The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week 4: Yogurt 101

Yogurt is one of my comfort foods. When I need something sweet, I go for yogurt; creamy, yogurt; sour, yogurt. I use it to bake and cook, as a base for smoothies, and for a meal with yummy add-ins, like nuts, coconut, chia seeds, fruit, and cocoa.

I used to buy Dannon yogurt with apple and cinnamon added to it, but now I find that too sweet for my taste. I've posted this in a few different places, but it bears repeating - full fat yogurts, with natural sweetners, such as vanilla, honey, or maple syrup, are best. Your yogurt should have 2-3 ingredients - milk, some strand of probiotic or culture, and a natural sweetener, if desired. Make sure your yogurt says "Contains LIVE cultures." They don't do much good if they've been cooked away...

What are probiotics and how can they help?
Probiotics, meaning literally "for life," are microorganisms that help to maintain the intestinal flora and health. Basically, they're bugs that help us digest our food, and they beat up on the "bad" bugs. (If you've been taking antibiotics, your gut has essentially been sterilized, so not only do you lack the bad bugs, but your good ones are gone too!) The benefits of probiotics are numerous. In the last decade, lactobacilli, a particular strand of probiotics, have gained the respect they deserve. Here are just a few of the touted benefits of our microbial friends (Taken from Oprah's website):

*Ameliorate vaginal (bacterial and yeast), urinary tract and bladder infections.

*Ameliorate inflammatory intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

*Ameliorate food allergies and inflammatory, allergic conditions like asthma and eczema.

*Reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

*Reduce several risk factors for intestinal cancers.

*Reduce the duration of gastroenteritis and rotavirus-induced diarrhea in infants.

*Reduce the rate of childhood respiratory infections.

*Ameliorate microbe-induced traveler’s diarrhea.

*Help prevent tooth decay.

Food or Supplement?
Many people have heard about these benefits already, and actually pay a decent amount of money on probiotics supplements. Mark and I both did this, until we realized that yogurts, fermented foods, and especially kefir, could much more efficiently and economically supply us with living strands of probiotics. I'll try not to go into my vitamin and supplement industry tirade, but suffice it to say I am disgusted with the marketing gimmicks that have convinced millions of people that nutrition comes in a bottle. There is no scientific evidence that probiotic supplements are able to supply our body with the needed microorganisms to replenish the gut. Eating nutrient dense foods to nourish our body is the best way to achieve this goal.

I encourage you to add a full fat yogurt with live cultures and a natural sweetener! If you're wondering why I keep advocating full fat dairy products, check out this quote from the Real Milk website:

"Butterfat contains vitamins A and D needed for assimilation of calcium and protein in the water fraction of the milk. Without them protein and calcium are more difficult to utilize and possibly toxic. Butterfat is rich in short- and medium chain fatty acids which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system. It contains glyco-spingolipids which prevent intestinal distress and conjugated linoleic acid which has strong anticancer properties."


  1. Hey - you should get a yogurt maker- you can get one for like 15-20$- and just make your own- it really tastes better! I bet it would rock with your raw milk!

  2. I would LOVE to, but I always thought they were so expensive! Do you have one? Where can you get them? Online I suppose...but now that my coffee grinder/grain mill has kicked the bucket, I may want to save my pennies for a *real* grain grinder.

    PS The jasmine rice pudding is my nightly dessert and I look forward to from about 6:30am on...=)

  3. I bought my from amazon
    It is actually 25$- I think it was cheaper when I bought it. But honestly all it is, is an incubator- I bet you could do the same thing with some mason jars and the Keep Warm setting on the crock pot. I'm still finishing up my puddin too hee hee.