Friday, May 29, 2009

Live Cultures

I never grew up with plain yogurt at my house, but when I married my husband, he wanted me to buy it at the store. He loves plain yogurt mixed in with a banana and grapenuts. My youngest daughter Emily has always loved yogurt. When she was one, I have it down in her baby book that it was one of her favorite foods. Emily still loves yogurt. My husband started giving her plain yogurt when we were out of the flavored stuff. He would put "mix-ins" into the plain yogurt. It is so much healthier to do plain yogurt with "mix-ins"

A few of our favorite mix-ins include:

  1. Lemon Sauce, also called Lemon Curd
  2. Jam- We use Smucker's Simply Fruit (sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar or high fructose corn syrup).
  3. Homemade fruit syrup - frozen or fresh berries cooked down in the microwave with a couple tablespoons of sugar and blending together.
Another great way to enjoy yogurt is with Grapenuts added to it. Amanda loves this combo. We usually use pre-sweetened yogurt for this.
Here is Emily with her strawberry jam mix in.

Be aware that when you buy yogurt you want to avoid

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Added food coloring
And be sure that the yogurt you buy has live active cultures in it. It should say "Live and Active Cultures". A lot of yogurts go through a heating up process after the yogurt is made that kills the live cultures to extend the shelf life.

So why are "Live and Active Cultures" so important?

The May issue of Mayo Clinic Women's Health Source covers the benefits:

- One 8-ounce cup of plain low-fat yogurt provides around 400 milligrams (mg) of calcium, more than the 300 mg in an 8-ounce glass of milk.

- Yogurt also has as much potassium as a banana and as much protein as an egg or ounce of meat.

- The live bacteria in yogurt help in digestion and protect you against other harmful bacteria.

Probiotic Yogurt is a very hyped up thing right now. I have done some research, but I have not found very much about this. It just seems that it helps regulate you, but they never really specify if it is good for you if you are constipated, or have diareahea. The most helpful article I have found you can find at this link.

The main thing to understand about live cultures, is that we all have live cultures in our intestines that help with breaking down food and it keeps everything in balance. Antibiotics kill these bacteria off along with whatever other bacteria is making you sick. That is why it is a good idea to give your kids yogurt while they are taking antibiotics.


  1. We love yogurt. I'll have to try adding jam or lemon curd to plain yogurt, because the pre mixed stuff is WAY too sweet. Sometimes I buy the fruit on the bottom kind and just eat the top- it's a little sweeter than plain yogurt, but still pretty plain. Also, my husband "swears" by Activia to aid in his digestion.

  2. Hi! Cindy Kurth is a great friend of mine and she recommended your blog! I have twin boys that just turned 4 and a brother in law (27 years old) that just had a heart attack. So I am really ready to get our family healthy!! I went to the store Saturday and tried this yogurt's not too bad! I really look forward to reading your blog!! Thanks for the time that you put in!