Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Including Yogurt in Your Daily Diet
How to pick the right yogurt, and some delicious recipes featuring this nutritious snack
Unless you were born lactose intolerant, yogurt has always been praised as one of the necessary part of your daily food intake. You eat it when your stomach is upset, your doctor recommends it when you are taking antibiotics, it comes in all sorts of flavors and styles and it is readily available on every supermarket’s shelf at a reasonable price.
Unfortunately, there are a few pitfalls that must be mentioned when talking about and purchasing yogurt. Fortunately, once you are aware of these, yogurt remains one of the best and most nutrition snacks.
Let’s start with a few pointers that should not be overlooked. The thriving and ever growing market for the consumption of yogurt has our manufacturers excelling in creativity to make yogurt more and more appealing to every type of consumer out there. The first step should always be to look carefully at the ingredients label:
- Sugar is a natural component of yogurt in the form of lactose, so, unless there is added sugar in the form of: sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, aspartame, malt, molasses, corn or rice syrup, cane syrup, or other possible forms of sugar, it is ok to purchase. If any of the above mentioned names comes up, avoid altogether.
- Colorings: since the FDA revisited the coloring of foods in the early 1970s, it has come to our attention that many of our foods contained all sorts of hidden artificial colorings to make it more appealing to us. Unless you are yourself an expert in dyes and colorants, I would skip anything that has a substance that cannot rationally be explained to me, much less the dangers that frequent absorption can represent for my health.
- Added ingredients to supplement shelf life, texture or taste:
- Dimethylpolysiloxane is an anti-foamer, used during the processing of yogurt. Traces remain in the finished good and can cause severe gastrointestinal problems
- Gelatin or cornstarch to insure smoothness
- Artificial and synthetic taste and vitamin agents
- Carrageenan which is a red algae derivative and thickening agent that can cause severe stomach acidity
- Added cereals, oatmeal or even candy
- GMO additives
- Milk Protein Concentrates (MPC) – they are milk protein in powdered form that are used to improve the protein content of yogurt and act as a stabilizing agent. They are strongly unregulated and the US imports 65% of its consumption from foreign markets.
The actual benefits of yogurt should not be discarded because of a specific industry’s entry onto a market where it realized the monetary profit that could be made from a healthy and inexpensive product.
Yogurt is still an amazing product to consume if you observe three main factors when purchasing it:
- Only buy organic products
- Only buy products that have the lowest number of ingredients in the composition label. All that yogurt requires is: Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Live Active Yogurt Cultures. That’s it!
- Avoid yogurts with fruits, as the fruit has often been preserved in some type of sweetener or juice. Add your own fresh fruits to the yogurt just before serving.
Within the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet, we strongly recommend using only Greek Yogurt. This is because the liquid that results from the separation of the milk (called whey) triggers a large release of insulin after you eat it. With the release of insulin comes varied responses in blood sugar levels which is what we avoid with the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet. Greek Yogurt has been strained to eliminate whey. Because Greek yogurt is more “concentrated,” it has more protein than regular yogurt. The protein is left behind in the solid yogurt during the straining process. The whey contains most of the sodium, carbohydrates, and calcium, so Greek yogurts are lower in these nutrients than their regular counterparts.
So, now that you are more familiar with the types of yogurt that you should be buying and why, let me share with you three recipes that will put it to good use in the kitchen, in addition to the breakfast table.
If you would like more research material regarding this topic, a great report to read is from Cornucopia.org: “Culture Wars: How the Food Giants Turned Yogurt, a Health Food, into Junk Food”.
Avocado Yogurt Dip
- 1 ripe peeled avocado
- 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt (“Fage” brand preferred)
- 2 Tbsp chopped onion
- 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season with a few drops of hot sauce if needed.
Serve with crunchy vegetable slices or sticks, such as cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, jicama, asparagus spears, all colors of bell peppers and mini tomatoes.
Yogurt and Curry Marinated Chicken Thighs
- 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup grated onion
- 3 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 large or 8 small bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
Mix all ingredients from the marinade in a zip-lock bag. Add the chicken thighs and mix well to cover chicken entirely. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
Grill or broil the chicken over high heat until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Mango Frozen Yogurt
I love to have a few of these recipes up my sleeve… This is the quickest and most satisfying recipe on a summer day, when you crave that sweetness and still want a healthy treat. Can be reproduced with almost any fruit.
Makes 6 servings
- 4 1/2 cups diced frozen mango (16-oz bag) or pineapple, strawberries or mixed berries
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat plain yogurt (“Fage” brand is preferred)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
Mix all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. The product will be a soft serve consistency.
This frozen yogurt can be stored in a glass container in the freezer for a more solid product.