Nutrition Fitness Flavored Yogurt

Published on March 8th, 2013 | by Nick Coe

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Fitness Flavored Yogurt

One of the most exciting ways that athletic culture is changing is that people not only want to eat balanced meals, and more of them, but make the content of these scarfing fests extremely nutritious. Gym rats and foodies are melding together, and as the exercise and urban farming/organic industries coalesce, the shift towards a healthier lifestyle is gaining cultural momentum.

This article is all about yogurt. We’re going to look at why more people need to switch from pasteurized yogurt to live & active culture, and then we’re even going to go over how to make your own yogurt at home. What could be better than knowing exactly what’s in your yogurt, and having a steady supply of protein that comes without all the extra ingredients?

I’ve also included lots of tips, and a way to take advantage of probiotics with fruit juices as well. What are probiotics, well, we’ll get to that in a moment, but first a word on breakfast.

The Epiphany of Breakfast

It’s funny when you think about it, but most people don’t realize that the word breakfast, is actually the combination of “break”, and “fast”. Of the people that did figure that out as children, all too often we think we shouldn’t skip breakfast because then the metabolism stays docile longer, burning less calories.

What about our brains? Breakfast jumpstarts our brain muscles as well, and that is for all intensive purposes a good thing. Breakfasts can be so easy, and so simple, and yet so powerful no matter what the demands of the day may be. Here is a recipe for a yummy breakfast yogurt smoothie.

Live Yogurt Breakfast

  • 8oz. of Live Culture yogurt, ideally plain, but you can use any flavor.
  • 1 Handful (roughly 1/2 cup) of fresh organic raspberries
  • 1 Handful of local blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. of Honey
  • 7 large, preferably frozen, strawberries
  • 1 Sliced and Diced banana
  • Then add your choice of juice, water, or milk to the desired amount and blend!

Here’s the kicker, that eight ounce serving of live culture yogurt is protein dense, and can have upwards of 20% of typical adults daily protein requirements. If you’re training heavily, trying to trim down, or just work out a lot and need to maintain extra lean mass, protein is important, but so are carbs, and this smoothie takes less time to make than a pot of coffee.

How about this one; did you know that according to the USDA, yogurt in general is considered a good alternative for meat? I’ll get to live culture fruit juices in a moment, but first let’s investigate why live culture in general is more important than ever in our modern world of corporate food production super highways.

Interested in Probiotics?

Fitness and exercise are wonderful expressions of life, but sickness – not so much. Well it just so happens that about 80% of your immune system is located in your gut.

You know how small African birds love to hang out on top of hippos and eat the things that end up on their backs after the swim around in the muddy water? Well probiotics are microorganisms that will populate our digestive tracts and clean them for us. We help them by giving them food to eat, and they help us by keeping it classy in there.

In a world filled with “anti” biotics, and hand cleansers galore, people tend to think of microorganisms as bad. They’re not. In fact, evolutionists think that at one point in our history, that’s what we were. In fact, the list of microorganisms that live and thrive with us throughout our bodies is ten miles long and in 2pt font.

Probiotics keep the immune system engaged and challenged in the same way as doing a bicep curls challenges the muscle tissue in your arm. Eating probiotics is like giving the immune system a workout basically.

So with yogurt you can accomplish this every morning in a few minutes, get your first meal of the day in and jumpstart your brain, and get a good dose of protein all at the same time.

Let’s Make Some Yogurt At Home

Once you’ve cultivated the desire to take this small step towards a much healthier life, learning how to make yogurt at home is fun and easy. All you gotta find is some kind of raw milk. You can choose cow or goat milk, or even coconut milk for those vegetarians and vegans out there.

For this tutorial, here’s everything you’ll need, and most homes already have this stuff, so plenty of money is going to be saved doing it this way:

  • Start with 1/2 gallon of milk, no need to go overboard. This should make 1/2 gallon of yummy yogurt.
  • 2-3 Tbs of plain yogurt, this is going to serve as your “starter”. It has to say there are live cultures in it, don’t assume there are.
  • An 8-10 quart stock pot
  • A 4-5 quart regular pot that has a lid. This pot is going to fit into the bigger pot with enough room to create a double-boiler effect.
  • 1 stirring spoon and this can be food-safe metal or plastic. Make sure to sterilize it before use.
  • 1 Dial Thermometer with a range of 100-185 degree Fahrenheit. Shoot for the one that has the little clip so it will fit on the pot’s rim.
  • A little heating pad

