Greek Gods of Yogurt

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I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Clever Girls on behalf of Dannon. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program but my opinions are my own.

For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.oikosyogurt.com or www.Facebook.com/oikos. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

By the time Jack’s dad and I split in 2008, I was underweight due to stress, depression, and a certain 2 year old stealing half my food (much tastier when it’s on Mama’s plate!). Not only that, but I was still breastfeeding Jack, which had the weight melting off of me. I didn’t have time or energy to keep up with my nutritional needs and before I knew it I was wearing size 0 pants for the first time in my life (LIFE, PEOPLE!). I was losing my curves and absolutely not happy about it.

David and I started dating in the fall that year and one of our favorite things to do together was eat. Just about every time we got together, we went out to dinner or he cooked for me with LOADS of butter or cream. Between that and eating lunch together daily, plus weaning Jack at 2 1/2 years old, I gained 30 lbs…and was steadily climbing. I am a small person and most would say PFFT, but none of my clothes fit me anymore and my BMI tipped to overweight.  30 lbs on a small frame like mine is a lot.

That was when I joined Weight Watchers. I wanted to get to a healthy weight somewhere between under- and over-weight, and I did it in a decent amount of time. I took a break from it for awhile when life got busy, but I’m back at it (albeit only via the online tool). With WW I can pretty much eat the foods I like, but I need to watch portions. Rather than eating cupcakes every day (which, yes, I absolutely was doing for a while – hey, they are half off between 2-3pm at work!) I now only indulge a few times a month. (I suppose I could find a diet cupcake but that is just BUNK.  Or, if I really wanted a cupcake that badly, I could, like, do exercise, but it’s not THAT important to me.)

So cream and butter aren’t in my diet much anymore except in small portions and in yogurt form. I had a thing for maple yogurt with cream on the top but that had to go.  I turned to Greek-style yogurt, which was slightly better points-wise, but had a hard time finding a nonfat type that I actually liked (NF Greek yogurt tends to be a bit sour, in my opinion). I then got the opportunity to try this nonfat Oikos Greek yogurt and I marched down to my grocery store to grab some.

Lucky for me, the Oikos yogurts were on sale 4 for $5. Woot! I was bummed they didn’t have honey flavor (my fave Greek yogurt variety), but I got peach, blueberry, raspberry, and cherry (the fruit on the bottom type). I promptly went home and ate the raspberry one and it was absolutely frickin’ delicious. It wasn’t sour like the other NF Greek yogurts I’ve tried, thank goodness! Also unlike other nonfat yogurts, the yogurt wasn’t thin and runny. I was a happy camper.

I popped into the WW tool online, plugged in the nutrition facts and found out that the Oikos yogurt is the same number of points as the nonfat stuff I’d been eating. SCORE!  (If you’re on WW, typical Greek yogurt is about 7 points and Oikos is 3 – even some of the FF yogurts out there are 4!)  So, uh, NO DUH I’d recommend it. Healthy, yummy snack for the win!

Two important pieces of info you will surely want to know:

  1. Dannon® Oikos® Plain and Fruit on the Bottom contains 0% fat, while the Dannon® Oikos® traditional blended varieties contains about 3% fat. Both are an excellent source of protein, twice that of most regular lowfat yogurts.
  2. Dannon® Oikos® 0% varieties contain active yogurt cultures and range from 80 calories (Plain) to 130 calories (Fruit on the Bottom) per 5.3 oz. cup.

Oh and another tidbit that I found interesting – Oikos is actually owned by Stonyfield Farms, makers of the little yogurts (one of the few that can be found in organic) I prefer to give my kid.  If it’s related to organic, that’s almost like it IS organic, right?  (Did you know if you have a carrot cupcake, it totally counts toward your veggies for the day?  😉  You’re welcome.)

By the way, for you breastfeeding moms out there, yogurt contains probiotics, which ward off thrush (if you haven’t gotten it, that is).

I have partnered with Dannon to help promote the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Series. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product; however, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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If only this post was about bread

This post is going to be about yeast.  I know this is not a fun topic.  I have a few pregnant friends and that has brought the topic to the forefront of my mind recently.  I would hazard a guess that most of you have dealt with yeast and will do so again in your life.  It’s possible that you’ve had thrush while breastfeeding or took antibiotics for a bladder infection and then ended up with a yeast infection…  I sadly know more than I ever wanted to about yeast and so I thought I’d share.  Not the yeast of course, but the knowledge about how to destroy it.  😛

When I was pregnant with Jack I tested positive for Group B Strep, which meant I had to take antibiotics during labor.  Even worse, since my induction lasted two days, I received several doses of the antibiotics.  This effectively destroyed all the bacteria in my body, including the GOOD bacteria that prevents yeast overgrowth.  So when I started breastfeeding and things didn’t go so well with latching and my skin was compromised with cracks, the yeasty bastards attacked me and I ended up with thrush…which was surprisingly hard to treat and lasted for months!  This is not uncommon among new moms.

