Lifeway_Kefir as we share some old favorites and new twists on recipes from our blog, we hope you can find a way to mix our favorite ingredient with some of your family’s holiday traditions.

Do you use kefir instead of cream in your squash soup like our CEO Julie Smolyansky? Or have you ever replaced buttermilk with kefir in your grandma’s biscuit recipe? We’d like to invite all bakers, cooks, health nuts, foodies and friends to share which recipes make them Fall for Kefir using the #FallforKefir hashtag on Twitter and we’ll select one lucky Tweeter to win a cool hand blender! Perfect for making a Fall Persimmon and Kale Smoothie or chopping up cranberries for your relish!

We also invite all our local friends and visitors in Chicago this weekend to visit us at The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on November 23rd. This visual stunner of a parade happens every year when the famous shopping promenade in Chicago’s downtown turns on its holiday lights to kick of the gift shopping season. Lifeway will be there sampling some delicious holiday flavors and classic favorites. Stop by and say hi!

Kefir Pumpkin Pie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/18/2013 5:37 AM
kefir pumpkin pie

Dense and custardy, pumpkin pie can be a little heavy unless you add a generous dollop of whipped cream. And after the palate assaulting smorgasbord of Thanksgiving flavors, ending on a heavy note can be overwhelming, not to mention excessive in calorie count.

The light tang of Lifeway kefir comes to the rescue again! A mashup of the holiday favorite pumpkin pie, the southern delight known as buttermilk pie, and fancy pants soufflé offers a lighter dessert, no whipped cream in sight.

For the sake of tradition, it being Thanksgiving, the crust recipe has its roots in the Advanced Cooking class at Mount Pleasant, Michigan’s West Intermediate School. For generations, disciples of the class' fearless leader Ms. Rubel learned to make thrifty, public school budget-friendly single crust pies and used vegetable shortening instead of real butter. This recipe, however, follows the author’s tradition of veering off recipe to uphold their culinary and dietary standards and uses butter.

While many people will stress not overworking the dough in the last step, this can result in a crumbly mess that is difficult to roll out and droops when par baked. Cutting in the butter by hand, however, ensures that no big messy pieces of butter are left, and keeps the flour from developing chewy gluten chains in the final mixing step. Check out this blog post from Poires au Chocolat for videos and tips on cutting in pastry by hand and get ready for a pastry that is both flaky as a Thanksgiving snowstorm in Mid Michigan and much easier to work with than a group of 8th graders practicing knife skills.

And if you haven’t done it before, making brown butter is also really easy and worth the extra step!

 

Kefir Pumpkin Pie
Crust

For 1 single crust pie

1 ¼ cup AP flour

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into ¼ in pieces and chilled

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold water

Instructions

Combine flour and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse sand (none of the pieces should be larger than a pea). Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Add water one tablespoon at a time and toss to coat until the mixture is just moistened (you may not need all the water). Pack the mixture into a ball and knead only twice to bind the dough together. Make a ball then flatten into a ½ in thick disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

Roll out dough on a floured surface into a 12 in diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 in pie plate and crimp the edge as desired.  Refrigerate again while the oven is preheating to 350°F.

When ready to parbake, pierce the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork, brush the outer edge with egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water), and cover the entire crust, including edge, with aluminum foil. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is set, but before it begins to brown. Let cool before adding filling.

 

Kefir Pumpkin Filling

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter

3 tablespoons AP flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, separated

2/3 cup raw cane sugar

¾ cup canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened)

1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir

 

While the crust cools, turn the oven up to 425°F. Brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the foaming subsides and the solids turn a medium golden brown color. Let cool.

Separate eggs and whip egg to soft peaks. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and vanilla and whip with a whisk until the mixtures turns a pale yellow color. In a separate bowl, whisk together kefir and pumpkin. Mix in the kefir mixture and browned butter in 4 parts, alternating between kefir and butter. Fold in the egg whites and transfer to the cooled, par-baked pie crust. Tent the crust with aluminum foil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325°F, remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 35-40 minutes, until the filling just sets and stops jiggling in the center. Let the pie cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.

