Yogurt is yummy

26 Mar

Yogurt is loved for being full of calcium and vitamin B2 and B12, potassium and magnesium, and for offering probiotics – the good bacteria such as Lactobaciullus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis that keep the flora and fauna of our digestive tract in order and support our immune system.

Not all yogurt however, is created equal.

The first thing I look for when picking out a yogurt – is how happy that Mama cow was. Does she spend her time roaming and grazing on grass and pasture, spending time with her friends and nature – all things that cows love most?

It is tricky to find the stats on yogurt company’s websites. Going through Seven Stars Farm – who supplies Butter Beans with our yogurt, I learned  that the term “grass-fed” when applied to dairy cows usually means that the cattle have access to pasture when seasonally available. When it’s applied to beef production, it means that the animals were raised until slaughter on pasture or hay, and have skipped the grain feeding period customarily used to finish beef. Click here to learn more about Seven Stars Farm.

Here are a few brands popular brands that do take the well-being of their cows and the environment seriously:

Stonyfield – What began as a small New Hampshire family farm has now grown immensely, and are doing their part to lighten their impact on the environment and inspire others to do the same.

Siggi’s has many fans. It is made in traditional Iceland ways – from skim milk (the fat is used to make butter, the skim milk is left for yogurt making).  Made with simple ingredients, the flavored versions are not too sweet and made with agave nectar instead of sugar, real fruit. Here is a great interview with the founder. He sources local milk and has green principles you can feel good about.

Greek yogurt – strained yogurt with the whey removed, this yogurt is very thick and creamy.  Fage yogurt is a very popular brand that was originally shipped from Greece, and now has a headquarters in NY. Although I cannot find info on their cows, their website does say that they source milk from cows that are not treated with rBGH hormone. Thank goodness. Oikos is Stonyfield’s version of this Greek favorite, and other versions are popping up everywhere.

So now you’ve got your yogurt. How to do it up?

Start with plain yogurt. Top it with a bit of local honey (your local honey bees help keep you well during hay fever season). or add frozen berries or fresh ones once they are out. Add flax meal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, gogi berries, chopped dates, and nuts.

It is important to remember that yogurt has natural sugar in it. Usually around 10-12 grams per 6 ounces. Anything on top of that is added and when you consider that 4 grams of sugar equal 1 teaspoon.. and many popular brands have 25+ grams of sugar per 6 ounces – that’s a lot of sugar! Just because it has calcium doesn’t mean it won’t bring on a sugar high. We start shaping our children’s taste buds very early on. When we introduce yogurt as a wonderful food that can be subtly sweet rather than excessively sweet – they get used to it and expect it this way.

Thank you generous Mama cows, for the gift of versatile yogurt. Click here for some recipe ideas.

Want to try your hand at making your own yogurt? Check out this site.

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