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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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Food Day is here!

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/23/2014 12:01 PM
We’re not one to name names, but a certain frozen food line packs 590 calories, 13 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat and 2,400 mg of sodium into its chicken pot pies.  And a shall-remain-nameless restaurant chain that rhymes with Easetake Lactory serves up its chocolate cake with nearly 2,000 calories and three days' worth of saturated fat (62 grams). On World Food Day, October 24, The Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging consumers to avoid 10 major edible terrors, from bacon trouble cheeseburgers to mocha madness coffee concoctions. A couple of the worst offenders:

Read More »

Celebrate Chicago Food Day with Lifeway Kefir

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/22/2014 1:37 PM
Last week we discussed World Food Day, the globally-recognized holiday that celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Today we’re talking about a subject a little closer to our home – Chicago Food Day! This year, we’ll be celebrating at the Daley Center plaza with loads of local businesses and Chicagoans – it’s a free event and open to the public, so don’t miss it! You’ll be able to sample our delicious kefir, win fun prizes, play exciting games and more – all in the spirit of celebrating healthy eating and nutrition in Chicago, of course.

Thursday, October 23rd

Daley Plaza

7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

About Food Day/Chicago Food Day

Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and inspires Americans to consider their diets, their environment and food policies. Celebrated nation-wide, the day “brings together some of the most prominent voices for change in the food movement, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.” (Source)

Chicago Food Day is supported by Building a Healthier Chicago’s Eat Real Chicago! initiative and works in partnership with various national agencies and organizations, as well as city officials and community leaders, to celebrate healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food in and with the Chicago community.

More info/get involved

For more information about Chicago Food Day and how you can get involved, visit chicago.foodday.org. Visit www.foodday.org to find Food Day events in your area (celebrated every year!).

Bonus! Take this Food Literacy Quiz, provided by Food Day, and test your knowledge about the environment, the ecosystem and the food you eat: http://www.foodday.org/food_literacy_quiz

Apple Cider Pecan Mini Doughnuts. You're Welcome.

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/21/2014 7:37 AM
We collected quite the bounty of fresh apples while visiting the orchard last weekend and have been dying to bake with them ever since! We know there are quite a few apple recipes located on our blog that we love, but we weren't in the mood for cookies, a smoothie or a big slice of pie when we set off to bake. No, we were feeling doughnuts. Soft, delicious, moist, kefir doughnuts.

 
Ah, now we’re talking.
 
We're patting ourselves on the back for these; they are delicious! Warm straight out of the oven sprinkled with cinnamon, or cooled and topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and pecans - however you eat them, you'll enjoy them. They were perfect for a quick breakfast and paired excellently with a cup of coffee. 

Good thing there are more than enough to go around, right? We bet these would also be delicious with pears and walnuts, or with any of low fat kefir flavors. Adjust to your taste!
 
Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup plain Lifeway Plain Low Fat Kefir
1/4 cup cider reduction (recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Whipped cream and additional pecans for topping

Cider Reduction
 
2 cups apple cider
 
Heat cider in a medium sauce pan to a boil (be careful not to let it boil over). Reduce heat and let the cider simmer, reducing to ¼ cup. Set aside to cool until thick.
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Spray a mini doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
 
In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
 
In large bowl, mix together kefir, cider molasses, applesauce and sugar. Add in flour mixture and until combined. DON’T OVER MIX! Fold in apples and pecans.
 
Spoon batter into mini doughnut pan wells, filling each no more than halfway full (you will have extra batter for extra batches). Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and cool for ten minutes before popping out of the pan. Cool completely before topping, or enjoy warm.

Feel free to make any adjustments or substitutions you see fit. We bet our Lifeway Organic Whole Milk kefir would make these extra creamy, and substituting pear for apple would also be delightful! In place of white sugar, try coconut palm sugar or a stevia for baking blend, if you enjoy the taste.