1 New Flavor and 6 Egg-cellent Holiday Ideas

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/15/2013 9:37 AM

It's the most wonderful time of year again. That's right, the time of year for Lifeway's new holiday kefir flavors! Pumpkin Spice has been making a bright orange splash on grocers' shelves since the beginning of October and now it's time to reveal our newest flavor in the holiday lineup - Eggnog! Watch for it in the dairy case for the next couple of months and check out our other favorite ways to incorporate eggs into your holiday tradition below. You might need another use for all those eggs now that Lifeway is making the (egg-free!) nog for you!

Lifeway Kefir lowfat eggnog


Eggnog

If you’re in the mood for something rich, whip up a little holiday nog. If you’re in the mood for a lighter, more probiotic beverage without all the extra calories, try Lifeway’s new Eggnog Lowfat Kefir! Ours has only 2 grams of fat and is egg and alcohol free.

Gin Fizz

Speaking of cocktails, egg whites make a lighter, airy delight, no whipped cream in sight. Check out TheKitchn’s tutorial, practice making a few (responsibly), then impress guests at your next intimate holiday gathering with hand-shaken, earth-quakin’ good beverages.

Painted Eggs

Decorate your tree with painted egg ornaments! Did you know that kefir is a traditional Russian food and painted eggs are a Russian holiday favorite? We found a few with traditional folk designs and a few with some cool cats – how fun! Why wait for Easter to roll out the egg decor?

Cranberry Clafoutis

Cherries make a great summertime treat, but the tart winter berry known as cran will pop quite nicely in the eggy French dessert known as clafoutis. We haven’t tried making clafoutis with kefir instead of cream, but the idea doesn’t sound bad at all. Kick off your baking with this Food Network recipe for cranberry clafoutis and let us know how your substitutions go!

Avocado Egg Boats

Don’t forget about breakfast – or lunch or dinner. For an eggs-tra nutritious breakfast, crack an egg into a half a pitted avocado and bake, scoop and enjoy! Perfect for entertaining out of town holiday guests.

Egg Carton Ornaments

Unless you have a coop full of chickens and need a vessel for their eggs, you’re going to want to think of another way to reuse your egg cartons. Try this Jingle Bell Flower Ornament craft from Better Homes and Gardens. Go green and red this holiday!

Aiding Typhoon Haiyan Victims with Charity Miles and Lifeway

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/12/2013 12:03 PM

As holiday gift giving approaches, we look forward to expressing love and gratitude for our loved ones, our friends and family. What better time of year than the holidays then, to extend our gratitude beyond our social circle. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday take care of our gift-giving shopping lists, Lifeway decided to celebrate ‘Giving Tuesday’ on December 3rd, a day to make charitable donations to causes close to our heart. Tying in our passion for healthy eating and living, Lifeway decided to sponser the Charity Miles app, making a donation for every mile users run, walk or bike during the notoriously sedentary holiday season.

The recent tragedy in the Philippines, however, left 4.5 million people affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Driven to move our philanthropic efforts up in the calendar to help those in need, Lifeway decided to sponsor Charity Miles donations to the United Nations World Food Programme early this year, from November 12th  through December 17th. When you use this app to track how many miles you walk, run or bike during these five weeks, Lifeway will donate to the World Food Programme for every mile logged.

world food programme haiyan relief

The World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, mobilizing food and logistics supplies and communications equipment to assist the government-led emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan.

Our President and CEO Julie Smolyansky, who is also a member of the United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council, expressed the motivations behind Lifeway’s decision, “The World Food Programme is tackling the massive logistical problems caused by the storm, as much of the transportation infrastructure was damaged and many supplies will need to be airlifted. The aftermath of the storm is shocking, and we knew we had to do contribute to help provide desperately needed food and equipment supplies to the region.” In addition to the Charity Miles donation, Lifeway is also contributing $20,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme.

To participate in the Charity Miles fundraiser, download the app on your smart phone, select the World Food Programme organization and your phone’s GPS will track your miles as you run, walk, or bike your way to doing good. A few miles of walking a day can help victims of this natural disaster thousands of miles away.

To participate in the Lifeway Foods fundraiser, download the Charity Miles app in the iTunes App Store or Google Play and log every run, walk or bike in the app. Join others supports the Phillippines by using hashtag #GivingTuesday.

This spring, Lifeway and Charity Miles worked together to support The One Fund Boston fundraising initiative benefiting victims of the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy. We were thrilled with how many people participated, showed their support, and did a little good for their own health at the same time!

