YO-GURT, YO-GURT, YO-GURT, YO-GURT!
I love dairy – all types. But, dairy can be difficult to digest, inflammatory, and hard on the body if it’s not sourced correctly and cultured. Since this article is about grass fed yogurt, first off, let me say, if you’re going to buy and eat it, make sure that you buy the best that you can find. Of course, this is my perspective on any food that I eat. Living, organic, grass-fed, farm-fresh, local, foods are ALWAYS the best options. That being said, it can be difficult to find good, quality dairy. So, if you love milk, or particularly yogurt, I do not recommend that you simply run to the store and grab any conventional brand.
With your good health in mind, here are my suggestions for yogurt (in respective order):
- Make your own yogurt from raw, grass-fed milk. Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well has an easy recipe for this in her cookbook.
- If you can’t (or won’t) do the above, then buy organic (whole fat) yogurt sourced from raw, unpasteurized, grass-fed milk. If you don’t know where to buy this kind of yogurt, contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter to find out.
- Buy a good, organic, whole fat, pasteurized yogurt from a reputable company who cares for their grass-fed cows and dairy products. (See my choice for this below.)
- If you cannot make or find one of the above, then I suggest that you pass on eating yogurt until you have one of the above options. To buy conventional, processed yogurts or dairy is to invite allergy and disease, as well as to sacrifice awesome flavor.
One note about yogurt and the above suggestions: If you have allergy or intolerance to dairy in general, even to grass fed, raw cow’s milk, I would suggest that you apply the above standards to goat’s milk. Often times, people who have intolerance for cow’s dairy are able to digest goat’s milk in its place. And even if you don’t have any allergies to milk, goat’s milk is a wonderful, healthy and tasty alternative. Keep in mind though, that yogurt (even pasteurized) contains beneficial bacteria that pre-digest lactose, creating lactic acid which gives its distinctive, tangy flavor. This most often shores up the problem of lactose intolerance.
Avoid conventional yogurts! They are full of additives and are not from grass fed, grazing cows. The milk from a grass fed cow is significantly different than the “milk” of a conventional, factory cow. ‘Nuf said!
A Good, Healthy Organic Yogurt Choice
I realize that most people are not at a place where they make their own yogurt, nor are they likely to buy it from a local, raw producer. This is unfortunate. So, I wrote the following with the rest of you in mind, those of you who are likely to buy conventional or any organic brand. That being said, here’s a good yogurt choice for you.
Seven Stars Farm Organic Yogurt – FULL FAT PLAIN
This yogurt is the bomb! Maybe I’m too old to call something “the bomb,” but you get the idea. If you like smooth, creamy, and delicious, then you will love Seven Stars Farm Yogurt. And, let’s not forget the organic part. The only thing I would change about this yogurt is the “pasteurized” part, but if it weren’t pasteurized, you wouldn’t find it in a supermarket (Whole Foods).
As an aside, my suggestion is not to buy the lowfat versions of this yogurt or of any yogurt, for that matter! No offense to Seven Stars Farm for the lowfat versions, but trust me, they don’t hold a candle to the full fat yogurt. Furthermore, why remove that rich, healthy fat that your body needs and craves so desperately? I’ve actually bought the lowfat a couple of times, by accident. I ended up throwing it out, after it stayed in my fridge for way too long! Once you’ve tasted the full-fat versions of this yogurt, you will not like the lowfat ones. Remember, good fat (like what’s in quality, grass-fed, organic yogurt) does not make you fat or unhealthy. If you believe that it does, you’ve been drinking the koolaid for far too long. Wise up and start doing your own research. Your health is that important. I don’t have time to convince you of it here.
What I love about Seven Stars Organic Yogurt:
- the taste – flavor so good my tongue does a dance with every spoonful!
- the texture – rich, creamy and almost pudding-like!
- the cheese topping – each container of the plain has a thick, rich layer of cheese on top that tastes amazing. Yum!
- the real maple syrup – used to sweeten the organic maple yogurt, although I prefer to add my own to the plain if I so desire.
- the beneficial bacterial content – each container is full of gut-friendly lactobacillus bulgaricus, streptococcus thermophilus, lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus cultures.
- it is made from the milk of Jersey cows – utterly wonderful, because their milk has the highest percentage of butterfat (healthy butyric acid) and protein.
- contains no thickeners or emulsifiers – which are typical in most conventional, processed yogurt brands. They don’t add thickeners due to the high % of butterfat and protein in the Jersey cow milk. Other brands add pectin and dried milk, among other things.
- zero additives – just pure organic, natural ingredients – God made.
- it is not ultra-pasteurized – the milk is heated just above the industry standard of 150 degrees to 170 for 20 minutes.
- it is made from certified organic milk from Jersey cows which graze (on grass) as much as possible, which ensures that it is packed full of healthy vitamins A, D, B12 and calcium, just to name a few.
- it is gluten-free.
