Monday, May 30, 2011

Gaining Control

You might think you’re eating healthy when you grab that container of yogurt and you wouldn’t necessarily think of yogurt as processed food, but from the list of ingredients, you’d be surprised. A typical 6 oz. “fruit on the bottom” cup of yogurt can contain 150 calories, and 25g of sugar, much of which comes from fructose syrup, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. That’s actually more sugar than is found in 6 oz. of soda and most of you wouldn’t even consider drinking soda for breakfast.

To cut back on the sugar and to make it a healthier choice, buy plain, unsweetened yogurt and customize it with nuts, seeds, chopped or dried fruit and spices like cinnamon. Then add a bit of natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. One teaspoon will go a long way here versus the 4 teaspoons or more of the sugars you may not want to be eating in the example above.

And if you’re really adventurous, you can make your own yogurt. I like to do this using my friend Claire's method with the organic milk from a nearby farm. Slowly heat a quart of milk in a pan until it almost reaches boiling. Remove it from the stove and allow it to cool to the point where your (clean) finger can stay in it comfortably for several seconds.

Mix one cup of the milk with a cup of plain yogurt then pour the mixture into the pot of milk and stir. Transfer the culture into a clean glass container (I put it back into the milk bottle), cover lightly and let it sit undisturbed in a warm, dark place for at least 8 hours. The longer it incubates, the thicker it will get. When it reaches the consistency you want, refrigerate it. Use it in your cereal or granola, in a smoothie, or as a snack.

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