By Darshana Weill
Somatic and Spiritual Counselor
Have you ever met someone who doesn’t have a food craving? Ask around and see what you find. It’s hardly carrots, radishes or kale. It’s more like chocolate, candy, popcorn. No surprises right?
One of the first tips I teach working with your food cravings is to describe the experience you are having when you taste the food. Cold, creamy, crunchy, spicy, hot, etc., Then to find substitutes that match that experience.
For example let’s look at the qualities of a cold, creamy and sweet craving. Automatically you might find yourself opening the freezer to grab a pint of ice cream. But you can also get that creamy, sweet, cold texture from other foods. A cold smoothie, a cup of fresh mango, coconut pudding or even a bowl of yogurt.
Let’s look at one of these options and see how we can expand it.
We will take yogurt.
Now you might be thinking- yogurt? That’s not what I want for a snack or a sweet but I say WHY NOT? Our aim here is to train your taste buds to crave the whole food version of your experience.
And there are tons of things you can do with yogurt to make it more interesting. And unlike ice cream yogurt, when made with live cultures, can actually improve your health, especially your digestive track, not deplete it like other sweet, sugary foods.
Before I go into the health benefits perhaps I should entice you a bit more with some DELICIOUS YOGURT OPTIONS:
Plain yogurt- really it’s good!
Yogurt and fruit
Yogurt with a touch of agave or brown rice syrup on top (and fruit)
Yogurt based smoothies
Yogurt dip (with added vegetables)
Yogurt based muffins
Stews made with a yogurt base
Sounding a bit more interesting?
Now that you have some creative ideas of what you can do with yogurt let’s talk about the health benefits.
Yogurt helps to restore your intestinal flora. That’s the good bacteria inside your intestines. Our flora is constantly being compromised due to many of things. To name a few we have antibiotics (they definitely kill off the infection you have but they also raise havoc to your flora), birth control pills, environmental toxins and processed food, especially sugar.
When the flora in our intestines is compromised our entire immune system can become weaker perhaps causing more colds, infections and less energy. Restoring our flora can also help with digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation.
Yogurt also provides us with many nutrients such as protein, calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus and magnesium.
It’s very calming to the nervous system as well.
Yogurt can also benefit people who want to eat dairy but can’t tolerate milk because of they are lactose intolerant. Lactose, milk sugar, is lower in yogurt. The live cultures, lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermopiles that develop due to the fermentation process help to break down the milk sugars and make it more digestible. Other good bacteria’s found in yogurt are l. acidophilus, l. casei, l reuteri, bifid bacteria. The protein in yogurt is also more easily digestible due to fermentation process.
Before I tell you how to make your own I do need to get on my soapbox. GO ORGANIC! The harm done to cows in this country is dreadful. The amount of antibiotics and other hormones they use on a non-organic farm would completely shock you. Especially if you are a women (but this goes for men too). Think about your delicate hormonal system. If you have any symptoms of PMS or other hormonal issues I would suggest trying to stay clear of any extra hormones that might interfere with your body. Organic farming does not use the same techniques. This goes for children too; your developing child is producing the hormones they need to grow. More and more I see children bodies developing faster then they need to due to the substances used in conventional farming. Slow it down, for your sake and the sake of your children. Go organic!
One note: If you have goat or sheep yogurt, milk or cheeses it will not say organic. That’s OK. They do not use the same techniques with these animals.
So where do you get high quality yogurt?
Of course you can go out and buy store bought yogurt but today I want to share with you how to make your own. I love making my own and it SO easy and the taste is absolutely incredible.
If you do want to buy it from the store make sure that the yogurt you buy has live cultures. Also make sure to read the label for added ingredients like sugar, cane juice, or other additives. You want your yogurt to be simple. Then if you choose to add fresh fruit, raw honey or brown rice syrup. Then you know you are getting healthy sweets instead of ones that will counter act the benefits of the yogurt.
So now if you want to make your own yogurt here’s how.
This recipe comes from Jessica Prentice’s cookbook FULL MOOD FEAST.
If you are a foodie, this cookbook is for you. (But not a foodie-vegetarian. Jessica’s tradition is from the Weston Price foundation- they believe in lots of meat and dairy as their nutritional base).
WHAT YOU NEED
1-tablespoon organic plain yogurt
Make sure it says with live active cultures- I like using Strauss Brand.
After your first batch of homemade yogurt remember to save 1 tablespoon for futures batches.
3-½ cups organic milk (You can use goat or sheep milk or if you want to try raw milk that’s a way to get extra enzymes)
WHAT YOU DO
Place milk in a saucepan and bring it to ALMOST boil.
Once it’s almost boiling turn off the heat and let it sit until you can place one finger in the milk and keep it there with out it being too hot.
Once it’ reaches that temperature place the 1 tablespoon yogurt and the bit of the milk in a mason jar.
Whisk it up and then add the rest of the milk.
Place the lid on top and let it sit in a warm environment for 8-24 hours.
This will solidify it and make yogurt.
Place in the fridge when it’s done.
It’s so simple.
And it’s far superior to store bought yogurt.
Here’s a tip:
If you live in a damp or cold environment you may want to keep your yogurt on your stove top (near the pilot light) to get the heat it needs to ferment.
But remember all the health benefits will only happen if eating yogurt is accompanied but a whole, fresh foods diet. SO eat well and notice your cravings shift.
Good luck! And have fun!
In health and service~
Darshana Weill, Somatic and Spiritual Counselor and Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher has counseled over 1100 women worldwide. Her main aim is to support her students to learn to feed their souls and nourish their bodies through individual sessions, group work, tele-classes, webinars and home-study programs. A guest teacher at the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco you can also find Darshana teaching LIVE between Sonoma and Santa Cruz CA or via tele-classes and webinars.
Get your free copy of Darshana’s EBook 5 Keys to End Unwanted Cravings and Find Food Freedom or to find out more about Darshana’s 21 days to Kick Cravings and her FOOD FREEDOM Programs check out www.darshanaweill.com.