Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Mar

Yogurt Mania

How did we survive all these years without functional yogurt products? If it weren’t for Yoplait and Dannon enhancing our digestive facilities, I bet we’d never get anything done in the bathroom. I, for one, can’t recall the last time I had a satisfying bowel movement without concurrently sucking on an extra large Purple Gogurt as I sat astride the toilet.

Yoplait and Dannon are responsible for injecting more culture into our lives than Warhol, The Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and ancient Athens combined. I love the way those two superpowers ultra-pasteurize their yogurt so as to rid it of any naturally-occurring, unpredictable, rogue probiotic cultures (unfettered bacterial growth? – no thanks) before supplanting them with nice, orderly probiotic cultures (and not too much of them, thanks). Mother nature? Natural selection? Ha! As if natural foods could improve my immunity and digestive health better than multi-national corporations. You think sauerkraut has your best interests in mind?

There are downsides to the addiction, though. And it is an addiction. Make no mistake about that. The cravings can hit me hard, fast, and without warning. My blood sugar drops, my knees weaken. Visions of Danimals dance about my tormented psyche, laughing and pointing and beckoning. Normally, I rush to the nearest grocer, head straight to the healthy dairy section, and thrust my probing tongue through the foil seal and into the soothing bath of HFCS, whipped skim froth, carrageenan, and single-file probiotic formations. Normally, all is well, but I’m not always within range of a Dannon/Yoplait distributor. Like last week.

I was driving through LA, just south of Hollywood, when I got the cravings. It wasn’t pretty, and my options were extremely limited. Check cashing places and carnicerias abounded, but there were no grocery stores. I needed my Activia, and I needed it immediately. My wild eyes betrayed my intent; even the fidgeting methamphetamine enthusiast (with whom I sensed a strange sort of community) gave a wide berth. Next thing I knew, I was across the street, apparently having successfully navigated traffic. A Greek market lay before me, a small, unassuming ethnic grocer full of olive oils, labna and mediocre red wine. I entered, approached the counter, and inquired as to their yogurt selection. Greeks are supposed to make yogurt, right? (In the Yoplait online forums, the “Upcoming Product rumors” thread made mention of a “non-fat, Greek-style yogurt coming soon,” so I knew there was some precedent.) They did, and the clerk produced a small nondescript tub of white yogurt, which I immediately purchased. Don’t worry – I made sure to ask if it was low-fat. The clerk, a stout man with an impressive white mustache, just laughed off my silly question. What was I thinking? No one makes full-fat (ugh, the thought just makes me sick) yogurt, I told myself. He was right to laugh at me.

So I popped the top and grabbed a spoon. It smelled pretty sour, and it didn’t even smell like vanilla (but what other flavor could white yogurt be?), but I was desperate. I was about to take a massive spoonful of the stuff when, luckily, the clerk chimed in once again.

“Best yogurt in all of Los Angeles! It’s made from raw sheep and cow milk in Greece, then shipped directly to us! You will like!” I just looked at his bristly ‘stache.

Raw milk? This stuff wasn’t ultra-pasteurized. It was probably teeming with barbarian hordes of probiotic cultures. Ferocious little milky versions of Gauls, Thracians, Ostro-goths, and Visi-goths running rampant over the pristine splendor of Rome, with Yoplait Caesar’s mighty praetorian guard nowhere to be found. I was at an impasse. I needed yogurt in my body, but I didn’t want to face the uncertainty of consuming rogue probiotic cultures. What was I to do?!

Then I remembered my recent pharmacy pick-up: antibiotics. (I’d gone in for a nasty cold; the doctor really didn’t want to write the prescription, citing some nonsense about the cold being a virus and therefore unaffected by antibiotics, but I just slipped him my favorite malpractice lawyer’s card, and he got the idea). I figured antibiotics could counteract the nasty probiotics in the dangerous Greek yogurt, so I tossed a handful of pills down on the counter, crushed them with my Purell aerosol canister, and immediately insufflated the powder. Once I could feel the tell-tale signs of antibiotic powder penetrating my nasal membrane and reaching my blood stream, I tossed down the yogurt. I distinctively heard several dozen death knells signifying the probiotic cultures’ complete assimilation into my body. Sure, it may not technically be assimilation if they’re dead, but this ain’t no melting pot.