Fun fact: Apples are loaded with incredible health benefits. Not only does the fiber content help you feel satisfied (and stay fit and trim!), they're full of antioxidants, polyphenols and other vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and happy! Learn more about our favorite fall food here.

Our good Fortune

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/16/2014 12:08 PM
We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that our CEO, Julie Smolyansky, was recently named to Fortune Magazine's prestigious "40 under 40", an annual list of the country’s top innovators, gamechangers and trailblazers. Among the influential leaders, all under age 40: Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) and 37 other passionate leaders. In addition to highlighting her business prowess, Fortune called out Julie’s involvement in pressing social issues such as sexual assault on college campuses. They also featured a “5 things you don’t know about Julie” list – things we at Lifeway know but the world didn’t…yet:

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World Food Day 2014: Family Farming - Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/16/2014 2:32 AM
Today is World Food Day, a globally-recognized holiday that celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It was first held on October 16, 1981 and since has been used to spread awareness of not only the agency, but of global poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The key initiatives of the organization are:

  • Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition
  • Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable
  • Reduce rural poverty
  • Enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems
  • Increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters

In short, it’s an agency with a mission Lifeway can get behind.


This year’s theme for World Food Day is Family Farming – feeding the world, caring for the earth. According to the FAO, the theme was chosen because it draws attention to and raises awareness about the key roles family farms and smallholder farms play in the global food crisis. “It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.”

To help spread awareness of World Food Day, we’re accepting their request and raising a glass in a toast to thank the farmers who feed the world (and provide us the highest quality milk for our kefir available).

Learn more about our commitment to sustainability and our support for local farmers at our website here.

Find out more about the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as resources for how you can become involved by visiting their website www.fao.org. Visit www.worldfooddayusa.org for more information about World Food Day and activities in your area.

Trick? Or Treat?

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/15/2014 7:04 AM
With Halloween right around the corner, there’s no better time to get familiar with the scariest-looking health food ingredient trending right now: the SCOBY.


 
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, and it’s basically a congealed blob of – you guessed it – bacteria and yeast which, when introduced to a mixture of black tea and sugar, ferment it, resulting in the uber-popular drink known as kombucha.

Funky-smelling, cloudy, and flying off store shelves everywhere, kombucha tea delivers a dose of healthy bacteria just like kefir does. It also contains vinegar (lending it that characteristic, pungent smell), B vitamins and several other compounds that fans claim can do everything from ease tummy troubles to boost immunity. While the science behind kombucha’s health claims isn’t rock solid yet, bottles selling out everywhere and plenty of proponents swear by what NPR describes as a taste “somewhere between vinegar soda and carbonated apple cider.”

We called up Renee Renz, a Chicago-area board certified holistic nutrition practitioner who leads the Greater Chicago Area Whole Foods Nutrition Meet Up Group, to ask her some kombucha questions. Renz, herself a fan of drinking kombucha as a means of “getting all your good creatures,” pointed out that there’s a brew for everyone. If you prefer a less-sweet taste, go for a longer-brewed bottle; if sweet is your thing, reach for a kombucha flavored with ginger, strawberry, blood orange, lemon-lime or any other of the dozens of flavors available.

One of Renz’s favorite beginner tips: If you find the taste of kombucha too potent or strong, try diluting it with still or sparkling water. Not only will this mellow the flavor, but it will extend the amount of kombucha bang you get for your buck.

If dressing up like a slimy pancake doesn’t sound appealing, you can always masquerade as one of the many celebrity kombucha fans, like Lindsay Lohan, Gwenyth Paltrow or Madonna. As for us, we’re debating between Polly ProBug and a life-size tub of Farmer Cheese. Trick or treat!

Dinner and Dessert: WBEZ's Chicago Chef Battle

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/14/2014 9:37 AM
Foodies, listen up: WBEZ’s 7th annual Chicago Chef Battle is back! This year, five of Chicago’s finest chefs will stretch their culinary creativity by cooking up dishes using delicious craft cider from Michigan’s Virtue Cider. They will be vying for your vote to win awesome WBEZ prizes and the coveted title of Supreme Chef. It’s an event you don’t want to miss.


