Natural Cures Not Medicine: 12/04/13

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Herbs for Better Sleep

Sometimes, the busy life and constant multi-task filled days leave us feeling tired in the evening or  restless. We can physically feel like we could fall asleep propped up in the nearest corner but when actual bedtime arrives, we either find it difficult to ‘settle’ into sleep-mode or we experience shallow sleep habits and awaken in the night ~ unable to enjoy a complete night’s rest.  Check out these ideas to encourage a better rest.
Here are some of my favourite herbs to help you enjoy a better quality of rest or improve your SLEEP time:
Please note that herbalists use a “therapeutic dose” when treating ‘imbalances’. What that means, is that we recognize that we are, in this case, working with the whole body to effect a positive change in sleeping habits. Sometimes we are up-tight and worried about an issue. Other times we have been through a very stressful time and are just so worn out that we, somehow are restless. Whatever the reason, a gentle tea before bed is a great idea. Possibly more important in the ‘big picture’ is this. Why not get into the habit of drinking a nourishing, strengthening herbal tea during the day which helps us to build and repair and nurture ourselves? A therapeutic dose = 3-4 cups of herbal tea daily. Check out some TEA recipes here.
I’ve been asked about sleep tinctures and how I use them to help those with sleep issues. Each herb tends to have a signature; a way of working that is quite specific. All herbs don’t work the same for all people.. I will generalize a bit and you will experiment to see what works for you. Purchase the tinctures at your local health food stores or make them yourself. See herefor an easy way to make herbal tinctures.  I suggest that people begin to work with tinctured herbs as ‘simples’. This just means that we take one single herb and notice the affects over time. Develop a personal relationship with the herb, and get to know what our body + mind feels like with this plant.
HERBS which help us to step down into ‘sleepy mode’ and heal our nervous system:
California poppy (Escholtzschia californica)

California poppy can be very effective for encouraging restful sleep, helping one to relax, and alleviating mild anxiety. It can be given to children and adults because of its mild sedative and analgesic properties.
** Since the tea is mild, a tincture is recommended when a stronger dose is desired.
Thanks to my friend + mentor, Amanda Rose,  for sharing this California poppy pic.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.

Catnip  (Nepeta cataria)  has a calming, relaxing, soothing affect on people. I realize it has just the opposite affects, sometimes on kittycats, but be assured it’s a supportive relaxing nervine; excellent as a sleep remedy or as part of a formula. A member of the mint family, catnip blends well with other mints and lemon balm to make a nourishing tea.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 3-4 x daily;  Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
German Chamomile is both delicious and effective. It is thought to promote sleep by increasing mental calmness. Personally, I feel that the fact that Chamomile, as a carminative, increases digestive ability so relieves possible after-dinner tummy upsets. Chamomile tea is a good choice for children,anytime.  Don’t let Chamomile’s gentle nature fool you. This is an ages old respected remedy. I tend to make a tea with dried flowers more than tincture. Chamomile tincture, however, is an excellent herbal ally.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 3-4 x daily;  Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily

Hops   (Humulus lupulus)
Hops has a long history of use for sleeplessness, nervousness, and restlessness. I use Hops alone, or in sleep formulas with good results. For many years, I have made sleep pillows filled with Hops, Lavender and Mugwort (for good dreams!) which can be tucked into bed and promote happy sleeps. These have been used for centuries for mild insomnia.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.

Lavender   (Lavandula officinalis)
Lavender is a gentle strengthening tonic for the nervous system. I like the tea but find that most clients prefer lavender as a part of the herbal tincture formula. A few drops of lavender oil added to a bath before bedtime can be helpful for persons with sleep disorders. Additionally, the oil may be used as a compress or massage oil or simply inhaled to promote relaxation. Lavender in tincture form is delightful. My favourite combination? Lavender + Lemon Balm tinctured separately and then combined in a small dropper bottle to use throughout the day to heal the nervous system and promote wellbeing.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Essential oil–oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil), or added to baths (3-10 drops). Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.

