When I first moved to Santa Monica from Colorado almost 8 years ago, I worked with a woman who was on the Pinkberry Diet. She ate a slice of whole wheat toast for breakfast, then Pinkberry yogurt for lunch and Pinkberry yogurt for dinner. That was it. I was baffled.
Welcome to California, where people will try any celebrity or fad diet, except eat real food.
Yesterday, Chris and I were walking our dog, Stella, and we passed by a Pinkberry. I was reminded of the days when I used to get froyo as a treat once in a while with the Pinkberry Diet Lady. “Mmmmm, Pinkberry,” I reminisced.
“What’s Pinkberry?” Chris asked.
I stared at him in disbelief. I had thought everyone knew, but then again, this was Chris I was talking to, who has complete and utter self control when it came to putting junk in his body after being on paleo for several years. I had only started eating healthy when we started dating a couple of years ago.
Hmmm, how to best describe Pinkberry, I thought. “It’s yogurt, light in texture, a little tart, and you can add fruit toppings to it. It’s seriously amazing, but totally overrated.”
If you’re not familiar with Pinkberry, it’s a popular frozen yogurt joint headquartered out of Los Angeles that single-handedly started the froyo-cult following revolution, with Red Mango, Yogurtland following in hot pursuit. They have opened over 170 stores worldwide, most of them located in LA. Pinkberry’s Original yogurt flavor is only 100 calories for a 97g cup serving, plus whatever toppings you add whether that be fruit and other [terrible] toppings such as cookies, Cap’n Crunch, sprinkles, syrup, yogurt chips, etc.
Toppings aside, as innocent as frozen yogurt sounds, Pinkberry’s ingredients for the original yogurt consist of nonfat milk, sugar, nonfat yogurt (pasteurized nonfat milk, live and active cultures), nonfat yogurt powder (nonfat milk, culture), fructose, dextrose, natural flavors, citric acid, guar gum, maltodextrin, mono and diglycerides, and rice starch. It also provides an allergen statement that the ingredient(s) are produced on equipment that also processes soy and wheat. Source here. So, not exactly super effective if you’re trying to lose weight, if you’re a celiac, or have gluten, milk and soy allergies (or if you just want to feel good).
I decided to make “Pinkberry-ish” froyo for Chris that day so he could experience this froyo phenomenon. I wanted to recreate that unique tartness that tasted like the ones Pinkberry cranked out, but without all the crap they put into theirs. As a substitution for milk and yogurt, I used coconut milk and the Tonix brand Coconut Water Kefir to reach it’s light icy consistency and tart flavor.
The Tonix Kefir that we get at Whole Foods is a fermented beverage, rich in vitamins, minerals and natural electrolytes. Each bottle contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria to support healthy gut microbes, create awesome intestinal flora, digestion and production of B-6, B12, K, niacin and folic acid. This probiotic drink hydrates and gently cleanses the intestinal tract and liver. It has the fermented tartness that yogurt has. A small bottle will run you about $7, but totally delicious and worth it.
(makes two large servings)
1 can organic coconut milk (The whole fat kind. The light coconut milk is no good)
1 small bottle of Tonix Coconut Water Kefir, or 1/2 a bottle of the large one (shown)
Fruit Toppings: Strawberries, blueberries, nectarines/peaches, blackberries, etc.
Optional: 1 tsp organic honey or maple syrup (if you really, Really, REALLY want to have this taste exactly like Pinkberry, but I prefer the sugar-free version)
2 serving bowls (chilled)
In a blender, mix the coconut milk and the coconut kefir. Put it in the ice-cream maker and let it do it’s magic for about 15 minutes…but don’t just stand around staring at the ice cream maker spin around and around. Chop some fruit toppings, go for a walk, do some squats, whatever.
You’ll know it’s the perfect texture when you scoop it up with a spoon and it doesn’t slide off.
Remove from the ice cream maker bowl and transfer to two serving bowls. Add whatever toppings you want and serve immediately.
With all the health benefits of Coconut Kefir, and with no refined sugar and dairy, there is absolutely no other froyo healthier than this.
I never stayed in touch with the Pinkberry Diet Lady, but I can only hope she didn’t stick with her diet. I totally get it though…This stuff is addicting, and Chris is already hooked.
- 1 can organic whole fat coconut milk
- 1 small bottle of Tonix-brand Coconut Water Kefir
- Fruit Toppings: Strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, blackberries, mango, pineapple, etc.
- Optional: 1 tsp organic honey or maple syrup
- In a blender, mix the coconut milk and the coconut kefir.
- Put the mixture in the ice-cream maker and let it spin for 15 minutes. You'll know it's the perfect texture when you scoop it up with a spoon and it doesn't slide off.
- Meanwhile, chop your fruit toppings.
- When the fro-yo is ready, transfer to two chilled serving bowls, top with your fruit and serve immediately.
- Ice-Cream Maker
- Make sure the serving bowls have been chilled for at least 10 minutes
Feedback? Please send me a comment!