Day 34: Will the real yogurt please stand up?

After my daughter was born in 2006 I not only gained a beautiful, sweet, precious baby girl, I also gained 70 pounds that would not come off no matter what I did. I tried all of my old diet tricks, consisting of lengthy cardio workout sessions, eating fewer calories and the low-fat, high-carb diet that worked for me so well in the ’90s. But none of that worked. 1 year later I was still 70 lbs. heavier and still gaining. I decided that I needed to call in the pros….I went to go see a nutritionist. My experience with my nutritionist was eye-opening, she advised me to try a higher-protein diet, consuming 90 grams of protein daily! She gave me a list of high protein foods, including “Greek Yogurt,” which I had never heard of before.

When I first tried Greek Yogurt I hated it. The only yogurt I had before was Dannon or Yoplait, which was filled with artificial sweeteners and flavored like strawberry, blueberry or key lime pie. I thought that Greek yogurt was too plain, tangy and flavorless, compared to my sweeter, flavored versions. In fact, I remember thinking “if this is the only yogurt I can eat, I’d rather not have it at all.” But, Greek yogurt must be an acquired taste, because I actually do enjoy it quite a bit now.

This confusion over the general statement of “yogurt is healthy” leads me to my title (inspired by my favorite musical artist: Eminem) “Will the real yogurt please stand up?” Because it is confusing when you go to the grocery store and see everything in the yogurt section from the abhorrent “Trix Yogurt” for kids to the “Fage Greek Yogurt.” Is there a difference?

Oh yes! 0% Greek Yogurt has only 120 calories with a whopping 20 grams of protein! Natural greek yogurt also does not have any added sugars, artificial flavorings or food dyes. Compare that with Au Bon Pain’s large non-fat blueberry yogurt that tops out with 440 calories at 75 grams of sugar! That is more sugar than your typical dessert! Even the Dannon Fit & Light Yogurt is not the best choice, as it only has 5 grams of protein and contains three different types of sugar, food dyes and artificial flavors. A good tip is to look for the LAC label, which means that the yogurt still contains “Live Active Cultures.” The plain Dannon yogurt and Stonybrook Farms both carry yogurt with this label.

Another healthy yogurt choice is Keifer. My daughter LOVES strawberry Keifer. I discovered this gem when my daughter was two years old and refused to drink milk. She is a very picky eater and I was concerned that she was not getting enough calcium in her diet. I tried flavoring her milk with chocolate, strawberry and even vanilla, but she would not drink it. One day I saw strawberry Keifer in Trader Joes and I decided to give it a try. Now she goes through at least two bottles of Keifer a week!

This is great because yogurt and Keifer have “good” bacteria known as probiotics. The probiotics promote gut health, which is critical to preventing all types of diseases, especially chronic degenerative ones. Probiotics help control inflammation and bolster the immune system. They improve digestion, have anticancer properties, increase good cholesterol while lowering the bad kind and even increase the quantity of antibodies when we have an infection.

As I mentioned before, I did learn to love Greek yogurt. And I also lost the 70 lbs plus more, but I’ll share that story at a later time. While I can’t attribute my entire weight loss to Greek yogurt, it certainly helped.

My favorite way to enjoy it is with raspberries, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of Kashi GoLean cereal. It is like a parfait, only healthier! I use greek yogurt in place of sour cream to top my chili and tacos. Also, did you know that you can substitute Keifer or non-fat greek yogurt for butter and oil in baking recipes? I promise that no one will be able to tell a difference!

I also love to make tzatziki sauce with Greek Yogurt when I fix Greek chicken pitas. I’ll share my recipe with you:

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 0% Greek Yogurt
  • Seedless cucumber
  • Greek Seasoning
  • Garlic cloves (minced or pressed through garlic press)
  • Juice from one lemon

Instructions

  • Drain the greek yogurt using cheese cloth and a strainer overnight
  • Peel and finely grate the seedless cucumber
  • Salt the grated cucumber and place in a bowl with plastic wrap to allow the liquid to drain out of the cucumber
  • Discard the liquid from the yogurt and cucumber
  • Combine the drained greek yogurt with the cucumber and all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined

Have you ever tried Keifer or greek yogurt? Do you like it?

10 thoughts on “Day 34: Will the real yogurt please stand up?

  1. Have you tried using Greek yogurt in baking yourself? I ♥ to bake, but don’t do it often because of the fat contents in many things. I use applesauce in muffins already, but haven’t tried yogurt.

    • Oh yes! I use greek yogurt in ALL of my baking items. My FAV way to use greek yogurt is in the chocolate No Pudge Brownies that they sell at the grocery store. I use 2/3 cup greek yogurt and 1 tsp of vanilla and I swear, they are better than any other brownie I’ve ever had, full-fat ones included! I also use greek yogurt in my banana bread, cakes, etc.. I never use oil in my baking recipes anymore and I find that the ones made with oil are too oily for me now. Try it out and let me know what you think! 🙂 Thanks for posting your comment!

  2. As I think I mentioned, I started drinking Keifer back in the 70’s. It was very hard to find in the 80’s and 90’s I am so glad it has made a comeback. I love it and could drink it all day just like Emily (like gramma like granddaughter!) As for the greek yogurt I prefer it as a ingredient in savory items like your wonderful tzatziki sauce OR a nice dip made with greek yogurt and herbs, garlic and onion. YUMMY

  3. Hi Stacy. I’ve used Kefir (plain), in my protein shakes from time to time and it gives them a nice tangy taste. I haven’t tried greek yogurt, but did buy some today at the grocery store thanks to your recommendation 🙂 I bought the plain kind to avoid the extra sugar, and will probably add some stevia and a bit of fruit to sweeten it.

      • I actually went to the grocery store again today (a different store from yesterday), and they had another brand of greek yogurt on sale (5 for 5.00), so I bought 5 of their plain and 5 of the vanilla. Although the vanilla has more sugar than the plain, I noticed that it had less than all the other flavors. The brand I bought today, and just tried, is Chobani (what I bought yesterday was the plain Fage). I enjoyed the vanilla Chobani very much, loved the creamy thickness of it, and I stirred in a spoon of granola for a bit of crunch. I am a “creamy smooth” kind of girl, my top favorite desserts are ice cream, pudding, custard, etc., so the greek yogurt is right up my alley!!

  4. To maintain weight loss my very favorite breakfast is Kashi Go Lean, Stonyfield Farms plain non-fat yogurt and any chopped fresh fruit.
    The daily yogurt has cured my IBS symptoms and I can now tolerate high fiber foods. The more I read on the subject I am convinced that high fiber is one of the secrets to healthy eating.
    Really am enjoying your blog, especially the references to your childrens reactions to new foods.
    jmn

    • Thank you!! I agree! I definitely try to eat high fiber. I also try to eat high protein, so sometimes my day is unbalanced, skewed to one way or the other, but I definitely try to incorporate both into my diet. I LOVE Kashi. Have you tried their GoLean Protein bars? They are great to stick in your purse and have for “emergencies.” I try to have one on me at all times because I need to eat every 3-4 hours and it keeps me away from the vending machine or fast food. Thanks so much for the posititive feedback on the blog! I am so happy that you are enjoying it. Keep the comments coming! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Day 32: Happy Birthday To Me « Stacy

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