Lemon Balm   (Melissa officinalis)
One of my personal favourites, this citrus-flavoured member of the mint family is a potent anti-viral, a euphoric (makes you feel good), a relaxing carminative; so aids digestion AND is thought to increase mental clarity + calm.  I make tea with Lemon Balm, as well as glycerites, infused honey + tinctures.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.

St. John’s Wort   (Hypericum perforatum)
SJW as it’s fondly called, is an effective nervous system supportive herb. It works well for people who feel that their nerves are ‘frayed’; on edge, stressed out.
Research indicates that it can help relieve chronic insomnia and mild depression when related to certain brain chemistry imbalances.
Dose: Tincture, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 2-3 x daily; powdered extract, 1-2 tablets or capsules 2-3 x daily. Allow 2-3 weeks for the full therapeutic effect to develop.
If you notice any light sensitivity, reduce or discontinue the St. John’s wort and consult a qualified herbalist.

 Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)
I tend to add passion flower in a herbal formula for insomnia or for a calming restful sleep when symptoms include worry or fear plus mental exhaustion. Passion flower is used for minor sleep problems in both adults and children.(Bruneton, 1995). Thanks to my friend + herbalist Roswitha Lloyd for the Passion flower pic!! 
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 3 x daily; Tincture, 2-3 droppers 3-4 x daily.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
We use valerian for its sedative action in cases of restlessness and insomnia.  It is helpful for those who have a hard time falling asleep and can reduce the tendency for those who tend to awaken during the night. In a small percentage of the population, valerian acts as a stimulant so check it out for yourself.  Most people find it is an excellent herbal sedative that has none of the negative side effects of Valium or other synthetic sedatives. It works well in combination with other sedative herbs, such as California poppy,hops, and passion flower.
**Personally, I start with one of the others in my list above, and if insufficient ‘relaxation’ results, I move to valerian. I tend to work this way, though, in my practice..i.e. Nourish and support the body (or body system) first and often, our miraculous bodies respond without the requirement of the ‘heavy-hitters’.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup as needed; Tincture, 2-3 droppers 2-3 x daily.

Additional ideas :
  • Avoid taking naps, and especially after 4pm.
  • Develop an evening ritual. “Step down” each hour into a more relaxed activity.
  • Limit liquids before going to sleep to minimize nighttime trips to the bathroom.
  • If liquids do not pose a problem, enjoy a cup of decaf herb tea or warm milk (dairy, rice, almond)

Bananas. Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin.
Cherries. Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries and found high levels of melatonin recommend eating them an hour before bedtime or before a trip when you want to sleep on the plane.
Oatmeal. Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal triggers a rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin production and the release of sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which many people take as a sleep aid.
Toast. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin production, which induces sleep by speeding up the release of tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals that relax you and send you to sleep.
Warm milk. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It’s also high in calcium, which promotes sleep.

Simple DIY Wind Turbine Built From Household Materials

This awesome wind turbine can be made from simple materials and a little ingenuity. It's called 'the Zoetrope' and it's “A low-cost, open source, wind turbine” that you can build at home very inexpensively and with materials you can find at home and down at your local hardware store.

It produces about 150-200 watts of electricity, and the plans are freely available under a Creative Commons license which means they’re free to use on your own project at home.

The plans can be found here.

Below you can see some of the steps involved.
The Zoetrope Wind Turbine

The Zoetrope Wind Turbine

The Zoetrope Wind Turbine

The Zoetrope Wind Turbine

The Zoetrope Wind Turbine

The Zoetrope is a vertical-axis wind turbine made from common materials such as stove pipe, metal brackets, plastic sheet and a trailer hub. Many of the materials can be found at local hardware or home improvement stores, the rest can either be made at home or purchased online. The Zoetrope was commissioned by Washington (USA) resident and renewable energy supporter Mike Marohn to provide supplemental water heating.

