Monday, 22 April 2013


Ayurveda Health Benefits of Freshly Made Yogurt

Freshly made yogurt is filled with countless numbers of beneficial bacteria that help digestion and kill harmful viruses. The key here is fresh yogurt as compared to commercial store bought yogurt. According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians yogurt that has been sitting on the shelves at the grocery store does not have the fresh active bacteria that homemade yogurt does.
Store bought yogurt is cold, heavy, difficult to digest and can cause the finer channels or shrotas of the physiology to become clogged. Also, once the yogurt has been refrigerated then the quantity of friendly bacteria decreases and thus the health producing benefits are less. Also, from the ayurvedic perspective, it may contribute to weight gain due to the cold and heavy qualities it has.
To gain the benefits of yogurt bacteria choose products that contain live active cultures. If the yogurt has been pasteurized or heated at home, the bacteria are dead and will not provide benefits. Fresh yogurt is especially beneficial for individuals following a vegetarian diet since yogurt adds about 13 grams of protein (1 cup yogurt) as well as B complex, calcium (450 milligrams), potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid. People taking antibiotics (which can destroy lactic flora) are often advised to eat yogurt to replace the healthy bacteria. Fresh yogurt is digested in about one hour as compared to the three hours it can take to digest milk. Individuals who have trouble digesting milk may find that fresh yogurt is much easier to digest and actually aids in their digestion as well.
Other health benefits from fresh yogurt include decreased bloating, relief of both constipation and diarrhea and other stomach disorders. Ayurveda recommends taking yogurt in the form of a drink known as lassi. This makes the yogurt even more light and digestible and helps in intestinal comfort after eating a meal. Ayurveda recommends making a batch of fresh yogurt to be consumed each day. According to ayurveda, yogurt should not be combined with milk or cream. Yogurt is the only "fermented" food recognized as saatvic by ayurveda. Yogurt, as a sour taste, is good for balancing Vata, but should be reduced by people on a Pitta or Kapha balancing diet.
How to Make Yogurt
There are many methods to make yogurt. You can buy an automatic electric yogurt maker, but you can easily make yogurt without one. To make one quart of yogurt, you'll need one quart of organic whole milk and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Heat milk until it foams up. Turn off heat and allow it to cool to about body temperature. Just test the temperature with your finger, or if you use a kitchen thermometer, the milk should cool down to about 100 degrees. Pour the milk into a sterilized glass jar or ceramic bowl. Mix in the yogurt. Make sure the yogurt is at room temperature before you use it. Cover jar with lid and put in a warm place where there is no draft. For example, put the jar in an oven without the oven on but keep the oven light on. The light is just enough warmth that is needed to activate the yogurt. Do this in the evening and in the morning you will have fresh yogurt.
  • If you do not have an oven light then you can place the jar on top of a warm toaster oven that is set on the lowest temperature for about 6 hours or more. (Not in the oven but on top.)
  • Another method is to take a thermos and pour hot water into it for several minutes. Empty the water out and add the milk yogurt mix into the thermos. Cover and let stand overnight. In the morning you will have fresh yogurt. Save some of the yogurt from the new batch for your next batch.
  • The Salton Yogurt Maker is also a good way to make yogurt however one should leave the yogurt in less time than the instructions specify in order to keep the yogurt from turning sour. 3 hours makes great yogurt for lassi.
Yogurt Recipes
Beet Soup
  • 4 beets grated
  • 1 cup fresh yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a quart of water, boil beets for about 45 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to room temperature and add yogurt. Stir well or add soup and yogurt to a blender. Serve at room temperature.
Spinach with Yogurt
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  • 1 lb spinach
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
Wash spinach, tear off stems and chop fine. Set aside. In a frying pan, heat Ghee and sauté spices gently for about one minute. Add spinach and stir for one minute. Add water and cook for about 5 minutes until spinach is well cooked. Fold in yogurt and serve warm as a side dish.
Cucumber Salad 
serves 4
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
Mix all ingredients well in a salad bowl. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes before serving.

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