Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Food for Thought: Red Mango for all! By Lindsey Huster

Seoul summers make for the hottest and stickiest days. Flushed cheeks, constant sweating and balmy humidity are a few of the understood conditions that accompany these sunny days. Such weather begs for drastic measures: full blast air conditioners, portable fanning devices, and most importantly, a dessert that will cool your taste buds and  spark (momentary)  feelings gratitude for summer days.

Finding the perfect summer dessert proves to be a difficult challenge. The treat must be sweet, but not sugary. It has to be in the ice-cream variety, but ideally will not pack on the calories and fat that comes with such desired desserts.

Thankfully, I stumbled into my first Red Mango experience last week. Although I am usually cautious when it comes to fro-yo (usually opting for sweeter treats), I decided to try this to appease my friends I was dining with that evening.

The end result was life-altering. I am now, once an lifetime ice cream consumer, transformed into a healthy fro-you addict. Although I hate to be a walking advertisement for anything, Red Mango may be the best taking yogurt I have ever consumed.

The frozen yogurt does not taste too sugary and tastes much creamier (rather than icier) than other fro-yo faux pas of my dessert past.  Along with its original tarty flavor, there are several other flavors including Pomegranate and Tangomonium, that prove just as tasty.

Red Mango's fro-yo, although relatively new, has gained widespread attention in Korea and around the globe. Red  Mango's first store opened in Seoul in  March 2003 (pre-dating the Pinkberry craze)  by Daniel J. Kim. Since then, 200 locations have spread throughout Korea, and numerous global locations in  have expanded into the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and across the United States.

Red Mango's popularity stems from not only from its unique taste, but from its nutritional value.  Red Mango uses all-natural ingredients with no artificial ingredients (read: no high fructose corn syrup). The yogurt is gluten-free, halal and kosher approved.  As a  frozen yogurt, it  offers  the same health benefits of yogurt. Red Mango yogurt contains GanedenBC30, which is a patented probiotic that has been shown to help support a healthy immune and digestive system. Additionally, Red Mango is certified by the National Yogurt Association's Live and Active Culture Seal for meeting the criteria for healthy yogurt. Such live, active cultures improves lactose intolerance, builds stronger bones and lowers blood pressure.

Unlike  many seasonal desserts, frozen yogurt may also help you to lose weight. In a recent study in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who just cut calories.

The only (slight) pratfall of such a dessert is the potential toppings (up to five handfuls). Although a normal  serving of yogurt has 109  calories, once adding  five of the "fresh fruit" or "fun and crunchy"toppings may pack on a larger caloric punch. While some of the toppings- namely fresh fruit and nuts- offer a smaller serving of calories (typically between 10-30 per scoop), toppings such as cereal and chocolate tend to pack on around 100 calories per scoop.  Not surprising, of course, but something that can be tailored to an eater's taste buds.

Outside of yogurt, Red Mango also sells a wide variety of other just as healthful drinks. The coffee is organic and fair trade, while the teas contain the same probiotic found in the yogurt.  Ultimately, if you tend to crave cold sweets around this summer time, opt for a Red Mango yogurt. Chances are, I will be there.

Lindsey Huster is a writer who usually hails from Chicago. She enjoys listening to music,wearing cardigans and generally anything vegetarian. Send her an e-mail here: Lindsey Huster