This week’s Thinking Out Loud post is all about the number-one reason I will never be vegan: For about as long as I can remember, yogurt has been one of my staple foods.
As a kid, I was all about the Yoplait Thick & Creamy French vanilla yogurt with the foil top. Then in the mid 1990’s after my grandmother ‘s cancer diagnosis, the fridge was stocked with the Stonyfield Farms fruit juice-sweetened stuff. Brown Cow’s whole-milk maple yogurt also made an appearance at times. I’m ashamed to admit I ate a lot of Yoplait Light & Fit in high school and even into college, but there was also some Fage plain Greek yogurt around, which eventually led me to abandon the sugar-free bullshit stuff entirely.
Here are some of the reasons I enjoy yogurt (and/or kefir) almost every day:
- Protein: Yogurt is full of satiating protein. An 8-ounce cup of yogurt has 12 grams of protein. Greek yogurt packs even more, usually around 20 grams per cup. That “water” in the container is actually whey, so stir it in to get all that protein.
- Probiotics: Many yogurts are made with “good” bacteria that fight the good fight in the GI tract to promote good digestion and immune system function.
- Bone Health: Yogurt is a great source of calcium and vitamin D to help build and maintain strong, healthy bones. It also has a lot of magnesium, and potassium. The vitamin B-12 in yogurt is helpful for pretty much all the things so that’s another plus.
- Convenience: You can find yogurt in pretty much any grocery or convenience store. Even some gas stations and drugstores stock it. It can be enjoyed plain, mixed with various toppings, or on top of foods like waffles, pancakes, or grilled fruit. It can also be cooked into all kinds of dishes, from sweet baked goods to savory soups and sauces.
A few things to keep in mind when choosing yogurt:
- Stay away from excess sugar. Even better, go for plain and flavor it yourself.
- Look for probiotics and active cultures.
- Opt for organic whenever possible.
Maple Hill Creamery recently contacted me about trying some of their grass-fed yogurt products. The company makes their yogurt from a local supply of milk from 100% grass-fed certified organic small farms near Stuyvesant, NY. They don’t homogenize, strain, or skim their milk. They also keep the sweeteners natural and to a minimum: think fruit purees and scant amounts of real maple syrup, authentic extracts, and organic sugar. A slower culturing process allows them to do without thickeners, and they don’t add any colors or preservatives.
Their yogurt has a smooth, creamy texture and a tart, barely-sweet taste. For anyone freaking out about the fact that this is whole-milk yogurt, bear in mind that fact that we need some fat to absorb the vitamins A and D in milk. Additionally, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in milk from grass-fed cows is higher than in those from cows fed hay, grains, and corn, so it actually has a more heart-healthy fatty acid profile more beneficial to humans. Also of note: one 6-oz container of plain yogurt has 120 calories-hardly something to be “afraid” of. I also want to point out that fat is digested more slowly than other nutrients, so it helps you stay full for longer. Oh, and then there’s that thing called “mouth feel.” Bonus.
Maple Hill Creamery wants to give you the chance to try their yogurt too! 4 readers will get a coupon for a free container of grass-fed yogurt. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment below. Next week I will randomly select and announce a winner, so stay tuned!
Check out more random thoughts from other bloggers at the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!