Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yogurt: The Super Food

Yogurt. This is probably the staple in the Gibson home. We always have at least two tubs of it handy--usually plain and vanilla. And once I explain to you our own yogurt-making process, you'll understand why!

So. Like the rest of America, a number of you have probably heard about how cool Greek yogurt is, and how everyone is going nuts for it. Perhaps you yourself go nuts for it! Now, I can easily understand this. It's thicker, richer, tastier, and healthier for you than regular ol' yogurt.

The cool part, though, is once you understand why it has its benefits and how those are achieved by those who manufacture Greek yogurt, you'll not only be able to make your own Greek yogurt, but you'll also be able to take it a step further into what the mister and I affectionately call "yogurt cheese."

So, strap yourselves in, gentle readers! The rest of this week is devoted to yogurt! On Wednesday I'll show you how to make your very own "Greek" yogurt. On Thursday I'll show you how to make two different kinds of yogurt cheese. And on Friday I'll show you how to make a much healthier, delicious frozen yogurt.

That means today, Tuesday, is the day for knowledge and education about this Super Food!

General Benefits of Yogurt

1. Calcium + vitamin D = Good for bone health!
2. Active cultures = Good for the gut!
3. Active cultures = Good for "lady parts" health!
4. Incredible recipe substitute
5. Easier on the tummy than milk
6. Great source of protein (when plain)

*Read more about those benefits here.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, in its essence, is yogurt that has had the whey strained and pressed out of it. Since whey is the liquid part of milk, pressing this out is what makes Greek yogurt thicker and creamier. Also, whey contains lactose, so this makes Greek yogurt even easier on a tummy that is lactose intolerant (like mine).

Also, since plain yogurt can have up to 20% of your daily value of protein, pressing the whey out of yogurt means that you'll have roughly twice as much protein in a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Awesome!

One small downside is that by removing the whey, you're also removing some of the calcium, so just be aware of that if what you're going for is calcium. But if you're going for protein, then carry on!

*Read more about Greek yogurt and its production here.

Just be Careful of...

1. Sugar content. Most low fat yogurts out there add tons of extra sugar when they take the fat out. Seriously. If you want to see for yourself how bad it is, the next time you're standing in front of that massive yogurt wall at the grocery store, pick up a tub of regular fat, low far, and light yogurt. Make sure it's the same brand, and then compare them all.

2. Vitamins. When you're comparing, also check out how vitamins and nutrients suffer in the light versions. Some brands are better at it than others, so although you might pay more for a vitamin-rich light yogurt, your body will benefit, and isn't that what matters most?

3. Active cultures. If you're interested in yogurt because you want to help your digestion or your feminine health, then check the label again to make sure it has active cultures! Make sure it has a little graphic that says "live and active cultures."

4. Labels. Ok, so I know I just told you to check labels, but here I mean things labeled as "yogurt-covered" or made with "frozen yogurt." Things that are dipped or covered in yogurt are often dipped in yogurt that has so much added sugar that you might as well schedule that cavity filling now. And frozen yogurt has so much added stuff, including our favorite adversary--sugar, that making your own is well worth the effort.

*Read about health and diet information here.
*Read about some more health information here.

All This to Say...

I hope you're learned some cool benefits of yogurt (or felt yourself validated because you're already aware of this Super Food), and that you're excited to learn how much it can be incorporated into recipes and daily life.

We are most definitely fans, and you'll start to notice it as the blog continues!

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