Drinking your daily acidophilus, or thoughts on yogurt

I grew up in the 1970’s, when Dannon’s advertising campaigns convinced Americans that yogurt was good for us to eat. My parents never actually bought the stuff, only my older sisters, leading me to think that yogurt was some sort of adult treat, like beer.

Once I grew up, I not only got to eat as much yogurt as I liked, I actually learned how to make the stuff. I still labor under the possible misconception that the active cultures in yogurt can help repopulate your intestinal tract after you take antibiotics. Maybe the acid in my stomach kills the little guys off before they make it down there, but I like yogurt enough to look for any excuse to eat it.

A couple of weeks ago, after a bout with flu, cold, and antibiotics, my mother-in-law, Sharon, brought home the largest bucket of Nancy’s plain, non-fat yogurt I’ve ever seen. I hated the thought that it might go off and grow mold (no preservatives! yay!) in her spic-and-span refrigerator, so I came up with a plan to eat at least a half cup every day.

I originally did what most Americans do: I ate it with a spoon, mixing in healthy and tasty additives like honey, brown sugar, nuts, and dried cherries. Unlike Sharon, I do not add cinnamon, turmeric, cocoa powder, and wheat germ — she insists that her bowl of yogurt tastes heavenly, but it looks like unappetizing mud.

I know that in other countries, yogurt is something you drink, not eat, and this practice is starting to catch on in the U.S. In my quest to consume enough yogurt every day, I rediscovered a old favorite — the Indian drink called a “lassi.”

My Indian cooking reference gives a recipe for a salt lassi, mixing plain yogurt, ice water, salt, and pepper. Doesn’t appeal to me — I’m more a fan of the sweet lassi, which replaces the salt and pepper with sugar and lemon juice. We used to make these with our blender, but I’ve discovered a simpler way.

First thing in the morning, I put the various ingredients in a well-sealed jar or a cocktail shaker, give it a good hearty shake, and pour it into a mug or glass. The shaking wakes me up as well as any caffienated beverage, and I can take my drinkable breakfast with me on the road or down to my computer to write.

Interesting links:

Recipe for a sweet lassi

Recipe for my latest invention, a pink lassi

Recipes using Nancy’s products, from the Springfield Creamery in Eugene, Oregon.

Article on Juan Metzger, the man behind the 1970’s Dannon ads