Courageous in Words

Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of some mistreatment when it comes to being heard and recognized. Respect is not something I take lightly, nor do I think it should be withheld from those who are deserving. Though, for me, it is often a challenge to not take the mistreatment and turn it inward, judging and chastising myself for whatever I “did or didn’t do” in my mind. Soon enough, I’ve created a situation that may or may not be the truth or the reality of what occurred. During this times, as I did on this recent, particular occasion, I remind myself that the ways other people treat us is not a reflection upon us, but often a reflection upon them. When we speak up during these times, we advocate not only for ourselves, but for others; others who may be too afraid to speak, too afraid to acknowledge their hurt, or pain. During these trying times, I remind myself of this – speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

With that being said, in light of all the controversies and challenging topics being discussed and argued about in the public forum, I thought it might be the opportune time to share some of the recent quotes I’ve stumbled upon via social media. As I previously mentioned in some of my earlier posts, these quotes are often from SimpleReminders.com, and now, the inspirational jewelry company I’ve come to love and admire – Alex and Ani. Of course, not all the quotes are from these two sources, but many are:

Stand up quote 2

“Whatever your beliefs, wherever you stand, you don’t have to be alone.”

“If you don’t make peace with your past, it will keep showing up in your present.”

“While your past may influence your future, it does not dictate it. Every day is a new beginning.”

“You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.”

“I never lose, either I win or I learn.”

“The sooner you stop looking for something, the sooner it will find you.”

“Be with someone who makes you laugh even when you don’t want to smile.”

“If you don’t say what you’re thinking, no one will ever hear you.”

“Sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired.”

“Appreciate hard times. Someday they’ll just be another chapter in your success story.”

“Your story can help save someone’s life. Your silence contributes to someone’s struggle. Speak so we can all be free. Love so we can all be liberated. The moment is now. We need you.”

“It’s better to walk alone then with a crowd going in the wrong direction.”

Stand up quote

 

Nostalgia in Melody

Good Morning! I hope you’ve been having a pleasant weekend, thus far, wherever you might be reading from. Over the past several days, I contemplated whether or not I should write a post regarding a movie I recently discovered and saw and after having listened to numerous songs from the soundtrack, I figured I’d be foolish not to share about it.

With that being said, several evenings ago, I was mindlessly perusing through the movie section on Netflix when a title captured my attention: Begin Again. It is a movie from 2014, starring Keira Knightley, one of my favorite actresses, Mark Ruffalo (also a favorite actor of mine), in addition to one of my favorite musicians, Adam Levine. After seeing the title, I recalled when it first arrived in theaters three years ago. I’d been interested in seeing it, given the cast, as well as the music in the film, but never got around to it. I’d forgotten about it once it arrived on DVD, but when I saw it appear on Netflix, I decided to take the leap and see what it was all about. If I remember correctly, I don’t believe the reviews of the film were all that positive, though from what I’ve often found, a lot of reviews often don’t end up matching my opinion and perspectives. We all have different tastes and experiences which color our perspectives and ultimately our thoughts on films.

Begin Again                     Begin Again photo

The film started off rather slow, if I’m being completely frank. It was about a half hour into it, when I had to make the decision of whether or not to let it run for slightly longer, or switch it off. I opted to continue and looking back, I’m so very grateful I persisted and gave it a chance. To this very moment, I am STILL thinking about and listening to the music from the film. In particular, one song entitled, “Lost Stars,” truly stood out to me, not only for the melody, but for the words, the words that are as meaningful as they are true, filled with poetic beauty and similes. What’s even more appealing and interesting about it is that both Adam Levine and Keira Knightley recorded their own versions of it – both of which are beautiful in their own right and it’s refreshing to have the opportunity and ability to hear it sung by both a male and female voice, given their differences in tone. The passion in the song is one that is incomparable to many songs I’ve heard today.

Begin Again movie 2

Hearing “Lost Stars” in the movie led me back to a time in my teens, a time when I often sat holed up in my room, with my first-ever laptop in my bed, or sitting on the floor with the CD player listening to many of the same songs over and over again. Hearing those songs comforted me, inspired me and often touched sentiments in me I couldn’t place into words back then. Often times as an adult, I forget how powerful music can be, not only for its melody, but for it’s words. It’s easy for me to become easily distracted by the stresses and worries within my life, not realizing the ability of music to calm and soothe me, if I allow it to. Whether it is singing along, or simply listening, music has a way of leading me back to a place where I can truly believe anything is possible through effort, desire and drive.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 3, 2012

If you get a chance, listen to “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine and/or Keira Knightley from Begin Again, the movie. Or, take an 1hr 45 minutes (roughly) to take in the film, itself. Perhaps it will inspire you as much as it did for me.

