Yorlife Kefir-Top Marks in Recent BRC Audit

Yorvale BRC Certificate

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the highest possible accreditation, a Double AA, in the exceptionally stringent British Retail Consortium annual audit.  This marks our 10th consecutive A Grade with the BRC.  The audit, which looks at all aspects of the company’s food safety and working practices, is notoriously challenging.  However due to our continued commitment to food safety and the exceptionally hard work of our team we came out of the day-long audit with the highest praise.

In recent years we have expanded, adding new buildings and storage space to our existing operation which is based on the family farm.  This included our yogurt room, opened last year, from which we make Yorlife, our award-winning line of kefir drinks as well as manufacturing yogurt for other national brands.  This expansion and the fact that the BRC have recently released a new set of guidelines meant the pressure to succeed at the audit was greater than ever.

We would like to say a huge thank you to each and everyone of our staff members who worked so hard to make sure everything was perfect and who continuously strive to ensure that the standards at our facility are maintained.

For more information about Yorvale, Yorlife or to become a stockist please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Yorlife Kefir – 5 Reasons to Love Dairy

Yorlife- kefir love dairy

Today is National Milk Appreciation Day (what like you didn’t have that in your diary too? 😉 )

In recent years dairy has had some pretty bad PR. It seems many people are cutting out dairy more with more believing that they are intolerant to it. The truth is dairy intolerance is actually very rare and what most people who find trouble with dairy products are actually experiencing is an intolerance to lactose (a sugar found in milk and many man made products). The amazing thing about kefir (as if you needed to be impressed further by kefir benefits) is that there is a naturally occurring enzyme in it which breaks down the lactose so that it is more easily digested, even by those with a recognised lactose intolerance. There is even evidence that if drunk regularly people who have previously been lactose intolerant have regained the ability to digest lactose from other forms- pretty impressive!

Obviously we are a tad biased.  We have been milking cows on our dairy farm in the heart of Yorkshire for nearly 30 years now using that milk to create our deliciously creamy, natural real dairy ice cream and now our super healthy kefir.  However for us dairy is more than a means to making a living, it is very much part of our staple, healthy diet and here a few reasons why we think it should be part of yours too.

 

Supports Healthy Bones

Ok so this is a pretty obvious one.  Milk (and hence kefir) is packed full of calcium which is essential to develop and maintain healthy teeth and bones.  Growing children typically need between 500-100mg of calcium per day to help developed the strong ones which will take them through their active lives and with just one 250ml glass of milk kefir containing around 300mg a daily Yorlife is an easy start to ensuring kids are getting enough calcium.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin which let’s be honest we often struggle to get in the UK, is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption which in turn helps maintain healthy teeth and bones.  It is estimated that around one billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin D deficiency and that deficiency is even more prevalent in the UK where during the winter months we do not get strong enough levels of sunlight to ensure we are receiving enough Vitamin D.  The NHS recently release new guidelines on Vitamin D levels suggesting that during winter everyone really should be taking a supplement.  In addition to this supplement you can help boost you vitamin D levels by drinking plenty of milk, kefir and eating cheese and ice cream in moderation.

 

Sleep

Insomnia or difficulty getting off to sleep is awful.  We all have sleepless nights occasionally, however if you regularly struggle to nod off you may find that drinking a dairy drink before bed helps improve your ability to relax and improve sleep quality.  This is because milk contains tryptophan which raises levels of serotonin and melatonin both of which aid in catching a good night’s sleep.  Unlike foods like turkey which is rich in Tryptophan, dairy does not leave you feeling groggy as it is easier on your stomach and is rich in calcium which promotes the transition of tryptophan into calming melatonin.  Kefir is also full of essential amino acids which help control and regulate our stress levels which can lead to more restful sleep resulting in increased energy the following morning. 

 

Heart Health

We all know how important looking after you ticker is and Cow’s milk is an excellent source of potassium, an increase of which has been associated with vasodilation and reduced blood pressure.  In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).

 

Tooth Decay

As if you weren’t already convinced that dairy is a miracle medicine food it has also been shown to reduce tooth decay if eaten directly after a meal.  This is because the calcium and phosphate in the cheese diffuse into bacterial colonies and prevent acid secretions from clinging to your teeth.  So do like the French and indulge in a little cheese after your meal!

