Skinny Daily Post


(ED Note: Back from my vacation folks, and only 3 lbs. up. Lots of walking did the trick. Thanks so much for all of your help and kindnesses, and patience with the slow drizzle of posts…)

I remember yogurt. I remember with fondness my first experience with it. I was a kid. It was the early 1970s, and my Aunt and Uncle hosted an exchange student from Germany. She was a teenager. We were not. We thought she walked on water.

So did Mom, because this teenage German girl introduced us to yogurt. The arrival of the German exchange student seemed to coincide with Dannon’s penetration into grocery stores in our remote part of the country. We were the first kids in our area to not only eat yogurt, but become addicted to it.

This was Dannon’s old product. Real, plain yogurt with sugared fruit on the bottom allowed us to control how much of the fruit we added. Some of us liked to mix it all up right away. Some of us liked to swirl a streak of blueberry or strawberry through the yogurt. Some of us liked to dive to retrieve little bits of the jam from the bottom, and some of us liked just the yogurt, infused with just a hint of the fruit at the bottom.

This real, old form of yogurt did not have a lot of additives at that time. It was not prepared the way much of today’s yogurt is, in a way that sort of crosses it with gelatin and sweetens it uniformly, using high fructose corn syrup. Or stripping it of its fat and then adding sugar. It wasn’t anything like the silly stuff we get in American grocery stores today.

It was yogurt.

We loved it. We loved it too well. We loved it enough to put a dent in our family’s already strained food budget. But Mom didn’t want to discourage our love of yogurt in any way. She understood its value to our bodies. So she learned to make it. Turns out it’s incredibly easy to make. Whole milk, heated to temperature, mixed with a few spoonfuls of the last batch of yogurt, and then poured into a crock, a glass container. She slightly heated the oven, turned it off, put the oven light on, placed the covered crock in it, and left it overnight. 8-10 hours later, a new crock of yogurt had been born.

That was even better than the Dannon. We added our own fruit, preserves, maybe lemon juice and honey. It went over our granola, served up with curries, blended into smoothies, and even cooled sunburns. Our teen magazines had us conditioning our hair and scalps and faces with the stuff, too, although Mom wasn’t quite as keen on that use.

Why eat yogurt? Lots of reasons. The stuff is loaded with the sort of bacteria that make your gutworks work well. It’s a great source of calcium-from-dairy, something we want, particularly when we’re working to lose a bunch of weight or maintain a big weight loss. Recent research suggests that including lots of yogurt in your low-calorie plan helps you lose more weight more quickly, and especially more belly weight, compared with other dieters who control calories alone.

It’s possible to find real yogurt. The good stuff, without too many silly additives, is still offered in health food stores and whole foods markets, or when traveling outside of the States. I recommend a trip to Ireland for great yogurt, for instance. But it’s also always possible, and a good idea, to make your own. A great habit to get into to cut both your budget and packaging consumption.

Make Your Own Yogurt Maker,

About those dairy studies

21 thoughts on “What About Yogurt?

  1. JuJu says:

    Just got more detail from my Mom, buoyed by some more recipe research.

    1. Heat 2 quarts of milk (whole or skimmed) to 185 degrees, or just before boiling. Use a candy thermometer. This is re-pasturizing the milk, killing off any unwanted cooties.

    2. Let milk cool to 110 degrees. Add 1/4 cup of live culture yogurt. Stir it up.

    3. Place in non-metal container, and find an environment around 105F, or 43C, to incubate this culture for 8-12 hours or more, until the yogurt becomes a mass.

    4. Chill for 4-5 hours before eating. Save the last quarter cup for the next batch.

    Environments good for fermentation might be your gas oven with pilot on, your electric oven heated slightly, then left with light on. A heating pad base with towels over the cassarole to hold in the heat, a water heater top, a computer, a very still dog — anything that generates a steady run of how heat. You could also buy a yogurt maker.

  2. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the yogurt tips – I used to make my own yogurt but got out of it when we moved. I had just purchased my starter yogurt & was planning on making more!! I’m on to it now! 🙂

  3. genevieve says:

    i live and grew up in quebec. one year i went to lake placid with my sister, herhusband and their baby. we went to the grocery store to buy some food for the weekend and wanted some full fat, regular, plain yogurt for the baby. much to our surprise we couldn’t find any. what was to us normal everyday food seemed to be only considerd diet food in the states (or at least lake placid?)once the fat was removed. strange ?!? to be sure we have lots of diet yogurt offered here but the regular stuff plain and with fruit is very popular.
    besides health food stores, check out middle eastern grocery stores, they have a wide variety of regular yogurts.

