You know how couples "meet cute" in the movies? Yogurt and I did not meet cute. The first yogurt I met was very plain and lumpy and sour. Not impressive. Kind of blah. So, yeah, zero chemistry. No chance of ever hooking up.
When I got older and had kids, they seemed to like yogurt. I indulged them by buying unnaturally pink (or bright blue) yogurt in plastic tubes decorated with happy animated animals. This was "cute," alright, and great for them (or so I thought till I discovered how much sugar was in each tube) but I still couldn't swallow the idea of a real relationship with yogurt of my own.
I knew deep down that yogurt had some health benefits, but I was fuzzy on the details. And I still hadn't met "Mr. Right."
Fast-forward a few years, and I fell head over heels. Here's what I learned that turned the tide and led to my new-found bliss:
Yogurt is packed with probiotics (live bacteria) that are "good guys" in the micro biome of our bodies. Here's the back story: scientists say that we are crawling with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that live on and in us and that they play a vital part in keeping our bodies well. These millions of organisms (yes, millions!) defend us from infections, even creating their own antibiotics to fight off attacking organisms. They strengthen our immune systems. They even help regulate our metabolisms, the energy we burn, and the fat we store.
But not all of the organisms are good. Some are, but some are also bad, and some are neutral. What we need to do is shore up the good guys by eating plenty of foods with live, active cultures and enzymes.
Say "hello" to yogurt---chock-full of the "good guy" bacteria that our bodies need. But, what if, like me, you've never been a yogurt fan?
Try any of the following world-wide traditionally fermented foods:
kimchi - a spicy traditional Korean side dish, made of vegetables and seasonings kefir - a fermented milk drink, originally from Russia, made from kefir grains sauerkraut - finely chopped fermented cabbage, from Germany curtido - dubbed "Salvadoran sauerkraut," a salsa-like condiment from Latin America kombucha - an ancient fermented Chinese tea miso or nato - traditional Japanese fermented soybeans pickles or pickled beets - cucumbers (or beets) soured by fermentation (Check your brands and look for those that have genuinely been fermented. Some pickles and sauerkraut and such haven't been fermented. They are prepared only using vinegar.) yogurt from a farm - It may be that the supermarket brands are too processed for your taste. I recommend finding alternatives from local farms, often available at farmers markets. I get yogurt smoothies from a farm in Pennsylvania that are sweetened with raw honey or genuine maple syrup. They also add a little cream. Bingo! I went from "blech" to "yum" with yogurt.
If you can't stomach any of the above (no gut pun intended), consider a probiotic supplement. On days when I don't believe I've had enough fermented food, I take one capsule of Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics. (One way you can evaluate your gut health is by how well your internal plumbing is working.)
Do you enjoy a fermented food that didn't make my list? Please comment below! And make sure to tell me about your relationship with yogurt. Did you "meet cute" by any chance?