 

So there you have it, not only is kefir incredibly good for your gut health but the milk it is made with has super powers too! Happy Milk Appreciation Day everybody!

 

Yorlife, Your Health x

Yorlife Kefir Coconut Love Smoothie

Yorlife Kefir Coconut Love Smoothie

In case you missed last week’s blog, January sucks.  It is officially the most depressing month, when summer seems too far away even to contemplate and the closest we get to sun, sea and sangria is longingly scrolling through online holiday brochures which we can’t afford because we spent too much on festive fizz… did I mention this month was a bit depressing?

So anyway before we get even further into this pit of post Christmas despair I think we deserve a little pick me up, yes?  And what better than a smoothie so delicious, so creamy and so tantalizingly tropical tasting that if you close your eyes and lie back you might, might just feel like you’re in paradise.  So here is our gut-boosting, coconut-crazy kefir smoothie recipe just for you! Enjoy gut lovers! x

 

Ingredients

250ml Yorlife Oiginal Kefir (Mango & Passionfruit work too but you can swap the Cinnamon for Turmeric & lose the vanilla)

1 medium frozen banana

1 heaping teaspoon coconut cream concentrate

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon (or Turmeric)

1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil

Stick it all in the blender and blend until smooth, serve in your favourite glass and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or turmeric.  Sod it, stick in a that novelty straw because hey we’ve gotta do what it takes to make it through January!  Don’t forget to share your Yorlife creations too using the hashtag #yorlifeyorway

 

You can find some of our other gut-healthy recipes here.

 

Yorlife, your health x

Yorlife’s Mean Green Kefir Machine Recipe

Ok so hands up who has made New Year’s resolutions in the past and not managed to stick to them? Go on… be honest.  Well you are not alone, according to one grim statistic only 8% of poeple stick to their resolutions.  But let’s face it, January is tough.  It is cold, wet, our purses are significantly thinner and if like me you indulged in one too many mince pies and glasses on prosecco, your waistline probably isn’t.  So add to the mix a grueling diet and exercise regime and it is no wonder that most people spend January looking pretty miserable.  Well here at Yorlife we are all about realistic resolutions and making changes which are easy and can, nae WILL make you feel better.  The best thing you can do?  Start showing your gut some love.

By that we mean making sure you are having a daily dose of probiotics, in the form of our delicious kefir.  But as you are working so hard to create a leaner meaner you this year we thought you might like the recipe for our Super Green Machine kefir smoothie featured on our insta this week. So easy to make, so yummy and so so so good for you.  So don’t beat yourself up if you missed that 6am workout you promised yourself you would do (again) and instead commit to realistic, manageable changes to your lifestyle which can improve your energy levels, digestion and wellbeing.  Heck you might find you feel so good after a week of kefir that that 6am workout isn’t so scary after all… maybe 😉 Happy New Year folks x

 

Ingredients

   250ml Yorlife Natural Kefir

   2 cups of greens, kale is best

   1 Celery Stick

   1/2 Avocado

   1 Pear

   Juice from half a Lemon

   A good handful of Mint

   A few sprigs of parsley

Stick it all in the blender and blend until smooth, serve in your favourite glass with an extra celery stick if you’re feeling wild!

 

You can find some of our other gut-healthy recipes here.

 

Yorlife, your health x

Yorlife Kefir Hot Chocolate Recipe

Yorlife kefir hot chocolate

This time of year is magical isn’t it?  Those crisp fresh mornings when everything is just a little bit sparkly and the promise of Christmas is right round the corner.  The other great thing?  Chocolate.  In every way, shape or form but my favourite…  A steaming mug of hot chocolate accompanied by a good pair of woolly socks and the company of a great book.

Now how about guilt-free hot cocoa?  Sound too good to be true?  Well it’s not.  Our kefir hot chocolate is made with all the good bits and none of the bad so it’s a treat for your taste buds AND your gut health!