How to Heal Your Thyroid Naturally

Carly Fraser |

Can you really heal your thyroid with proper diet, exercise and stress maintenance? The answer is yes! When individuals are told they have hypo- or hyperthyroidism, the “only option” available to them by their doctors is drugs – these drugs also come with nasty side effects like heart palpitations, nervousness, insomnia, tremors, frequent bowel movements, discomfort in warm weather, and osteoporosis (bone thinning as a result of taking high medication doses for long periods of time).

How does the thyroid work? The thyroid sits in the front of the neck and is responsible for secreting proper amounts of thyroid hormone. The thyroid is incredibly important because it effects every cell in the human body by helping to increase or decrease the metabolic activity of the cells.

There are a variety of causes as to why your thyroid might be malfunctioning. Below are some of these causes:

Nutrient Deficiencies:
Chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12

Beta blockers, birth control pills, estrogen, iodinated contrast agents, lithium, phytoin, steroids, theophylline

Cruciferous vegetables, soy

Aging, alcohol, lipoic acid, diabetes, fluoride, lead, mercury, obesity, pesticides, radiation, stress, surgery

How can you fix your thyroid naturally?
Improving your overall health through eating properly and ruling out adrenal fatigue is the first step to helping your thyroid heal on its own, naturally. In addition, ensuring adequate sleep, recovery from any kind of exercise and proper stress reduction techniques are all critical in improving thyroid function.

Here are SIX STEPS to help your thyroid start functioning at it’s optimal best:

Foods You Should Be Consuming:
Seaweed products like nori, kelp, dulse, wakame, etc. are very high in iodine which is what a lot of individuals with thyroid problems are lacking. Iodine is essential for proper thyroid functioning because it helps the thyroid gland produce the hormone thyroxin which regulates our metabolism.

Selenium-rich Foods
A major contributor to thyroid problems is a lack of selenium. This mineral keeps the various hormones produced by the thyroid gland in balance. Foods rich in selenium include garlic, kelp, onion, sunflower and sesame seeds as well as brazil nuts!

Essential Fatty Acids
To help out our metabolism, it is important to eat foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This includes things such as leafy green vegetables, nuts (i.e., walnuts), pumpkin & sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and avocado. Don’t forget seeded fruits such as watermelon, berries, pomegranates, kiwi, etc. also contain these essential fatty acids within their seeds. Consuming watermelon seeds is harmless! They taste wonderful too! Finding seeded watermelons is pretty much near impossible unless you grow your own heritage watermelon or pick up non-hybrid watermelons from a local farmers market.

Copper & Iron-rich Foods
Copper and iron are also crucial to help the thyroid function properly. Foods rich in copper include things such as sunflower & hemp seeds, nuts (cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts), shittake mushrooms, spirulina, and tomatoes. Copper is also found (in lesser amounts) in pears, persimmons, peaches, apricots, prunes, dates, grapes, avocado, and potatoes.

For an extensive list of iron-rich plant foods to consume, click HERE.

Foods You Should Eliminate:
Soy is in the category of foods known as “goitrogens” which promote the formation of a goiter (enlarged thyroid). Goitrogens also slow down thyroid functioning and can trigger thyroid disease. The isoflavones found in soy are inhibitors of thyroid peroxidase which is the main factor in creation of T3 and T4. Inhibition of thyroid peroxidase can lead to thyroid abnormalities.

Too many cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds called . This doesn’t mean to eliminate cruciferous vegetables – these guys are vitamin and mineral dense and have wonderful effects on the body. Simply limiting yourself to cruciferous vegetables 3-4 times per week, instead of 7 days a week is a good place to start! Cruciferous vegetables include things like carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy, chinese cabbage, watercress, arugula, turnips and parsnips.

Wheat Products (and other grains like rye, barley, millet & oats)
Foods that contain gluten (aka. wheat, rye, barley, millet, oats) contain gliadin (the protein portion of gluten), which closely resembles the molecular structure of the thyroid gland. When we consume gluten, this protein is targeted by the immune system for destruction – but, because the thyroid gland also closely resembles this protein, the immune system gets confused and also starts attacking the thyroid gland, mistaking it for the gliadin intruder.

