Here at Lifeway, we pride ourselves on making healthy probiotic products for everyone, no matter their age, diet, or lifestyle choices and needs. We also prioritize nutrition and value the importance of ensuring our products promote health while adhering to the highest nutrition standards, needs and values of everyone who uses our products. That’s why we would like to introduce you to a member of our team who helps keep us up-to-date on the latest nutrition research so our product teams can create the best products for you to enjoy.
Caroline Margolis is the on-staff Registered Dietitian here at Lifeway Foods. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana and completed her dietetic internship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital as part of Washington University in St. Louis. We chatted with Caroline so you can learn a bit about what she does at Lifeway, plus her views on health, her daily eats, and her favorite things about working at Lifeway.
1. What type of work do you do at Lifeway each day as a Registered Dietitian and what might a typical day look like?
At Lifeway, I work to communicate the science and health benefits of kefir to consumers and health professionals. I work across teams including sales, food service, and digital marketing to ensure the accuracy of nutrition claims and content. A typical day may include reviewing new research, writing a health professional brochure, answering a consumer question, reviewing or writing an entry for the website or social media, or reviewing copy for packaging and consumer handouts.
2. What are some of the most promising areas you see emerging in dietetic research regarding kefir and/or probiotics/fermented foods?
As far as fermented food goes, there is scientific research to support kefir’s health benefits in the microbiome and that is what makes this job most exciting. The promising trends we see lately are in diabetes, neurological diseases, and cardiovascular health. This may be due to kefir’s probiotics and peptides which are being studied for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The science emerging is very fascinating.
3. What is your favorite Lifeway kefir product (and any other products)?
My favorite kefir flavor is the Whole Milk Lemon Kefir which reminds me of a lemon meringue pie. It’s incredibly delicious. But I do love any of the Whole Milk flavors because they are extra creamy. I also really love the Farmer Cheese, which is a topper for toast or a tub to mindlessly dip pretzels into.
4. How do you incorporate kefir (or any other Lifeway products) into your daily meals and snacks?
I really enjoy plain kefir in my morning smoothie, and if not in a smoothie, I will enjoy plain over bran cereal. I’m a creature of habit with those two choices and my day does not feel complete if I don’t have it in the morning. I’ll mix in a glass of flavored Whole Milk Kefir as a snack, sometimes topped with granola and some berries. I’ll also sometimes include Farmer Cheese toast with blackberries, on crackers, or as a dip for pretzels (see above). And while cooking kills the probiotics in the kefir, it creates the best texture you can get in cupcakes and the fluffiest pancakes.
5. Could you share some sample dishes that you enjoy in a “What I Eat in A Day” type feature ( ex. what are some typical meals on your plate each day)?
I tend to have a very balanced plate and day and have since I was young – the food pyramid stuck with me and perhaps that is why I because a dietitian. I truly enjoy all food as that is what brings us together. Breakfast is somewhat boring besides my morning smoothie or peanut butter toast, as we are rushing kids out the door. For lunch I tend to have a hearty soup in the winter, leftovers from the night before, or sometimes a loaded salad, baked potato, or avocado toast topped with an egg for protein. My husband and I really enjoy cooking together, and we grill year-round. Typical dinners may include shrimp fajitas, fish, steak, or marinated chicken as a main for dinner with different vegetable side dishes. I’ll do vegetable pasta either with a garlic sauce or pesto served with a side salad. We really like to mix it up.
6. What is your favorite thing you love doing at Lifeway?
I love when I teach someone on the team something fascinating about the product, nutrition-wise, that they might not have known. I love when new exciting research comes out and we get to share it wide. It’s always great to work on a product that you can believe in and is good for you.
7. What made you want to become a Registered Dietitian (and how did you become interested in Lifeway)?
I wanted to become a dietitian because I love food! And I love science, and it’s fascinating how the body uses our food to keep us healthy and make our bodies work. Those two together were a natural pathway to study nutrition. One year at Academy’s Food and Nutrition Conference, there were so many educational sessions on gut health and probiotics, I came away wanting to ferment my own foods. Obviously buying kefir is a bit easier, and working at Lifeway was the next step.
8. Share some of your favorite memories at Lifeway (events, whatever you like).
I’ve only been at Lifeway a couple of years, and then COVID happened which shut down the world for a while. But I would say my first year exhibiting at the Academy’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo was my first favorite memory. Dietitians love the product, and our booth was inundated with attendees wanting to try samples. So much so, that we ran out of product the first day and had to go to the store to buy more!
9. What’s the question you get the most as a Registered Dietitian and what would you like to tell others most regarding nutrition?
When most people find out I am a dietitian, they do tend to ask a question about supplements, ask a question about diets, weight loss, or talk about their gluten intolerance or how they can’t have dairy. What I’d like to say to people, is that any diet, unless you are allergic or intolerant, that has you eliminate foods, is not a good diet. Listen to real health professionals and not uncredentialed ones or the media, or your friend that lost weight through an MLM (multi-level-marketing program).
10. What do you hope to see more of in the field of fermented foods/probiotics, kefir, etc.?
I would like to see larger clinical trials using kefir, of course. Right now, there are small, randomized control trials out there providing good evidence but more and larger ones are also needed. The field of microbiome, probiotics, and fermented foods may seem vast but it’s still in its infancy. I can’t wait to see what happens in years to come on where the evidence points to in disease prevention and the gut-brain axis connection.
What Else to Know About Caroline, Plus Her Favorite Recipe:
A few other interesting tid-bits about Caroline to know are that when she’s not working at Lifeway, she loves to garden, cook, and bake (she admits to having a huge sweet tooth!). Her ultimate favorite recipe from Lifeway is from our President and C.E.O., Julie Smolyansky, who created The Kefir Cookbook. It’s the Basic Herb Kefir Dressing, which Caroline loves for its versatility, flavor, and benefits.
Thanks to Caroline for chatting with us! We hope you enjoyed learning more about what she does here at Lifeway. Check us out on Instagram and our blog, where you can stay updated on all things fresh and new here at Lifeway.