By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/18/2013 3:01 PM
This weekend, Lifeway attended the S.H.E. Summit, the Leadership & Lifestyle Event for Women. The two day event took place in New York City, where motivational women’s lifestyle expert Claudia Chan brought together over 40 inspirational speakers and over 300 empowered attendees.
Lifeway’s CEO Julie Smolyansky participated in a panel on Why Investing in Women is Investing in the World. Julie’s experience being the youngest female CEO of a publicly traded company gave her first hand insight into what makes a female led company distinct and how to make that distinction work in favor of a growing company.
Filling the stage with empowerment, Julie was joined by three other accomplished women whose work is focused on investing in women in various ways.
Elizabeth Gore, Resident Entrepreneur at UN Foundation, led the panel discussion. Ruma Bose, Partner at Innovators Fund was inspired to advocate for women during a summer internship with Mother Teresa helping girls in India enroll in school. As a members of the UNF's Global Entrepreneurs Council, Julie, Ruma Bose, and Elizabeth Gore, lead Chairperson, came to the event with a shared connection as entrepreneurial advocates. Joining them was Maz Kessler, the Founder and Creative Director at Catapult, a crowdfunding website dedicated to tackling gender inequality around the world.
After hearing the panelists’ histories and plans for investing in women in the future, the discussion wrapped up with a challenge to attendees. In what way can you give back 10% to helping women and girls? How can you pay forward the time, money or authority you possess to advance equality for women?
In Julie’s case, she is giving back by launching the Test400k initiative. Their mission:
To empower healthy and safe communities by ending violence against women and children. Step 1 is to provide accountability and justice to victims. Test400k will raise awareness, advocate, lobby, and push for innovative new technology to be used in ending the backlog of untested rape kits and make sure communities and law enforcement provide immediate and swift response time to victims of sexual assault going forward.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/17/2013 2:37 AM
If you’re getting tired of the same old milk and cereal for breakfast, it may be time to kefir-ize your morning meal! If pouring a tart and tangy probiotic milk smoothie over your cookie crisp doesn’t sound too good, checkout these nutritious variations of overnight oats below.
With a little planning, this morning mash is easier and faster (and requires less dishes!) than cooking oats on the stove, and is easy to adapt with any fruits or sweeteners you have around the house. Overnight oats welcome nutrient rich ingredients like flax or chia seeds to the party as well.
When coming up with your own creations, keep in mind to add at least an equal part kefir to your portion of oats, adding more kefir will make the end result a little less dense. Let your imagination run wild with different flavors of kefir, other hearty cereals like grape nuts and all your favorite fruits.
Organic Wildberries Kefir Overnight Oats
½ c Lifeway Organic Wildberries Kefir
½ c old fashioned rolled oats
¼ c blueberries
¼ c raspberries
Mix kefir and oats until oats are fully coated, then fold in berries. Store, covered in the refrigerator overnight. Mix your oats in a mason jar or plastic container for easy storage and fewer dishes!
Avocado Coconut Chia Kefir Overnight Oats
½ c Lifeway Lowfat Coconut Chia Kefir
½ c old fashioned rolled oats
½ small-medium avocado
1 T lemon juice
¼ c raspberries
Mash avocado and lemon juice with a fork. Mix in kefir and oats and refrigerate, covered, overnight. Garnish with raspberries. Mix your oats in a mason jar or plastic container for easy storage and fewer dishes!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/14/2013 12:14 PM
Dads can be notoriously hard to shop for. How much soap-on-a-rope is too much soap-on-a-rope? And how many novelty neck ties before the man gets tangled in a glorious knot of golf ball covered silk?
Well one thing we know about a man who loves kefir, is that he's a man who likes to take care of himself. He treats his taste buds and his digestive health to delicious probiotic packed kefir and we think he deserves an extra special treat on his extra special day!