If you must eat grains, consume pseudo-grains like rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff or wild rice! There are plenty of options available, as you can see!

Be wary of your coffee intake. Coffee raises cortisol levels, and cortisol slows down the production of thyroid hormone. In addition, if you are on thyroid medication, coffee consumed within 60 minutes of taking said hormone replacements reduces absorption even further. Our thyroid hormone consists of two main players: T4 and T3. T4 is needed to make T3, and T3 is the component that helps boost metabolism, keeps weight levels down, and puts you in a happy mood. High cortisol (triggered by coffee consumption, and other external stressors as mentioned below) blocks the production of T3, leading to slowed metabolism, weight gain and poor moods.

Stress Reduction:
Did you know that chronic stress can trigger a thyroid condition? If you suffer from any kind of thyroid condition, being able to manage your stress levels is essential! Especially if you wish to treat your thyroid naturally. When we are bombarded with stressful situations such as stressful jobs, relationships, financial issues, etc., our body goes into over-drive and our adrenal and thyroid glands become overwhelmed and stop functioning properly. As a protective mechanism, the body slows down thyroid hormone production to slow metabolism and slow down the catabolic process that normally occurs when the body is in a high state of stress.

Managing your stress by meditating and relaxing, getting out of toxic relationships with friends or lovers, opting for a job that will make you happy instead of stressed and learning how to properly manage your money are all ways to help de-stress and improve the functioning of the thyroid.

To improve thyroid function and to heal a poorly functioning thyroid you must exercise at least 3 days a week for 40 minutes! Whether that is walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, you name it! Exercise helps lower insulin levels (especially circuit training) which helps to boost thyroid function. Make sure you get adequate recovery time too! Without enough recovery time, your body will not have enough time to heal and this can lead to burnout.

Remove All Chemicals & Endocrine Disruptors:
This includes toxin-free living in your home and body. The endocrine system (also called “hormone system) is made up of glands throughout the body which secrete hormones to be released to other parts of the body (which respond to said hormones). The thyroid gland is apart of the endocrine system, and so it is important to avoid harsh chemicals, especially those classified as endocrine disruptors. Disruption of the endocrine system can occur via some chemicals which mimic a natural hormone and fool the body into over-responding to the stimulus or responding at times when not appropriate. Other endocrine disruptors block hormones from entering certain receptors, while others cause the overproduction or underproduction of hormones.

Many of your household chemical cleaners, hair-care products, skin-care products, air fresheners, perfumes, and the like, contain these chemicals. Going all-natural is the best way to avoid harsh chemicals. When it comes to eating food, switching to a high-organic, pesticide/herbicide/fungicide free diet is the best way to avoid any potential endocrine disruptors.

Here is a list of endocrine-disrupting chemicals which directly target the thyroid gland:
Persistent organohalogens (found in chemical cleaners, hair-care/skin-care products, etc.):

  • Benzenehexachloride (BHC)
  • Octachlorostyrene
  • PBBs
  • PCBs
  • PCB, hydroxylated

Pesticides (found in MANY foods, not labelled organic: boxed, bagged, canned, fruits, veg):

  • Acetochlor
  • Alachlor
  • Amitrol
  • Chlofentezine
  • Ethylene thiourea
  • Fenbuconazole
  • Fipronil
  • Heptachlor
  • Heptachlor-epoxide
  • Karate
  • Malathion
  • Mancozeb
  • Maneb
  • Methomyl
  • Mirex
  • Nitrofen
  • Pendimethalin
  • Pentachloronitrobenzene
  • Prodiamine
  • Pyrimethanil
  • Tarstar
  • Thiazopyr
  • Thiram
  • Toxaphene
  • Zineb
  • Ziram

Other compounds:
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)



Despite Being Polio-Free Since 1993, Mass Vaccination Push in The Philippines Continues Anyway

Health Impact News

Image: UN
In the aftermath of one of the strongest storms to ever strike land, the most dangerous place for children in the Philippines to be right now could very well be the evacuation centers, or living near one.