This definitely wasn’t vanilla. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they forgot to add the flavoring. But, I’ve gotta say – it was the best damn non-fat yogurt I’ve ever had. It was so rich, so creamy, and so filling. I’ve never had a full-fat item in my life – I avoid direct eye-contact with cartons of whole milk and I’ll spend as long as it takes to whip enough air into skim milk to get it to stand up on its own and solidify into cream (1:1:1 ratio of skim milk to powdered sugar to cornstarch) – but if they taste as good as this yogurt did, I think I understand why people are willing to risk obesity, heart disease, and diabetes just for a shot of half-and-half in the morning coffee…

In case it isn’t abundantly clear to my regular readers (or if you’re new here and your worried about my sanity) I’m just having a little fun with this article. Functional yogurt fans may not be quite that crazy, but you wouldn’t know it by the sales figures of these probiotic-enhanced brands of sugar slurry. They’re billed as the healthiest, simplest choice for people on the go, growing children, women interested in slimming down, and folks with digestive troubles. The kids love it because it’s got funny cartoons on the carton and it’s loaded with sugar. Hell, everyone loves the sugar. And because it’s “healthy,” low-fat, and “packed with probiotics,” people don’t feel bad slurping down all the sugar.

It’s nonsense, people. Probiotics are indeed healthy and helpful members of any digestive system, and consuming them in supplement or fermented food form is a good move with many potential benefits, but wasting your money on fortified processed food (food should never require “fortification”) and its obscene packaging and advertising campaign is silly. Those probiotic-enchanced sugary yogurts are stripped of their natural bacteria via pasteurization. Even the “natural” full-fat yogurts, however delicious they are and whatever other benefits they confer, are usually pasteurized with probiotic cultures added afterward. There’s nothing magical about Yoplait or Dannon.

Regular yogurt has probiotics, too. The clinical doses of probiotics – the amounts that have shown promise in trials – are far higher than anything you’ll get in a tiny 80 calorie container of Key Lime Yoplait yogurt. I’m talking at least 20 billion cfu (colony forming units). If you want the real benefits of probiotics, make fermented foods a regular part of your daily diet. Eat sauerkraut, kimchee, full-fat Greek yogurt (Fage is a good one, or look for a local Greek market), or kefir (if you tolerate dairy). Naturally fermented foods will have good levels of bacteria. You may not get a label listing all the strains, but you’ll know that they’re the same probiotics people have been consuming for thousands of years. Obtaining probiotics this way is generally safe, but if you want a bit more precision, a good supplement will have a label listing the specific strains (and in greater numbers). I regularly use this method for a number of reasons: for its convenience, because I don’t generally do dairy, and to ensure I’m getting precise amounts of certain strains in my system. As my upcoming Primal Flora supplement (30 billion cfu) nears release, I’ll discuss this more at length. Whatever you do, just don’t rely on sugar-filled functional yogurt products to get your probiotics.

What about you guys? Any ridiculous yogurt hyperbole sightings in the wild? Share in the comments section.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I love The Greek Gods plain Greek Yogurt. It is fantastic and I have to beat the kids away to have it last for more than a day.

    Dozer wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • i did like this one ok, but THEY use stabilizers like carnageen and guar, whereas fage does not.

      emily wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • Carageen is a stabilizer made from seaweed. I do not find it objectionable.

        AlyieCat wrote on March 13th, 2010
        • its not toxic, but it is cheap, and good yogurt doesnt need anything but cultures and milk/cream in my opinion.

          emily wrote on March 13th, 2010
        • carrageenan gives me a headache. i’ve read it has msg in it. i’m very sensitive to msg. actually all gums give me a headache.

          Elisabeth wrote on May 17th, 2013
      • I happen to have this one in my fridge and just checked the ingredient list. It just said “Pasteurized Grade A Milk, Cream, Pectin” (and then the cultures).

        Is that not something they report in ingredients?

        elizabeth wrote on March 13th, 2010
        • my bad, its pectin, which is not toxic either, but is a filler/stabilizer. i just think it is cheap and good yogurt doesnt need this.

          emily wrote on March 14th, 2010
        • I fully enjoy pectin in my home-made jams. :)

          elizabeth wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • Pectin is a prebiotic. That is good.