A Chicago Chef Battle wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from our friends Louisa Chu and Monica Eng of the Chewing the Fat podcast. They’ll entertain guests with a live recording of the show to start the evening, creating the perfect mood for sampling the night’s fantastic food.

Confirmed chefs at the event include Jared Van Camp (Old Town Social and Nellcote), Louis Dourlain (Kendall College) Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of (Parachute) Cliff Rome of (H Dogs) and Chrissy Camba (formerly of Laughing Bird).

Lifeway is the official dessert sponsor of this fantastic event, so after attendees enjoy dishes from the master chefs, we’ll be sampling our fabulous frozen kefir bars with different delicious toppings.



If a night of excellent food, creative drinks and great company interests you, pick up your tickets for the event now!

WBEZ’S Chicago Chef Battle

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
6:00pm

Kendall College
900 N. North Branch Street
Chicago, IL 60622

Chicago Ideas Week and the Lifeway Kefir Lab 2014

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/13/2014 10:37 AM
The Lifeway Flavor Lab will be up and running again this week for Chicago Ideas Week, the city-wide series of events, seminars, and labs that “brings together hundreds of the world's brightest thought leaders to inspire, connect, and activate the city of Chicago and beyond.” As with years past, we’re super excited to see what innovative, obscure and unique kefir flavor combinations attendees will put together with the help of the Lifeway team.

 



For the lab, attendees will be equipped with Lifeway Low fat Plain Kefir and a recipe, where they will use any of the dozens of fun and wacky flavor essences, sugar and natural food coloring (like red beet juice) to create their very own custom kefir flavor. Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky will be attending the event, participating and helping out with the lab, sampling the flavor concoctions that intrigue her most, and discussing the foundation and growth of Lifeway Foods.

If that wasn’t enough incentive to get you registering, attendees at this year’s event will also be treated to delicious brunch treats, including our new oat kefir, pumpkin spice kefir parfaits, scones and more! Mmm, our stomachs are already rumbling, how about you?

What do you think; will this year’s lab introduce the world to the newest Lifeway kefir flavor? Who knows? You’ll have to attend, or check back here next week, to find out! 
 

Ready to Run: Chicago Marathon 2014

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/9/2014 2:53 AM
 
The 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is this Sunday! Whether you’re a spectator or a participant, the event is definitely one of the highlights of the city. The historic race, which was run for the first time in 1977, is one of the best known American races and draws competitors from around the globe. Even more impressive, it’s one of only six World Marathon Majors. Cool, right?

 
Not to miss out on such an exciting event for our city, the Lifeway community team will be at the marathon expo on Friday and Saturday, so be sure to stop by and sample some of our delicious, runner-friendly frozen kefir bars and drinkable kefir. We’ll also be handing out coupons and other fun Lifeway swag. Our CEO Julie Smolansky will also be running the marathon with the Every Mother Counts team, so be sure to say hello if you see her!
 
Fun fact: did you know that kefir is an excellent recovery drink? It’s true! According to Runner’s World (and science), kefir is an excellent addition to your post-run routine, thanks to its immune-supporting probiotics and carb to protein ratio! Plus, Lifeway kefir is 99% lactose free, making it super easy to digest. If that’s not enough to get you intrigued, take a look at all of these different flavors, mmm!
 
