Monday, March 31, 2014

White Mountain Foods Bulgarian Yogurt - Certified Organic & Conventional Varieties FAQ's.

 

What's the big deal about yogurt?

Yogurt was one of the first foods to be termed a "health food" in this country. During the health food movement that blossomed at the end of the 1800's and early 1900's yogurt was known as a life giving tonic and aide to over-all health. Due in large part to studies done by Russian biologists, Bulgarian yogurt in particular was shown to greatly contribute to the health and longevity of the inhabitants of this region. To this day, that region has one of the highest percentages of centenarians on the planet. Around the world yogurt is a part of many traditional diets and is eaten with most meals.

Yogurt is a member of a class of food termed "super foods." Yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, kefir, bread, tempeh, pickled foods and wine are all examples of foods that are the result of microbial or enzyme (yeast, bacteria, fungus, etc.) action on common foods. This action transforms them into nutritional powerhouses by breaking down and altering certain food molecules into a more useable form. This allows for easier digestion of food and an increased level of nutrient absorption. For example, many people cannot eat milk products in part due to an inability to properly digest lactose, the naturally occurring form of sugar found in milk. The bacteria in yogurt convert the lactose to lactic acid, which is much easier to digest. The bacteria consumed from eating yogurt will also assist in the digestion of other foods and help the immune system in its fight against invading bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and viruses.

Yogurt is not meant to be just a Probiotic supplement. Traditional yogurt is an immune system supporting, staple food packed with easily digestible protein, vitamins, and minerals that provide a highly energizing effect on the body.

What sets White Mountain Foods yogurt apart?

White Mountain Foods' Bulgarian Yogurt is a traditional, immune system supporting, staple food. Our yogurt is mostly known for its high probiotic count. In fact, it has one of the highest live bacteria counts compared to other yogurt products; 90 billion CFU (Culture Forming Units or live bacteria) per serving. Furthermore, the milk used in our yogurt contains no artificial growth hormones or antibiotics and comes from our local area dairy farmers. Quality dairy, coupled with our traditional fermentation process, allows most lactose intolerant consumers to comfortably digest our products. There are only 6g of lactose per one cup serving. Our Bulgarian yogurt is also versatile in the kitchen and used in many dishes from around the world. It can be eaten with granola, fruit, or your favorite sweetener. As a marinade, it will add richness to rice, lamb, chicken and beef dishes or use it as a base for low calorie dips, dressings, spreads, soups, and smoothies. Many of our customers eat it because it simply makes them feel good. Lastly, health practitioners have recommended our Bulgarian yogurt to their patients to help with digestive and feminine health, and to support their immune system.

What makes your yogurt Bulgarian?

The Bulgarians have been making and eating yogurt for millennia. Many Eastern European cultures, including Bulgarians, are descended from nomads who lived on the fermented milk of their domesticated animals. The bacteria found in the Bulgarians' traditional yogurt carry their name, L. Bulgaricus. This same bacterium forms the foundation of our yogurt. The use of traditional methods of inoculation, fermentation and the use of glass containers produce a yogurt virtually identical to the Bulgarian yogurt of Eastern Europe and many traditional yogurts from around the world including Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean region.

Why is White Mountain Foods yogurt so tart?

The high level of bacteria present causes the tart flavor of our yogurt. Specifically, the bacteria consumes lactose in the milk and produces lactic acid; hence the mildly acidic tart flavor. Traditional yogurt is tart. Modern yogurt has become more of a pudding or ice cream like dessert with many taste and consistency additives and a low culture count. Our yogurt contains only milk and culture (live bacteria).

What are the bacteria in yogurt and what will they do for me?

The culture or live bacteria in our yogurt are Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, and B. Bifidum. The digestive tract depends on several strains of bacteria to function properly. Bacteria helps break down food, making nutrients more available for absorption through the intestinal walls. Good bacteria counts are reduced as we age, consume alcohol, antibiotics, or under go chemotherapy. Yogurt re-populates the beneficial bacteria and supports the immune system in its fight against invading micro-organisms. Healthy digestive bacteria aid the body in breaking down the food we eat making the vitamins, minerals, and proteins more readily absorbable. We recommend a minimum consumption of one cup of our yogurt a day to receive optimal benefit from these live bacteria.

Do you pasteurize your yogurt?

Our yogurt is never pasteurized. The law requires our milk to be pasteurized before the yogurt culture is added. The main consumers of milk and milk products are the very young and the very old, the two segments of the population that are the most susceptible to food born pathogens. The federal government requires pasteurization to ensure that these harmful milk bacteria are not passed on to consumers. In Texas and most other states, it is illegal to produce dairy products for sale using raw milk. All milk must be pasteurized before sale or manufacture.

What is the shelf life of your yogurt?

The yogurt comes with a "Purchase by Date" of 63 days for manufacture.

I opened a jar of your yogurt and it was runny, why is that?

We do not add thickeners such as dried milk solids or stabilizers such as gums or pectin. These ingredients are used as an aid to make a consistent yogurt, hiding yogurt that didn't form, or that has a low bacteria count. Our Nonfat yogurt is generally thinner, as there is less fat to help the yogurt set. This can happen at any time of the year and can be a result of under-incubation, handling during shipping, or temperature stored. Temperature, fat content and amount and type of culture all contribute to the consistency of our yogurt. If the yogurt is thicker than liquid milk, then it is indeed yogurt and you are receiving the benefits of live culture probiotics.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are dietary supplements containing beneficial bacteria or yeast, with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as the most common microbes used. LABS have been used in healthful eating for centuries because they are able to convert sugars (including lactose) and other carbohydrates into lactic acid. This not only provides the characteristic tart and refreshing taste of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt, but also acts as a preservative by lowering the pH value and creating fewer opportunities for spoilage causing organisms to grow.

How do you know how many beneficial bacteria are in yogurt?

A commercial lab will analyze samples and report a certain number of CFU's, or Colony Forming Units per gram. Colony Forming Unit denotes active bacteria as opposed to inactive or dead bacteria. A single bacterium can divide and form a 'colony' of many bacteria.

White Mountain Foods' most recent yogurt analysis reported 400 million CFU per gram of yogurt. That is 90 billion per one cup serving.

Are your source cows treated with growth hormones or antibiotics?

As of October 1st, 2006 the milk we use for our yogurt is artificial growth hormone (rBST, rBGH) free. The co-op that supplies our milk organized its producers and banned the use of the hormone.

All milk processed in the United States is required to be tested for, among other things, antibiotics. If any antibiotics are found in the milk, the milk is destroyed.

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