          Chris wrote on March 3rd, 2012
        • Mine too -organic milk ingredients in various forms,pectin (the fiber) and the bacteria.It is certainly not cheap in Canada. One of the more costly in fact. Also one of the few that actually has “any” fiber(pectin).( 1 g/serving)reducing the net carbs compared overall to other brands/serving. It has very low count compared to other plain yogurts. I only eat high fat yogurt of 6% fat or more.>>>>>>Pectin is a natural fibre found in plant cell walls and most concentrated in the skin of fruits. It is water-soluble and binds with sugar and fruit acid to form a gel.<<< It is CERTAINLY not bad or junk or just a filler.I am soooo happy that my local grocer carries a wide range of brands full fat in organic and non organic!!

          jo wrote on April 29th, 2012
        • Btw, they cannot use fillers and emulsifiers in probiotic yogurt such as activia (hence the smaller format) because it kills the good probiotic bacterias…

          Gabe wrote on December 16th, 2012
      • I like Fage too, but since they make a 0% fat yogurt you can’t hardly find the full fat anymore.

        Rebecca wrote on March 25th, 2013
        • I have only one source in my town for Fage full fat. It’s scarce, but it’s the only kind I buy.

          gibson wrote on April 20th, 2013
        • “Full Fat” Fage no longer exists. They kept the label the same, but they cut the fat content in half (from 20 grams to 10 grams) sometime in 2012. So all Fage products, no matter what they say on the label, are low or no fat. Voskos is the only mass produced full fat, real Greek Yogurt the typical American might, if they are lucky, have access to. But despite being a 5 billion dollar industry, most Americans have access to not a single real, full fat Greek Yogurt. Sad.

          Rachel M wrote on May 12th, 2013
    • What about Nancy’s organic live yogurt. It lists the specific probiotics and count and has no sugar is raw and tastes amazing . Would this be a safe dairy product

      chris wrote on January 2nd, 2013
  2. Trader Joe’s makes a fantastic full-fat Greek yogurt too- it’s heavenly.

    Jenna wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Your lucky you have a Trader Joe’s in your area. I wish there was one in Grand Rapids, MI. Thankfully I will be moving somewhat soon out of this ole town :)

      Todd wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • I will be travelling to an area with a Trader Joe’s soon an I am SO excited. I haven’t been to one in almost 3 years. My first stop? Yogurt aisle. Greek yogurt rocks.

        Elizabeth wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Unfortunately they stopped selling the full-fat Fage at all of the TJ’s in my area months ago. And just recently they all stopped carrying the Mediterranean Cheese Yogurt — super fatty and low carb. But they still carry the lesser greek yogurt, low fat greek yogurts, and an alarming array of colorful sugary yogurts masquerading as healthy, real-food.

      the bastages

      marnee wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • You know, my Costco carries Fage at a great deal–but it’s non-fat! I’m like, “Hello, people, do we not even get the choice?” Sure, sell the low- or non-fat for the fat-phobes out there, but please leave some of the good stuff for the rest of us that don’t fear real food!

        Elizabeth wrote on March 12th, 2010
        • We should all write to Costco or go to customer service and request the full fat. I’ll do it on my next visit!

          Kelly A. wrote on March 14th, 2010
      • This happened to me, too! I am so annoyed. All the stores that used to carry full fat Fage, which I love, have now started selling ONLY the 2% and the 0%. Drives me crazy.

        SK1 wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • I find the TJs brand gritty! Dont know why… But I love about everything else they do, including GAOT MILK yogurt.

      Tara tootie wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • double check the label- it is not the real thing. It is a greek “style” I stopped buying it

      pjnoir wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • I just discovered the TJ’s full-fat Greek yogurt too! I was looking for Fage, but they only carry the 2% and 0%. THEN, I saw the TJ’s brand. Excellent!
      Some smaller specialty markets, near where I live, still carry the Fage full fat, so I guess I’m lucky to have 2 choices.

      oimcherry wrote on August 1st, 2013
  3. Haha! Loved this article, Mark. Your satire pieces always give me a good laugh. 😀

    Funkadelic Flash wrote on March 12th, 2010
  4. “Normally, I rush to the nearest grocer, head straight to the healthy dairy section, and thrust my probing tongue through the foil seal and into the soothing bath of HFCS, whipped skim froth, carrageenan, and single-file probiotic formations.”

