Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dropping Acidophilus

I have yogurt nearly every day – unsweetened, live cultured, whole milk, no binding agents. My favorite, the Greek Fage, is priced a little out of my league. Instead I opt for my second choice, Nancy’s which isn’t a horrible sacrifice, they blur the line between tart and acidic. Both local and national - Oregon made near Eugene at the Springfield Creamery but it is distributed nationally, reaching all 50 states. There is an actual Nancy (Hamren), but the creamery is run by the Kesey family, yes as in Ken’s brother. The yogurt is called Nancy’s because retailers placed their orders with Nancy on the phone and in the days before product launches and branding studies, the yogurt was referred to as ‘Nancy’s’ yogurt. Huey Lewis used to regularly drive the route between San Francisco and the Kesey ranch in Eugene, Nancy’s yogurt was one of the ‘products’ he brought back to Bay Area co-ops. One can only wonder if Lewis, the deliveryman, had better pay & benefits, if the 80s would have been spared a whole bunch of music.

US citizens eat 7.9 pounds of yogurt a year, which is amazing because in the pre-Beatles era, outside of a few immigrant subcultures, no one in the US would have known a thing about yogurt. Or maybe not that amazing at all, at the other end of the scale, the average Frenchman and femme eat 49.1 pounds annually, which sounds less indulgent when expressed as 25 kilos.

Most of those 7.9 pounds of yogurt is sweetened and flavored. Sugar, stevia, honey are popular sweeteners. Surprisingly, but not all that surprising, not everyone enjoys yogurt’s natural sour taste, so fruit is used to flavor of yogurt. There are 2 different ways to do this; there is the fruit on the bottom ‘sundae-style’ and the homogenized, ‘Swiss-style’. Sugar, honey and either sweetened or unsweetened fruit raise the caloric content of low-fat yogurts above that of their non-sweetened whole milk counterparts. Low and reduced fat yogurts are offered because fat is often seen to be the culprit in well, getting fat. So, the cute 1-cup, single serving portion of low-fat blueberry yogurt is more calories than a candy bar, it is healthy, right?

Maybe. Healthier than smoking anyway. Yogurt has been linked to health for about a 100 years, when a Russian biologist promulgated a theory a healthy colon – If a person’s GI contained the right type of bacteria, they could avoid the autointoxicating side-effects of germs and increase their lifespan. The best way to keep the bad stuff out was put the good germs in, and with yogurt cultures and this was not always by eating. Health promoters & yogurt lovers like John Harvey Kellogg, who because he abstained from sex with his wife, had time for a daily yogurt enema given by a muscular male attendant (issues). The healthy colon argument is one that is still echoed today by probiotic enthusiasts. Problem being, the thermophilic bacteria used to thicken yogurt, can’t survive in the human gut, so one that can, Lactobacillus acidophilus, is added to the mix of live cultures. I don’t know if yogurt is healthy, healthier or if like Jamie Lee Curtis claims it keeps you regular. I actually like the taste of it.


1 comment:

Diane said...

Hilarious blog post title! Remember that one for your book.