Our friends at The Chopping Block in Chicago have been cooking up some great kefir recipes for their fun cooking class curriculum. For our Chicagoland fans, taking Dad to their Kids Cook with your Dad class or popular Farm to Table class is a great idea for a Father's Day gift. And you'll get to try the delicious recipes for Chocolate Chip Kefir Scones and Kefir Marinated Fried Chicken (a tangy twist on buttermilk fried chicken!).
Yield: 3-4 servings
Active time: 35 minutes
Start to finish: 12 hours, 35 minutes (includes marinating in Kefir)
One 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (see note, below)
2 cups Lfieway lowfat, plain Kefir
Oil for frying
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Honey and hot sauce, for serving
Place the chicken pieces in a sealable bag or a shallow dish and cover with Kefir. Allow the chicken to marinate, refrigerated, for about 12 hours.
Place about 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy, deep cast iron pot. (You need just enough oil to completely submerge chicken.) Heat oil, uncovered, over medium heat until it reaches 325º.
While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the Kefir and place on a sheet tray.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Season both sides of the chicken with the salt and spice mixture.
Dredge the chicken though the flour, shaking off any excess.
Place the thighs, skin side down, in the center of the pan of oil. Place the breasts, legs and wings around the edge of the pan.
Fry the chicken until the skin is golden brown and crisp, 10 to12 minutes. Flip and repeat.
Continue to cook the chicken until the white meat reads 155° and the dark reads 165° on a meat thermometer.
While the chicken is frying, set up a rack set over a sheet tray. Once the chicken is done, set it on the rack to rest. You can keep the chicken warm in a 200° oven if needed.
Serve with a drizzle of honey and a dash of hot sauce, if desired.
NOTE: Leaving the bone on the breast meat will not only add more flavor to the chicken but it will cook at a more even rate with the dark meat.
Another great gift for dad is a baking up a big batch of kefir love at home in the form of these delicious scones from Sara at The Chopping Block. Happy Father's Day!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/13/2013 6:00 AM
Down by the bay, where the kefir bush grows… we are making panna cotta! This recipe works much better than our song parody (which doesn’t work at all. We should clarify that there is no such thing as a kefir bush) and will delight on a warm night with its chilled, silky texture.
Fresh bay leaves add a subtle dusty herbaceous note which complements the rich, sweet cream while a little lemon zest and plain kefir add a tart, bright kick.
Cherry Bay Kefir Panna Cotta
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 Organic Plain Kefir
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.
Pour the mixture into small, individual dishes or 1 large dish to serve family style. Chill for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator until set (larger dishes will take longer to set).
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 you serve.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/7/2013 11:54 AM
Summer is the season for a bounty of our favorite activities-- a break from school, farmers’ markets, family vacations, trips to the beach and backyard barbeques. Not to mention the festivals popping up all over the country where musicians, artists and members of any far-reaching community can come together and share their passions.
This year, we are excited to be a part of Wanderlust in Vermont (June 20-23), Colorado (July 4-7), and California (July 18-21), festivals where yoga enthusiasts unite in practice and a passion for mindful living.
At Lifeway, kefir plays a big role in keeping us healthy and feeling good, but there is certainly room for other healthy practices in our daily routines. Yoga is another great way to support the body’s immune system, keep your bones strong and even balance digestion!We’ve gathered a few of our favorite belly positive poses here. Practice your asanas before you take your tall glass of kefir and send your probiotics into a supple system in motion!
Deep Breathing – This is a simple step to start with and you can do it anywhere—sitting in your car, at your desk or seated cross-legged on your mat. As you inhale fill your lungs all the way from the bottom, letting your stomach expand. Exhale and allow your stomach to fall back towards your spine. Don’t push and pull your abdominals, but allow your stomach to move freely as you turn your mind to your breathing for several minutes.
Cat and Cow – These poses are great for stretching your cramped abdominal area. Starting on your hands and knees, exhale and pull your back up into an arch for cat, pulling your belly button up toward your spine and your chin to your chest. As you inhale, reverse the arch of your back and let your stomach expand while turning your gaze up. Repeat for six breaths.