    After a brain melting calculus test, this is EXACTLY what I needed to read.
    Thank you for making my day, Mark! =)

    I have to agree with you though; I can’t stand how these companies will pick up on the latest health discoveries and turn them into gimmicks.
    Give me sauerkraut over HFCS filled “yogurt” any day!

    fishergirl wrote on March 12th, 2010
  5. “I, for one, can’t recall the last time I had a satisfying bowel movement without concurrently sucking on an extra large Purple Gogurt as I sat astride the toilet.”

    Ha, ha. It’s not just the yogurt market that’s being hit by the digestion “craze”. You’d think that constipation has become a national crisis if your sole source of vital information came from commercial advertisement. Between Activia, PlumSmart (people don’t like the word “prune” anymore) and a plethora of food products loaded with super-fiber, it looks like our lacking colon health has reached pandemic status.

    fireandstone wrote on March 12th, 2010
  6. Recently, full-fat plain greek yogurt, with half of a sliced banana, almonds, and coconut chunks took care of a full-on dessert craving threatening to break my sugar detox. It was a thing of beauty.

    Jeffery wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • OMG that sounds good! Never thought of adding those things, but I will now!

      Lee Edwards wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Try microwaving the banana for 30-50 seconds. Makes it even better – sweeter, with a taste like banana pudding and it even creates it’s own syrup. I’m sure it makes the sugar content go up, but if I’m eating a banana in the first place, I just don’t care. ^.^

      Tara wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • My husband and I have been having greek yogurt for dessert for a while now. We came back from Sonoma with some Dry Creek Olive Oil Company Meyer Lemon olive oil and I add about a teaspoon to my bowl of Greek Gods yogurt and 5 drops of liquid stevia. It’s HEAVEN! The oil is naturally produced by ‘crushing Meyer Lemons and California Mission olives on hammer mill’ and it gives a richness to the mouth-feel of the yogurt.

      It sounds weird but I swear it’s fantastic. Plus, I’m always figuring out ways to add fat to my diet.

      greenthings wrote on April 29th, 2011
  7. Hahaha! You are inspired today, Mark. Your writing is more acidic than the six-month-old kefir in the back of my fridge.

    “I tossed a handful of pills down on the counter, crushed them with my Purell aerosol canister, and immediately insufflated the powder.”

    That killed me.

    Honestly, supermarket yogurt is a sugar delivery system in disguise. I can’t believe the amount they manage to fit into those tiny containers.

    Did you know the Institute of Medicine has a set of school nutrition guidelines that they want to enact all over the country? To be considered “Tier 1” (or “healthy”), a food must have less than 35% of its calories as sugar — except for yogurt which is specifically allowed 30g of sugar per 8-oz. serving. Insane! You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Timothy wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • 30 gm of sugar!?!?!? Holy moly, that is a shade over 1 ounce of sugar or 12.5% of the 8-oz serving of yogurt. Goddy mighty.

      jamesf3i wrote on March 12th, 2010
  8. Ha! This was great! But what about miso as a fermented food?

    Nellie wrote on March 12th, 2010
  9. I agree with Dozer. Just went to a local health food store and bought some full fat Greek God Yogurt. Fantastic stuff. Also bought some coconut milk kefir. Worst tasting stuff I have ever swallowed. A spponful of The Geek yogurt completely wiped out the bad taste. Great stuff.

    mark rottman wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • also the coconut milk kefir is soo much higher in carbs then animal milk/cream stuff.

      emily wrote on March 13th, 2010
    • i tried to gag down the coconut milk kefir & it was impossible.

      gmi wrote on March 14th, 2010
  10. Too funny!

    Those brainless Activia ads make me want to curl up and die – alongside my back-issues of Prevention magazine.