This past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF began an aggressive program to vaccinate more than 500,000 children with the measles and polio vaccines in the typhoon affected areas of the Philippines. They have already vaccinated more than 30,000 children in Tacolban, one of the worst hit areas.

“It is virtually unprecedented that within two and a half weeks of a disaster of this scale, with this level of devastation and these logistical challenges, that a mass vaccination campaign is already rolling out,” reported Dr. Julie Hall, WHO representative in the Philippines.
The children are being vaccinated for measles and polio, in spite of the fact that measles rates are very low and declining in the Philippines, and that there has not been a single case of polio in the Philippines since 1993.

In the video below, Heather Papowitz, a senior advisor for UNICEF, states that they are vaccinating children for measles even though they have already been vaccinated for the disease, because previous vaccine campaigns were,  ”not enough to protect them, so we need to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Is this a statement to the ineffectiveness of measles vaccines that they need to be vaccinated repeatedly, or that somehow typhoon disasters like this require higher doses of the vaccine? By either reasoning, it allows pharmaceutical companies a larger market for their products.

Regarding their goal to vaccinate 500,000 children with the very dangerous oral polio vaccine, she states, “As far as polio, it was already eradicated in the Philippines, so we just want to make sure it doesn’t come back.”

Watch the video for yourself:

According to statistics supplied by the WHO, measles is rare and declining in the Philippines. In a nation of over 90 million people, there were 6,554 confirmed cases of measles in 2011 (source), 1,536 confirmed cases in 2012, and through November 11, 2013 this year, only 951 confirmed cases. (Source - Page 6.)

If you are the parent of a Filipino child being told by western aid workers that you need to vaccinate your child for measles (regardless if your child was already vaccinated), you need to ask yourself why you should allow your child to be exposed to dangerous western vaccines when the disease has already been declining and affects so very few people in your country.

As for the oral polio vaccine, this particular vaccine contains the live polio virus, and is notorious for causing vaccine-induced polio and paralysis. It is no longer given in the United States, only in poorer countries like India, Pakistan (where many people are now rising up and resisting it), and now the Philippines. Many have called for a halt on the oral live attenuated vaccine, due to the fact that it can actually cause polio and non-polio acute flaccid paralysis.

In India, for example, the “polio eradication campaign” using the live oral polio vaccine caused 47,500 cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis in just one year! (Source.) Will we now start seeing cases of polio and paralysis arise in the Philippines, where currently there are none, as a result of this dangerous and outdated polio vaccine that is targeted for 500,000 children? We most assuredly will, as this is exactly what is happening in other places like India and Pakistan. (See: Paralysis Haunts ‘Polio Free’ India and Confirmed:
India’s Polio Eradication Campaign in 2011 Caused 47,500 Cases of Vaccine-Induced Polio Paralysis)

The measles vaccine is hardly without risk either. Dr. Viera Scheibner points out in this excellent article looking at the history of the measles vaccine, that atypical measles outbreaks have occurred as a result of the vaccine, and that natural immunity is wiped out when the vaccine is introduced, which can lead to more incidents of measles, rather than less. As I pointed out above, measles is already on the decline in the Philippines and affects a minuscule portion of the population.

I am not sure if there is a single measles vaccine currently available in the market, as by far the majority of the vaccines for measles today are a 3-vaccine combo of mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR). Here is Merck’s MMR vaccine package insert for the MMR vaccine. Be sure to read the ingredients, as well as the sections: CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, and ADVERSE REACTIONS before you agree to have your children vaccinated. These sections are seldom communicated or explained to parents prior to vaccination, and injuries and deaths do occur, as is evidenced by settlements in the U.S. vaccine court, and also by a court in Italy.

