Healthy Living London enjoyed a brunch with Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, and Liz Earle, founder of the Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine, to learn about kefir and its benefits in a balanced diet.
At the health and wellness brunch I 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 Salad were a few of the delicious offerings, but my favourite had to be the Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffin. It was oh so delicious, plus it’s made with zucchinis, so it must be healthy, right?
I filled my plate with an assortment of the beautifully presented dishes and then headed to my seat for the discussion and Q&A between Julie and Liz.
Julie introduced herself and Lifeway Foods, which was founded in the USA by her Russian immigrant parents in 1986. They began creating kefir in their basement with the mission of introducing it to the US market. 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.
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 cultures, each cup of kefir contains 12 live and active cultures.”Lifeway Foods
Kefir is a food made from kefir grains and has a consistency similar to drinkable yogurt. It is traditionally made using dairy milk, but there are non-dairy options available. The drink originated in the North Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia.
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 – high in protein, which is especially important for a vegetarian diet
Calcium – packed with calcium, helping support bone health
Skin – it is said that Cleopatra bathed in kefir! It 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
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: https://lifewaykefir.com
Lifeway offers a variety of products, including drinks, frozen kefir and children’s kefir, and they even have their own online recipe section too.
Their products are widely available in the United States, and the company is growing in the UK. Currently, Morrisons have a few products.
The Kefir Cookbook is packed with delicious recipes and is beautifully presented with stunning pictures, tips, facts and personal stories.
Liz Earle has a successful magazine and website dedicated to all things health and wellness https://lizearlewellbeing.com.
*Health Advice: If you are concerned with trying kefir, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.