Down Dog – From your hands and knees, curl your toes under and push your hips up and back, straightening your legs. Focus on shifting your weight over your heels, bringing your heels to the ground, and relaxing the tension from the small of your back to your shoulders. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and gaze at your belly button. Hold for 10 breaths.
Child’s Pose – Some digestive issues can be related to stress, so incorporating a stress-relieving child’s pose into your routine is a great way to stay balanced. Sitting back on your heels, rest the tops of your feet on the floor, rest your glutes in the curve of your arches and reach your forehead to the floor as you lengthen your spine. Let your arms down at your sides and focus on breathing for 10 breaths.
Knees to chest – Roll onto your back hugging your knees into your chest. Slowly rock to the right and left, massaging your lower back and relaxing the muscles.
Seated twists – Twists massage your detoxifying organs like the liver and kidneys, kickstarting a cleanup of your pipes. Sitting up, extend your left leg to the front with your toe pointed up to the ceiling. Bend your right leg toward your chest and cross your right foot over your left leg. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling, lengthening your spine, twist your torso to the right and bend your left elbow, placing it to the outside of you right knee. Turn your gaze to the back and hold for 10 breaths, focusing on deepening the breath. Repeat on the other left side.
Inversions – Surprisingly, gravity will not push your digesting food the wrong way when you practice inversions. Balancing upside down is a great way to strengthen and lengthen your core and promote digestion. Forearm balances are a good place to start. Place your forearms on the floor shoulder width apart, walk your feet up toward your elbows and kick one leg up, then the other. If you need help balancing, start the pose facing the wall and rest your feet on the wall for balance. Hold for 4 breaths.
Agnisar Kriya – Bonus practice! This easy trick is a great way to get your digestive system in motion and is easy to incorporate into your morning ablutions. Standing with your hands on your knees, inhale into your belly and exhale completely. Pull your abdominals in toward your spine then push them out as far as you can. Pull and push until you need to take another breath, pause for your breath, and repeat 4 times. Do this practice in the morning on an empty stomach or after a glass of warm water with lemon. Having trouble picturing what in the world this looks like? Check out this video.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/6/2013 12:11 PM
Writer Sunny Sea Gold, the former health editor at both Seventeen and Glamour magazines and the daughter of hippies, is no stranger to probiotics. “I grew up in a very health conscious household,” she recalls. “We were vegetarians for a few years, and when I’d get sick, we didn’t go to the drugstore; instead, out came the Acidophilus bottle and I drank kefir and yogurt.”
So when the editors of O: The Oprah Magazine approached Gold with the idea to write a story about the Human Microbiome Project – and the opportunity to have the bacteria in her body identified and mapped – she jumped on it. After all, our microbiome is our unique organism fingerprint; the result of the 10,000 or so species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi we have living inside of us at any given time. Thoughts like that might skeeve most people out, but when you were raised in a family where “good bugs” were a favorite snack and not the well-trained fleas residing in your dog’s fur, it’s no big deal.
And so Gold found herself locked in her bathroom with some latex gloves and two swabs; one of which she rubbed inside her cheeks and the other which she - TMI alert - swiped across a sample of her poop. The swabs were mailed in to the folks at uBiome, a biotech startup that sequences the bacteria living inside a person's body. “Microbiome research [is an] an emerging field that's investigating how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health,” Gold writes in her story, A Few Good Bugs: The Surprising Health Benefits of Bacteria. “The potential for far-reaching medical change is high—what scientists find could revolutionize how we fight infection and treat or prevent everything from obesity to cancer.”
In return for her swabs, Gold learned what percentage of her bugs fell into four basic categories of bacteria, including firmicutes and proteobacteria. Based on available evidence, the uBiome scientists believed that her levels appeared to be within a healthy range. (Oodles of firmicutes may be linked with inflammatory conditions like heart disease; elevated proteobacteria levels may be a predictor of type 2 diabetes.)
