The BEST Yogurt!

Remember My Yogurt Buying Adventure Part 1My Yogurt Buying Adventure Part 2 and my Update on Yogurt Buying posts?

Well, I haven’t been a good blogger so yes, the following info is much too late. But better late than never. All I want to say is that the best yogurt (you can buy in stores) that I have ever had so far is FAGE Total Classic Greek Yogurt (the full-fat version please) and it has the Live Active Yogurt Cultures that I was looking for in my initial search (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus).

The texture is just superb. It’s thick and creamy. It’s tang is lovely when paired with dates. I love eating my yogurt with dates. You have to try it and tell me what you think.

Anyway.

It is pricey but for the taste and great health benefits, I would splurge a little. It can be found at Village Grocer, 1Mont Kiara but if you know of anywhere else, please let me know.

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I Love Grass-Fed Beef

I remember when I had family dinners at restaurants and they would state on the menu whether the steak was grass or grain fed, and I didn’t give a hoot about it at the time. It didn’t occur to me that there would be any difference health-wise. Alhamdulillah, I am not that ignorant anymore.

It all started after I got married and started cooking for my husband. On our grocery trip (we were living overseas at the time), we saw that the beef were clearly labeled as “grass-fed” or “grain-fed”. After a bit of pondering which was better (health-wise), we chose “grass-fed” as we knew cows naturally eat grass.

Later at home, we researched the topic and were glad we made the right choice. Some reading material that might be of interest:
Grass-Fed Meats
Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef: Is There a Taste Difference?
Corn-Fed vs Grass-Fed Beef
Why Grass-Fed Trumps Grain-Fed
Raising the Steaks (A cook-off. See who won.)

I wouldn’t call myself a meat connoisseur, so I can’t really tell if grass-fed tastes better than grain-fed. All I know is that the beef tastes delicious when I cook it and the fact that grass-fed is healthier makes it the only reason for me to buy it. Some of the articles I linked above might say it’s a bit difficult to cook grass-fed meat as it’s leaner, but I didn’t encounter any problems and I’m no masterchef.

Anyway, upon returning to Malaysia, I checked the meat labels at the grocery stores (Cold Storage, Village Grocer, Mercato, etc) and was disappointed to find out that they weren’t marked as grass or grain fed. I was contemplating asking the workers there because you know how it is — they don’t know themselves. I also wondered about going local and buying from the “pasar tani” (farmer’s market) because I figured our cows would eat grass. But the thought of asking the seller there to confirm the cows’ diet kind of put me off because I don’t want my question to be answered with a blank expression. Haha. Any of you know what our local livestock are fed?

Well, Alhamdulillah, my prayer was answered a few months ago. I recently found that the grocery stores were now stating whether the meat was grass or grain fed. Although some that I came across didn’t do a good job at labeling — due to the character limit of the label, they came out as “GRA”. Thanks, that helps a LOT! GRAss or GRAin? Hmm.

Update on Yogurt Buying – Whole Milk, Sheep, and Goat

Disclaimer: I do not work for any of these companies and I do not work in the food industry. I am not sponsored nor paid for promoting any of these products. (I wish I was though :P) I am merely sharing these wonderful finds so that others may benefit too.

After my previous post, I received a lovely comment from a representative of Mawai Dairy Farm. And from there, I learned that Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt contains live cultures which consist of Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus Thermophilus. Good to know.

Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt 1.5kg tub

Jalna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my last grocery  run, after I picked up my Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt, I saw Jalna’s BioDynamic Organic Yogurt with Bush Honey. I’ve stated before that that particular Jalna yogurt is the only other yogurt I found made from fresh whole milk. It’s not plain yogurt if that’s what you’re looking for but the ingredients look good.

And sitting there prettily beside Jalna was some SHEEP Yogurt! I’ve never noticed it before (think I was too busy searching for whole milk plain yogurt from cows). It’s Meredith Dairy’s Pure Sheep Milk Yoghurt. There were two types — one with a green label & lid, the other a blue label & lid. The blue one says it’s Mediterranean-style. Read the labels on both yogurts and the ingredients were identical — pasteurised sheeps milk, live cultures. Figured I would try it next time and do some research on it first.

Meredith Dairy Sheep Milk Yogurt

Once home, I checked on the Meredith Dairy website and it states:

GREEN LABEL & LID – is made using Lacto Bacillus Acidophilus & Bifidus (Probiotic).
BLUE LABEL & LID – is made using Greek Lacto Bacillus Thermopilus & Bulgaris (preferred by Chefs).

So the only difference would be the cultures used. Interesting. I’d love to try them both though. Plus since Ewes’ milk has a higher fat content, it must taste nicer! 🙂

Now I’m wondering how come I haven’t come across Goat Milk Yogurt. Wonder where I can find that..