I know that Health Impact News has a popular readership in Manila, and I encourage people to contact President Aquino and Dr. Enrique Ona (Secretary of Health) to carefully research this topic so they can be fully informed about these issues. The dangers of the live oral polio vaccine and the terrible side effects resulting in paralysis are very well documented in the scientific literature. We have also published articles from medical doctors and PhD scientists that summarize the peer-reviewed scientific studies and history of vaccines that is not popularly covered in the U.S. mainstream media, which is for the most part pro-pharmaceutical. See for example: The REAL History Behind the Polio Vaccine by Dr
. Viera
 (PhD), and Did Vaccines Really Eradicate Polio? by Suzanne Humphries, MD.

Why are Children Under 5 Dying in Countries Where UNICEF Works?

It would also be prudent to research UNICEF, which likes to present itself as an advocate for children’s health. Their track record does not match up to this image they like to project. In a report published in the Lancet (free registration required to read) in 2004, it was revealed that in the countries where UNICEF was working, deaths of children under the age of 5 actually increased! Is it a coincidence that this is the same age group UNICEF targets with their vaccine programs? The countries that experienced the greatest increase in deaths were all poor countries: India (2·4 million deaths), Nigeria (834 000 deaths), China (784 000 deaths), Pakistan (565 000 deaths), Democratic Republic of Congo (484 000 deaths), and Ethiopia (472 000 deaths). Will the Philippines now be added to this tragic list?

The largest funding entity to UNICEF is the U.S. Government. People in the Philippines and other poorer countries need to understand that the U.S. Government, unlike any other government in the world, has passed laws giving 100% legal immunity to pharmaceutical companies for any harm or damage that occurs as a result of vaccine adverse effects. This gives them unlimited opportunities to rush new vaccines into the market regardless of their safety, and often the more unpopular vaccines get distributed to poorer countries as part of “humanitarian” efforts, funded by taxpayers in various countries that support the U.N. and UNICEF. There are absolutely ZERO checks and balances to assure that your country is receiving safe and effective vaccines.

I lived in the Philippines for several years, and have been through four Super Typhoons. I have also participated in relief operations after natural and man-made disasters. The amount of fraud and corruption that occurs when millions, or even billions, of dollars are being donated for “humanitarian” purposes after a tragedy like this is always a problem, and this appears to me to be a case where pharmaceutical companies are seizing upon the Philippine Typhoon Yolanda tragedy to promote their vaccine agenda.

Pharmaceutical sales are slumping in the U.S., and they are looking for new markets, particularly in the poorer countries. Measles is declining in the Philippines and already rare, and there are no cases of polio. But that may all change now, thanks to this vaccination program that can, ironically, cause the disease for which the vaccine is supposed to prevent, resulting in even more vaccination programs in the future with the claim that these diseases are now returning, thus creating a lucrative market for the western pharmaceutical companies.

What the people in the Philippines in the typhoon affected areas need right now, especially children under the age of 5, is clean drinking water and healthy food, and then help to rebuild their homes and infrastructure. The millions of dollars being spent on dangerous vaccines could better be put to use for much healthier and safer options that will truly help the people, rather than dangerous vaccines that could end up crippling and injuring children at a time when they are most vulnerable.

Government officials and citizens in the Philippines need to understand the profit motive to distribute vaccines and how Western governments fund groups like WHO and UNICEF to promote their agendas in poorer countries. In the process, they exploit the most helpless members of your society, children under the age of 5! Throw off the mantle of Western colonialism and tell the WHO and UNICEF to stop their vaccination program in the typhoon affected areas now!

Health Impact News
Philippine Inquirer
World Health Organization
The Lancet
Clinical Infectious Diseases – Oxford Journal
Gulf News

Making Homemade Yogurt: Easy Picture Tutorial

If someone tried to explain the shoe-tying process in spoken word only, you’d have an awfully hard time figuring it out.

