Earlier this month, the folks at Stonyfield sent my family two new products to try out: 100% organic grassfed yogurt and organic Greek yogurt. Both were welcomed with cheers from my taste-testing judges, my six-year-old daughter, G, and eight-year-old son, R.
G and R eat yogurt every day; they have since they were small. They are huge fans of yogurt in every form, and it’s a go-to food in our house for breakfast, snack, and lunch (okay, sometimes, it’s even been offered for dinner).
I was especially looking forward to trying the grassfed yogurt (though my judges were reluctant to share any of it with me), as we’ve been changing the types of food we’ve been buying, moving away from conventional choices to organic, locally-sourced options. It’s been a long process: we started by switching to organic yogurt, then by joining a vegetable CSA, and then a meat CSA. We removed products with GMOs, and we switched to grassfed butter and organic milk. I’ve been looking to doing more, and I was therefore interested in adding grassfed yogurt to our diet.
Stonyfield gets 100% grassfed milk to make its yogurt from Maple Hill Creamery in upstate New York, where Tim Joseph is the founder. I recently heard Tim speak about running a farm where the livestock is all grassfed. He explained that “prior to World War II, grassfed was the norm” in farms throughout the United States.
“After the war, there was a shift in livestock feeding and agriculture and a rise in the use of corn and grain. This changed the food we were eating. Livestock evolved to eat grass, and when you shift to grass and grain, or just grain, you change the balance of healthy elements in the milk; it alters the Omega-3s and what makes the products healthy,” explained Tim. “Cows were designed to eat low grade proteins, like grass, not grain.” He later added that “Omega-3s are higher when dairy is grassfed.”
Grass based dairy farming is a system, a “cycle between the sun, the seed, the grass, and the cow,” said Tim, explaining that farmers pay great attention to the “choreography of grazing” in order to make sure cows are on the right path to eating the grass that is matured and needs to be clipped, or eaten down.
In addition to Tim, I heard Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and author of The Happiness Diet, speak about the connection between grassfed products and our overall health.
“Your brain is your most important asset and when you feed it right, you feel better,” noted Dr. Ramsey. “There are the essential 21 nutrients you need in your diet – from B12 to Omega-3 fats to Vitamin E. All of the 21 nutrients can be found in yogurt!”
“You can get Omega-3 from fish but most people get it from yogurt,” said Dr. Ramsey. He recommended a diet filled with brain essential nutrients and grassfed, organic dairy and eggs. Dr. Ramsey encouraged us all to “ask yourself ‘did I feed my brain today?’” Thanks to yogurt, my kids definitely do!
What happens if your kids don’t like yogurt? Dr. Ramsey suggested giving them yogurt in different ways, such as in savory dishes, and involving kids in making the foods with you. This works in my house. My kids, especially my son, are eager to help in the kitchen, and are so proud when their final dish is shared at mealtime. It makes them more inclined to eat whatever we’ve cooked together – a great way to get them to try new flavors and textures.
My test-tasting judges didn’t think much about Omega-3s; they were too busy eating. In fact, both the Greek and grassfed yogurts disappeared from my refrigerator within days. I was left with the kids standing in front of the open refrigerator, staring at the empty yogurt shelf, with downcast eyes. “Mommy, when can you get more of that yogurt?”
Stonyfield’s new grassfed yogurt comes in six-ounce containers in plain, vanilla, blueberry, and strawberry, and in 24-ounce containers in plain and vanilla. Stonyfield’s organic Greek yogurt comes in 5.3-ounce containers in plain, vanilla bean, blueberry, strawberry (G’s favorite), and cherry (R’s favorite), and in 30-ounce containers in plain and vanilla bean.
Disclosure: I created this post in partnership with Stonyfield, but all opinions are mine own.