Going Greek.

31 Aug

Image via Wikipedia

Although I have never been to Greece, I sure as heck do LOVE a lot of their food items and the way that they eat. I actually eat a very ‘Mediterranean Style’ diet the more I think about it. I love everything about Mediterranean food, from olive oil to hummus and pita. One of my newest loves and pleasures from the Mediterranean is Greek yogurt. Simply delicious and oh so good for you.

I have ALWAYS been a fan of yogurt. I grew up on it. It was always available in my parents’ house and I knew that it was ‘healthy’. Like everything else we are sold via advertisements, I soon learned healthy is just a matter of opinion at times and it is just relative to the ‘competition’. My favorite yogurts were ones full of artificial flavors colors and chemicals. The delicious ones that tasted like ‘Boston Cream Pie’ and ‘Banana Creme Cake’. They said they were ‘Light‘, so I assumed they were right. All I really learned is that they are WRONG, and advertising consists of lots of little LIES 😉

I had always seen the Greek yogurt next to the fancy ‘light’ and constantly advertised brands. The Greeks seemed boring to me. Plain, Vanilla, and maybe a random Strawberry. Snore. No thanks. I’ll stick with my ‘Sour Apple Candy’ yogurt. That was until I realized that this ‘light’ yogurt loaded with chemicals was also loaded with SUGAR! All this time I had thought fat free was all that mattered. I had always failed to realize that when they remove the fat, they usually up the sugar to make up for the loss of  flavor that goes along with it. This is the case with most yogurts I see on the market today.

Fed up and frustrated, I finally decided to take the Greek plunge about 6 months ago. I started with Chobani brand (simply because it was on sale), and I decided I would start with Pomegranate and Blueberry flavors. To my surprise, the protein content was more then double that of the other yogurts (15-23 grams as compared to 5-7 grams). Even with real sugar in it, it still had only a couple of grams more then those light versions. The taste was amazing and I was hooked.

Needless to say, I have tried many different flavors and varieties, loved most of them, and never went back to my old ways. Greek yogurt is so thick and rich that it’s like the perfect yogurt, and would also make a great dip base. My next step was to kick the flavored yogurts all together, since they have 19-22 grams of sugar in them where as a plain yogurt only has 5-7 naturally occurring grams. This to me is a lot of extra sugar that I do not need, and would rather eat some real fruit to get some natural sugars in my body. So armed with some agave, vanilla, Ideal (natural sugar substitute), some fresh blueberries, and fresh strawberries I made the transition 😉

My two personal favorite brands are Fage and Chobani. Greek yogurt is more expensive then regular yogurt, but you are getting a far superior product so at the end of the day it’s all relative. Also, if you buy the bigger sizes instead of the individual cups you can save some money. They also have a lot of sales at my A&P on Chobani and Fage, so keep an eye out. I have also seen very good prices for Fage at Trader Joe’s.

Here is a simple way to sweeten up your plain yogurt without adding any extra sugar calories… Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of Splenda, Truvia, Ideal or any other (preferably natural) sugar substitute. Top with some almonds and/or fresh fruit and you have a great snack, lunch, breakfast or dessert.

*Be sure to pick the 0% Greek yogurts (aka the Fat Free ones). All of the dairy you ingest should be fat free or VERY low fat, the saturated fat content in dairy is through the roof, which is not good for us. None of the companies I mentioned use Growth Hormones in their cows *

Enjoy a treasure of the Greek Islands without a passport or the jet lag 😉

http://www.fageusa.com/ This is the Fage website with a coupon you can download.

http://www.chobani.com/ This is the Chobani website.

http://www.stonyfield.com/ Stonyfield also makes a really good Greek yogurt and they have great ethics and morals as a company.

http://www.idealsweet.com/ Ideal natural Sugar substitutue

Image representing Stonyfield Farms as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase


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