    Speaking of which, I wanted to share this with some folks who would appreciate it, and this seems like the place. While waiting in line at the grocery store last month, I flipped to an article on Prevention’s “healthiest food choices.” Their “healthiest choice” for milk was fat-free organic milk.

    The reason? Organic milk has been shown to contain more heart-healthy fatty acids, like omega-3’s and CLA.

    Er, do they think that they’re going to find those in fat-free milk?

    Proof that a low-fat diet causes brain damage.

    Do these people think at all? When they’ve made it their business telling us what to think?

    Helen wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • That is hilarious!

      Timothy wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • wow that kind of cognitive dissonance is actually kind of disturbing

      Agi wrote on May 22nd, 2011
  11. Any thoughts on Chobani’s? I’m a fan, but I try to keep it for a post-workout meal or a treat because its fairly carby at 20 g (14g Protein).

    Tangent wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • They make a regular yogurt without the fruit. The container is pink and white. I think it is fat free though, although I can’t remember.

      Fury22 wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • they only make low-fat that ive seen, probably why its so carby.

      emily wrote on March 13th, 2010
  12. The Trader Joe’s and Greek Gods stuff is OK, but if you can get your hands on some “Fage” brand, it is the best. (It’s made in New York, so it’s still not real Greek yogurt from Greece; but I’ve had the same brand from Greece and I can’t tell the difference.)

    Fage is thicker and generally yummier than the others I’ve tried. The down side is, my local TJ’s randomly stopped carrying the full fat stuff, and now I can only find it at Whole Foods.

    DianeC wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Get it while you can! My Whole Foods stopped carrying the full-fat Fage months ago. I cant find it anywhere. Grrrrrr.

      marnee wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • Our food coop only carries non-fat or 2% fat FAGE. Depressing, knowing that the full fat would be so much better.

        So, I sometimes make yoghurt (though I’m off dairy at the moment.) I take the 2% FAGE for a starter — ah, but what to do? I certainly don’t want HOMOGENIZED milk, with all the fats wrecked, and I certainly want lots and lots of butterfat in the FAGE-offspring yoghurt. It’s supposed to be Greek — they like lots of butterfat! No wonder it’s so delicious.

        What I’ve been doing is either buy raw milk (there’s one place I can get it, “for animal use” — I think humans are also animals) and add some whipping cream, or I buy skim milk (can’t homogenize skim milk, right?) and then add LOTS of whipping cream.

        Then, I make the stuff in the oven, from a hint in Elaine Gottschall’s book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”. She suggests putting a 60 watt bulb in your oven, and then leaving the door open just the right amount that bottles of milk and yoghurt culture are the right temperature. My oven has a fancy fixture you can’t get into, so I put a little lamp in the oven, with a 60 watt incandescent bulb, and a thermometer in one of the jars. Then I culture it all a LONG time.

        In fact, I’ve bought extra incandescent bulbs the right size, in case they disappear from stores.

        I like the oven method because you don’t get just a couple little containers — you can make as much as you want, it’ll all fit inside the oven.

        piano-doctor-lady wrote on March 12th, 2010
        • Not only does our Whole Foods carry the full fat, they are on sale 4 for $5.00 until 3/16. I stocked up.

          Kelly A. wrote on March 14th, 2010
      • Today I discovered a use for the reduced fat and low-fat Fage tubs, which are the only ones stocked in the break room at my new place of employment, or apparently anywhere else in the entire town where I now commute to work. I just added the fat back in by adding a few teaspoons of my homemade ghee (from grassfed Kerrygold butter). Stir a few times and it blends right in. Tastes great and should restore at least some of the health benefits of the real stuff.

        Greg wrote on April 30th, 2010
    • Publix has stopped carrying it too. grrrrrr

      gmi wrote on March 14th, 2010
  13. This article is hilarious! What a fun way to “mock” processed food companies. It is a shame what they do and it is a blessing what Mark does. Go Mark!

    Todd wrote on March 12th, 2010
  14. LOVED this article! I make my own full-fat yogurt and get the craziest looks from friends whenever I explain that the large white container on my counter is in fact a delicious pot of (gasp!) homemade yogurt in-the-making.
    “You mean you can make yogurt? I thought only Dannon could do that!”
    Thanks for spreading the word that good food doesn’t have to come in a technicolor plastic package!

