the great yogurt myth…Posted by Alicia Silverstone on Jul 1, 2011
YogurtI’ve always wondered why Americans, particularly American women, are obsessed with yogurt! People seem to think it’s a magic health food, but as you’ll read in Chapter 3 of The Kind Diet, dairy, including yogurt, is bad news for your body and dairy cows. Probiotics Perhaps the most widely marketed component of yogurt is probiotics. Is yogurt really the best place to find these “good” bacteria? According to Christina Pirello, the answer is no. Once yogurt is pasteurized, as most commercial brands are, the probiotics are destroyed by the heat. In raw products, the probiotics have a hard time withstanding the heat of the small intestine, so the benefit is minimal. The best sources of probiotics for women in food is miso, shoyu, other fermented foods like sauerkraut but only the raw unpasteurized ones that you buy in the fridge, and natto, a fermented soy product – although I find natto disgusting! I know it’s good for you – but I can’t bear it. I admire those who can – some even like it! Outside of these foods, there are some pretty wonderful supplemental probiotics out there that are vegan. Christina’s favorite is Eden Foods bifa 15, which can be purchased here. Why do we need probiotics? According to Christina Pirello, anyone who eats a typical modern diet needs probiotics. Processed foods and excessive sugar deplete our micro-villi and the enzymes naturally produced in our intestines. Those with weak digestive or compromised immune systems, anyone who has recently been on antibiotics, and those who are just beginning to change their diets to superhero, need probiotics until their digestion improves and their intestines become more alkaline. Those who are chronically tired should try probiotics as well, as fatigue is often related to digestion. Superheroes should note that miso soup, natto, sauerkraut, and other traditionally fermented foods reduce the need for probiotics. But, in a world where it can be impossible to completely avoid environmental pollutants, probiotics are helpful for strengthening our digestion. In the end, probiotics will never hurt and can only help. Yogurt Alternatives So, back to yogurt…when I was little, I loved it. I would eat the plain kind and add tons of raisins…soo yum. But I got over that! I don’t miss it one bit. And when I do, I go for the vegan versions as a treat. If you eat yogurt for the taste, I recommend Nancy’s Yogurt, which is made without cane sugar, or Wildwood only the plain flavor is sugar-free. In my early veg days, I ate soy yogurts, and they were really good! M Cafe also has a yogurt, granola, and fruit cup that’s pretty yum. Do you have a favorite brand of vegan yogurt? Where do you get your probiotics?