But as long as a kind person shows you how to tie your shoes, and then you get some practice in, by the time you’re an adult, it’s brain-dead easy.

Such is homemade yogurt.

It sounds intimidating and scary, a real challenge, if you just talk about it with someone, or perhaps try to skim the easy homemade yogurt post. I had a couple friends in real life tell me so this year, that they were overwhelmed by my post and couldn’t imagine completing the task.

One of them also said that “If you show someone once and they can repeat it, it’s a task worth doing.”

That’s my hope for homemade yogurt, that after I show you once, you’ll be brave enough and feel confident enough in the method to accomplish yogurt all by yourself.

To prove how easy it is, I visited one of these friends who couldn’t get it online. We made yogurt together while our kiddos played, and she is now a regular yogurt maker extraordinaire.

She decided that making homemade yogurt is like baking bread – you don’t need that much time and it’s not that hard once you figure it out, you just have to time it right to get all the little parts into your day.

A few readers/fellow bloggers have let me know that it turned out easier than they thought, too:

“from DynoMom, who has 10 children: “I have had a horribly hectic month and still made yogurt, Katie has the hook ups to a stupid easy method!”

from Meg at Everyday Miracles: I’ll join the “OMG Katie’s yogurt method is AMAZING” chorus if you’d like. Your original instructions were what finally got me over the fear of trying it & once I did, I don’t know what took me so long. I’ve recommended it to a number of people since then, and I’d be happy to share with your readers how much I love it. :-)”

And you get paid quite handsomely for your time, too — about $35/hour. I save well over $1000 on the food budget every year just by making this ONE food from scratch. Here’s the math. What are we waiting for? Let’s make yogurt!

Basic Homemade Yogurt Instructions

1.      Heat to sterilize the milk.  (160-180 degrees F)

2.    Cool milk to proper incubation temperature.  (90-110 degrees F)

3.    Add starter yogurt. (2 Tbs. per quart)

4.    Incubate at warm temperature 4-24 hours.
It really is that simple. Now let’s look at what that comes out to be in reality…

Photo Tutorial of Making Homemade Yogurt
Supplies necessary:

·         ·      Glass jars (quart wide mouth canning jars or empty spaghetti sauce jars work great) – make sure they are clean and were completely dry before capping.

·         Whole Milk (skim milk will create thinner  yogurt, every time – click for more on what milk to use to make homemade yogurt)

·         Candy or meat thermometer, but I can show you how to do it without one too

·         Pot large enough to hold your glass jars

·         2 Tbs of plain yogurt per quart of milk (Buy the freshest yogurt possible at a store and make sure it has “live and active cultures”.  I have used Dannon, Stonyfield, and Fage. Your previous batch of homemade yogurt will work for the next time.)

·         picnic cooler

·         bath/beach towel

·         timer

Let's Begin!

1. Put a washcloth in the bottom of your pot to cushion the jars.

2. Fill jars with milk.

3. Place jars in pot; fill with tap water (I use hot because I’m impatient, but a wise reader pointed out that COLD water and cold milk reduces the chance of breaking jars).

4.) Lid the pot for faster cooking time.

5.) Turn the burner to high.

6.) Set a timer so you don't forget. My pot takes 10 minutes to get to 110F.

7.) Heat milk to 160-180F for pasteurized milk or raw milk you want to pasteurize (raw milk yogurt is tough to get smooth and creamy without heating the milk to at least 160F).


For truly raw yogurt, heat to between 100-110F. If it gets higher than 118F, you’ve killed your enzymes and may as well go up to 160F. The photo above was pushing the limit, but still okay!

If you don’t have a thermometer, 160ish looks like this with a “skin” on top. The water in the pot will be boiling.

8. Remove jars from pot. I usually lid them and use an oven mitt so I don’t spill – they’re very hot!

Q: “Ack! One of my jars broke! What did I do wrong???”
A: Nothing. Sometimes jars just break, unfortunately. Low quality glass jars break more often than canning jars, but it just happens sometimes. 