    Erica wrote on March 12th, 2010
  15. I love yogurt. I ferment my own using whole milk and Stonyfield brand yogurt as a starter. I usually let it go for about 24 hours so there is little to no lactose left. The slightly bitter flavor gives my morning shakes a nice bite to ’em!

    Evan wrote on March 12th, 2010
  16. We are yogurt-a-holics in our household, although I haven’t purchased store made in almost 2 years. For those of us with damaged gi tracts and autoimmune issues, getting good bacteria back is vaital. However, the sugar and junk in the yoplait and others isn’t going to benefit you. We make our own, it’s super easy, and when it’s fermented for 24 hours it’s almost lactose free. The lactose is broken down by the bacteria and you get a highly digestable dairy product. Yogurt made with half and half tastes identical to sour cream. Our son cannot digest lactose so I always have a batch and use in recipes in place of other dairy. We make frozen yogurt and creamsicles with it too.

    Tracee wrote on March 12th, 2010
  17. I’m going to California (LaMirada) tomorrow. Anyone know of any paleo friendly restaurants nearby?

    Dave, RN wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Pretty much every restaurant I’ve eaten at is Paleo friendly. I’ve never been turned down when I ask to replace the pasta or potato with seasoned veggies or fruit, and only rarely has it cost extra to do it.

      fireandstone wrote on March 12th, 2010
  18. Great post, Mark.

    What people don’t realize is that if they eat yogurt with sugar, they negate all of the beneficial activity of the probiotics. Plain whole milk Greek yogurt is delicious, but home made yogurt, made from raw half and half, is sublime. Too bad I have to limit my casein…

    Suzan wrote on March 12th, 2010
  19. I, too, make my own full-fat yogurt. Then drain the whey overnight in the fridge and it looks and tastes just like Fage. The best stuff ever! With a little bit of berries, it’s like ice cream!

    Jeanie wrote on March 12th, 2010
  20. I started reading and thought this must be a guest column, because this doesn’t sound like him at all! I’ll have to try Fage once I’m done with the eight-week paleo challenge I’m doing.

    Julie wrote on March 12th, 2010
  21. I try to avoid dairy, for the most part, but I do love yogurt (and Fage IS great stuff), but before discovering MDA and PB, I used to substitute soy yogurt. Now, there is a far better alternative for those who don’t or can’t consume dairy, although it costs literally twice as much:

    Coconut Yogurt! (Cocogurt?)

    Bob S. wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Did you read the label ? 22g of carbs (19g sugar) per serving

      Luis wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • not a good choice for diabetics- only high sugared flavors. I use a lot of coconut products but this one is not a replacement for Total Fage.

      pjnoir wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Just so you don’t eat any more of the damned soy. Lierre Keith’s book opened my eyes. I started wondering why it’s even legal to grow soy beans for food!

      (pardon the flame …)

      piano-doctor-lady wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • if coconut milk yogurt tastes as nasty as the coconut milk kefir, NO THANKS. this is from a person who actually LIKES coconut.

      gmi wrote on March 14th, 2010
  22. Thank you for posting this today. I really struggle with the family on their purchase of the ‘convenience packs’ of the kid’s yogurt. Forwarding this post on to help.

    Grok is Softball! wrote on March 12th, 2010
  23. I started out on Chobani (the kind with the fruit already in it). Now that I’m really keeping my carbs low and have cut out sugar, my taste for sweet has declined dramatically. It was pretty easy to drop the Chobani and switch to Fage total and mix in just a handful of blueberries myself. Heck, I even like it plain! Food doesn’t have to taste like a salt lick or sugar bowl to be good…we just have to heal our palates sometimes to appreciate it.

    kennelmom wrote on March 12th, 2010
  24. Hilarous, wonderful post, Mark.

    I try to limit dairy, but when I buy greek yogurt I go for Oikos because it’s the only organic brand I can find. I do find that Fage tastes a bit better, but I’d rather buy organic.

    Someone mentioned Coconut Milk Kefir above and I actually wanted to ask Mark about it. I recently bought some of the original/unsweetened variety (although haven’t tried it yet) to get some dairy-free probiotics. [] I know it doesn’t have the protein of a real dairy kefir, but how does it stack up otherwise? Primal enough?

