Monday, January 16, 2012

Superfoods Challenge: Week 3

This is week 3 of the Superfoods Challenge, where we work on adding the healthiest foods and their sidekicks into our daily diets. There are 14 Superfoods in the original SuperFoods Rx book, and at the end of our 14 week Challenge you will have all 14 Superfoods incorporated into your eating plan! Focusing on what we CAN have rather than what we CAN'T have is very motivating and positive, and when you are working through your list making sure you are getting in your Superfoods, it leaves little time (and stomach room) for eating junk.

This week's Superfood is: yogurt! This is something many people already eat. Yogurt is rich in calcium, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and live active cultures. According to the Superfoods website, " A single 1-cup serving of nonfat plain yogurt supplies 414 milligrams of calcium—an amazing 40 percent of your daily calcium needs and at a cost of only 100 calories.... Yogurt is also a better source of B vitamins (including foliate), phosphorus, and potassium than milk. Of course, the calcium in yogurt is of great benefit to pre- and postmenopausal women and to men in their struggle against osteoporosis. A rich source of calcium to begin with, the milk sugar in yogurt actually aids in calcium absorption. Moreover, dairy foods are a source of IGF-l, a growth factor that promotes bone formation, which benefits women over and above the bone-preserving contribution of calcium." Also, "Probiotics absorb mutagens that cause cancer, particularly colon cancer, though there’s also evidence that they’re effective in lighting breast cancer. They stimulate the immune system, partly by promoting immunoglobulin production, and help lower the risk for cancer by decreasing inflammation and inhibiting the growth of cancer-causing intestinal microflora." Such a wonderful and delicious food to include in our menus! The book recommends trying to eat two 8-ounce servings of yogurt per day. That's a lot of yogurt, so I try to get in at least one. If you are having a hungry day, though, yogurt is a much better alternative than empty calories. Nonfat or low fat yogurt without added sweeteners is best.

Yogurt's main sidekick is kefir, a cultured milk product similar to yogurt but thinner and usually sold as a beverage. It contains many of the same beneficial nutrients and probiotics that yogurt contains. The Superfoods website also lists soy yogurt as an alternative for those of you who do not consume dairy products.

There are several ways to enjoy yogurt in your daily diet. You can purchase plain yogurt and then add fruit, agave nectar, or whatever sweetener you prefer. I like to make smoothies with mine. Before I was on Medifast, I would often make a breakfast smoothie of yogurt, fresh mango or berries, honey, and ice. Sometimes I'd add spinach. You can also use yogurt or kefir in place of milk on cereal or mixed with granola. Many people like to make yogurt cheese; just place some yogurt in a cheesecloth (coffee filters work too) and set in a colander or strainer for several hours until the whey drips out. The result is a thick, creamy yogurt cheese that can be used in place of cream cheese. If you try this, be sure your yogurt does not contain additives such as thickeners or gelatin; natural yogurt works best. I like to add herbs to my yogurt cheese to use as a savory spread.

If you are on Medifast you can still enjoy your yogurt; according to Nutrition Support, 12 ounces of plain, nonfat Chobani Greek yogurt = 1 Leanest option; you will need to add two healthy fats. Fage 0% Greek yogurt has the same nutritional stats as Chobani, so that is what I use. I like to mix mine with Barlean's Omega Swirl Fish Oil (I like Lemon the best); it sweetens and flavors the yogurt and gives me some healthy omegas without any fishy taste. A bit of Splenda and vanilla extract is good too.

Your Superfoods list to go on your fridge this week should look like this:

Broccoli (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard): 1/2 to 1 cup per day
Wild Salmon (Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, oysters, clams): 2 to 4 times per week
Yogurt (kefir): Two 8 ounce servings per day

Have fun this week getting your Superfoods in; check my BlogFrog community for recipes and ideas on our past Superfoods. Please stop by and share your ideas for getting yogurt or kefir into your diet; I've created a new thread: Superfood #3: Yogurt and its Sidekicks.

Building a healthier body can be fun and positive! Eating right shouldn't be about deprivation; focus on the wonderful foods we *should* eat, and be creative about how you include them. Enjoy your day!


Kyle Gershman said...

If I have yogurt, it is soy yogurt since I'm a vegan now. But, what I actually have begun is making my own water Kefir! Very probiotic rich and non-dairy too of course. And since the kefir bacteria converts the sugars (that is what it does when it ferments) the resulting beverage is naturally low in sugars as well.

spunkysuzi said...

I have kefir every morning :) Definitely helps the tummy!!

Nmmumaw said...

Just FYI, another vegan option that helps digestion because it is a fermented food is miso. Obviously it can't really replace yogurt in usage, but in purpose, it can work =D

MizFit said...

Im in.
whens chia?? :)


Anonymous said...

Oh I have never heard of kefir. I will have to look into it. I switched to Greek yogurt in 2012 and enjoy the more savory aspects. This superfoods challenge is so much fun!

Anonymous said...

I had kefir basically every day, i love it so much and yes it is so good for digestive.
i read once it is so good for reducing belly fats, and low fat yogurt and milk also.

sometimes i love to make my own yogurt and cheese i used low fat milk, it is so yummy.
and i love to add oregano or thyme to my cheese as well :)

good luck to all...