To read more about what Gold learned, and to see how science is taking advantage of our natural bacterial potential (poop transplants, anyone?), visit Oprah.com and read Gold’s piece. And follow her @SunnySeaGold.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/5/2013 10:04 AM
Adding bacon to everything isn’t always a terrible idea. By now we’ve all seen bacon and chocolate, bacon wrapped meat loaf and bacon lemon juice cayenne master cleanse for the health conscious. Wait, scratch that last one…
Dunkin Donuts has picked up on the sweet and savory magic of adding bacon to breakfast confections and short on breakfast confections they are not. Adding an egg to their new Donut Bacon Sandwich and calling it breakfast, they are igniting internet-wide bacon buzz once again. It’s easy to rejoice at the shockingly low calorie count this tower of fat clocks in at (only 360), but we all know we’d have to go on a pretty extreme carrot binge to balance a regular diet of Donut Bacon Sandwiches.
If you’re looking for a delicious, and yes, somewhat decadent, breakfast sandwich that doesn’t require a 9am nap, check out our Kefir-ized doughnut sandwich recipe below. Using store-bought whole wheat pizza dough gives you some structure to encase wholesome ingredients like avocado, salmon and a poached egg. The resulting texture might make you think more "fried bagel" than "doughnut," but we don't mind the extra chew for our sandwiches. Keeping it a little Nordic, the kefir glaze includes lingonberry preserves for color (the taste is a little like cranberry and if you can’t find it, any red fruit preserve will do the trick) and a sprinkling of chives because what’s a doughnut without sprinkles?
Doughnut Lox Sandwich
16 oz premade whole wheat pizza dough (look for it in your grocer’s bakery or local pizzeria)
½ red onion
1 T chopped dill
4 oz smoked salmon
8 oz low-fat plain Lifeway kefir
¼ c lingonberry preserves,
2 T chives, chopped
Roll out pizza dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut out 3 inch diameter circles (using a cookie cutter or the top lip of a glass). Punch out small holes in the center (if you don’t have a small cookie cutter, the top of a CLEAN marker cap does the trick). You can save the scraps and roll out again, but work quickly to avoid warming up the dough too much. You should yield 6 portions.
Heat a quart of vegetable oil in a medium pot with tall sides over medium-high heat. Also heat a shallow pan of water to medium-low for the eggs.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon (not plastic!), drop a scrap of dough into the oil; if the dough bubbles and immediately rises to the surface, the oil is hot enough. Drop doughnuts into the oil and let them cook about a minute on each side, until they are golden brown. Pull them out and let drain on paper towels.
Add 1 T of lemon juice to water heated to just below a simmer. Poach eggs and remove with slotted spoon. (about 4 minutes will set the whites and leave the yolk runny, but they can be poached longer for a firmer yolk if preferred.)
While the doughnuts cool, prepare the avocado spread, onion, chives and glaze. Pit and peel the avocado and add 1 T lemon juice, ¼ t salt, 2 T finely chopped onion and dill. Mash and mix to combine. Very thinly slice remaining red onion. Finely chop chives.
For the glaze, loosen the preserves by microwaving for a few seconds, mix in kefir and pour through a strainer into a wide bowl, mashing the mixture through with the back of a spoon to get as much color out of the berries as possible.
BEFORE YOU GLAZE! Slice the doughnuts in half. On the bottom half, layer avocado, lox, red onion and poached egg. Pinching the cut edge, dip the top half of the doughnut into the kefir glaze and top the sandwich. Sprinkle with chives.
Enjoy with a knife and fork or with traditional sandwich technique if you are not afraid to get your fingers a little messy!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 6/3/2013 11:46 AM
This weekend, we took part in two exercise-centric events. We are proud to support the AIDS Walk and 5K Run in Boston and the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. It was great to see everyone staying active and we were happy to add some active kefir cultures to the events!
You’ve heard us tout the health benefits of drinking kefir and we think our product packs a pretty solid nutritional punch. But if there is one ingredient we wish we could fit in every serving it would be exercise! The benefits of staying active go hand in hand with many of kefir’s health boosting powers.