If you do happen to be one of the roughly 45,000 participants running this year’s marathon, check out the following race week and day tips to make sure you’re in top form for the big day:
 
Have a Plan and Know What to Expect

  • Communicate with family and friends. Have a post-race meeting place planned out in advance, as there will be thousands of people racing and watching
  • Study the map and know the course. While there will be plenty of event staff around to answer questions, knowing where you are and where you’re going offers peace of mind
 
Nutrition

  • Stick to what you know and what you’ve tried. Race week/day is not the time to try out that new energy bar your friends have been talking about.
  • Cut down and avoid high fiber and high fat foods a few days before the race to ensure you don’t run into any digestive issues (yet another reason to keep kefir in your diet!)
  • Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the race, as well as while running, to avoid dehydration and support a strong
 
During the Race

  • Pace yourself! The adrenaline and excitement of the day could encourage you to run faster than you intend. Stick to your plan and know when to slow down.
  • Don’t worry about the people who are running ahead/faster than you. Once again, stick to your plan and run your race
  • Understand and listen to your body. If something hurts or seems off, slow down and find assistance
 
After the Race

  • Celebrate your accomplishment! After weeks of training, take the time to stop and honor your hard work and dedication.
  • Hydrate, eat and stretch – the three most important things you can do for your body! There will be treats and snacks provided for runners after the race, so feel free to indulge a bit.
  • Take it easy and rest. Don’t plan too many fun activities for the afternoon/evening of the marathon; you’ll likely be fast asleep before sunset
  • Nothing says “self love” like a massage or pedicure (hello, runner feet!) Take the few days after the marathon to treat yourself to some much needed pampering.
 
Runners, do you have any go-to advice for race day?

For more race day and week tips, check out some of the following resources:
 

Welcoming Fall with an Old World Tradition

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/8/2014 12:06 AM

We’re experienced our first truly fall-like weather at the Lifeway headquarters last week. The temperature plummeted, the sun disappeared and chilling rain was accompanied by blustery winds for the better portion of the week. It was a stark contrast to the lovely late summer warm spell we had been enjoying, and, needless to say, had our team at a loss. Do we surrender Summer to Fall with complaints and colds, or do we celebrate the changing of the guard in style?
 
If you guessed, “celebrate,” you’re correct. And what’s celebrating without eating? Not a celebration we want to attend, that’s for sure!
 
In order to welcome in the cool weather appropriately, we turned to our culinary roots, better known as “our mothers,” for a recipe many of our team enjoyed as children. Syrniki, also known as Russian Cheese Pancakes, were (and are) a childhood/family favorite; we’re excited to share our special recipe for them with you today.
 

Syrniki served with fresh berry sauce and Ryazhenka, a traditional-style kefir.
 
Syrniki
 
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 Tbsp flour (whole wheat, all-purpose – your choice) + more for dusting and hands
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Cooking spray
 
In a large mixing bowl, crumble/break up white cheese with a fork. Add in eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Add baking soda and flour, mixing until just combined. Batter should be thick. Refrigerate batter for about an hour to thicken more, if desired.
 
When you’re ready to cook your syrniki, heat a skillet on medium-high and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle some flour on your working surface and on your hands. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter at a time into your hands and form into thick patties roughly two inches in diameter. Add to the hot skillet and cook as you would a pancake (until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through cooking). Serve with berry sauce (recipe below) or toppings of your choosing (sour cream, nuts and honey are traditionally used).
 
Berry Sauce
 
1 cup berries (we used a mix of raspberry and blueberry)
1 Tbsp lemon juice + grated zest
2 tsp sugar (to taste)
 
In a small pot, heat the berries until warm and juices begin to escape. Stir in lemon juice, zest and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbly and desired thickness is achieved. Cool slightly before serving with syrniki. Enjoy with a glass of Lifeway Kefir, orange juice or coffee.
 
What is White Cheese?

Many traditional recipes for syrniki call for cottage cheese or farmer cheese, but we choose to use our Lifeway White Cheese, as it is thicker and the cakes hold together better. It is a cultured soft cheese made from an Old World European recipe. It adds unmistakable flavor and texture to your favorite dishes and recipes. It’s low in fat, cholesterol and calories and it has a distinctive, pleasantly smooth flavor. Lifeway White Cheese is composed primarily of dry curds and has a consistency of feta cheese. Use it as you would feta, as a salad topping, or as a feeling for crepe or pancakes.

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