Well, Week 2 is over and it went much better than the previous week!  The key? Go slow.  Last week I took the time to let my body rest in Stage 1, soaking up the bone broths and a small amount of probiotics.  Near the end of the week I (re-) introduced my first Stage 2 food, ghee or clarified butter, and my body has responded very well!  The smooth introduction gave me some confidence to continue introducing foods, but I promised myself that I would only introduce one food every four days.  This structure has helped me to stay focused, and I even devised a chart to help me track my progress so I don’t forget where I am in the diet, reintroduce too quickly, and end up losing clarity again on which food is causing what symptom.

On an emotional level, I have suffered a bit over the past week and vacillate between wanting to fix it right away, and stay the course and let things settle.  The first week of any work assignment brings up emotions; I’m in a strange new town, learning a new job (every assignment is a little bit different and people and politics have to be felt out), away from my peeps and my normal routines.  Loneliness and stress make it a little bit rough every time.  I also know to look forward to using this time as a bit of a retreat, establishing new habits (or re-establishing old good ones that got away) and welcoming personal growth spurts.  My usual nutritional powerhouses to keep my mood up include cod liver oil and Vitamin D; I’m off of both right now during the initial stages of intro, and yesterday I had a strong urge to go and get some of each to shore me up.  But I’m going to ride it out instead, and see if I bounce back once I’ve gotten comfortable here.

Over the weekend I decided that my next food would not be raw organic egg yolks as originally planned, but homemade yogurt as I felt that my body needed the extra fat, and probiotics.  On a hunch that I need the fat more than the protein, I searched for heavy cream instead of whole milk, but couldn’t find any that didn’t have additives.  I ended up using two pints of Horizon organic half & half (the only milk at Wal-Mart that was not homogenized – it turned out to be the only non-homogenized milk at Whole Foods, too!) and a cup of Fage yogurt, chosen because it has no additives.

Yogurt is super easy to make, by the way!  Here’s all I did.

Recipe: Homemade Yogurt

Ingredients:
1 quart of whole milk or half & half, preferably raw or with as little processing as possible (I couldn’t find any non-pasteurized milk, but did find non-homogenized milk)
1 cup of commercial yogurt, preferably with only milk and live cultures in the ingredient list – avoid pectin or other thickeners

 

Equipment:
2-quart saucepan
glass bowl or quart-sized Mason jar
whisk
heat source (see below)

 

Process:

Heat the milk or half & half in a saucepan until just below the boiling point (around 180 degrees).  Don’t boil the milk as this will change the taste.

Take milk off the heat and pour into a clean glass bowl or quart-sized Mason jar, cover with a cloth, and let cool down to around 110 degrees.  You can test the temperature by dropping a bit on the inside of your wrist; it should be warmer than your skin but not scalding to the touch.

Mix the cup of commercial yogurt into the milk and whisk until the live cultures are blended with the milk.

If you have a yogurt maker, pour the cultured milk into the cups and follow the directions.

If you don’t have a yogurt maker: cover bowl with cloth, and set near a heat source to keep the yogurt at 110 degrees.  I placed my bowl inside the oven, nestled up against the lightbulb inside the oven.  Leaving the light on (by propping the door slightly open) kept the yogurt at the proper temperature.  I have also used a dehydrator, and have heard of people using towels and a heating pad, placed on top of the refrigerator and covered with an overturned stockpot…the key is to keep the yogurt at around 110 degrees for an extended period of time.  After you are done letting the yogurt ferment, refrigerate and eat within 1-2 weeks.

How long should you let your yogurt ferment?  8 hours is the norm, but for GAPS the minimum is 24 hours (which is the reason why we must make ours from scratch). Why?  What’s happening in there, anyway?

Well, yogurt is made by setting beneficial bacteria loose in a food-rich environment; in the case of milk, it provides ample food in the form of lactose, or milk sugar.  The bacteria multiply by feeding on and pre-digesting the lactose.  The longer you let the yogurt ferment, the more lactose will get eaten up.  After 24 hours, your yogurt is essentially lactose-free and much easier to digest.

I gotta tell ya, if you are used to the sugary commercial yogurts this will be a bit sour at first.  But I absolutely love plain yogurt and have for years!  It’s tangy, creamy, delicious, and incredibly nourishing for your whole body.  You can mix in a spoonful of raw honey, which is chock-full of wonderful digestive enzymes and adds to the nutritional content of your special treat.

This post was shared at Kelly the Kitchen Cop’s Real Food Wednesday!

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