Instead of using traditional cocoa powder we recommend using cacao powder or nibs– don’t know the difference?  The fundamental difference between cacao and cocoa is the way they are processed:

  • Cacao powder is often referred to as the ‘raw’ chocolate, as it is processed in low temperatures and never heated above 45°C. This means that all the natural antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients remain intact. Cacao is considered the healthier option.
  • Cocoa powder is very similar to cacao but has been processed at higher temperatures. Cocoa powder still has some great health benefits, but research has shown that once a cocoa has been heated above 70°C, the levels of antioxidant levels are greatly diminished.

 

Ingredients

1 tspn high quality cacao powder or cacao nibs

250ml Yorlife Natural Kefir

1 pinch Nutmeg powder

1 pinch Cinnamon or Ginger

1 teaspoon raw honey or Agave Syrup (optional)

  1. Add the cacao, spice and honey/agave to a large mug. Add a dash of hot water to blend to a paste.
  2. Warm the kefir on the stove- be careful not to boil the kefir as this could diminish the probiotic benefits, you just want to warm it gently
  3. Once warm add the Yorlife kefir to you mug and stir.
  4. Finish with an extra little sprinkle of nutmeg
  5. Find you favourite cosy corner, curl up with a blanket and enjoy a moment of chocolatey goodness

 

You can find some of our other gut-healthy recipes here.

 

Yorlife, your health x

5 Ways to Boost your Immune System

immune system Yorlife kefir
It’s that time of year again when you find yourself sitting on the morning commute and suddenly you’re surrounded by sniffing, sneezing convalescents.  Or your little darlings come home from school with the tell-tale red eyes and dripping nose and you resign yourself to the fact that you too will soon become a barren of the plague.  Or maybe not? 

To help you stay strong against that incessant cough that’s been circulating the office air conditioning we have compiled a list of 5 holistic and natural ways you can boost your immune system this winter.  Unfortunately some bugs are persistent and can break even the strongest immune system, but getting yourself in the best health possible will not only give you a fighting chance of avoiding winter bugs but also improve your ability to recover from any that do slip through.

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5 Signs you should be drinking kefir

drink kefir

Drinking kefir is one of the most effective and simple things you can do to improve your digestion and wellness.  I can’t quite believe the difference in my digestive health and energy levels since we started the Yorlife adventure.  If you ever suffer from any of the following you really ought to consider introducing kefir to your daily diet.

 

You often feel bloated

Feeling bloated is awful, from the uncomfortable tightness of your jeans to the feeling of never really being comfortable, feeling bloated affects many of us but many have come to accept it as part of the norm.  However bloating is not normal, at least not when it is occurring regularly, and it is important to listen to your body and try to identify why you’re feeling this way.  It is most often due to sluggish metabolism or IBS like problems.  Kefir helps to re balance the good bacteria in our gut which in turn works to increase the efficiency of the digestive system.  This will help you to avoid the dreaded bloat.  It is important to drink kefir daily or at least a few times a week to see the best results.

 

You are often tired

As working mother I was no stranger to the mid-afternoon slump or the desperate battle with the snooze button (normally preceded by a screaming infant), tiredness it seemed was part and parcel of life.  That is of course is until I discovered kefir.  As if the digestive healing properties of kefir weren’t enough it also an exceptional energy booster and regulator of hormones.  That is due to the high levels of Tryptophan in kefir.  Tryptophan is used by the body to create serotonin, the happy hormone, which boosts your energy levels and regulates hormones (particularly good for us ladies, PMS I am looking at you!).  When consumed regularly kefir has been shown to increase and regulate energy levels- goodbye mid-afternoon crash!

 

You are not always “regular”

As a nation we generally do not discuss our bathroom habits and while that is all very well I think it leaves a lot of people suffering in silence.  According to recent research as many as one in seven adults and one in three children are suffering from constipation at any one time, which is a lot of bunged up bodies!  However in most cases getting, and staying, regular can be achieved by some simple dietary and lifestyle changes.  Firstly ensure you are drinking enough water, dehydration is a major cause of constipation, it is recommended that you drink at least 2l of water per day.  Now that may sound like a lot but if you make small changes like keeping a water bottle on your desk or in your car and sipping it regularly you can easily achieve this.  Secondly up your fibre intake, women should be eating 21-25g and men 31-35g per day.  Good sources of fibre include whole grains, leafy greens, nuts and bran cereals.  And thirdly drink kefir.  Regular consumption of probiotics creates a healthy digestive system which will keep things *ahem* moving.

