Healthier Living With Yogurt
Virtually everybody understands that eating yogurt is a part of healthy lifestyle. But what exactly is yogurt? I recently read the ingredients on a container of commercial yogurt a friend of mine was eating. I was very surprised to see there were actually 27 grams of sugar in that single serving of commercial yogurt. As a comparison, I was eating an ice cream bar, which had only 16 grams of sugar.
Thus, even though I was ostensibly eating something that was not healthy for me and my friend was eating something that was ostensibly very healthy, this was certainly not the case. I’ve looked at most of the commercial preparations of yogurt and noted that there are a lot of chemical additives.
I have been eating yogurt all my life. As an Indian, we culture milk and make our own yogurt and are able to make an extremely healthy and pure product. The actual texture and character of homemade yogurt is significantly different than the texture and character of the commercially available yogurts. I am concerned that there are even more additives in these commercial yogurt, which may go unreported and may have a detrimental impact on a person’s health.
The characteristics of a healthy yogurt, which is composed only of milk and probiotic bacteria ( generally called lactobacillus ), is that it is somewhat light and easily breaks apart, and that the solid and liquid portions easily separate. The liquid portion is called whey and has extremely high bio-available protein. The solid portion is composed mostly of the very beneficial probiotic bacteria. One thing about probiotic bacteria that you should know is that these bacteria are very beneficial to our digestive system and our overall health. Many studies have demonstrated that proper bowel bacteria colonization improves weight, energy, bowel function, mood and the ability to recognize other people’s emotional states. Thus, it is beneficial in many different aspects of our lives. For this reason, I’d like to help people and give a short tutorial on how to make your own yogurt.
Here is how it’s done.
The first step is having a live yogurt culture, which is easily available from anybody who already is making his or her own yogurt or from any of the local Indian or Persian markets. Remember, all you need is a very small cup. The next step begins with sterilizing the milk that you’re going to use. Remember that the quality of the milk you use impact the quality of the yogurt you make. Milk from factory cows treated with lifetime antibiotics and growth promoting chemicals will have a poor yogurt product. Although pasteurization is quite common and is touted to completely sterilize milk; this is often not true. Thus, the first step in a yogurt preparation consists of pouring the milk into a pan or container which can be heated until the milk is just very gently steaming and an occasional bubble is forming on the surface. At this temperature, virtually any hostile bacteria have died.
The next step is allowing the milk to gently cool down to approximately 120°. A rough estimate would be when you can hold your hands against the pan without a sensation of extreme heat. At this point, take one small spoonful of the yogurt culture, then gently mix into the heated milk. Make sure that you swirl it around as this breaks down the clumps of probiotic bacteria and allows for an even seeding of the actively growing components.
Following this, place a lid over the pan and either wrap the pan in a blanket, or place the pan on a heating pad. Place in an area where there’ll be no disturbance and presto, 8 to 12 hours later the entire pan will be a very healthy and tasty yogurt. If you like yogurts that are a little thicker, just continue the gentle heating for an additional 2 to 4 hours. If you eat this every day, your digestion will certainly improve and you’ll feel better. I have had multiple patients who come in complaining of indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, poor digestion have near miraculous results. This is something that is easy and allows you to take some charge of your own health. I think it’s very important that human beings are actively engaged in their own wellness and that they don’t become passive and blindly accept poor nutrition and consequently poor health.
A Salute To Your Health!
Navneet Sharda, MD of Cancer Care Center of Las Vegas.