Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exposed: The True Story of Yogurt

Let's talk about yogurt.

Yes, yogurt. (Do I have the most random blog ever or what?)

Yogurt is good for you. There are all kinds of probiotic, enzyme-y thingamabobs. It tastes delicious, too.

BUT! Two big problems, guys. 1) What the heck is IN most yogurt? and 2) The plastic. OH! The plastic.

First, let's check out what's in a typical cup of, say Strawberry Light N' Fit Yogurt:
Nonfat Yogurt, (Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3), Strawberries and Water, less than 1% of Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (to maintain freshness) and Red 4.
I used to eat a cup or two of delicious, sugary (or, Splenda-y, I guess) yogurt a day in college. I never once noticed it had all these ingredients. I stopped eating yogurt for a long time because I felt so guilty about all the plastic (non recyclable plastic!) single-use cups left over.

Then I read French Women Don't Get Fat this year (yeah, like, waaay behind the craze. It was actually a good book, surprisingly. I don't do the diet thing.) The author raved about plain yogurt with a sprinkle of wheat germ and a dribble of honey as a an alternative to our chemical-and-sugar-laced stuff. It took a few days to get used to - but OH MY LORD! It was amazing. I would add some frozen peaches and take it to lunch. The other yogurt paled in comparison.

Plain yogurt has two ingredients: Milk and active cultures {I still don't really get what those are, but apparently they're good stuff}. Seems a little less sketchy than fake colors, malic acid, and gelatin.

So, any of you who are yogurt lovers like myself but haven't spun the container around to see the 5 inch list of ingredients - you've been warned! There's so strange stuff in there.

Now, onto the domestic-y part of the problems of yogurt: the plastic. Buying a bigger, resealable container is a short term solution, but we still quickly accumulated TONS of plastic containers. And there's only so many of those you can reuse, ya know?


Yes, that's right: People make their OWN YOGURT. How cool is that?! I desperately want to try, but I haven't found the time. (I did try once, but didn't read the directions and ended up with buttermilk. Which meant we had pancakes and muffins. Equally nutritious as yogurt, right?) All you need is milk, a thermometer, a pot, and some glass jars. It seems pretty simple...You save money and avoid those darn plastic cups from accumulating. And homemade is always (always!) more delicious.

(Sometimes I really wish I was a housewife and just got to sit around making food and cleaning the apartment. Then I remember I'd probably just end up on the computer or watching Friends reruns in my PJs...)


  1. For what it's worth, our recycling company takes all numbers of plastics now! They have for about a year. Yea!

  2. Your blog is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites.

    I'm adding you to my "favorites" blogroll, for that matter.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for some of this info.


    And oddly enough, I haven't craved much meat since I read your post about vegetarianism. Go flippin' figure.

    I made a REALLY tasty rice dish yesterday, boiling it with yellow squash, yellow peppers, onions and red tomatoes. Came out super, super tasty and had that for lunch.

    Anyway - I'm rambling. The plastic thing bothers me - a lot - and I feel so desperately stupid about how to "fix" the problem, or at least be better about it myself.

    Also? I LOVE do it yourself recipes so I'm definitely going to try making my own yogurt.


  3. Mmm, I LOVE Greek yogurt--it's the best! I would also like to try making my own yogurt, and even though buying plastic jars are bad, I actually like them because I reuse them for leftovers and to store dry goods I buy from the bulk bins, instead of buying plastic containers. So I don't feel TOO bad about indulging in Fage!

  4. I like yogurt, but I never eat it in time and always end up throwing it out. So, I just don't buy it anymore!

  5. I bought a tub of yogurt at the store on Tuesday -- original, low fat -- and I'm excited about eating it. While I never eat it fast enough, I really do enjoy it. And I'm hoping that once I get a blender, I can make cool yogurt-fruit shakes in the morning as I run out the door. It'd be fun@

  6. GREEK yogurt is the best. the best. my yiayia (grandma) always made her own yogurt. it was awesome.

    i want some right now.

  7. Wow I would say I would try to make it, but I don't know how much I trust my own abilities. I don't eat yogurt too much though.

    I LOVED your last comment though about being a stay at home wife that sits around and watches Friends, because that is SO how I would end up too

  8. i love yogurt... i am sooo gonna try to make it!

  9. Man, I miss yogurt, and soy yogurt is way gross. (Although for some reason soy frozen yogurt is pretty good.) Homemade yogurt is probably even more awesome because you can make it whatever flavor you want.

  10. Wow I wish I was motivated enough to make my own yogurt. I like your food posts :) I LOVE yogurt, especially for the probiotic benefits. Light n' Fit is my current fave, man I love that stuff.

  11. We had homemade yogurt almost every morning while I was growing up. Seriously? The stuff is DELICIOUS! My parents got a yogurt maker for their wedding, with glass jars that fit inside a long crock-pot looking thing that plugged in. Fill the jars, plug it in at night, and the next morning you've got 5 cups of fresh yogurt. Yum!


  12. Wow, this was so informative!! I am adding plain yogurt and wheat germ to my grocery list to see if I could handle switching over! Hopefully at some point food packagers will see the light and switch over to a more earth friendly environment.

  13. I don't think I'd know what real yogurt tastes like. I only ever get Light and Fit kind. I might die from deliciousness if I had regular kind!

  14. I've always felt guilty about the plastic containers yogurt comes in, but certain ones get recycled (Stoneyfield Farms, my toothbrush is made from recycled yogurt containers). It had never occurred to me to make my own yogurt and you've inspired me to at least look into it if not give it a trial run. Thanks!

  15. Thanks for the link. It is super easy to make and tastes better than any yogurt (well, maybe besides Greek yogurt) you'll find in the store.


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