Music Quotes

Paw Prints on My Heart

I’ve never known romantic love. I’ve never felt that deep connection or pull propelling me towards a man.. yet. I’m not a mom and have never experienced what it might be like to mother a child.. yet. One feeling I do know, quite fondly for that matter, is the love between a dog and it’s owner. Since days before turning 14-years-old, I’ve been able to proudly identify myself as a dog owner, or “dog Mom,” more appropriately. I’ve known what it is like to care for another being so profoundly. To be sitting at school or work, wondering what he’s doing, thinking or feeling and if it’s he’s okay. I’ve known what it is like to worry for countless hours as he was rushed into emergency exploratory surgery after a grave, life-threatening surgical error on part of a veterinarian. I’ve known what it is like for my entire family to gather together during this moments as we anxious and nervously awaited word from the veterinarians regarding his status.

Oliver in his shirt.png                       Oliver smiling 2

Throughout my entire adolescence and adult life, Oliver, my 15-year-old Bichon Frise has taught me more than most people probably could. He’s taught and shown me the meaning of resilience and strength, even when he’s in pain. He’s stayed by me because he knew I needed him and still do. He’s been my one constant in my life – my only consistent co-worker, sitting beside me through the pain, the happiness, the turmoil, the challenging moments, only separated for brief periods of time throughout the course of his life.

Paw Prints

He fills the house with energy and light, even when he’s fast asleep in his bed, I can still feel his presence, clearly coloring my life and being my constant companion. When I reflect on his life and all the moments we’ve shared together, I only smile, as I remember him as a puppy, laying on the grass with me as a young teen, as we helped put together a swinging outdoor chair in our former house. He’s been through more than many dogs probably have their lifetime and yet, he epitomizes strength and courage. He looks to me with his eyes filled with emotion, almost telling me he is holding on, still filled with much life inside of him. How I hope he knows each and everyday, I’ll always fight for him, always stand up for him, because he’s always done so for me, looking to me for guidance and direction. Him and I have never given up on each other, holding on through love and courage.

Animal Eyes

I’ve come to know through Oliver that often times, the best cure and treatment for most anything is love and companionship – two remedies that are never too costly for anyone, because they are priceless. The greatest gift I’ve ever been given is Oliver, it is because of him, I know I’m capable of loving another.

Dogs Feel

 

Believing in Better Tomorrows

Wherever you might be today, I hope your day is going well and if it’s not, I hope you see the hope and promise of tomorrow, as I try to do on particularly challenging days. As you might know if you’ve read my blog previously, I’m constantly searching for inspiration, even in the most unlikely places. Though, most often, I tend to find inspiring quotes and food for thought on mediums such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and in magazines/books. Relatively often, I noticed fellow “friends” on Facebook and Twitter posting or sharing the quotes and thoughts of SimpleReminders.com. Perhaps you’re already familiar with them and are aware of their consistent posts throughout each day, but if you’re not, they are one site I’ve taken quite a liking to. About two days ago, I took the time to scroll through their Twitter feed, easily becoming enthralled with all they shared.

With that being said, I felt compelled to share it with others, such as fellow readers who might not have seen their posts, and it is my hope that someone might feel as inspired as me after reading some of them (NOTE: Not all are from SimpleReminders.com, but many are):

“The cost of not following your heart, is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.”

“Life is a mural that you create. Every action you take is another brush stroke. Make yours beautiful.”

“True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back into the light.”

“Be the girl/guy who decided to go for it.”

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

“Flowers grow back, even after they are stepped on. So will I. Resilience.”

“Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“Use your eyes to see the needs, and use your talents to meet them.”

“Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.”