Benefits of Eating Organic Yogurt
The following health benefits of yogurt are taken from AboutYogurt.com. There’s a lot more to write about the health benefits of organic yogurt, but I’m just giving you the quick overview.
- It helps protect the intestinal tract. Due to its live and active cultures, it’s known to boost the immune system and even aid in preventing cancer.
- Helps prevent yeast infections in women.
- Helps reduce lactose malabsorption when fed to infants.
- Helps reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Helps chemotherapy patients with the side effect of lactose malabsorption.
- Helps reduce high blood pressure.
- Helps lessen the effects of osteoporosis by slowing bone loss, due to its high calcium content.
Friendly flora manufacture vitamins such as biotin, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid and vitamins A and K. The lactic acid-secreting bacteria available in quality yogurts also increase the bioavailability of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese. This is good news for your body!
Some Favorite Ways to Use Yogurt
If you’re like I used to be, you may not be so keen on plain yogurt. I have a lot of years of having a pretty powerful sweet tooth. Initially, it was very difficult for me to eat a wonderful, living, nourishing food like yogurt – PLAIN! Yuck, or so I thought. But, I will say that as I weened myself off of having to “sugar down” everything, I started to appreciate and enjoy the natural, smooth and tangy taste of this great food. But, if you’re still hanging out on the sugary side of things (and even if you’re not), here are a few tasty ways that you can incorporate yogurt into your diet.
- In Smoothies - There’s nothing like an amazing fruit smoothie using plain yogurt, some fresh or frozen berries, a couple of raw eggs (pastured, of course), a little stevia extract for sweetness, and some ground flax seeds. If you’ve just finished a workout, throw in some grass fed whey powder and you’re good to go. If you like it cold and thick, use some ice as your base.
- On Sweet Potatoes - I don’t know about you, but I love a big ole’ sweet potato. Aside from using yogurt like sour creme, sometimes I will bake 4 or 5 of them on the weekend until they’re good and done. I then put them in the fridge for use during the week. Whenever I’m hungry, I’ll pull one out, remove the skin and put it in a bowl. Then, I’ll add 1/2 cup or so of plain yogurt to the mix. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and mash it up good. The tangy flavor of the yogurt combined with a sweet potato is awesome. Try it out.
- As a Salad Dressing or Dip - Want to add a probiotic, vitamin filled punch to your salads? Instead of using those chemical packaged, dead dressings, why not experiment with some organic plain yogurt? Here’s one dressing and dip that I use from time to time. I don’t have exact proportions as I experiment with ingredients a lot. Mix up some soft avocado (mash or chop it good), throw in a couple of minced garlic cloves, a scallion, fresh chopped basil, squeeze in some lemon juice, a little extra virgin olive oil, and 1/3 cup of plain organic Yogurt. You can also add a little apple cider vinegar, salt, or whatever you like. Whiz it up in a food processor and whoosh, bang… you’ve got an incredible homemade salad dressing or dip. Who’d a thought it?
- With Cauliflower - If you don’t eat white potatoes, like many in the Paleo camp, then try some Yogurt with the cauliflower mashed potato recipe. Cook your cauliflower (boiling your florets for 8 minutes or so). Take them out and put them in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of yogurt, a couple of Tbsp. of Kerry Gold Butter (my favorite), 2 chopped garlic cloves, and a 1/2 cup of your favorite grated organic cheese (put the cheese on top last). Salt, pepper to taste add cheese on top and you’re all set.
- With Fruit - Do like my friend Amy who puts her plain, full fat Greek Yogurt in a bowl, adds some freshly chopped fruit and berries, and squirts in a little Stevia extract for sweetness.
Need I say more? Experiment with yogurt. That’s what I do. It’s fantastic for dressings and creamy sauces on cooked vegetables. I’ve even seen some recipes for using it to make chocolate or vanilla icing. Whatever you do with it, it’s worthy of mentioning that Organic, whole fat yogurt from grass-fed milk (cow, goat, sheep) is a time-honored, traditional living food that has promoted longevity and health for ages. If you’re not using it as part of your wellness regimen, then you’re missing out on a truly magnificent and potent superfood.
More Great Organic Yogurts:
When I’m not able to get raw organic yogurt, I typically use the Seven Stars brand (that I’ve highly lauded above), because I can easily find it at Whole Foods. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some other fantastic choices out there. Below are some that may be easier for you to find that I also highly recommend (thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation).
- Erivan Yogurt
- Kolona SuperNatural Yogurt
- St. Benoit Yogurt (CA only)
- Brown Cow Yogurt
- FAGE Total Classic Greek Yogurt
- Pavel’s Yogurt
- Straus Family Creamery Yogurt
- The Greek Gods Yogurt
- Trader Joe’s Greek Style and European Style Plain Yogurt
By now, it should be pretty clear – Organic, full fat yogurt from grass fed cows is a delicious and potent superfood! If it’s not a part of your diet, it’s not too late to add it and reap the health benefits, maximize your wellness and add flavor to your cuisine. Why not get some quality organic yogurt and add a little culture to your life?