Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Yogurt


-1 Gallon Raw Whole Milk or Organic Whole Milk is what I suggest.
-1 Cup of Raw Turbinado Sugar.  (A less processed cane sugar.)
-1 Cup powdered Milk (for thickening)
-2 Cups of a Yogurt Starter (Any organic yogurt will work or some yogurt from your last batch)
-1 TBSP Mexican Vanilla
-3 TBSP of your favorite extract or flavor or
-4 drops of wild orange, lavender, or lemon essential oil.


-Candy Thermometer
-Big pot
-Quart Jars to Pour into and incubate in
-A box
-Towel &
-Heating Pad

Pour the milk into a big pot and set on medium to high heat.  You'll be watching the thermometer for 3 temperatures.  150.  180 and 115.  And this is if you want a creamy yogurt texture.  When the milk reaches about 150, pour two cups of it into a blender with the sugar and powdered milk.  Blend at low so as not to add too many bubbles into the milk and then pour back into the pot of milk.  Stir the milk slow to avoid scorching and so that bubbles are not incorporated into the big batch.  Wait till it gets to 180 and then hold for five minutes before turning off.

Fill up a sink with cold water and some ice.  Place your pot into it to give it an ice bath.  You want to bring the temperature down to 115 before adding the culture and flavorings.  This is so that the high temperature doesn't kill the cultures.  But too low a temperature could make it so that it doesn't incubate.    So 115 is ideal.  Once the milk is at 115, pour about 2 cups into a blender again with the yogurt starter, vanilla, and other flavorings blend on low until all incorporated.  Pour back into the big pot and stir slowly.  At this point, you pour your mixture into quart jars.  In your box, place a heating pad on high heat with a towel over it and then proceed to place your finished yogurt into the box on top of the heating pad with the towel.  Tuck the rest of the towel around it and keep it warm.  Let it incubate now for 12 hours.  Then you can put the jars into the fridge to cool for about an hour or eat it as is.  Some bubbles may have made a funny texture on top.  I just scrape that off and eat what's under it.  If it seems the whey and curd have separated, just mix it together and ENJOY!  It's super nutritious for any nursing moms or babies.  Or anyone really.

For the Raw Milk version:

Just heat the milk to 115, dissolve all ingredients into it and then pour into quart jars and let incubate for 12 hours also.  The texture will be a little bit runnier with more curd and whey.  But equally nutritious.  And the living enzymes are not killed at this low temperature.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fats, Fats and more FATS!!! Saturated and Good for You! What?!

I was taught how to make yogurt from my sweet mother-in-law.  She has always been a most nurturing woman to me.  I reminisce about this for a variety of reasons.  

During my days of cleansing and clean eating, I somehow stopped using this much needed nutritious food.  Yogurt.  Why?  Because dairy, in my mind, was not good for you anymore.  From my last post about balance, what I've come to realize is that I was eating so much dairy in the past, and not enough of anything else, except for cookies and donuts, that it actually created health problems and sensitivities to any dairy foods for both Orion and myself.  

For my first-born son, Orion, eliminating dairy was the most important step we could take in his recovery from eczema.  For my fourth child, Edison, his eczema has been a very unique case.  His trigger foods are grains and so he can't have many grains but he actually thrives off of dairy.  A pattern we've noticed has been that his skin condition improves dramatically when he has plenty of yogurt and raw milk.  In an attempt to help him gain weight because he has struggled putting on weight, we once again, experimented with formulas.  But those did him no good.  Meaning, every time we tried a formula, he would have another flare-up.  We ended up tossing out all the formulas.  It's hard for me to toss out foods that translate to money and therefore a waste of it.  But it just wasn't something we could use with him.  He didn't take to it at all.  Perhaps it was the processing of it or other additives and sugars.  I may never know, but I'm happy to admit that we've begun making yogurt again.  It's really a great activity to do with kids and a therapeutic process to make yogurt from scratch. 

I may just be a mom with little knowledge in the biochemistry of how our bodies function but here's what I do know:  Making yogurts from scratch using raw whole milk is a good and healthy thing.  It's full of saturated fats and a great way to replenish gut flora in order to improve absorption of mineral dense plants.  You don't need a lot of fats.  At least not in the quantities I was consuming ice cream throughout my first pregnancy.  It had somehow turned into my main course at every meal.  Unless of course you're depleted, which is the case in most women who've tried and experimented with every low-fat diet on the planet.  And usually because of a weight-loss goal.  Who does this?!  Guilty here.  Once again, I will use the word: BALANCE.  

My little AH-HA moment on saturated fats today is this:  The myelin sheath in our brains is made up of about 70% fats.  In order to keep this sheath well lubricated, we need fats.  A deficiency in these essential fats, that can come from good clean sources of yogurts and fish, can cause a lot of mental fatigue and depression.  Which is why ice cream tends to make women happy.  

Another little tidbit given at a recent doTerra convention I attended on skin care was this:  Our skin needs good saturated fat in order to reproduce skin cells that we're sloughing off every day.  When we don't get enough, our skin develops the inability to lubricate and hydrate itself.  Dry, rough skin.  It's the biggest organ of our body and we need to take care of it.  

This post may seem a bit disjointed.  But because this is my account and story, I'd like to take a moment to point out the most dominating problems I was experiencing after my first child post-partum.  If you've been following my blog, you may already know what they are.  

For Orion: ECZEMA.  For myself: DEPRESSION       

Do you see the connections now?  I can tell you I didn't for a long time.  I was so determined to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight after having my babies that I deprived myself of a lot of fatty foods that I'm certain my body was craving for a reason.  What's amazing is that as soon as I started obeying my body's signals for certain things, both mine and my babies' conditions improved.  

A little bit of fish, and whole lot of yogurt later, I can say I'm definitely a lot happier.  That's not to exclude good and healthy plant sources of fats like nuts, avocados and coconuts.  I still love using these.  But for many fans of the China Study and others who've experimented with a lot of plant-based diets and perhaps forgotten the importance of having some fats in our bodies, allow my experience to be a guide for your journey to a better understanding of what true wellness and balance means.  

What kinds of fats are a staple in your home?

Look for the upcoming yogurt recipe.  
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