Category Archives: Health

Making Yogurt with Villi and Greek Cultures

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Making Villi and Greek Yogurt

When I got my yogurt cultures in the mail from Cultures for Health, I was really excited, but had to put the project on hold due to my trip to the Raw Milk Symposium that weekend. I wanted to have plenty of time to do it right. So when I got back from Wisconsin, I pulled out the packets and with some very enthusiastic help from 7-year-old Zee, I went to work. We started with the Villi culture. Zee opened the packet for me and measured out the recommended 1/2 tsp of culture, which I mixed into 1/2 cup of raw milk. I left this in a canning jar on my stove top for 24 hours checking it occasionally – OK, so I hovered a little, I’m a little controlling – sorry! – after 24 hours, it was still not setting up, so I checked the instructions and saw that on the back of the page of instructions there was a special section for raw milk! So, I set the first try aside and started over, this time I slowly heated the milk to 160° and then cooling the milk to room temperature before adding the culture, and then began the waiting process all over again. Being a somewhat scientifically minded person, I left the first batch on the stove top along with the second one, and waited (alright – I already said I am not much good at waiting, but I really don’t think I hurt it any.) The next morning, the first batch had gelled up to a kind of slimy runny consistency, while the second batch was still not set up. I left it there and decided I would check it again when I got home from work.

When I got home, the first batch had gelled into a very soft yogurt that held form when first scooped up, but then collapsed into a really runny yogurt, more like kefir. The second one was much more firm and was beginning to separate from the whey. Glad that there was an extra half teaspoon, I used the pure starter and mixed it in to a quart of raw milk that I had mixed in about 1 cup of cream, and set it on the counter again. This batch set up very nicely after 24 hours and had a really nice thick mild flavored yogurt. Yum! I used the 3rd 1/2 tsp to make another pure starter (done right by heating the milk first) and put it in the refrigerator to be used in the next batch – I will make another pint of yogurt by heating the milk and then I can use 2 Tbsp in each quart of raw milk without having to heat it again until I want to make another batch of pure starter. This is done to preserve the integrity of the villi culture, because bacteria from the raw milk can change the culture and yield unpredictable results.

The Greek yogurt was a bit different – it requires very low heat. I started out right this time, warming the milk to 180° this time (as per instructions) and then cooled it to 110° before adding the culture.  With only 1/2 cup of milk, much of the liquid evaporated out. I used my food dehydrator and I am wondering if it may have been a little to warm. I put the starter into a Ziploc baggie and put it in the refrigerator. I think I will bring in the cooler and use the hot water method instead.

To be continued! . . .

Using Herbs to Combat Food Borne Illness

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Mom's Home Herbal

With all of the fuss around raw milk lately it may be difficult for many people to distinguish fact from fiction, especially if you are just starting out with all natural foods and have not grown up with raw milk like some people have. The truth is that it IS possible to get sick from raw milk. It is also possible to get sick from sushi, eggs (cooked or raw), raw spinach, lunch meat, rare meat, pasteurized milk,  deli cheese, fresh tomatoes, and the list goes on. The question really should be “is there anything out there that IS truly safe to eat, and what can I do about it if I or one of my children get food poisoning?”

For those of us who prefer not to foist our personal responsibility for our food choices off onto health professionals, taking care of the stomach complaints caused by food borne illness is really very simple. The good news is that there are several ways to naturally fight food borne illness, and if caught early, natural remedies can stop a stomach bug in a fraction of the time that antibiotics can. I have had food poisoning from eggs and the remedy that worked for me was simply a mixture of black walnut and olive leaf tinctures, one full dropper of each in a small glass of orange juice; all combined was less than the $30 copay that I would have paid had I gone to the doctor. Both of these herbs have strong parasite killing properties, and I have found them to be effective for stomach flu as well. I gave some to my neighbor once as she was getting ready to walk out her door to take her daughter to the emergency room, and less than an hour later, her toddler was running around as if she had never been sick.

I have read before, that in most cases what we call the stomach flu is actually caused by eating contaminated food. If this is true, then people actually get sick from food a lot more often than they realize. One of the great things about herbs is that often there is more than one way to kill a flu. I recently put the question out to the fans of my raw milk page on facebook. Even though none of these people had ever been sick from raw milk, they have encountered food borne illness from fast food or other packaged factory foods. Here are some of the remedies they have successfully used:

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract as a nutri-biotic with lots of Vitamin D3 and garlic to boost the immune system
  • Oregano oil (best taken in capsules)
  • Colloidal silver or nano silver – 2 to 3 Tbsp every 15 minutes until stomach upset is gone
  • Activated Charcoal capsules
  • Fresh garlic with cayenne
  • Where there is diarrhea also take slippery elm capsules

Any of these remedies should be followed by probiotics, like kefir or yogurt, to restore the intestinal flora and for fastest results, should be taken at the fist sign of stomach upset. It is common for these strains of bacteria to be highly resistant to antibiotics, and if food poisoning symptoms are ignored and you wait until they get really bad as many people do, they can become very serious, even leading to kidney failure or other long lasting health problems, especially in small children, people with compromised immune systems, or with the elderly.

With the food industry and its track record, it is best to be prepared because chances are someone in your family will end up sick with a food borne illness, no matter what you eat.