Garden Quote

 

Body by the Letter: A “TODAY” Anchor’s Words of Wisdom

For a number of years, I’ve been a dedicated fan of the NBC daily morning news program, The TODAY Show. In fact, as a middle-schooler, I can recall spending many mornings with my mom and sister seated at the kitchen table with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric‘s faces greeting us with their pleasant and often, witty banter. As the years passed, I wouldn’t watch the show as often as previously and for a brief period of time, switched to their competitor program on ABC. However, years later as an adult, I again switched, this time exclusively, to watching The TODAY Show. Throughout the past few years, I’ve come to truly love the anchors and the overall program. The messages and stories discussed on air are often inspiring, engaging and reach parts of me I often failed to recognize or acknowledge.

Savannah and Matt

Many of the anchors are filled with inspiring thoughts and pertinent knowledge, though as I laid in bed last night, unable to quickly fall asleep, I perused through my Facebook newsfeed and capturing my eye was one of the best messages I quite frankly have read in awhile. With that being said, I couldn’t let a day pass without sharing it with whomever may be reading at this moment. Perhaps you’ve already seen or heard about it, but if not, please take a moment, if you can, to read it, because the underlying message and premise of it is one that deeply resonates with me and could quite possibly resonate with you, as well.

The following (copied from the official TODAY Show website) is a letter drafted by current TODAY Show anchor, Savannah Guthrie, who is the mother of two children – almost 3-year-old Vale and an infant son, Charlie. The letter is to Vale, with Savannah sharing her words of wisdom in line with Love Your Body week, a series of segments regarding body love on The TODAY Show:

Savannah and Vale           Savannah and Family

My dearest Vale,

I’m writing this letter to you because we are doing a series called, “Love Your Body” week. I will confess just to you: That is something I have never been very good at doing. But I’m hoping I can teach you to be different. I hope that as you grow up, I can teach you to love and embrace the miraculous physical vessel that is carrying your magnificent heart and soul.

You don’t know this yet, but our society is pretty obsessed with body image. Before too long (it’s inevitable) you’ll be bombarded with images of perfection almost nobody can attain. If you’re like me, and so many women, you’ll be tempted to judge yourself, to compare yourself, to berate yourself, to doubt yourself. I hope somehow I can equip you to withstand this assault on your confidence.

I want you to love your body, not because of how thin or tall or pretty you may grow up to be, but because it is truly a miracle. God made you; you are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as the famous old scripture says.

It is only natural to care about our physical appearance, and I’m not idealistic enough to think I could prevent that. But when you think about your body, let’s think not about how it looks, but about all the things it can do. Let’s think about your strength and your endurance. Let’s be unendingly grateful for your good health and never take it for granted. Be kind to your body, respect it and treat it well — this is the only one you’ll be getting.

And just so you know — you are, in fact, quite beautiful. I love your crazy golden curls, your gigantic blue eyes, your sweet cheeks and that super-wattage smile that lights up the world. But what is most lovely about you radiates from your inside out: your joy, your brightness, your warmth and your irrepressible spirit. That is why I’m so very proud of you.

Love,

Mom

Savannah and Family 2

As I read this letter, countless sentiments and emotions were summoned inside of me. How desperately I wished I could have read this letter years ago, as a vulnerable teen trapped in a word of self-pity, judgment and failure to feel as though I was “enough.” So often, it is true that we focus on what our bodies look like instead of what they can do, or what they are capable of doing. Sometimes, when I find myself in the midst of judging my appearance, I try to think of all the ways my body is able to support and carry me. My arms allow me to lift Oliver, my elderly dog up the stairs from outside; they allow me to lift my niece out of her high-chair, or onto my lap. My legs carry me from place to place and allow me to help open doors for others who cannot. In so many ways, my body has helped me and though I often take it for granted, or tend to focus on the way it appears on the outside, how important a message to be reminded, by Savannah, in this letter to her daughter. Everyday, I wish for others who may be younger than me, the same age, or even older or unborn, for peace with their bodies; for the ability to see their body for all its strengths and capabilities rather than fixating on the outward appearance and the supposed “flaws or imperfections.”

Reading Savannah’s letter, I wished nothing more than to keep it beside me, for easy reference, during those difficult moments in time when I feel “less than enough,” or harshly critical of myself. “Everything can be beautiful when you stop looking for flaws.”

