What is Labneh?! (Besides Amazing!)

I was at Whole Foods the other day, which is unusual for me because I never go there despite it being less than 2 miles from my house.  My grocery shopping is typically done exclusively at Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, Vons, and Costco for bulk items like high quality olive oil and quinoa.  However, on this day I was waiting for my boyfriend to grab something from one of the neighboring stores and I was in the mood for sour cream, so into Whole Foods I went!

Standing in front of the dairy cooler, I was impressed with the selection of lactose-free/reduced products as well as the products with probiotics in them.  Since doing my 21-day Elimination Challenge, I have been much more conscientious about what I put into my body and how my body reacts to different ingredients.  Unfortunately, dairy is one of those food groups that doesn’t always support my optimal health.  My mission, therefore, is to only eat high-quality, probiotic-filled and lactose-free/reduced (if possible) foods.  I’m not going to completely cut everything out of my life if it doesn’t make the lactose cut, I’m just only going to eat it in small amounts and only occasionally.

So…I’m standing there in the chilly aisle, peering into the dairy cooler and I find a great-looking organic sour cream with a mix of probiotics that is from a local California dairy and I think-great! Mission accomplished.

But then…oh, but then…I saw it.  Sitting mere inches from the gut-friendly sour cream was this beautiful white and blue container of Labneh.  I thought to myself…what the heck is this? I picked it up for a closer look at the label.  It said Kefir on it…that definitely rang a bell.

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I had never heard of Labneh/Kefir cheese until very recently.  It was one of the things I learned about in my Health Coaching program through IIN.  I remembered that it is a fermented dairy product that is high in probiotics.  A quick search on my phone showed me that it is actually quite low in lactose as well, and that it may be suitable for lactose-intolerant people.  So, I took a container home with me.  What happened next was magic.

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This food product is not only healthy, it is packed with flavor! If you like Greek yogurt and sour cream, you have found the happy marriage of the two.  There is a distinct tart/sourness to the Labneh, yet the flavor is not super rich.  Rather it is light and inviting, compelling you to take another bite.  Then, there is the texture…

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Labneh has this amazing, smooth, creamy texture that is like a dream.  It’s basically a strained Greek yogurt so a lot of the moisture has been removed, creating this luscious sensation as you savor it.  It’s got almost a velvety feel to it that complements the other textures of the food.

I am happy to say that I have been eating way more of this microbiome, lactose-reduced food than the sour cream…in fact, I’ve been completely neglecting it!

Labneh is officially my favorite dairy product and I am going to need to replenish it soon.  I highly recommend to anyone who is avoiding lactose-heavy dairy products but enjoys the texture and flavor of Greek yogurt/sour cream, or anyone who is interested in trying something new.  Bonus-it supports a healthy immune system by supporting the gut flora (bacteria), which is where about 80% of our immune system lives! 🙂

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