Everyone knows that exercise helps you lose weight and lowfat kefir is a great food to incorporate into a weight loss plan, too. Staying at a healthy weight isn’t just about looking good (though it’s not a terrible side effect!), but also feeling good, staying energized and lowering your risk for diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Balancing digestion is another major benefit of drinking probiotic-packed kefir. When antibiotics, alcohol or poor diet lead to an imbalance in your body’s process of digestion, the helpful bacteria help reset your system. Staying physically active can also keep your digestive system running at an even pace. While not recommended on a full stomach, light exercise can keep gastrointestinal problems like constipation and heartburn at bay.
Health practitioners like Dr. Oz list kefir as a top anxiety fighting food. Exercise is also known to boost your mood and fight anxiety and depression. Both solutions trigger the release of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters that help you relax and fight off the blues.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/31/2013 11:45 AM
Thanks to all who shared their favorite Kefir recipes for our Perfect Pie Recipe Swap! We loved to see our fans’ creative juices flowing with smoothie recipes and savory twists galore. We are all finishing on top with delicious new dishes to add to our recipe boxes.
But without any further ado, the winner of the Recipe Swap Giveaway is Twinkle VanWinkle, with her Blueberry Kefir Pancakes recipe. Congratulations, Twinkle! Your fabulous prize box is on the way. It features 5 VIP coupons good for free Lifeway products, a Lifeway chef’s apron, an adorable hostess apron from Cupcake Provocateur and a gorgeous pine Piebox, courtesy of Piebox.
Blueberry Kefir Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Lifeway Plain Lowfat Kefir
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, combine kefir, milk, vanilla extract, and eggs. Add to dry mixture and mix just until moistened.
3. Pre-heat griddle or skillet over medium-love heat. Lightly grease griddle and spoon batter on.
4. Press in 8-10 fresh blueberries with your fingertips and cover each with a tiny bit of batter.
5. When tiny bubbles appear on the top of the pancake, flip over and continue cooking: 2-3 minutes each side.
5. Serve with butter, fresh fruit, or syrup.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/30/2013 10:29 AM
You don’t have to be British or 80-year-old to appreciate the power of a proper cuppa tea. Coffee’s less caffeinated sidekick is an antioxidant powerhouse, and in our hometown of Chicago, there’s just one place to go for a toasty taste: argo tea. argo is passionate about their product, introducing consumers to teas from around the world and blending them into unique and delicious signature beverages. At Lifeway, we, too, are obsessed with our product, churning out creamy, tangy kefir and proffering it to the masses. So it only made sense for our two companies to partner, and we are pleased to announce our newest expansion: The new Argo Tea Greenhouse featuring a frozen Lifeway Culture Shoppe/Bar. Located in an oasis-like urban island at Rush and Chestnut (871 N Wabash Street, to be exact,) the official opening is June 16. We will be featuring two flavors – green tea and original – along with a plethora of toppings, from sweet honey and tropical mango chunks to delicate, flaky coconut and decadent dark chocolate drizzle. Until then, whet your appetite with some impressively healthy tea tidbits:
Green tea Oozing with antioxidants, green tea may help thwart breast, bladder, lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers. It also contains high concentrations of a fat-burning compound called EGCG - in one study, participants who consumed four daily cups burned an average of 67 additional calories a day. Green tea is also believed to prevent clogging of the arteries, lower the risk of heart disease and may even reduce one’s risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Black tea Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea is highest in caffeine among all the teas, so pick this if you need to catch a buzz. Black tea drinkers are less likely to suffer from a heart attack, and if they do have a heart attack, they’re less likely to die if they’ve been drinking black tea for at least a year. The inky tea may also lower your odds of developing kidney stones, Parkinson’s disease and ovarian cancer, so grab a large Chai and start sipping.
White tea Feeling under the weather? You might want to send your mom out to argo for some white tea. One study found it might slow the growth of and actually inactivate bacteria that cause strep infections, pneumonia, and even cavities! You’ll look younger, too: Researchers in London found that white tea prevents the activity of enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen in skin, leading to wrinkles.
Lifeway Kefir + Argo Green tea = amazing, healthy, beautiful, frozen deliciousness.