Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eat/Drink more Yogurt

Did anyone see the Harvard study which was published, and widely reported on, this week?
After 20 years of monitoring which foods seemed to be most associated with weight gain, the study revealed the following list of baddies:
  1. french fries!
  2. potato chips
  3. sugar-sweetened soda
  4. unprocessed red meat
  5. processed meats . . . like bacon
  6. trans fats
  7. potatoes
  8. sweets and desserts
  9. refined grains
  10. fried foods
  11. fruit juices
  12. butter
There are no huge surprises here, but it is still a bit deflating (or, rather, the other way around) to see that potatoes have made the list three times!  I wouldn't dream of making french fries at home, but in restaurants I have been known to order a meal just because it offers fries on the side.  My favourite meal in the world?  Probably steak frites.  Still, I regard them as a treat -- and really, we eat very little red meat otherwise.

The main conclusion of the study is that we should all be eating food that is as minimally processed as possible . . . and with the odd exception, Julochka and I have already been preaching (and eating) that gospel.  I may need to rethink my loved of baked goods, but in my defense, we hardly ever eat any dessert/sweets that aren't homemade with good-quality ingredients.

One of the most helpful aspects of the study was its revelation of the five foods most associated with weight loss -- and the fab five are:
  1. yogurt
  2. nuts
  3. fruits
  4. whole grains
  5. vegetables
I've been trying to eat more yogurt for several years now, but for some reason I find it a bit tedious in solid form.  I do like greek yogurt with blueberries and a squeeze of honey, but it's not something that I can talk myself into eating every day. 

I think that smoothies are going to be the answer -- at least for me.  This summer, I finally broke down and bought a blender -- despite my lack of counter space -- and now my children and I are obsessed with it.  With all of the great fresh fruit that's around these days, it is such simple work to drink several servings of the good stuff.  I never make the same smoothie twice, but my basic blueprint is to throw in a banana, a handful of strawberries and/or raspberries, blueberries, pineapple or peaches, between 4 and 6 ounces of yogurt and a handful of ice.  You will need some liquid to get things going, and I add either orange juice or skim milk -- depending on whether I am the mood for something creamy or juicy.  You may also need a squirt of honey, depending on your sweet tooth.

Sadly, there's nothing more American than french fries and a Coke -- and America has the obesity rates to prove it.  Julochka and I were laughing about an article about the fried foods which will be offered up at State Fairs around the country this summer.  Doesn't that just sum up some of the most dreadful (and wonderful, of course) aspects of American eating?  I love the creativity and the sense of humour, but the sheer decadence and gluttony isn't as admirable.  Does anyone really need to be eating Fried Kool-Aid?  Who even dreams this stuff up?

As for my summer eating, I'm thinking more along the lines of a yogurt smoothie and a handful of raw almonds every day . . .


julochka said...

i was just thinking that i need to get into my habit of making yogurt again. it's so easy - just milk and a spoon of yogurt to get you started and then you can keep perpetuating it by using a little of the last batch.

that said, i do love the greek yogurt and always have a but of it in the fridge.

my blender broke not long ago and we've been making our smoothies in the food processor, it's a bit harder to pour, but it works too. :-)

hmm, i think you've inspired me to go make one now!!

much, much better than fried kool-aid, really!

Jude said...

I too hate that potatoes are on the fattening list as they are a favourite veg. Sadly, as mostly a vegetarian, I eat all the 5 weight losing ones and it hasn't worked yet! About a month ago, I taught Isaac how to make smoothies because they are a great health, filling snack for a little ravenous boy. He takes great pride in his concoctions.

Unknown said...


lisahgolden said...

My blender is jealous. I haven't used it in months! When I go to the market today to pick up some berries and bananas, I'm going to reserve some for smoothies.

We've become great consumers of Greek yogurt. I like mine with a squeeze of honey and almonds. Yum.

Nimble said...

I was reading that some people like to use frozen fruit instead of ice. It makes the smoothie less watery.

I enjoy a smoothie if someone else makes it. But I like yogurt and fruit just fine by themselves so I'm not motivated to produce a smoothie (and wash the blender) myself.

I am going to stick with the potato. As long as I am eating other vegetables as well, I think potatoes (not fried) are better for me than white bread/white rice.

Bee said...

I do use frozen fruit sometimes. Especially raspberries -- because we've had a glut of them this year.

As for potatoes: it's just so cruel. I love a baked potato. It's one of my favourite foods. Like Nimble and Jude, I won't be giving them up; but maybe cutting back?

julochka said...

i've been thinking about that list and i wonder if harvard doesn't realize that fries and chips ARE potatoes? why put potatoes on the list 3x? isn't once enough and then there's room for two more items which aren't potatoes?

Bee said...

Hi J,
I guess that the potato thing makes more sense if you read the findings of the study. Basically, they studied people's eating habits/weight gain for 20 years and accumulated data according to the frequency of consumption correlated with the weight gain. It's sad news, indeed -- but potatoes (in mashed, baked, roasted form) and potato chips and french fries really do account for three separate entries!! Interesting that ice cream and chocolate don't make the list. I read a bit about their conclusions about dairy products . . . and the only dairy product which gets an emphatic thumbs-up (for weight control) is yogurt.

Anne said...

I enjoy yogurt for breakfast nearly every day, and I keep almonds in my desk at work for snacks, but they can pry my butter from my cold, dead hands.

That said, I've been trying to incorporate more whole grain flours (wheat and other grains) in my baked goods, as well as replacing a portion of the flour with ground nuts. I adore ground nuts in tart crusts and quickbreads.

herhimnbryn said...

Freeze the fruit. Diced mango, frozen, yoghurt and a dash of milk. Whizz = bliss!


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