What you eat matters.
It’s a simple statement, but it carries important meaning. How your body functions and fights off colds, as well as how fast it recovers from exercise and illness, is directly related to what you eat. In the past, it was easy to know what you were eating – an apple was an apple, a pear was a pear and chicken was chicken. These days, the waters are a bit muddy. Modern nutrition is changing (slowly and surely for the better, if you ask us), but we still have a long way to go before things clear up again.
One of our goals at Lifeway is to provide you with the most nutritious, nutrient-dense and all-natural food possible. To do that, we work with a few select ingredients to make our kefir products. When we say “select,” we mean it: we don’t settle for less than the best, and we certainly don’t settle for shortcuts or additives. Check out what’s inside your bottle of drinkable Lifeway Kefir and why it’s there to see for yourself.
What’s In My Kefir?
The very first ingredient we use in all of our kefir products is the highest quality milk we can find. We believe milk is best when it’s as fresh as possible, and in its most natural state, which is why we source our milk from small coop farms in the Midwest.
The farmers with whom we work are committed to taking great care with the cows and treating them humanely. Lifeway encourages our farming partners to support efforts that promote the enhanced welfare of cattle. These efforts include proper grazing systems, the disuse of artificial growth hormones and responsible dehorning practices.
There are a lot of corners we could cut with our milk to get it at a lower price, but we choose to go the long way. We believe in supporting the communities where we do business by buying local, which not only keeps more money in our neighborhoods, but results in less carbon emissions from miles being traveled. It also helps us ensure that we use only the freshest ingredients in our Lifeway Kefir products. The fresher the milk, the better the kefir!
If milk is where the process starts, our kefir cultures are where the magic happens. We use a select combination of specific probiotic strains to maximize the potential health benefits of our kefir, all while providing the taste, texture and slight effervescence that makes us delightfully distinct. Our core products contain 12 strains of probiotics (which you can find on this page) that produce 25-30 billion colony forming units (or CFUs, the technical term for, “the good stuff”)*.
Probiotics are pretty big in the news these days, but it’s important to be sure that when you buy a probiotic products – whether it’s kefir, a powdered supplement, or some other food – that the packaging says “live and active cultures” somewhere. Many commercial products that claim to contain probiotics don’t, or don’t have enough to really be of benefit. Many commercial dairy products that claim to be probiotic have actually been pasteurized after culturing, resulting in the cultures dying. At Lifeway, all of our milk is pasteurized before culturing, ensuring that every bottle is full of the good bugs you expect.
Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D
In accordance with federal law, we fortify our low-fat and non-fat kefir products with vitamin A – vitamin A palmitate, to be specific, which is the form of vitamin A used in all dairy products. Vitamin A is required for good vision, immune health and for normal growth and development of body tissues, but it unfortunately dissolves when producing low-fat or non-fat milk. Because you can only obtain vitamin A from natural, non-synthetic substances, we don’t have a problem with this extra boost in our kefir.
That sentiment is shared with vitamin D3, a vitamin that is one of the most common for Americans to be deficient in. We use vitamin D3 over any other form because it is the most active and efficiently used in the human body.
That’s it for our unflavored kefir. Pretty simple, right? Milk, cultures and vitamins in a tart and tangy probiotic delight!
What About Our Flavored Kefir?
We like to keep things simple across the board, which is why we only add a few extra ingredients to our flavored kefirs:
- Cane sugar for sweetness, but just a touch of it!
- Citrus pectin*, for texture and consistency
- Fruit juices, for color
- Extracts and oils of various fruits and plants, for flavor
- Stevia leaf extract, the sweetener of choice in our low-carb Perfect 12 kefir only
We have an FAQ section on our website devoted to answer the most common questions we receive, but we also have a dedicated customer care team you can email at any time if you’d like more information! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’d love to hear from you!
*CFU count is taken at the time of production
**Citrus Pectin is not added to our ProBugs drinkable products