So, here are some tips for avoiding and eliminating all those yeasty bastards and ending your suffering as quickly and effectively as possible…

  • Cut out the sugar and dairy products – yeast feeds on it and you will have a harder time getting rid of a yeast infection if you are ingesting sugar and/or dairy.  Don’t forget about hidden sugar and dairy (lactose, fructose, sucrose, whey).
  • Stay dry – change pads frequently and make sure the affected area is getting enough air.  Don’t wear stifling fabrics (cotton is nice and breathable) and make sure your pads are adequately wicking away moisture from your skin.  If you have reusable pads, get rid of them until the yeast is gone.
  • Take probiotic supplements.  This one is a biggie, especially if you will be taking antibiotics; probiotics will restore good bacteria to your system.  I’ve heard some women say that these don’t work for them but that may be because some supplements contain sugar or dairy (lactose, sucrose, etc.) in the ingredients or the dosage is incorrect.  (This can be the problem with yogurt.)  If you have a yeast infection, ensure that your dose is at least 10 billion cells and take it 2-3 times a day.  Otherwise a “maintenance” dose is 1-3 billion cultures per day.
  • Other helpful supplements include garlic tablets and grapefruit seed extract.  I do not have direct experience with these.
  • Make sure you wash your laundry on HOT and don’t reuse towels between washings – this includes hand towels.  If you are a mom dealing with thrush, BOIL any pump parts, baby cups, pacifiers and bottles.
  • Wash your hands! (But not with anti-bacterial soap.)
  • Vinegar washes are helpful as yeast hates acidity.  When I had thrush I would use a vinegar wash after every nursing, then allow my skin to air dry before treating it with an antifungal cream (i.e. Monistat).

Also, a note for those of you who are prescribed nystatin – IT SUCKS.  Yeast has become highly resistant to nystatin and more times than not, it’s ineffective in treating yeast infections.

If you’d like to do some more reading and not just take my experience/word for it, go forth!  These are some great resources:

Dr. Jack Newman’s Candida Protocol

Breastfeeding Essentials – Could We Have Thrush?

Kellymom.com’s Thrush Articles and Resources

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A Gift that Gives

Hey readers.  I hope you all will join me in helping my friend and fellow blogger Alecia raise awareness and funds for a rare disorder that her 9 month old niece suffers from called Food Protein-Induced Entercolitis Syndrome (FPIES).  Those suffering from this disorder cannot tolerate many of the proteins found in everyday foods, which can result in uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea after eating and can lead to dehydration and even fatal shock.  I know it kills me every time my son is sick – I can hardly imagine how awful it is when food is the thing that makes your child sick.  If you’d like to help, there are several things you can do:

Please pass this information on and keep Alecia’s family in your thoughts!

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He gets it from me.

Jack is a good eater.  I worried about this because his dad is definitely not a good eater (fruits and vegetables aren’t part of his diet at all).  I needn’t have worried, though!  I think between daycare and a few others in his life who will sit down and eat yummy foods with him, he has a fairly adventurous palate.

Jacks food repertoire includes:

  • soy beans
  • Baby Bel cheese rounds
  • carrots
  • little trees (aka broccoli) – steamed
  • salami
  • yogurt (right now he is on a Gogurt kick)
  • pasta
  • baked chicken strips
  • pretzels with peanut butter
  • PB&J sandwiches
  • tea
  • apples
  • bananas
  • rice & beans
  • cucumbers
  • bell pepper
  • peanuts, almonds
  • fruit & grain bars
  • peas
  • corn
  • tofu
  • bread & goat cheese
  • clementines
  • oatmeal
  • scrambled eggs
  • waffles, french toast

He likes his share of junk, too, especially chocolate, but he doesn’t get a lot of it.  Recently he discovered “real chocolate milk” (as opposed to “chocolate milk” which is what we called his milk for a long time) and has been asking me to make his milk brown.  We limit this to once or twice a week.  His favorite cookies seem to be David’s snickerdoodles (I can’t blame him – those things are gooood!).

It’s funny to me to look at this list now because even at a year it would take him a whole week to finish off a jar of baby food.  He was so not into solids for a long, long time.  Now he’s all about them and doesn’t even seem to remember nursing.  I guess he’s a fan of whatever he is doing at the moment.

Growing Boy

Wow, I just realized I have only written four posts this month.  Crazy!  I don’t even know where all that time went.  I guess I’ll claim to have been sitting and doing a lot of deep thinking!

Jack seems to have gone through a growth spurt.  I didn’t really notice a change in his appearance but I did take note of the increased food consumption.  Suddenly his Medium diapers are on their last snaps and his clothing stash is pretty thin even though I just bought a bunch of summer clothes in June.  He has a few pairs of shoes that suddenly don’t fit him anymore, too.  It’s amazing how quickly toddlers go through stuff!  Of course, this all happens after his birthday party.  Isn’t that how life always goes?

I’ve been meaning to read up some more on toddler nutrition.  We still have Jack drinking whole milk but I do believe at some point we’re supposed to switch to 2% or something.  I am not too worried because Jack is good about regulating his food intake, and he still prefers mama’s milk over what he calls “chocolate milk.”  I haven’t made the switch because I vaguely remember reading an essay on staying with whole milk longer than 2 years.  Nevertheless, I’d better get on that research.  Knowing the answer will relieve my anxiety about the subject!

I was finally able to get Jack to come around on squeezable yogurt!  We found some organic yogurt in tubes and I figured the novelty would renew his interest.  He wasn’t too sure for a while there but over the last few days he has seen the light.  He asked for the yogurt last night and giggled after every sip.  He ate the whole thing.