My Yogurt Buying Adventure Part 2

Continuation from Part 1

It’s funny how I find what I’m looking for soon after I want it. Just like my search for Raw Milk, thank you God.

One fine day, I found myself at Plaza Damas for a meeting. I wasn’t expecting to find anything amazing when I headed to Mercato afterwards. As I was walking towards the yogurt section, I saw my fav brand of  cheddar cheese (Kerrygold), butter (Anchor and Kerrygold). Since they were all there, I got excited to check out their yogurt selection.

And, WOW! What a selection it was. They even had Stonyfield! But it was low-fat, boo-hoo! Or was it non-fat? What I do know is that it wasn’t whole milk yogurt. Le sigh! So I skimmed the shelves; they had all the yogurts I’ve seen before and then some soy yogurt and special-for-babies yogurt. My eyes suddenly caught the words “whole milk” on the babies yogurt. What?! Only babies’ get the privilege of whole milk yogurt? Fine, I thought, at least I can finally buy whole milk yogurt. But when I scrutinized the tubs, it was all flavoured yogurt. No natural PLAIN yogurt! Please yogurt guys, I just want natural, plain whole milk yogurt. Is that too much to ask? I don’t want flavoured yogurt as its full of sugar and other stuff.

As browsing yogurt seems to be my hobby, I checked out the big tubs of yogurt. I disregarded the usual ones I knew weren’t made with whole milk and saw Nancy’s Organic yogurt. They had her non-fat yogurts in the individual small packs, but the big tub ones looked a bit different. JACKPOT! It’s Whole Milk PLAIN yogurt!! They also stocked her Greek yogurt (yes, whole milk as well). Okay, okay. Calm down. Get yourself together and read the ingredients label. I’m happy to say that the first ingredient was Whole Milk. However, I wasn’t too happy reading the second ingredient — “Nonfat Milk Powder”. I wanted 100% whole milk but beggars can’t be choosers. So I got it and it definitely tasted better than the previous yogurt I got (the one that tricked me into thinking it wasn’t low-fat) BUUUUT it still didn’t taste quite right. I’m sure it’s the nonfat milk powder. Hehe. Picky, picky me.

However, the next time I went grocery shopping, I went back to look again at Malaysia’s own Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt. It claims to contain live cultures, no colouring, no preservatives and made from 100% fresh cow’s milk. I had come across this yogurt from the beginning but it didn’t say whether it was whole milk or skim milk and it also didn’t state which live cultures it contained. However, this time, I checked the Nutrition Facts and saw that it had more than 3.25% milk fat which makes it whole milk. Awesome! And it’s made from 100% fresh whole milk, which means there is no mixing with powdered milk powder. Plus point: it’s locally made. I love supporting quality local products! If only they had a proper ingredients label that I could read through and stated the type of live cultures used, I would’ve bought this in the first place.

Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt 400g

The only other yogurt I found that is made from fresh whole milk is Jalna’s BioDynamic Organic Yogurt with Bush Honey. It’s not plain however, but the ingredients look good. No funny stuff. It’s also much more pricier than our local Farm Fresh Natural Yogurt.

My Yogurt Buying Adventure Part 1

Buying yogurt in Malaysia used to be such a hard task for me. I’m a full-fat girl because I don’t believe in low-fat foodstuff (as you can tell from my previous post) and whole milk/full fat is better for you. Plus, I only like plain natural yogurt. That way, I can add in my own choice of honey and/or fruits.

Anyway, while grocery shopping, I looked at the various brands of yogurt and saw that 99% were all proud to say they were “low-fat” or “fat-free”. Since I wanted whole milk yogurt, I found this particular brand which sold natural yogurt and Greek yogurt. I was relieved that it didn’t say low-fat/fat-free so I quickly bought those two to try. Rookie mistake. I didn’t read the ingredient label as I normally do.

When I ate the yogurts, I was wondering why it didn’t taste nice at all. It was nothing like the delicious whole milk yogurt I was used to. While pondering, I examined the tub closely and began reading the ingredients. First up, it said “Skim Milk”. *insert sad face* I’m pretty sure it tasted the way it did because it skimmed the delicious fatty yet healthy cream from the milk.

So, I went on a mission. Whenever I saw a Cold Storage, Village Grocer or Mercato, I’d check out their yogurts (amongst other things). Being my usual self, a label nazi, I read all the ingredients. Browsing through the yogurt shelves, I skipped through all the flavoured yogurt and ignored those that were clearly marked low-fat/non-fat/fat-free. Those unmarked would warrant me to read the ingredients label and weed out those that used skim milk.

