I love to eat and make kefir as well as yogurt. I’ve been having lots of fun making different types of yogurts made famous in different parts of the world.
High number of centenarians
I have discovered that in certain parts of the world, yogurt and kefir have been strongly linked with an unusually high number of centenarians. In the Caucasus Mountains, Kefir (called the “Miracle Food“) is a staple food. Many have lived over 100 years, and some claim to have lived to be over 150. Kefir is much stronger than yogurt because of the many different strains of bacteria in kefir. I don’t go many days without kefir. Since yogurt has some colonies, too, it’s always a good idea to add yogurt to your diet as it helps your gut microbes grow and thrive.
I have done a lot of research on yogurt. Many of the world’s centenarians have consumed yogurt daily and often as a dessert or meal. For instance, Bulgarian yogurt has a rich history surrounding it. It dates back to the Thracians, ancient inhabitants of the Bulgarian lands. Stock breeders would place sheep’s milk in lambskin bags around their waists and would create fermented yogurt using their own body heat. They credit themselves with inventing Bulgaria’s only source of yogurt. They also produced the healthiest yogurt in Europe, thanks to a unique bacteria native to their country. Dr. Stamen Grigorov found the specific Lactobacillus bacteria responsible for Bulgarian yogurt fermentation. Grigorov went on to identify two more bacteria: Streptobacillus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which coexisted with Lactobacillus in perfect symbiosis. Interested in Dr. Grigorov’s discoveries, the Nobel prize-winning Russian scientist, Ilya Mechnikov, noted that more people lived to the age of 100 in Bulgaria than in any of the 36 other countries he studied. He directly linked this to Bulgaria’s consumption of yogurt.
Blue Zone is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives, as described in Dan Buettner’s book, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.” At the cornerstone of Blue Zone living is a diet of whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, red wine, and dairy, especially yogurt. Meat is reserved as a side dish. Red wine and yogurt are both cultured foods – they have discovered that it is the prebiotics in the wine that protect and help your heart and not just the antioxidants in the grapes.
The Mediterranean region has recently become an area of interest for nutritionists, doctors, and conscious living experts all over the world. There, several cultures exist in which an unusually high number of people live to the age of one hundred or more. Greek yogurt has become a huge market as people gobble it up. Higher in protein than regular yogurt, it is a treat for me and I consider it a dessert food. Top it with some lemon zest, a fresh squeeze of lemon, some cherries, and a small dollop of honey and you have a treat for sure.
Yogurts eaten around the world keep people healthyOver the last fifty years, much attention has been given to the Mediterranean diet, but what of the Nordic diet? Scandinavians are extremely healthy with very little obesity and heart disease.
Heirloom Yogurts made on your counter – no yogurt maker requiredPima and Viili are cultured yogurts from Scandinavia. They are made much like kefir is made. You place a culture in milk, leave it on the counter, and after a day or two you have a creamy sustainable yogurt. You can use a little from this yogurt and make more yogurt again and again. Piimä yogurt is very thin and drinkable with a mild flavor. Culture it with cream instead of milk to make a tasty sour cream-like topping. Viili yogurt is very mild and creamy, with a fairly thick consistency. It’s a versatile favorite that’s perfect on its own or in any yogurt recipe. Matsoni yogurt is from The Republic of Georgia. It has a thin, custard-like texture with notes of honey. Its flavor is the most “yogurty” and is a popular choice for frozen yogurt. It is very easy to make and doesn’t require a yogurt maker. Dr. Mori Yukio, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University, brought matsoni yogurt to Japan. He was doing research in Georgia when he found a village of people who consumed this yogurt lived longer than other people who did not consume it. The Japanese have embraced matsoni and given it another name – Caspian Sea Yogurt. Today, the Japanese market has many products for matsoni including special yogurt makers called casupimeka. Filmjölk Yogurt is another Finnish variety. It’s been around since the time of the Vikings and has a tangy flavor reminiscent of cheese and has a custard-like texture. It’s great with fresh fruit or over pie. Kids love it! Filmjölk Yogurt is used to enhance digestion and keep stomach ails to a minimum. It is served at breakfast, lunch, and as a side dish. You can try all of these yogurts, Pima, Viili, Matsoni, and Filmjölk, in an Heirloom yogurt package. They are all made without a yogurt maker and are sustainable by using one small portion of the first batch to make another.
I hope you will try some of these cultured foods, be it kefir or yogurt. They will help you live longer and be healthier. I carry all kinds of yogurts and kefir in my store. Don’t worry if you’re a vegan, I have stuff for you, too! Check it out here.