Almost every morning begins with a cupful of yogurt and a piece of fruit and add to that two cups of coffee as black as my soul.
I like yogurt. Not in the I want to hold its hand type of way, I just like it in the same way in the same way I like sour cream, it's tangy, acidic and rounds out the flavor palate be the item that gets a dollop is bland like a baked potato or sweet like a strawberry.
I struggle with the question of is yogurt just good or is it good for me as well. Generally I go with Nancy's yogurt, which promises me billions of live cultures, but I'm not above buying a different brand if it's on sale and if it contains live cultures - no flavored sweetened yogurt full of stabilizers for me.Yet, I cannot find any scientific claims that these live cultures, aka probiotics are good for people, other than they do convert lactose to lactic acid, helping lactose intolerant eat their dairy.
Yogurt, predates the 60's quest for natural foods, it is one of the Ur-health foods, Dannone, the company that makes and markets activia, originally sold yogurt as a cure of indigestion. Kellogg's sanatorium offered a yogurt colonic 'cure'. Flavored yogurt can have as more carbohydrates than a candy bar per serving, probiotics, the belief that active bacterial cultures aid digestion are more of a hope than fact, low-fat yogurt adds sweeteners of dubious healthiness to make up for a lack of flavor from fat, yet the product shines a halo of health.
I was watching YouTube videos for my food class this week, I wanted to see how health, or the idea of health is sold - using the search terms 'health', 'family' and 'mom'. I stumbled across a series of activia commercials. This campaign always seemed a little off, first of all women talking about irregularity seemed odd both odd in the sense Jamie Lee Curtis was facilitating a conversation about poo and odd because of the health claims. I wasn't the only one, Dannon, the US arm of the company, would go on to settle a $35 million dollar lawsuit concerning the over promise of activia's claim.
With activia, Dannon is packaging the possibility of regular bowel movements in a hipper vessel than prune juice and offering a magic pill – essentially reassuring women (and I never saw this ad during a basketball game, only on HGTV), they don't need to worry about what they eat, as long as they eat this. While the commercial's voiceover tout benefits only, 'as part of a healthy diet', personal experience tells me most people want to believe there are healthy foods (as opposed to healthy diets) and that there really is one specific, food/vitamin/additive that they should be eating but aren't. To that end all that activia is missing is an Omega 3, ginseng, anti-oxidant flavor.
I don't know, I am more drawn to the phrase 'part of a healthy diet' than I likely to believe in a magic food. We are so disconnected from food, how it's grow, where it comes from, how to cook it's understandable that there is insecurity about what to eat. It's also understandable people would either try to manipulate this disconnect or sincerely offer their path to health (Sylvester Graham, Euell Gibbons, vegans). Is yogurt that magic pill, something that is good for me, I can't help giving myself props for my daily dose of yogurt, even if I struggle with the fact all these live cultures might not be able to survive the heat and ph of my gut.