Lo and behold, what did I find? That there are NO yogurts made with whole milk! I’m stunned as I cannot believe that the whole of Malaysia really eats only low-fat or non-fat yogurt. Why??? Does no one want the creamy, full of fat whole milk yogurt? It’s good and healthy! Then again, I don’t really know Malaysians who really love yogurt for its taste (because they’ve only been sold the low-fat/non-fat variety).

So I checked out online how to make my own yogurt and was disappointed that you need yogurt to start with. Sure, I can use a bit of the low-fat yogurt and use whole milk; but then I needed the live and active cultures. And guess what? Most of the yogurts sold do not claim they’re made with LIVE cultures, so of course I would assume the cultures were not live and active as I’m sure it would be a selling point, no? I did find some yogurt that said it was made with live cultures, but when I read the ingredients, it didn’t state which cultures. I had 2 specific cultures that I wanted in mind — Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Since they weren’t disclosing which bacteria they used, I wasn’t going to use them.

I also looked at those dried yogurt starters but was even more disappointed when I read the ingredients. It had so many additional things that I didn’t want to consume. To Be Continued…

Good Fats — They’re Not All Bad

Growing up, my mom has always fed us with normal food full of its natural fat. Alhamdulillah, she was never on a quest for feeding us low-fat or non-fat food. And I am so ever grateful for that.

I did a lot of reading on fats — saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans fat, oils, butter, hydrogenated, butter vs. margarine, healthier oils, etc and have come to a conclusion that I will continue cooking using palm oil, virgin coconut oil (VCO), olive oil, and baking using butter (real butter, not those butter spreads or blends). I’ve recently read that palm shortening and ghee are good too but I have yet to try that out. I’m glad that our bodies need healthy fat because I really love my butter. I’m proud to be a full-fat girl!

Butter made from the milk of grass-fed cow

Butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows

I’m so glad I found this article which sums up my stand on this matter perfectly. (Please read it, it’s very informative!)

After some googling, I found out some butters which are made from the milk of grass-fed cows. I’m happy to find these 2 brands selling in Malaysia — Anchor (New Zealand) and Kerrygold (Ireland). I choose Anchor over Kerrygold because it’s more affordable.

Also made from the milk of grass-fed cows

Also made from the milk of grass-fed cows

Again, if you can’t figure out why I’m crazy for  dairy products made of milk (raw, if possible) from grass-fed cows,  hop on over HERE – it explains what I believe in. I also like Chris Kresser’s article. Feel free to google more about it though and form your own educated opinion.

TIP: The best place to buy Anchor butter would be those bakery supplies stores like Baking with Yen, Bagus, Yummie, etc. They are cheaper than buying from supermarkets.

Sure, homemade butter made from RAW milk of grass-fed cows would be the best, but I’ll take what I can for now.

Grass-Fed Cows and Raw Milk In Malaysia

Such a happy day for me because I was just asking my husband over the weekend where we could buy Raw Milk here in Malaysia, and Alhamdulillah, today my question was answered as we found it while doing our grocery shopping!

It’s simple stuff like this that can really make my day.

So, we were in the dairy section at Village Grocer, Bangsar Village and saw this cute bottle branded “Bright Cow – Fresh Jersey Milk”. Jersey cows? Awesome! And what was even more awesome was when I saw that the milk was Non Pasteurised, and Non Homogenised. Score! It’s RAW!

I love reading labels and scanning the whole product, so then I saw that it was 100% Malaysian. Support local products? DEFINITELY! Especially if it’s well-made quality stuff. But then I immediately asked my husband, “How much is it?” I was hoping it would be around RM7-8, but it wasn’t too bad. Village Grocer’s price was RM9.39.

We bought it and went straight home. I was nervous about drinking it. Would it be good? Tasty? Horrible? Well, there was only one way to find out. Poured out a glass and took a sip. WOW! It’s excellent! It reminded me of the delicious fresh milk we had in Germany. I like the taste but I wouldn’t be able to explain it well. You’ll just have to go and try it yourself.

Anyway, I just had to read up on them and gain more information about Bright Cow. (I love doing research.) We were really happy to find out that the cows are mainly grass-fed as we love our dairy products to come from grass-fed cows. They do however supplement with rice straw and 100% natural vegetable pellets. We’d love it if the cows were 100% grass-fed, but I guess that’s okay. I’m just truly grateful that buying raw milk is now easier.

For those who stumbled upon this post and can’t figure out why I’m crazy for raw milk from grass-fed cows, hop on over HERE – it explains what I believe in. I also like Chris Kresser’s article. Read THIS as well as it’s very informative. Feel free to google more about it though and form your own educated opinion.