Instructions

+ Step One
Simply place the smaller pot in the bigger one, and then put them in the sink and begin to fill up the larger pot with water until it’s about half way up the smaller pot. Remember, if you do not hold down the small pot, it will float, and deceive you.
+ Step Two
Put the thermometer in the water (for sterilization), take out the smaller pot, put it upside down on the larger one to trap the vapor, and then put the big pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil.
+ Step Three
Don’t burn yourself, and make liberal use of oven mitts. Ok, now flip the small pot right side up and put it into the boiling water. Carefully pour your milk into the pot, and by carefully I mean nice and slow. Once it’s all in there, check the water level; are the milk and water levels even? It needs to be about right, because if there isn’t enough water the milk won’t heat up evenly.
+ Step Four

Stir, stir, and then gently, delicately stir some more. You want to stay an active participant as the milk reaches 185 degrees. This important because it’s the point where milk proteins get prepares for culture production. One way you’ll know it’s there is that the milk with being to start frothing, like it would in a latte drink from Starbucks.

To prepare for the next step, go plug up your sink, and then fill it about a quarter full with nice cold water.  You could even add some ice if you feel like it.

+ Step Five

Ok, so once it gets to the 185 degree, use your mitts and put the milk in the sink. Again, the water and yogurt should be relatively even for even distribution of temperature. Keep an eye on the thermostat. Once it hits 110 degrees, you’re golden. This is when the probiotics start munching down on the lactose and reproduce themselves. You should stir every now and then, but not as profusely as during the heating phase.

Once at 110, now you can safely add the 2-3 Tbs of yogurt into your milk. Proceed with more stirring so that the yogurt gets evenly distributed.

+ Step Six
Ok, so grab your heating pad, place it on a safe flat surface, and set it to about medium. Place the pot of milk on it, cover the pot with the lid, cover the pot with a common dish towel, and then relax. The next step is pretty easy, you just have to wait roughly seven hours.
7 Hours Are Up

Awesome, take the pot off the heating pad, remove the cloth and the lid, grab a spatula, and dip it into the milk to ensure that it did indeed curdle.

Passionately stir everything, and if you get some pungent smells, don’t worry, that’s good. Pretend you’re on the Food Network and stir like a pro. Pick up the pot and really let her rip. You want everything to get evenly distributed with remaining liquid.

Final Steps

Find some smaller containers to pour the mixture into. You could shoot for smaller servings, one for every breakfast day of the week, or two or three. It’s up to you. Just make sure that they have well fitting lids.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem as thick as it should be, we aren’t done yet. Because of abrupt chilling after a whirlwind of stirring, the bacteria stop acting. Put your containers in the most chilly area of your refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Tomorrow you get to have your own yogurt for breakfast.

Some Tips Regarding Procedure
  • We heated the milk to 185 to take care of any pesky contaminations that may have been present.
  • Your new yogurt should last you anywhere between ten to fourteen days.
  • Keep 2-3 Tbs of your stuff so you can use it on the next round!
  • This method, while not what everyone chooses, produces predictable and dependable results you can stick with.
  • It is during the cooling period that the probiotics really dig in deep and perform their wonders.
  • Fermentation has been around as long as the human species. If it’s a vegetable, fruit, and yes milk, we can ferment it and bring to life organisms that are very beneficial to us.
  • Before the modern era, this and other methods were all we had to preserve milk.
  • The longer you let the milk ferment, the thicker it will get. This is where personal preference comes into play, as many people have many different opinions. It just depends on how tangy people like their yogurt.
Juicy Probiotics

For those people out there trying to stay away from supplements, but still get all the nutrients they need, it can be rough. Many turn to vegetable juices because so much can be packed into them and the body si very efficient and absorbing it vs. processed or cooked food.

When the juice is fresh and hasn’t been tampered with, Phytochemicals also come into play and give another boost to the immune system.

Imagine combining the health benefits of juice, and probiotics; double-whammy! Once you know what you’re looking for, probiotic supplements are actually really common and growing in popularity year over year. There are liquids and powders on the market that are safe to use.

Takeaway

Just as 80% of our immune system is in our stomachs, 80% of what it takes to be fit and in-shape depends on what we put in them. Yogurt is a great source of protein, but it becomes something far more beneficial when it has live and active cultures in it.

If you’re worried about getting it from the store, whether because you prefer organic, or you like to know what’s in something you eat, then follow the instructions above and make it at home. Once you get started playing around with fermentation, an entire new world will open up to you with a thriving community that can be found in almost any town out there.

Yogurt and its benefits have been around for as long as we have, and it’s never too late to take part in the fun and fitness focused fermentation. Be sure to check out our series called, “Kombuncha Brewing at Home, Fermented Fitness” especially if you’ve never heard of Kombucha before. If you’re a foodie, into organics, are interested in non-alcoholic home brewing, and love discovering new ways to stay lean and strong, be sure to check it!

Photo Credit: post424
 

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