 

You seem to catch every bug going

You probably have a weakened immune system.  We are going to be touching on ways to beat winter bugs next week in more detail but basically the best thing you can do to avoid catching every cold or sick bug going is to build a good defense.  By introducing bacteria to the gut our own gut flora will grow and flourish making it more equipped to fight off pathogens and more quick to recover if one does get through.

 

You generally don’t feel your best

When you’re feeling sluggish, bloated and tired it is really hard to be positive and get on with life.  By incorporating just one 250ml serving of Yorlife kefir into your daily diet whether it be on its own, in a smoothie or added to your favourite spicy curry you can alleviate and cure many if not all of these ailments.  Kefir truly is a miracle drink, if you don’t believe me- just try it for yourself!

Please note that if you have any health issues which are affecting you daily or have any serious concerns about your health you should speak to you GP.

Stay happy, stay healthy and stay regular!!

 

Yorlife Team x

Yorlife Celebrates National Chocolate Week

Yorlife chocolate week

This week marks a week to celebrate chocolate, as if we needed an excuse to indulge in the sweet stuff.  Unfortunately as delicious as chocolate may be it is not necessarily the best friend to our gut health  let alone our waistband particularly the mass produced milk variety which is made with exceptionally high levels of sugar and artificial preservatives.  That said, you deserve a little treat every so often and once in a while eating chocolate is no bad thing.  In fact dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and has been proven to lower blood pressure- win win!  Unfortunately persuading children to enjoy dark chocolate with it’s slightly more bitter taste than milk chocolate can be difficult so this sweet, creamy and nutty shake is a fab way to get your little ones enjoying kefir.

So to celebrate Chocolate week we thought we would share our recipe for our gut-lovin’ kefir chocolate milk shakes which taste so good the kids will begging for more (without realising how healthy their sweet treat is, you won’t be able to resist seconds either,

 

Cacao “Chocolate Milkshakes”

Ingredients:

250ml Yorlife Natural Kefir

5 Medjool Dates (Soaked- see instructions)

Small Handfull Hazelnuts

2 tbsn Cacao Powder

1 tspn Vanilla Extract (Or Vanilla Protein powder for an amazing post workout recovery shake)

Although it is a little time consuming it is well worth soaking your medjool dates to ensure a smooth consistency and avoid any lumpy bits hiding in the bottom of your shake.  Pop your dates in a cup or bowl with warm water for at least half an hour before draining and putting in your blender, add the hazelnuts and blend until you have a think yet smooth paste.  Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Serve and enjoy your guilt-free, chocolate treat!

 

Happy Chocolate Week, Yorlife Team x

Kefir, A History

Yorlife Kefir Grains

The history of kefir is really rather fascinating and the fact that it is still part of many people’s daily diet across the world is testament to its potency and efficacy.  While production scale may have increased the recipe which we use for Yorlife  has not changed much from the early days of kefir.  This week in our blog we thought you might all enjoy a brief history lesson of this miracle milk- don’t worry I will try to keep this as short and interesting as possible!

 *Puts on glasses and serious face* “Ahem…”

Kefir originated in the Caucaus Mountains.  Its roots can be traced back over 2000 years ago to the prophet Mohammed who, as the story goes, gave kefir grains to the Orthodox people.  It is well known that at this time kefir grains were an extremely precious commodity, regarded as part of a family’s wealth and passed on from generation to generation.  Kefir grains were so highly regarded that they were mentioned in the chronicles of Marco Polo during his adventures in the East.