9. Put a lid on the pot of boiling water and nestle it into a picnic cooler like this:

Close the lid of the cooler so it gets toasty for when you’re ready. (If making raw yogurt, bring the water TO a boil while you’re mixing yogurt into the jars, since it won’t have boiled yet.)

10. Allow milk to cool down to about 100-110F. (Skip this step if making raw yogurt. If your raw milk heats to above 110F, allow it to cool back to 100F.) I think the best yogurt is made at about 100 degrees.

You can let the milk cool in a number of ways:

- On the counter (will take 1.5-2 hours, depending on room temperature)
- In the fridge (but that will add heat to the fridge, compromising the food you have stored – I no longer recommend this, but it takes about 45 minutes)

·  Outside in the cold
·  If you’re in a real hurry, put the jars in an empty sink, then add cold water slowly to about halfway up the jars, then ice packs or ice. They’ll cool in 15-20 minutes (watch closely), but you risk jar breakage.

11. When the milk is at temp (feel on your wrist for “just warm, not hot” if you don’t have a thermometer), stir in 2 Tbs. plain yogurt (2.5-3 for raw yogurt). I just use 2 heaping scoops with a regular flatware Tablespoon. You can also get dehydrated yogurt starters at your local health foods store or Cultures for Health.

12.) Stir well.

13.) Place jars in the cooler next to the hot pot.

14.) Wrap the towel over the jars and tuck it between the jars and pot if you can - you don't want the hot pot getting the jars TOO hot, especially if you're making raw yogurt and the pot has just boiled.

15. Take the lid off the pot to let steam out (I just leave it in the cooler out of my way; yours may or may not fit.) If you had just boiling water, let some steam out for about 5 seconds; if it’s been in the cooler for a while, slam the cooler lid right down to trap all the heat.

16. Allow the cooler to sit and incubate your yogurt for you for 4-12 hours.
Could you incubate elsewhere? Sure! Anywhere you can keep the jars at about 100-110F, including your oven with the light on, perhaps resting in the pot of warm water, wrapped up in towels with a heating pad plugged in, in a hot car, or in an Excalibur dehydrator set to 100 or 110F. I like the cooler because then it’s not in my way if I need the oven and doesn’t use any energy like the dehydrator.

17. Take out the jars and put them in the refrigerator. Done!

Just pour the water out of the pot and flip it upside down to dry.

Notice: no dishes. How cool is that?
Be sure to save a half cup of this batch to be a starter for the next batch. I like to put some in a little container right away after the yogurt has cooled fully and set, so then I don’t have to worry about someone finishing the last jar and eating my starter! This practice also avoids contamination problems if someone dips into your serving jar with a dirty spoon…

24-Hour Yogurt
If you’re on the SCD Diet or similar, you may need to incubate your yogurt for 24 hours. After 8-12 hours, just boil a few cups of water and pour it, steaming hot, into the pot. That should add plenty of heat to keep at incubation temperature for the next 8-12 hours. Depending on your room temperature, you might need to add boiling water once or twice.

See it to Believe it
If you’re a very visual person and want to see the whole process on video rather than still photos, I do have a guest lecture in the Seeing in the GNOWFGLINS eCourse on Cultured Dairy and Cheesemaking.

Becoming a member in the eCourses really is invaluable – you spend a little money to save money in the long run. With access to everything all at once with any level of membership, you can sign up for a month, glean what you can, and wait a while before signing up again.

Just as many, many people were encouraged to make water kefir after seeing my 3-minutes-a-day water kefir how-to video, I know that when you see how easy homemade yogurt is, you’ll know you can handle it!

Even if you only take away a confidence with homemade yogurt, the $11-12 you’ll spend for one month’s membership will be offset quickly by the hundreds of dollars you’ll save making it, as long as you would usually buy at least ONE 32-ounce tub of yogurt per week. Just one.


Before trying anything you find on the internet you should fully investigate your options and get further advice from professionals.

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