Love Yourself quote

Quotable Lessons

What a whirlwind it’s been these past couple weeks! With my 29th birthday arriving earlier this month (on the 3rd), it caused me to reflect quite a bit on my life and in particular, the past decade. To say it’s been tumultuous would be an understatement. Much of it was difficult, painful and at times, excruciating to endure. Other parts of it were dramatic, but positive, in some respects. With that being said, I ushered in the last year of my 20’s feeling loved and cared for. In the evening, my family and I gathered together and shared a couple hours exchanging laughs and enjoying each others’ companies. So often, I find myself in moments drifting away, worrying and fretting about the next day, hour, moment, and beyond. Though, this time, I centered my focus on that present moment, knowing that if I didn’t, I would regret it hours later. Consciously I knew, hours later, I would lay in my bed, reflecting upon the day wishing I had simply enjoyed the moment, relishing in the time with my family. Looking back, that evening was a defining moment in my 20’s, as I felt more loved and appreciated than I could have envisioned.

Flowers Blooming 2              Flowers Blooming

Pictured: Flowers spotted while on a walk the day of my birthday.

To that end, I found myself looking for even more quotes than usual, as I embarked on my 29th year. So often, I stumble upon the most intriguing and expressive thoughts through Twitter, of all places. With that being said, I thought I’d share a few of these quotes or statements, because perhaps they might impact someone who may be reading this:

“Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper.”

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”

“Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.”

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”

“Spend your life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress.”

“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”

“Love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.”

“In this life, we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

“Work hard in silence; let success make the noise.”

“Every scar has a story, don’t be afraid to tell it.”

“Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.”

“Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be – that’s your life. That’s your late night pizza with your loved ones, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favorite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those 5-10 pounds are your favorite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life. Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your life.”

Taste “Life” By the Spoon!

Good Morning! I hope your weekend has been a pleasant and enjoyable one, thus far. Now that the weather is beginning to turn warmer and humid at times (yesterday was one of the first humid days of the season, here in suburban Pennsylvania!), I find myself spending more time outdoors and will often crave something cool, creamy and refreshing. With that being said, yogurt has always been one of my staples, as a go-to snack and light meal of choice, excellent when enjoyed on its own, or paired with something like cereal, granola, or fresh fruit. However, enjoying the same yogurts over and over can be redundant, boring and quite frankly, lacking when it comes to variety.

Therefore, I was recently presented with the unique and exciting opportunity to sample and review a newer kind of delicacy (at least to me!) packed with protein, nutrition, flavor and uniqueness! The new find I speak of is Kefir, an equally enjoyable counterpart and alternative to yogurt, available in numerous forms, such as drinkable versions, frozen options, squeezable tubes, Farmer Cheese, and beyond! As a versatile option, the possibilities with Kefir are endless and the health benefits extend well beyond that of similar foods, providing consumers with a product that is easy to enjoy and nourishes the mind and body.

By now, you may be wondering, what exactly is Kefir, anyway? Well, more on that in a minute! There are numerous companies which produce Kefir, though one company in particular, who supplied me with a vast array of Kefir varieties to sample – Lifeway Kefir (lifewaykefir.com), is now the largest Kefir manufacturer within the United States!

Lifeway Kefir 2

Lifeway Kefir History: (via lifewaykefir.com)

  • Originated in 1986, when Michael Smolyansky began making kefir his basement at home in Skokie, Illinois. Eager to publicly share and promote kefir, within two years, he publicized the company and is now the largest Kefir manufacturer within the US, as previously stated.
  • Family Driven – Lifeway Kefir prides itself in promoting family, as founder Michael, passed along the torch of company ownership in 2002 to his children, Julie and Edward, serving as President/CEO and Chief Operating Officer, respectively.

Julie Smolyansky              Edward Smolyansky

  • Lifeway Kefir is based in the Chicago, Illinois area and even has the Lifeway Kefir Shop, a chain of Frozen Kefir cafes within the Chicago metro area!

