Ruth's Blog

Fermented Milk—Good Taste, Good Health

Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD


I’m a smoothie-lover and there’s no better way to enjoy fresh or frozen fruit than when it’s been whipped with fermented milk!  Yes, that may sound unappetizing, but think again. Fermented milk is considered to be a longevity food–filled with “healthy” bacteria that act as gut protectors setting up a defensive army of good guys that fight off the invaders. These little critters are amazing microscopic friends that are partners in healthy eating.  Yogurt and kefir are common names for milk that has been allowed to experience life extension.  Yogurt is typically thick and custard-like and contains specific cultures such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus.

Kefir has a more liquid texture and generally contains a wider array of healthy bacteria. Look for products with “live, active cultures” on the food label to maximize the probiotic effects on the intestinal flora. New pourable yogurts are also available which contain healthful cultures as well as prebiotics–a type of dietary fiber that helps to feed the healthy bacteria (called probiotics).

Fermenting milk is a practice that has been used for centuries–likely a method of preserving milk when refrigeration didn’t exist. This necessity turned out to be a health-promoter and plays a role in enhancing the immune system and digestive tract. It may offer a host of other health benefits such as reducing inflammation and infection and other possible roles now being studied.

Beyond the health benefits, I enjoy the tart taste that fermented milk provides—it offers that perfect balance with the sweetness of fruit in a blended smoothie. In our household, we toss in all kinds of fruits and spices. Invent your own smoothie every day. Here is one basic recipe to build upon.


1 c. vanilla flavored pourable yogurt or fermented milk (kefir)

1 medium frozen banana (peel the over-ripe ones and toss in the freezer with other fruits)

½ c. other frozen fruit such as purple grapes, mango or pineapple (or a combination)

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

2 dried plums

Blend on low or pulse until frozen fruit is softened, then blend on high to smooth the mixture.


Disclosure: I do not currently represent any fermented milk products.

Squash–In The Spotlight For Fall

It’s definitely time to visit your local farmers market, if you haven’t already been a frequent visitor.

The markets are brimming with the best of the fall harvest and one of my favorites is butternut squash. I’m fortunate to have received a few fresh picks from my mom’s garden in rural Wisconsin.  You can identify butternut by it’s light creamy tan exterior color, characteristic hourglass shape and rich golden-orange interior. This fall favorite it filled with nutrients,such as beta carotene and is a good source of fiber.

Last night I cut the squash into eight chunks, removed the seeds and roasted the pieces at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes with a sprinkle of salt & pepper an drizzle of olive oil. We enjoyed it as a side dish with chicken spaghetti meal. Leftover pieces were refrigerated for today’s soup:

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil

¾ c onion, chopped

¼ c. red pepper, chopped

¼ c. green pepper, chopped

2 tsp cumin (more if you like it)

1 ½ t. fresh minced garlic

¼ t. white pepper

2 (14oz .) cans low sodium chicken broth (or homemade – if you have it)

2 c. cooked or make squash

¼ c. half & half (optional)

Hot pepper sauce to taste.

Brown onion and garlic in olive oil. Add red and green pepper and lightly sauté. Add remaining ingredients and heat. Your’re the cook – adjust seasonings as needed –

Just before serving add the optional half & half and heat to serving temperature (do not boil.) Sprinkle the desired amount of hot pepper sauce.

Serve with a slice of seasonal fresh local apples–We’re enjoying “honey crisp” in Minnesota right now!

To Your Health,


Creative Commons LicenseThis blog by Lahmayer & Associates, Ltd. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Feel free to share, copy, distribute, display and transmit this work as long as you attribute the authorship to Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, link back to this webpage and avoid altering or building upon this work. (For non-commercial purposes only).

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