I’ve been ignoring sugar, carbs and fat for the last several months, an attempt to regain my boyish figure and boyish health. I never really paid that much attention to what I was eating, but obviously it was all loaded with sugar, carbs and fat! Now bits of that stuff are doing backstrokes in my blood and my doctor says it’s time I change my diet.
So eating has been a challenge recently, especially finding food that is both good for me and good tasting. My most recent discovery is a little gift from Greece, a perfect solution for my long-standing addiction to ice cream and other sweets.
Yogurt has been around forever. It’s one of those trendy things that’s been a staple in Europe for years. In its simplest form it’s bland and disgusting, a pasty concoction that tastes like puke. Many foodie purists continue downing such glop with only a few nuts and fresh fruit to provide a little punch. Go figure! On this side of the pond, it’s been gussied up with sugar and flavorings and has become almost as popular – especially in its frozen form – as ice cream.
The problem is that manufacturers don't know when to stop with the sugar. They're making the yogurt sweet and tasty – all the better to grab our money. My concern – yours, too – is that most popular brands are now filled with the stuff I'm trying to ignore. Here's the good news. There are some decent options, supremely tasty and velvety smooth without all the sugary baggage.
Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) would be at the top of my list, a product offered up by the Gods of Greece – oh, perhaps a little overstated and, btw, there’s a brand actually called Greek Gods. Fage is sort of like soft-serve ice cream – think Dairy Queen – and packed with nutritional value.
It’s one of several new brands of Greek yogurt – the others that come readily to mind are Chobani and Oikos – that have been taking over shelf space in recent months at local specialty shops and markets in my little corner of the world. Greek, it would seem, is now the oh-so trendy way to go when thinking yogurt.
There really is a difference. Mostly it has to do with how the product is manufactured. Unlike the fruity stuff that's filled with sugar and watery whey, Greek yogurt is strained. The finished product is solid, smooth, filled with protein and a sour taste.
The numbers – carbs, sugar and calories – shout this is the way to go. The taste, however, is tough for those of us with a sweet tooth. It’s a problem easily solved. Fage can be mixed with a wide assortment of goodies – jellies and jams, nuts and cereal for crunch, honey or splenda for additional sweetness. In just minutes the creamy lusciousness of the yogurt and the tasty sweetness of the mixes offer up a euphonic blend good enough for a god – a Greek God!
Next week I’ll be detailing how I’m prepared to replace French fries with baked zucchini strips. Yikes! Stay tuned.