  4. JuJu says:

    Hey folks. Started early this a.m., used dried cultures to make a lovely yogurt from scratch. Set up in 12 hours, no problem. The taste is lovely, but I’m going to try again with a bit more milkfat. Smoothies galore!


  5. Karin says:

    Here in Australia you can get a thing called Easi-Yo that is an insulated container that you put boiling water in and then put in the jar with the yoghurt stuff in to ‘cook’ for 8 hours or overnight. The mix comes in sachets – the ones I use are just dried milk solids and living culture, no sugar.
    The lowest fat one is really nice and the full fat (4%) is so creamy and delicious it’s as good as icecream. I don’t want to eat yoghurt full of all kinds of artificial rubbish, which seems to be all you can get now in the shops. Yuck.
    I wish I had got one of these things years ago because I love it.

  6. JuJu says:

    Thanks, Karin. Here’s the EasiYo website, where you can order the equipment and supplies online:

    (I love the Web, for the record.)

    Genevieve, thanks for the hint about shopping in Middle Eastern grocery stores for good yogurt. That’s a great hint. Also whole foods markets will have it, too.

  7. monica says:

    great post… i never even thought about making my OWN yogurt. sounds like fun. i’m lucky that here in austin we have a great selection of “natural” yogurt and most grocery stores… if i had to make it on my own, i’d probably never eat it. =)

    my favorite brand is Cascade Fresh (yeah, it sounds like a laundry detergent, but it’s a yogurt i swear!). i eat the plain yogurt with chopped strawberries and a small sprinkle of granola or cereal.

    And let’s not forget the “feminine” benifits of eating yogurt. I’ve read that eating yogurt containing the active culture, Lactobacillus acidophilus, helps prevent yeast infections. Is that a myth?

  8. marie says:

    My first post here. I just found the site recently, and it’s a treasure.

    I hadn’t thought of making my own yogurt. What a great idea! We go through tons of it every month. My children love it.

    My favorite yogurt is Greek yogurt. It is served in restaurants with honey as a dessert. I usually buy the non-fat version, also quite good.

  9. ravengal says:

    Your comments about the original Dannon yogurts brought back 15-year old memories of my first post-high school diet and my daily ritual of methodically stirring up the apple preserves from the bottom of a carton of Dannon Dutch Apple Yogurt. The smooth, overly sweet yogurts found in stores today hold no appeal for me.

  10. JuJu says:

    Monica: Yup, yup, yeast infections. But if you get lots of them, you might want to up your dosage of acidophilus. Check out Dr. Weil, by going to his site and searching on “yeast infections.”

    Marie: Greek yogurt? Sounds great. Do you think it’s made with sheep or goat milk instead of cow’s milk? I love goat milk yogurt.

    Ravengal, Dutch Apple. I forgot all about it. Wonderful.

  11. Mercury says:

    I just finished reading every journal entry ever posted on this site. I was so disappointed to discover that there was nothing before January 2003! This is a great site, and I love all of the topics it covers. I lost 70 lbs on WW (wanted to lose 75), gave up, and slowly gained 20 of it back. I recently re-joined, and I am trying very hard this time to work on *patience*. I’m happy to struggle and suffer to lose 2 – 3 lbs a week, but after a certain point, my body just wouldn’t give me those losses. I’m trying to promise myself that I will be comfortable this time around, and not to push it as long as I lose 2 lbs per month. 😛

  12. JuJu says:

    Holy cow, girlfriend! I wouldn’t even ask my mama to read every post.

    I know you’ll do it this time. Congratulations for beginning again when you did.

    And congratulations on that big weight loss. It’s hard to understand the psychology of not reaching a magic number. It’s powerful, isn’t it? I never did reach my ‘goal weight,” and the disappointment of that was hard to reconcile. I finally figured out that my body didn’t want to lose that last 10 lbs. Period. I’d found a comfortable weight, and that was that.

    So good luck taking off as much as you need to. And good luck making peace with your body’s wisdom about what weight it needs to be.

    And especially good luck at finding a comfortable maintenance plan. I’m still working on mine, now three years into it. I’m not there yet.

  13. Mercury says:

    Yeah, to be totally honest, at my lowest weight, I noticed that I was kind of getting that “head on a stick” quality in photos. And my rib cage stuck out through my boobs when I lay down. On the flip side, I could wear whatever I wanted, including a string bikini. And I’ve had my “magic number” for over ten years now, and I just want to hit it, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

    I look pretty good where I am now, though my butt is definitely bigger than it needs to be. I’m hoping that will help my weight loss efforts though, because I don’t have the “I need to lose 10,000 lbs before I am even vaguely acceptable.”