Time to Purge! November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/11/2013 8:34 AM


Turkey Day is just around the corner. What better way to prep for all that scrumptious grub than by celebrating National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day? Remember: You’re not Jonas Salk, and Penicillin has already been discovered, so nobody needs your moldy cheese and stinky month-old lunch meat. If your fridge has become home to any unfortunate science experiments gone awry, take everything out and give it a proper scrub down. Then, item by item, peek at the expiration date and make sure you only return foods that are still safe to eat by human, non-college-student standards. (Chances are your condiments, bottled beverages, peelable fresh fruit and Lifeway kefir, which has an impressively long shelf life due to the probiotcs and fermentation process, are all safe to bring back; things like opened packages of hot dogs, double-dipped tubs of cream cheese, mayo-based salads, non-fermented dairy and non-peelable produce like leafy greens and berries might need to be tossed.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following guidelines to consider when asking yourself, “Keep or Toss?”:

Toss after one to two days
Ground beef/meat and fresh poultry (all uncooked)

Toss after three to four days
Cooked meat or poultry
Pizza
Soups and stews

Toss after three to five days
Salads containing eggs, chicken, ham and the like
Lunch Meat (opened)

Toss after one week
Hot dogs (opened)
Bacon

 

 

Apple-Kefir Breakfast Quinoa

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/7/2013 12:20 PM
apple maple kefir quinoa

Here’s a breakfast Johnny Appleseed could be proud of! Based on three types of superfood seeds and some favorite fall flavors including apple cider and maple, this bowl is not only full to the brim with flavor, but also with healthful omega 3 fatty acids alongside probiotic kefir.

Quinoa is said to stand apart from grains more typical to the American diet, for starters because it’s not really a grain, but a seed! Like other seeds, quinoa has more fat that grains and is a richer source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. It also has more diverse amino acids in its protein structure, making it a rare plant source of “complete protein.” Dairy products like kefir can also provide all the essential amino acids, even in a meatless diet. Amino acids are important because our bodies cannot produce them, so it’s essential that we incorporate them into our diet.

Flax seeds are touted for their high omega 3 content as well, and also offer a prebiotic hand in this complete meal. Prebiotics are the types of soluble fiber that healthy gut bacteria eat. As you send your kefir off to the microflora war inside your belly, you’ll want to make sure they bring along rations in the form of flax seed husks.

The third seed in this breakfast trifecta are toasted pumpkin seeds for their delicious crunch! These instructions also cook the quinoa to a fluffy pilaf, retaining the crunchy pop of the seeds, while the kefir stirs in for a creamy consistency without the mushiness of oatmeal. Watch out Quaker guy!

 

Apple-Kefir Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained

¾  cup cold water

¾ cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, chilled

Pinch salt

¼ cup ground flax seed

½ cup cranberries

½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

Grade B Maple Syrup (to taste)

Instructions:

Cover rinsed and drained quinoa with cold apple cider and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, covered until all the liquid has evaporated (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flax over quinoa, then fluff with a fork.

Divide prepared quinoa into 4 bowls and garnish each with ½ cup kefir, 2 tablespoons cranberries and 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.

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: http://bit.ly/15mehHR

Code: 25DISC

100 Thousand Dollar Kefir

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/31/2013 6:39 AM

Candy fads come and go, but there are some classic confections that have survived the test of time. Some seem to have stuck around despite being left at the bottom of the trick-or-treat pail year after year – who keeps making those funny banana flavored peanuts? But some candy bars will gladly never go away because they have struck the balance between sweet sugar and bitter chocolate, gooey caramel and crunchy crispy bits perfectly.

The 100 Grand Bar is one such candy bar. When it comes to healthy eating, however, we can’t justify eating too many while maintaining a wholesome, balanced diet. In order to continue enjoying this luscious blend of caramel and crunch, we gave it a healthy makeover in the form of a spoonable kefir smoothie! If your trick or treaters take all the good stuff, you know you’ll still have this yummy treat all to yourself!

Lifeway kefir fun size 100 Grand

100 Thousand Dollar Kefir

Makes 4 servings

1 pint Lifeway Original Tart and Tangy Frozen Kefir

8 oz Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir

2 tablespoons salted caramel sauce

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup crisp brown rice cereal

Instructions

Blend all ingredients except cereal in a blender until smooth. Stir in the cereal and divide into 4 glasses. Serve immediately and garnish with a sprinkle of cereal.

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