Homemade yogurt is rich in vitamin B-12, which is essential for the nervous system. It is a natural cleanser of the stomach and intestines. It neutralizes acidic conditions and enriches the intestinal flora. When the intestinal flora is depleted, as is often the case after taking antibiotics, a regular diet of homemade yogurt may help restore it again. Homemade yogurt is an excellent shampoo and a superb deep cleanser for the body.
Why homemade yogurt and not the store-bought kind? The active agents in yogurt from which we derive most benefit are Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria. They are "friendly" bacteria which aid in digestion and actually destroy various "unfriendly" bacteria. While some commercial yogurts are better than others, most do not allow the bacteria in yogurt to multiply to the extent that you can when you make it at home. The longer you let your yogurt sit at room temperature before refrigerating, the stronger the bacteria cultures will become. A very strong acidophilus yogurt "drink" is very therapeutic for some conditions. Most commercial yogurts, even those made without gum, gelatin, or stabilizers, add milk solids to thicken the yogurt. This makes the yogurt a concentrated food which is more difficult to digest.
How to Make Homemade Yogurt
1 qt milk
2-3 Tbsp. yogurt
Place the milk in a saucepan. Heat it slowly so as not to scorch it. Just short of boiling, remove it from the heat and let it cool to a lukewarm temperature, about 118 degrees F. As it cools, stir it occasionally. Then add 2-3 Tbsp. of already made yogurt as a "starter" and stir gently and thoroughly. You can leave the milk in the saucepan, covered, or you can pour it into a sterilized jar with a lid. Wrap tightly in a towel to hold in the heat, and place in a warm, dark place where the temperature can be maintained for 6-7 hours. A gas oven with only the pilot light on works well. Let it sit undisturbed. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, the yogurt will not form. After 6-7 hours you can refrigerate it or, to grow a stronger yogurt culture, allow it to sit out at room temperature for from three hours to three days.
Delicious Yogurt Curry for the Nervous System
To soothe and strengthen the nervous system, and to please the palate, try this delicious curry.
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups chopped mixed vegetables
1/4 cup minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup ghee
1 1/2 tsp. crushed yogi tea spices
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. oregano seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
I cup homemade yogurt
1/4 cup garbanzo flour
Rinse the rice, then add 3 cups water and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Steam chopped mixed vegetables until firm but tender. Blend yogurt and garbanzo flour with 1 cup water until smooth. Saute spices in ghee until golden brown. Add chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook slowly until onions are almost falling apart. Stir in yogurt-flour mixture. Simmer until sauce thickens. Serve over rice and steamed vegetables. Serves 4.
Yogurt Mask and Bath
Have you ever washed your face with yogurt? Try it—it leaves your skin soft and moist. Yogi Bhajan taught us to use it as a facial cleanser and he even told us how to take a ‘yogurt bath’!
Yogurt is very excellent general skin preparation. It cleans, tones, and firms the skin. It is also excellent for the hair and scalp. It is used as an ingredient in a variety of preparations, and can be used by itself. Aged homemade yogurt is the best for facials and baths.
Massage your entire body with the yogurt. Then take a warm bath, allowing the yogurt to dry on the face while the water becomes a creamy, light milk color from the yogurt on your skin. You can also add yogurt directly to the bath water. Soak for at least a half hour.
Then rinse your face with warm water. You can also rinse your face with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice diluted with water (3-4 tablespoons to one quart of water). Let the vinegar or lemon rinse dry on the skin. Do not dry off with a towel.
Avocado and Yogurt Mask:
Mix equal parts of yogurt and avocado together and apply generously to the face and neck. This mask is excellent for dry skin or skin that has been overexposed to the sun.
Hanuman Body Mask:
Take turmeric, yogurt, chickpea flour (besan), powdered ginger, and a lot of lemon juice. Make a paste and massage it into your body. You will become like Hanuman, the yellow monkey god. Massage it in, then let it dry on your body. Then, with warm water, wash it off. It smoothes wrinkles, removes dead skin, and clears the pores.