12 Step Program… for Yogurt?

My hope is wearing thin. I’ll come out of this valley, but the night is getting darker and darker, and it shows no sign of turning towards the morning. The ropes on the bridge are fraying and I’m too tired and hungry to be overly concerned with it all. I can’t sleep through the night… I lay restless till late, 1 or 2, and then wake somewhere between 5:30 and 7:30… I can’t focus. I’m probably gaining weight. Or cavities. Yes, I’ll admit it. I am getting over an addiction. Some prefer their vices to come in the form of things like Facebook, or illegal substances, or buying shoes, or iPhone apps… some others, however, prefer theirs in the ‘beverage’ and ‘yogurt’ variety.

I really miss the drinkable carton yogurt from Shanghai.

It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. Hong Kong has graciously supplied Taiwan ice as the freaking amazing, mind-enveloping, reality-defyingly-delicious snack of this home. But I can’t help but think of what I left behind… that pure, classic yogurt, drinkable like a smoothie, in a cardboard carton just like the old chocolate milks of elementary school, always ready for breakfast or mid-morning or lunchtime or mid-afternoon or dinner or post-dinner or midnight snack or wee-hours of the morning consumption. They even supplied it in a range of sizes, from 200ml, 500ml, and 1L. If I were the Big Bear and eating yogurt instead of watery porridge, 1L would be Goldilocks-style Just Right for how much I wanted. I was drinking so much of it during the first few months that I started to feel certain that it was leading to some sort of disease. Surely, consuming any single food item at a rate so dramatically surpassing ‘moderation’ was inevitably leading to something horrible, right?

As it turns out, yogurt is perhaps the healthiest thing in the world to be addicted to. In a collection of different articles, I found the following interesting little one-liners: a study group eating yogurt lost 81% more belly fat than the non-yogurt group (18oz/day); it provides loads of vitamins; 1 cup each day helps recover from workouts; it may prevent high blood pressure (1-2 servings per day); daily servings keep colds away (4 oz/day); despite sugar content, something in yogurt keeps it from causing cavities; raw isn’t better; it reduces risk of some cancers; and on and on**. I used to pitch these facts to friends in Shanghai as if I were a door-to-door yogurt salesman.

The scary thing? Nothing negative. Not one thing to advise anyone to stop drinking approximately a barrel of yogurt per day. A few of the studies even noted the benefits of drinking what may be considered a pretty generous amount. Nothing negative… that’s when I was worried. What could yogurt be hiding?? How could I find no dirt on it? I mean, really, not even cavities? Impressive.. I wondered (while thinking about turning this into an entry full of yogurt pitches and health benefits) if I was somehow, unknowingly, a consumer spy, a plant on behalf of the shadowy, oligarchic yogurt industry… if there is a such a thing. Whatever it is, Mugatu is involved.

Alas, it was all for naught, and now I am far removed; no yogurt here in Hong Kong. That which I left behind in Shanghai, that beginning of something beautiful, was not to be. But, come a few months’ time, I’ll make it back up again to that city of dreams, and perhaps a new beautiful something will have its chance to begin.

Yogurt sections of you corner stores, beware…


**To be fair, this is all information I found on the Internet, and the Internet tends to really like things that make people say Wow! Hey – WHOA! WOW! The Internet is fourteen states out of Dodge by the time anybody says ‘That… wasn’t even true at all.’ Or ‘That was true, well done, I totally like this now, also.’ Either way, the Internet just likes to drop bombs that make it into conversation in order to move eyebrows, unhinge jaws, make ears burn, etc. By the time you’re done actually reading up on the last topic, Internet, in typical frustrating fashion, has left whatever it was you were talking about before in the dust and is well on the way to the next shocking-headline-in-order-to-get-massive-click-through-rates topic. Food is an especially easy target. You could probably find an article describing how every food item known to mankind, even the super-healthy ones, have some sort of deadly side effect. You know, something like: “Apples are the garlic that keeps doctors away, to be sure… but little did we know, they coincidentally attract hoards of vampires! Who woulda thought?” “Carrots! They totally make you age way faster!” “Bacon is actually SUPER HEALTHY FOR YOU!” (So, yes, the last one doesn’t fit.. but you know what I mean.)


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