For centuries it was little known outside this region and production was restricted entirely to private residences, or in many cases royal palaces.  It was not until early this century that kefir started to be produced outside of the family home.  Until then commercial or indeed any kind of production to scale had been almost impossible due to grains being so closely guarded.  The story of kefir being brought to the masses is one of bold adventure and quite frankly may not be entirely historically accurate but hey, who doesn’t love a good story…

The health benefits of regularly consuming kefir had long been known and it is said that members of the All Russian Physicians Association set out on a mission to acquire kefir grains to produce and distribute kefir to the wider public for medicinal purposes.  However grains were still closely guarded and generally reserved for the rich and powerful.  So they sought to acquire grains from a prince called Bek-Mirza Barchorov.  They decided to send in a covert agent, and, knowing the princes penchant for beautiful ladies sent their associate Irina Sakharova who was known for her beauty.  Her mission was to persuade the prince to gift her some of his grains, however her powers of persuasion ultimately failed and he refused.  Defeated, the team made to return to their home in Kislovodsk when they were accosted and Irina kidnapped by the prince who had decided to claim her as his wife.  After a daring rescue mission, the details of which are somewhat sparse, Irina was rescued by the rest of the group and returned to her home.  As penance the prince was ordered to pay her 10 pounds of kefir grains and so her mission, though not as planned was indeed a success.  The Russian Physicians soon began to make and distribute kefir to their patients and in turn marked the start of kefir being available to the masses.

While the details of this story may have been lost or embellished over the years there must be some truth to the tale as in 1973 the Minister of the Food Industry of the Soviet Union wrote to the beautiful Irina to thank her for her services and for bringing kefir to the market all those years before.

While kefir is still not as widely known in the UK as it is in Eastern Europe it is starting to become much more widely recognised for its wide and varied health benefits as well as its pleasant taste and versatility.

So there you have it, a history as intriguing as the product itself.  We hope you enjoyed our little history lesson, do let us know if you have any suggestions of what you would like to see covered in the Yorlife blog.

 

Jo x

Yorlife Kefir and Pregnancy

Kefir and pregnancy

Ah pregnancy, the miracle of childbirth, the magic of growing a teeny tiny human.  It is a truly exceptional experience.  It is also a huge strain on our bodies.  For anyone who has been there or currently in the throes of this miraculous time you may be aware that this marvel often comes at somewhat of a price.  Raging heartburn, nausea, swollen feet (and hands and everything else), mood swings, not to mention the fatigue, which is probably nature’s way of preparing us for the sleepless nights which come with tiny humans, are all part and parcel of the process.  So we thought we would give you some information about how drinking Yorlife Kefir can help.

It is so important that we nourish ourselves and our babies throughout pregnancy.  We often get asked if probiotics are safe to take during pregnancy.  In short. Absolutely.  I would, however, always recommend discussing any radical diet changes or the taking of any probiotic tablet supplements with your GP first.  Instead you can ensure you are getting enough probiotics by including natural foods such as kefir and sauerkraut in your diet.

Kefir is important during pregnancy for several reasons.  The first being that it is important now more than ever that your digestive system is working as efficiently as possible so that your body can extract all the nutrients it requires from your diet.  One of the unfortunate side effects of being with child tends to be a slowing of the digestive system due to higher levels of progesterone in your system as well as there being additional pressure, often literally due to baby’s position, on your system which often results in constipation.  Drinking kefir daily helps to keep everything in the best possible working order and should help keep things regular.

Did you know that 75% of your immune system lives in your gut? This is just one of the areas Kefir benefits. Billions of good bacteria reside in your gut and fight the bad bacteria which come its way.  Kefir has been shown to reduce incidences of the yeast infection Strep.  This often starts in the breast and can be passed to your baby during breastfeeding.  Taking regular probiotics has been shown to reduce the prevalence of this infection.  Kefir will help keep these infections at bay and keep your immune system in the best working order to protect you and baby.

In addition to the hundreds of good bacteria in Kefir there are also high levels of tryptophan which produces seratonin (the feel good hormone) which is exceptionally efficient at improving your mood, balancing your hormones and maintaining your energy levels, all of which are mighty beneficial to mums-to-be. This tends to be one of the lesser known Kefir benefits but is certainly one of the most instantly noticeable. Kefir is also full of essential amino acids which help control and regulate our stress levels which can lead to more restful sleep resulting in increased energy the following morning.

 

So while we may not be able to do anything about your little dear kicking you in the ribs at 2am hopefully our yummy kefir will help you during your pregnancy and beyond.  And if you already have little ones why not check out our family friendly kefir recipes.

 

Team Yorlife x