    Emily wrote on March 12th, 2010
  25. I’ve been making my own yogurt for a couple years, and drain some of the whey off to pickle some vegetables. Two of the easiest things to do in the kitchen.

    Maggs wrote on March 12th, 2010

    And you think seeing Danon commercials telling you to take the 30 day Danon challenge was laughable? Try sitting through the 23second spot about 2 women pouring red liquid from a gallon jug into a kids sippie cup and telling the other woman “It’s just as natural as regular sugar.”

    I threw my kettlebell at the TV last night I was so angry.

    Oh, and FAGE Total is FTW! If you can find it. 2% and 0% are worthless.

    Daniel Merk wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • i also see a 5% but i will not buy any and show a demand for it. Total or nothing. please people support the good stuff by not buying the fake stuff. Consumer power is all we have in the long run.

      pjnoir wrote on March 12th, 2010
  27. Fish Friday = yogurt for dinner tonight! Baked wild salmon topped with horseradish dill Fage yogurt!

    Matt wrote on March 12th, 2010
  28. I almost spit my grass-fed beef liver lunch all over my keyboard reading today’s post! My kids love FAGE total yogurt. It also makes a great smoothie base. We blend frozen wild blueberries, farmer’s market strawberries, and sometimes a banana in the food processor and then mix it into a large bowl of FAGE Total yogurt. The best dessert I can think of!

    My older daughter just started drinking greek-milk kefir, too, and she loves it.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on March 12th, 2010
  29. Your yogurt rage reminded me of one of my favorite books, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It cracked me up when you crushed and snorted the antibiotic. But it had to be done.

    pecanmike wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • I have to ask my Samoan lawyer about that.

      rik wrote on March 12th, 2010
  30. Very chucklesome, thanks.
    We can’t get un-pasteurised stuff in Australia. It’s against the law except for a couple of kinds of cheese, I think.

    It’s bizarre. We can buy cigarettes and smoke ourselves to death but we can’t buy or sell un-pasteurised milk!

    What a species! A model of modern scientific, cultural and social behaviour and thought.


    Andrew wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • Hi Andrew

      I assume you are talking about pasteurised milk from shops. Surely you can get direct from farmer’s markets?

      Bill (Perth)

      Bill wrote on April 25th, 2011
    • For any aussiea out there . . Check local organic storez ive found unpasteurized milk sold as “bath milk” . . To use for.milk baths. They cant legally sell it for consumption but all it is. Is 100% unpasteurized.cows.milk sold in ya normal milk 😉 yum yum

      Samantha wrote on June 25th, 2013
  31. Great Post Mark!

    I have problems trying to convince my GF that the full fat stuff is the way to go. She’s too dug into CW. She is starting to eat Fage though and it is delicious. Now if i can just get her to stop putting so much darn honey in it we’ll be good to go!

    Brick wrote on March 12th, 2010
  32. Been making my own Kefir for over 3 years now. Takes NO time and has the same thick consistency as Fage at a fraction of the price. Great article!

    Dave wrote on March 12th, 2010
  33. I envy of you who can get real raw stuff. Unfortunately, unless something’s changed dramatically in the past year, Ontario doesn’t allow raw milk/yoghurts to be sold. There have been many farmers that have been taken to court (probably by the likes that Mark pretended to be at the beginning of the post) and have lost.
    I’ve seen some cheeses, but they’re few and hard to come by at most commercial markets. even farmers markets don’t stock many if any. There’s one place I can think of that MAY have some, but it’s about an hour commute.

    romesaz wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • It drives me crazy. How many farmers, and their families, do you think are in the U.S.? In Canada? All these people drink raw milk straight from the cow. (I did back in my youthful days.) How many of them get sick from bad milk? Damned few I bet. If there was an epidemic of raw-milk sicknesses among farming families you can bet the pin-headed news media would be blaring the news. The Big Milk interests bribing the politicians are the problem.

      jamesf3i wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • Yeah, the countryside is riddled with dairy families these days. And every single one of those MILLIONS of dairy families drink raw milk. And NONE ever get sick! No, but seriously, this is one of the most logic-broken posts I’ve ever seen on teh intarweb. Your post is an embarrassssssment to Earth and all of Earth’s inhabitants. If aliens were monitoring us, they would see your post and think “There is absolutely no chance that this planet will ever pose a danger to anyone but themselves”, and then they would likely mount an intra-universal program to subsidize outfitting our planet with a gigantic helmet and sippy cup for our own protection.