Lifeway Kefir Shop

Lifeway Kefir Mission: (via lifewaykefir.com) Commited to four ideals

  • All Natural and Hormone-Free Ingredients
  • Philanthrophy
  • Environmental Responsbility – Lifeway Kefir offers and promotes BPA-Free packaging, recycling and renewable energy.
  • Local Farming Sustainability

Lifeway Logo 2

Lifeway Kefir Social Media, Website and Newsletter: Connect and keep in touch with Kefir and the latest happenings by choosing to follow, like, share and subscribe to their various social media channels, newsletter, blog and website –

  • Lifeway Kefir Blog – Lifeway offers a blog on their official website (lifewaykefir.org), updated weekly with pertinent and helpful health and nutrition articles.
  • Facebook – Follow and like Lifeway Kefir on their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/lifewaykefir
  • Twitter – Follow Lifeway Kefir on their official Twitter page (@lifeway_kefir)
  • Pinterest – Follow and pin with Lifeway Kefir on their official Pinterest page (@lifewaykefir)
  • Instagram – Follow Lifeway Kefir and be delighted in their photos and posts on their official Instagram page (@lifewaykefir)

Lifeway Kefir Product Offerings: The product line up is vast and comprehensive and includes the following –

Lifeway Product Lineup 2

Kefir (Beverages/Smoothies):

  • Low Fat (in 15 flavors)
  • Seasonal Flavors (5 flavors)
  • Perfect 12 Kefir (4 flavors)
  • Protein (4 flavors)
  • Nonfat (5 flavors)
  • BioKefir (3 flavors)
  • Traditional (9 flavors)
  • Kefir with Oats (3 flavors)
  • Organic Low-Fat (7 flavors)
  • Organic Whole Milk (6 flavors)
  • Organic Helios (7 flavors)

Lifeway Drinkable KefirLifeway Blueberry

ProBugs (for kids):

  • ProBugs Squeezable Pouches (5 flavors)
  • ProBugs Bites (3 flavors)
  • ProBugs Blast (4 flavors)
  • Frozen ProBugs (3 flavors)

Lifeway Probugs      Lifeway Probugs Frozen

Frozen Kefir:

  • Frozen Kefir Bars (3 flavors)
  • ProBugs Frozen Kefir (3 flavors)
  • Frozen Kefir Pints (4 flavors)

Lifeway Frozen Kefir new

Kefir Cups (individual cups with a spoon attached!):

  • Kefir Cups (4 flavors)
  • Organic Kefir Cups (7 flavors)
  • Farmer Cheese Cups (6 flavors)
  • Organic Farmer Cheese Cups (5 flavors)
  • Farmer Cheese (3 flavors)

Lifeway Farmer Cheese cups 2  Lifeway Cups   Lifeway Farmer Cheese Lifeway Farmer Cheese cups

Supplements: (Coming soon!)

Lifeway Supplements  Lifeway Supplements 4   Lifeway Supplements 3   Lifeway Supplements 2

  • Probiotic Supplements (3 flavors)
  • Probiotic Chewables

What IS Kefir?

  • According to the official Lifeway Kefir website, Kefir is described as a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie offering an abundance of nutrition, such as great sources of protein, calcium and vitamin D, which are all critical components to a healthy diet and regimen. Healthy and with a  taste comparable to both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (in my opinion), Kefir supplies tang, creaminess and a rich texture and is an excellent protein source, along with other vitamins and minerals.
  • Kefir orginated over 2000 years ago, in Caucasus Mountains.

Lifeway Kefir Facts

What’s IN Kefir?

  • 15-20 billion colony forming units (CFU), which are live and active Kefir cultures.
  • All products are naturally gluten-free, certified by Gluten-Free Certification Organization.
  • Natural Flavors = free of any artificial ingredients/preservatives, Lifeway Kefir products are all made with fruit juices, fruit essences and essential oils. The hints of sweetness in certain Lifeway products are strictly derived from the fruits themselves (as detailed via LifewayKefir.com)
  • Milk = Milk is the essential ingredient in Lifeway products. The milk within Lifeway products hails from small co-op and family farms from within the Midwestern portion of the United States. Therefore, consumers can feel confident knowing the milk producing Lifeway Kefir is free of any synthetic hormones and antibiotics, rBGH and rBST.

Health Benefits of Kefir: Lifeway Kefir fully stands by their beliefs that Kefir supplies a vast array of health benefits which includes the following –

