Healthy Living London were invited to a health and wellness brunch with Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, and Liz Earle, founder of the Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine, to learn about kefir and the benefits of including kefir in a balanced diet. Julie and Liz discussed these benefits, and Julie also talked about her new recipe book, The Kefir Cookbook, which the brunch menu had been based. We were able to try some of these recipes and they were rather yummy.
I arrived at the health and wellness brunch and was welcomed with a buffet selection of healthy food and drinks, created using Julie Smolyansky’s recipes from her newly published book, The Kefir Cookbook. The Amazebowl, the Magic Mushroom Frittata and the Winter Fruit Kefir Salad were a few of the delicious offerings, but my favourite had to be the Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffin… oh my, so delicious, plus it’s made with zucchinis, so it must be healthy, right! After filling my plate with an assortment of the beautifully presented offerings, I headed to my seat for the discussion and Q&A between Julie and Liz.
Julie introduced herself to us; Lifeway Foods was founded in the USA by her Russian immigrant parents in 1986. They began creating kefir in their basement with the mission of introducing kefir to the United States. Kefir had been popular in eastern Europe for centuries and they were determined to introduce it to America. Two years later, their company went public and was debuted on the NASDAQ exchange. In 2002, at the age of 27, Julie become the youngest CEO of a publicly held firm.
Liz Earle is a writer, TV presenter and entrepreneur. She has written over 35 books on beauty, nutrition and wellbeing and is often seen on ITV’s This Morning. She is the founder of Liz Earle Wellbeing, a bi-monthly magazine, packed full of health and wellness articles, as well as recipes, exercise inspiration and useful products that help to lead a healthier life. I have used her beauty products for years and I love them.
What is Kefir?
“Lifeway Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie that is high in protein, calcium and vitamin D. Thanks to our exclusive blend of kefir cultures, each cup of kefir contains 12 live and active cultures.”Lifeway Foods
Kefir is a food made from kefir grains, that has a consistency similar to drinkable yogurt. Kefir is traditionally made using dairy milk, but there are non-dairy options available. The drink originated in the North Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia, where it is made by adding kefir grains to milk.
Julie and Liz discussed the many benefits of kefir…
· Probiotics – Good bacteria helps support and diversify our microbiome.
· Immunity and Digestion – These probiotics help support immunity and a healthy digestion, so can help reduce symptoms of IBS.
· Protein – Kefir is high in protein, which is especially important for a vegetarian diet.
· Calcium – Kefir is packed with calcium, helping support bone health.
· Skin – You can put kefir directly onto your skin. It is said that Cleopatra bathed in kefir! Kefir contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), a popular ingredient in skin care products, as it removes dead skin cells and leaves your skin with a youthful glow.
· Lactose Digestion – The fermentation process that Lifeway Foods uses reduces the lactose by up to 99%, meaning many people with lactose intolerance are able to drink Lifeway Foods Kefir.
· Amino Acids – Helps improve your mood, as amino acids raise the serotonin in your brain.
Interesting fact – If you freeze kefir, the bacteria isn’t harmed, instead it goes to sleep and stays unharmed. Heating does harm the bacteria, so using it in cold dishes, such as smoothies, is best. However, adding it to soup for example, is both delicious and healthy, but add it right at the end of cooking to preserve as many of the healthy bacteria as possible.
Find Out More:
Find out more here – https://lifewaykefir.com
Lifeway kefir offer a variety of kefir products, including drinks, frozen kefir, children’s kefir and they even have their own online recipe section too. Their products are widely available in the United States, but are just launching over in the UK. Currently, Morrisons have a few products. Find them here.
Julie recently published The Kefir Cookbook and kindly gifted everyone who attended the event with a copy. Having tried a few of the recipes during the brunch, I was excited to receive my own copy. Packed with recipes that include kefir, the book is beautifully presented with stunning pictures, tips, facts and personal stories. To learn more about Julie’s book, click here.
Liz Earle has a successful magazine and website dedicated to all things health and wellness. Find out more here – https://lizearlewellbeing.com
*Health Advice: If you are concerned with trying kefir, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.