All Things Pumpkin & Greek Yogurt
Pumpkin is here! I mean FALL is here. But wait, aren’t the two interchangeable at this point in the game? Alright, maybe not for everyone but I happen to be on the love-all-things-pumpkin train and I will gladly take anyone with me who is willing to come along. But that’s not the point! The point is we can take something like pumpkin and put it into a healthy combo platter with oats and greek yogurt, and make all parties happy, or maybe just me?
While pumpkin is one of my favorite things about fall, that is not my main reason for blogging today. And frankly, it is probably being overused lately as it is, so I will spare you all the Pumpkin Spice Latte talk and get to the more important topic at hand, greek yogurt.
A few years back, I decided to try out Paleo with my friend Kelsey. We both wanted to feel better and wanted to clean up our diet amidst grad school and late nights out in Chicago. When we did this, we cut out gluten, dairy and legumes as well as sugar, processed foods and alcohol. While some may say that my diet still resembles that of a “Primal” or “Ancestral” diet, I call it a more “Real Food” way of living.
One thing that I came back to after noticing health improvements from “Paleo” was dairy products. While I’m not a milk drinker (just not the thing I grab to quench my thirst, you know?) I do love yogurt, cheese and okay, occasionally ice cream. I do fine digestively and otherwise while on dairy but I am super conscious of the type that I put in my body. Too much sugar (hint: ice cream) and I’ll have insomnia or a sugar hangover the next day. However, yogurt and cheese always seem to do okay by me and the richer the nutrition, the happier I am.
In walks Maple Hill Creamery.
Dietitian Turned Locavore
When I moved to Albany a few years back, I scoured the town for healthy food options and became somewhat discouraged. There was much left to be desired, until I found the Honest Weight Co-op, which at that point was a tiny hole in the wall co-op that was semi-sketchy to get to. Coming from Chicago, my affinity towards inner city hot spots was still present and so I ventured to the real food oasis. I was so excited when I walked in to see local products that were way more progressive than the Capital Region at that time (this was only 4 years ago…)
I wish I could remember the day I found Maple Hill, but I’m almost convinced it was that very day that I walked into the Co-op. I had not had yogurt in a while because light-this and fit-that options were never my jam and tasted like watered down sugar-mayhem. Do they seriously just pour fruit flavored syrup in the bottom of leftover skim milk? Seriously, what a Dietitian nightmare.
Maple Hill Creamery is located in Kinderhook, NY not too far from me and once you taste this yogurt you can never go back, I’ve converted many of my friends and now I am about to convert you. At the very least, if you have not had full-fat whole milk 100% grass fed un-adultered (aka no crazy sugar/additives) dairy products in a while (or ever), do yourself a favor and try it out, you won’t be sorry.
Why Greek Yogurt?
Alright, let’s get the big question out of the way, If I am not Greek then why do I love Greek Yogurt so much? Ha! Kidding of course. The real question is, why Greek yogurt over regular yogurt?
Great question. Since I am totally a list person, let’s break this down into a 3 step list, shall we?
- More Protein
Repeat after me: There is no good or bad macronutrient.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, protein is one of your macronutrients and is essential for life. You need it to maintain lean body mass (think: muscles), to have the energy to get up in the morning, hit mad gains in the CrossFit gym and oh, so much more. One serving of Greek yogurt tends to have around 15-20 grams of protein per serving compared to regular yogurt that only has 5-10g on average per serving. It will keep you full longer and acts as a great post-workout treat.
- Less Sugar
Well if you buy a brand of yogurt that is concerned about the quality of their product and your health, you won’t have to worry about this. However, generally speaking most plain Greek yogurts have ~5g of sugar (remember there is natural sugar coming from milk) versus the 15g of sugars found in regular yogurt. And do not even get me started on those not so good brands…
- Creamy, Thick & Tangy Texture
Food is not meant to just be a caloric blob of nutrients, it’s meant to be delicious and nutritious. Greek yogurt, well the good quality kinds, are the creamiest, thickest yogurts you will ever have, satisfying not just to your stomach but also to your taste buds.
However, this is not to say that regular cream on top yogurt or kefir is bad, it’s only to say the advantages of Greek yogurt.
Ah, I get this question all the time, why is grass-fed healthy and is it even worth it? 1. Because I told you so (only kind of kidding, but see below) and 2. 110%
Important note: Maple Hill Creamery yogurt is the only national brand that has a third-party 100% grass-fed certification. Unfortunately, the word “grass-fed” is becoming the new “all-natural”. All the more reason to know where your food is coming from!
For the sake of not dragging this topic on forever, because let’s be honest, this deserve a post (or 10) all by itself. Let’s break it down one more time into a nice succinct list, shall we?
- Healthier for the Cows
After all, you are what you eat eats. Think about it.
Okay, now let’s think about this, cows are ruminants, they have four stomachs and they get really fat, really quickly when they are fed grain. Can they live that way?
Can we live on McDonald’s? Not well, but yes, we can. Cows like grass, and so should we, well for their feed I mean. Happy cows = happy humans. End of story. (and besides the experts do a better job speaking to this here)
- Healthier for You
If what you eat is healthier, then by design, you will be healthier. Now, there is always a gut health ordeal to consider, so this is making the assumption that you can tolerate dairy. If you can, go right ahead. I preach quality in your diet and lifestyle and how your animal is raised and fed should be no different. If the cost or price tag upsets you, look at the price tag of that next purse/shoe/phone/(insert expensive non-food item here) you buy and see what’s more important, your health or everything else…
Oh man, here I go again, right? I might be biased and maybe to prove that I’ll have to do a blindfolded taste test one day but the taste of nutrition is everything. Your body is smart and it knows good nutrients when it tastes it. No label has to tell it, it just knows. Don’t believe me? Stop everything you are doing and go find some whole milk 100% grass-fed dairy, just don’t tell your boss it was me who suggested you leave work early…
Vanilla Bean Whole Milk 100% Grass-Fed Greek Yogurt
Now time for the real reason you are all here, the recipe featuring Maple Hill Creamery’s Whole Milk 100% Grass-Fed Greek Yogurt! When things get busy, it’s easy to let healthy eating go by the wayside and I find for most of my clients, breakfast is the first thing to go. You can make this on Sunday night and it’s ready to go Monday morning for the week.
Need more than 4 servings? Double the recipe!
Ready to get started?
Run, don’t walk to go pick up some Maple Hill Creamery greek yogurt at any of these locations. OR if they are not in your area yet, cry and pout and then go search for a local, whole milk 100% grass fed Greek yogurt to make your overnight oats. Feel free to go to your favorite grocery store and ask them if they take suggestions for products, believe me I’ve done it and it’s worked.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Maple Hill Creamery. However, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you to Maple Hill Creamery for having an awesome brand and helping The Sassy Dietitian keep on keeping on.
Alright, let’s hear it! What is your favorite way to use greek yogurt?
(because when you are taking food pics, you cannot help but take puppy pics in between)