  • Probiotics – Live microorganisms which aid in digestion and immunity.
  • Immunity – Nearly 70-80% of one’s immune system is located in the digestive track and the probiotics within Kefir contributes to maintaining immunity.
  • Healthy Weight – As a rich protein source, Kefir helps keep one fuller and guards against pesky hunger and cravings.
  • Skin – Nourishing not only your internal body, Kefir contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) often found in skin care products. Therefore, Kefir can assist in promoting healthy, glowing skin.
  • Digestion – Given the probiotics, Kefir has the ability to support and promote optimal digestion.
  • Protein SourceKefir is a quick, easy and tasty way to take in 11 grams of protein in an 8 oz serving!
  • Lactose Digestion – Fear not, those of you who may be lactose intolerant, Kefir is lactose-intolerant friendly, as it is 99% lactose-free due to Kefir‘s fermentation process and cultures.
  • Mood – When it comes to Kefir, feel good not only physically, but also mentally/emotionally, as Kefir is a source of tryptophan, an amino acid naturally increasing the brain’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter affecting mood balance and regulation.
  • Bone Density – Help keep your bones strong and in good form with Kefir, as it provides 30% of one’s daily calcium needs in a serving!

Unique Kefir Facts:

  • Cook/Bake with KefirKefir can be used commonly as a replacement for buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt and mayo! Check out the official Lifeway Kefir website (via lifewaykefir.com) for their recipe page to help get you started!
  • Safe for Pregnant/Nursing Women and Children – Lifeway Kefir even offers a line designed for children by the name of ProBugs and Frozen Kefir options!

Now that you’re familiar with Kefir in general and Lifeway Kefir, as a company, it’s time to share what I received from Lifeway Kefir and offer my perspective and experience with Lifeway Kefir products!

What I Received:

Kefir Delivery

Drinkable Kefirs:

  • Birthday Cake Low-Fat Kefir
  • Madagascar Vanilla Low-Fat Kefir
  • Apple Pear Cobbler Perfect 12 Kefir
  • Nonfat Plain Kefir
  • Plan Lowfat Kefir

Kefir Cups:

  • Kefir Cup with Granola
  • Organic Kefir Cup with Orange Vanilla
  • Natural Kefir Cup
  • Organic Natural Kefir Cup

Farmer Cheese:

  • Natural Farmer Cheese Cup
  • Black Cherry Farmer Cheese Cup
  • Organic Natural Farmer Cheese Cup
  • Organic Peach Farmer Cheese Cup

My Review:

Upon the arrival of the large and generous shipment from Lifeway Kefir, I was excited, eager and delighted to sample all of these innovative and healthy products! As a vegetarian, it is a goal of mine to be able to take in adequate protein and with Lifeway Kefir products, I was convinced it would be easy task!

First up, I opted to try the Birthday Cake Low-Fat Kefir! Just hearing the phrase – Birthday Cake associated with any type of food product is inviting and appealing to me! I even figured it would be appropriate, given my actual birthday is this Wednesday! The taste was a unique one and reminiscent of vanilla cake frosting/batter! Immediately upon taking the first sip, I was greeted by a taste that reminded me of Funfetti cake mix! The texture was full-bodied, creamy and rich, with just the right amount of thickness to feel satiating. After trying several other Kefir products, I consider this my favorite one of the bunch!

The next trial was Apple Pear Cobbler Perfect 12 Kefir, which has hints of sweet apple and creamy, sweet pear with notes of a tart and tang. It was refreshing and the notes of apple and pear complemented the overall texture and flavor.

In the realm of Kefir Cups, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a spoon is tucked in the clear lid of each, which is convenient and functional, great for enjoying it on the go, or at any time! It is a generous serving packed inside each Kefir Cup and is thick and rich, providing a similar tang noted in the Kefir smoothie/drinks. The granola mix-in in the one variety provides a sweet oaty crunch for a balance of texture. It is a great alternative to Greek yogurt and is equally healthy and nutritious!

Unique and new to me are the Kefir Farmer Cheese varieties. As a fan of cottage cheese, I was eager to try this new offering and loved the thick, rich texture. It is chunky and filling, packed with protein and is great on its own, or with fruit mixed in and even can be enjoyed savory as a dip, perhaps mixing in favorite herbs, spices or chopped veggies! In my mind, it could even be used as a topping for bagels, toast, and beyond!

Overall, it was an incredible and exciting experience to have the unique opportunity to sample and review Lifeway Kefir products! In my mind, they are a commendable and admirable company, truly dedicated to community, facilitating partnerships and producing healthy foods to nourish all! There is truly an offering for everyone when it comes to Lifeway Kefir products.

Many, many sincere thanks to Erika and the entire team at Lifeway Kefir for their generosity and kindness in providing me with these products to sample and review; it was a true honor and one I greatly appreciate!