    Anyway, one suggestion I’ve already taken from you is tea. I am trying to cut down on the amount of diet soda I drink. I brought some nice loose leaf oolong to work, and a little strainer. You might want to try They sell a hibiscus blend (brand “In Pursuit of Tea”) that is PHENOMENAL chilled. Really, it’s delicious and naturally sweet.

  14. Pam Barelmann says:

    you have helped me more than e-diets!!!!!!

  15. JuJu says:

    hi again folks.

    Okay bought the EasyYo thingy from New Zealand. The inner plastic container scares me because I can’t tell what sort of plastic it is and it’s off-gassing madly. So I immediately replaced it with the large glass jar they sell at my favorite spice company, Penzeys. The 4-cup jar, costs $2. I love the outer thermos, though, and the ease of nuking up the milk to nearly boiling, letting it cool to 105, adding the two caps of probiotics, and sticking the jar in the thermos makes me very happy. Especially because the jar and the thermos are cheap, can go to work, can go to cabin, can go on vacation (I don’t think I’ll fly with it, but you get the idea.) Compact and predictable. Nice. More than one Penzeys jar lets me make yogurt often, and lets family members flavor theirs however they would like. Using probiotics ensures better food safety all around. I love it. Still have my gas oven if I want to make lots. As in when I need to make gazpacho for hordes. But this little thermos grooves.

  16. Andi Kuldanek says:

    I make my own yougurt by the gallon in a covered Corningware casserole dish.

    I pour the milk into the dish & heat it in the microwave at full power for 15 – 17 minutes to get the milk at a temperature of 115-120 degrees. I then add 2-4 Tbsp of yogurt, mix well, cover & place in oven preheateated to 110 degrees,turn the oven off but leave the oven light on. Generally, the light will keep the oven warm enough to allow the yogurt to ferment. Let it ferment for 8-14 hours depending upon how tangy you like it.

    I usually set this up before I go to bed at night & wake up to fresh yogurt in the morning.

    this method also works to create a warm place for bread to rise.


  17. kathy h Kovacsi says:

    Do I ever agree with you about yougurt.Thanks for the directions to make my own again. I keep running into recipes that recquire plain unflavored yougurt & that will help considerably. Thanks, Kathy

  18. kathy h Kovacsi says:

    Do I ever agree with you about yougurt.Thanks for the directions to make my own again. I keep running into recipes that recquire plain unflavored yougurt & that will help considerably. Thanks, Kathy

  19. laurie says:

    Oh yum, yogurt!

    My mom used to make yoghurt out of soy milk for my sisters with milk allergies; I can still remember the smell! :p

    I love Stonyfield Farms organic yogurt. I enjoy the lowfat plain…it’s very creamy and has great tang, so it’s good mixed with preserves (my favorite is raspberry with ground flaxseeds and cinnamon on top!) and also with savory things like garlic, mint and cucumber for an awesome tzatziki sauce. We have several tubs going in the fridge at any given time.

    I’ll have to try making my own someday, though…it sounds delicious!

  20. Paula Ward says:

    I am new to skinny daily and hope it is ok to post a link that I have nothing to do with other than that I found it awhile back and have used it successfully. This site has a very good yogurt making tutorial and also uses the same incubating method as “Easy Yo” from New Zealand. It strongly suggests using Dannon plain yogurt as a starter, which is what I have done with good results.

    The yogurt is incubated in an icechest of heated water. A candy thermometer is used to make sure all temperatures are optimum. It takes 3 hours (going longer is no problem — only makes it thicker!), — end result is fantastic! I have had 100% good results with this method. Check it out!

  21. Annie says:

    I know its rich in calcium, which I desperately need, but could not find one without sugar!
    I was recently diagnosis with the worst osteoporosis. My doctor told me that my bones were worst then the bone model he had on his desk. My bones are like cob webs with high risk for fractures.
    I never drank milk when I was a kid and now I’m paying the price. I love cheese, ice cream, but apparently you need that MILK !!
    No two ways about it. I’m not even 53 yet!
    I’ve already lost inches on my height and starting to get rounded shoulders too. I’m already on Fosamax, which is to build bone mass, but usually its for women in their late 60’s. So you young women out there, DRINK YOUR MILK. Don’t discover later in life what you could have prevented.
    If nothing else, I hope this helps women from getting osteoporosis by prevention.

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