It's no secret yogurt could possibly be considered a power food. It's also no secret this foodie option can do wonders on the skin. So, we whipped up a very easy recipe of our own that will save you money and do your face and body some goodness.
We won't get into so much technicality as we are no pros in food chemistry. But from a consumer knowledge point of view, yogurt may be beyond a power food. Per WebMD, yogurt that contains active and live cultures may help gut problems such as lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowl disease. Its goodness even extends to help against vaginal infections such as yeast. Studies are still underway on how this bacteria is good for our gut. Per a discussion with NPR, a study by Jeffrey Gordon, professor of pathology and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine concluded that the yogurt strains doesn't recolonize but it does alter what is happening in our gut. So yes a small ingestion of yogurt bacteria can effect the properties of the gut community.
How to understand 'Good' and 'Bad' bacteria?
Good and bad bacteria in our gut may compare to playing cops(good bacteria) and robbers(bad bacteria). The more good cops you have in your gut the less robbers they are. Good bacteria may help with digestion, consume bad bacteria and boost immune system.
The Good(Bacteria) Guys
Also knows as 'Probiotics' which translates from Greek to 'Prolife' referring to live bacteria. Now that we a bit of bacteria understanding lets look at yougurt labels and those super long ingredient names. Not every yogurt is the same and without getting to detailed on the reasons why, just keep in mind that the longer a product is in a store shelf, the more preservatives it may contained and the less nutritional value it may hold. In reality fresh food doesn't live long. Here is a very simple break-down on the good guys (bacteria) that is common but not limited in yogurt:
Lactobacillus bulgaricus (l. Bulgaricus)
A good bacteria that lives in your intestinal lining and helps fight the bad guys by producing its own 'natural antibiotics'
Streptococcus Thermophilus (S. Thermophilus)
This bacteria loves warm places and may help alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance. It is also used to as a starter.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus (L. Acidophilus)
A bacteria that breaks down food, helps with nutrient absorbtion and fight bad organisms that cause diarrhea.
Basically this bacteria stimulates the immune system to stop an infection before it occurs.
Lactobacillus Casei (L. Casei)
A bacteria that is produced by the body and found in yogurt. It aids against diarrhea.
Yogurt is made of what else?
Milk! Now that you have good bacteria, you need the most nutritional milk to get the most benefit from your yogurt. There is this whole debate about drinking raw, pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized milk. What's the difference? Simple, pasteurized is boiled at a higher temperature for a period of time and then cooled to kill most of its micro organisms. Ultra-pasteurized is heated at an even higher temperature. Both of these process are done to give milk a long shelf life and according to the FDA avoid the occurrences of disease. In raw milk its basically straight from the cow, goat or sheep with all its microbes and it has a very short shelf life of approximately 5-7 days. If you ask us, anything that lives and is not properly stored(whether raw or pasteurized) or eaten before it expires can cause an illness because obviously it will grow bad bacteria. So, we leave this decision up to you. What we really need to be concern about is the care and feeding of the animals our milk is coming from. If the animals eating habits are poor and infused with hormones, regardless of what heating system we use, we are digesting their poor health which then in turn reflect on us. This is where the term 'grass-fed' comes into play. Basically, it is exactly that. Cows that eat pasture instead of a processed diet. Cows that are grass-fed equates to healthier milk in terms of vitamins and healthy fat. Another fact and decision to think about.
Yogurt For The Face
Finally to the fun part! Sorry we were a bit rigorous on you. We promise not make this too long. Other then the good bacteria, yogurt contains protein and it is doubled in 'Greek yogurt' According to Fitness magazine, the protein in yogurt keeps the skin firm and wrinkles at bay. This happens because of the lactic and alpha hydroxy acid content in yogurt. So, that's one benefit! Now, also because of its live cultures, yogurt can kill bacteria and exfoliate which makes it ideal for acne-prone or dull skin. If you ever run out of face cleanser or you want to go straight natural, yogurt makes a good cleanser.
So much talk about yogurt! Let's make our own. Raw milk will be our first preference but we know this is not widely available and even illegal in many states across the U.S. so we opted for our second choice. We chose a milk from a local farm(available at our grocery) that although it pasteurizes (at a low temperature) its milk, it comes from grass-fed cows. For yogurt, we chose Fage, it is less chemically processed and contains no pectin or preservatives. But our first choice would have been raw yogurt. The recipe to make yogurt out of raw milk and raw yogurt bacteria is different. So don't try this recipe for it.
3 Cups of milk
3 Tablespoons of yogurt -- yogurt must be plain, full fat works better and label must say it contains live and active cultures.
Glass container with lid
1. Heat the 3 cups of milk to a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to stir while warming at a low flame. Once it has reached this temperature, remove sauce pan from fire and let the milk come down to 105 Fahrenheit.
2. Put 3 tablespoons of yogurt and one cup of the 105 degree Fahrenheit milk into the glass container where you will be storing it and whisk it until all yogurt is dissolved.
3. Pour in the remainder of milk
4. Cover the glass container with a lid and then wrap it with a towel and put it inside the oven to incubate at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 hours. If your oven is ice cold, before you begin the yogurt making process bring up the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it off. Once it has cooled down to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, put in the covered toweled yogurt to incubate. Yogurt bacteria is quite sensitive and needs its right warm temperature to grow.
It wasn't that hard you see! Our final picture is our homemade yogurt with also homemade strawberry preserve without pectin. After every batch save 3 tablespoons of yogurt to make your next batch. If by the 4 or 5 batch your yogurt is watering down, start with fresh again with fresh yogurt culture. Enjoy!
References: Streptococcus thermophilus, Missouri S&T Biology Dept., What is Acidophilus Bifidus?, Live Strong, Lactobacillus, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Library of Health, The Benefits of Yogurt, WebMD, Probiotic Power: Why The Secret To A Healthy Belly Is Paved With Good Bacteria, MindBodyGreen, What is Lactobacillus Bulgaricus?, Live Strong, Does Probiotic Yogurt Really Affect Digestion?, NPR, Cow's Milk Grass Fed, WH Foods, The Good-Skin Diet: 10 Foods for Healthier Skin, Fitness Magazine