        Jack wrote on March 15th, 2010
  34. “Yoplait and Dannon are responsible for injecting more culture into our lives than Warhol, The Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and ancient Athens combined.”


    I just made a big batch of yoghurt with raw milk and used Fage full-fat yoghurt as starter. I would have liked to use “Brown Cow” starter, which has a nice tang to it but I’d run out it. The raw milk yoghurt turned out great.

    maba wrote on March 12th, 2010
    • A question for anyone who has made their own yogurt: Yogurt-making requires heating milk, correct? So does this mean raw milk still stays technically “raw,” with all the healthy bacteria intact?

      Emily wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • You can get “countertop ” yogurt cultures where you literally leave the milk on the counter and don’t heat it. This will preserve the enzymes. Even the heated kind can be done at 110º, which leaves most of the enzymes intact. Cultures for Health had lots of fun looking starters:

        Erin wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • I have had this same question. I’m not sure I have the full answer, but here’s what I’ve figured out so far. I also make 24hr fermented homemade yogurt from half-and-half like some of the people on this comment board. The instructions do tell you to sterilize the milk first to at least 180 degrees. I asked the wife of the farmer I sometimes get raw milk from whether that step could be skipped. She said yes, but that the yogurt won’t really work so well. I think I’m to understand that in order for the new bacteria (the culture you introduce, I use a half cup of Fage) to take over and colonize, you gotta get the old bacteria out of the way. She said that they heat the milk, but not to 180, maybe to 140 or something, so that it’s not quite as “pasteurized”. I’m not sure, but I think that this will result in runnier yogurt. I haven’t done a lot of experimenting, because I love my heated-to-180-half-and-half-with-Fage-cultures-24-hour-yogurt sooo much that I haven’t bothered. Best thing EVER: put a clump of yogurt, with a little honey mixed in, in a tupperware in the morning, and drop in a big handful of frozen berries (TJ’s or Whole Foods are great). The frozen berries refrigerate the yogurt until they thaw and it makes this amazing messy thing that you can eat a few hours later, so it’s great to bring along, since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

        Sophie wrote on March 12th, 2010
        • OMG, you just have to tell me how to begin making this yogurt recipe of yours! I grew my own Kombucha scoby and now have homemade Kombucha, it would be great to “grow” yogurt too!

          Ailu wrote on March 12th, 2010
        • Hey Ailu (below), I got the recipe from Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, and some of the tweaks from a blog called Look for his “rich yoghurt” recipe.

          Sophie wrote on March 13th, 2010
      • I tried making it once by just warming the milk and not boiling it and it didn’t turn out well. I let it ferment for 2 days and even then, the yoghurt hadn’t set.

        maba wrote on March 12th, 2010
      • Emily, if you heat raw milk even up to 130 degrees, it can change the protein structure and higer temparatures destroy all the good bacteria. I have used raw organic milk for making yogurt and it tastes much better than any store ones. It tends to be more watery, but you can strain it and make it thicker.

        Kishore wrote on March 13th, 2010
  35. I love this post; so funny and so true! Real Greek yogurt is the best. When you’ve eaten the real stuff for a while you really can’t go back, you’ll never get the same satisfaction [plus who wants to eat a ton of additives?].

    CaveCravings wrote on March 12th, 2010
  36. Hehehe.. very entertaining yet educational. Your style of writing makes it easier for the assimilation of non-PBers :)

    Lillian wrote on March 12th, 2010
  37. Living in Maine I can get raw dairy and unpasturized yogurt and cheese. I like to buy it straight from the farmers at the farmers’ markets.

    Lee Edwards wrote on March 12th, 2010
  38. This post inspired me to pick up some Fage Total. Had it with a banana and black berries–very satisfying.

    Alan M wrote on March 12th, 2010

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