Thursday, April 1, 2010

Plain yogurt - the staple super food to always have in your fridge

Before this food programme, I rarely ate yogurt - let alone plain yogurt. Yecccchhh! It just tasted sour, runny and way too good for me - talk about diet food!

Somehow over the years, yogurt has infiltrated my fridge and my life to become an absolute staple. I have literally had yogurt at breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert on some days. And it tasted different and delicious each time. The yogurt I am talking about is low-fat, plain and unsweetened.

I have come to realise that yogurt is a super food; it is full of calcium and protein and low in fat. Yogurt is almost magical in its properties. Here is an excellent explanation from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:

"Fermentation of milk breaks down casein, or milk protein, one of the most difficult proteins to digest. Culturing restores many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurization including lactase, which helps digest lactose or milk sugar and numerous enzymes which help the body absorb calcium and other minerals. Lactase produced during the culturing process allows many people who are sensitive to fresh milk to tolerate fermented milk products. Both vitamin B and vitamin C content of milk increase during fermentation.

"Research has shown that regular consumption of cultured dairy products lowers cholesterol and protects against bone loss. In addition, cultured dairy products provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid to the digestive tract. These friendly creatures and their by-products keep pathogens a bay, guard against infectious illness and aid in the fullest possible digestion of all food we consume. Perhaps this is why so many traditional societies value fermented milk products for their health-promoting properties and insist on giving them to the sick, the aged and nursing mothers."

Unless there is an allergy to dairy, I would urge anyone to incorporate this versatile, healthy food into their diet.

I think what I love most about yogurt is that it is a blank slate of creaminess ready to be married with sweet or savoury foods.

I also love that it is low in fat, so I can use it liberally on this programme - 100g of my plain, reduced fat Easiyo yogurt contains only 1.7g of fat. Woo hoo! (Be sure to check fat content, my son's Greek style yogurt has a whopping four times the amount of fat of my low-fat type - he needs the fat, I don't!)

Here are a few ideas to get you started:


  • Plain yogurt, sprinkled with Stevia powder (my sweet tooth doesn't like 'tart' in the morning!), oats made into porridge and a sliced banana. Delicious and filling!
  • Or try yogurt & a banana in the blender to make a creamy smoothie (this my son's favourite at the moment).


  • Chop up cucumber and a bit of garlic, mix with yogurt and it is a tasty salad dressing - goes great with tomatoes and sauerkraut.


  • Drain 1 litre of yogurt overnight through cheesecloth and you've got a delicious yogurt cream cheese to spread on crackers or dip with carrot and celery sticks.

  • Dollop on top of taco salad instead of sour cream.
  • Stir through hearty beef stew to create a stroganoff flavour.


  • Yogurt with fresh or frozen berries - yum! (don't forget the Stevia if you want it sweet)
  • Yogurt mixed with 2 teaspoons of Milo - an interesting, tangy 'chocolate' fix!