Friday, April 30, 2010

The Great Physician's Rx

This book jumpstarted many of the changes I have made and want to make.  It's definitely not an all or nothing book.  I don't agree with everything that is written but that's the beauty of being able to take bits and pieces for my babysteps.  I would highly recommend reading it.  There are lots of different versions--something that rubs me a little funny.  I did get the women's health version because I was pretty curious about what Jordan Rubin had to say about women!  His wife and a female physician contributed, and I loved their viewpoints.  This is the only version that I have read.  I take that back, I did get the children's version, and it wasn't nearly as useful.  Just get the original unless there is a specific version that interests you.

The first thing I want to do is outline the keys in the book.  Then I'll go into more depth about how I've chosen to implement the keys in my own life.  Bear with me, I may even go out of order because there are some really cool changes that I'm very excited about!

The keys are:
Key #1:  Eat to Live
Key #2:  Supplement Your Diet with Whole Food Nutritionals, Living Nutrients, and Superfoods
Key #3:  Practice Advanced Hygeine
Key #4:  Condition Your Body with Exercise and Body Therapies
Key #5:  Reduce Toxins in Your Environment
Key #6:  Avoid Deadly Emotions
Key #7:  Live a Life of Prayer and Purpose

Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I want to start posting about the GPRx book and the 7 keys, but some friends and family have gotten me too excited about my homemade yogurt.  Actually this does fit well with the first key which is Eat to Live. 

Kai has always had organic whole milk.  I read that one of the most important organic switches that you can make is dairy.  So one of the very first things I did is decide to buy organic milk for our family.  No, I don't forbid Kai from getting a kids meal with regular milk at Chik Fil A but I have been known to bring my own ;)

I figured if I am buying organic milk that I would also buy organic yogurt for myself and the kids (Lee won't touch it of any kind).  I started seeing all of these recipes for yogurt in the nutritional cookbooks that I was reading.  It was in the Nourishing Traditions book that Jordan Rubin refers to often, and it was in the Super Baby Food book by Ruth Yaron that I used to make a lot of baby food.  My sister in law also told me how easy it was so I figured it had to be worth a shot.  Lee was convinced as long as it would save him us money.  He even bought me a yogurt maker heater because he read it was a good, safe option with kids around.

Here is my recipe, which is a combination from about 3 sources:
4 cups organic, nonhomogenized, low pasteurized milk (if possible)
1/2 cup good quality commercial plain yogurt or from previous batch

Gently heat the milk to 180 degrees (right below the boiling point).  A candy thermometer would be helpful.  I bought a meat thermometer by mistake, which did not work for this purpose.  Now I just listen for the milk to start to hiss and steam.  Stir constantly to keep from scalding.  Cool to about 110 degrees.  Again, without a thermometer this is just long enough to put your finger in and count to 10 without burning.  Stir in yogurt and place in glass, enamel, or stainless steel container.  Cover and keep at 90 degrees for approximately 7 hours.  Refrigerate.

Don't whisk the yogurt into the milk.  It can disrupt it.  You can add a little bit of the warm milk to the yogurt to dissolve better before adding to the rest of the milk.

Dried milk can be added to thicken the yogurt and add extra nutrients.  I sprinkle some on top as the milk is cooling.  Whole milk makes a nice thick yogurt without it.

I like to use a quart mason jar and sit it in my Salton YM9 yogurt maker.  Other ways to keep it around 90 degrees include a preheated oven then turned off (depending on your lowest temp setting.  Mine was not low enough), insulated cooler filled with warm water, crockpot on low (again mine was too hot), a heating pad wrapped around it, a wide mouth thermos with warm water.

Incubate for 4-12 hours depending on the tartness preferred.  I start mine warming around 10 pm before I go to bed and get it about 6:30 am the next morning.  It's not very tart at all.

The yogurt is good for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Make sure that it's not older than 5-7 days if you use it as starter for your next batch.

Make sure you only buy store bought plain yogurt with active cultures.  Do not use flavored yogurt.  After using your homemade yogurt as start a few times, you will probably want to use store bought yogurt for a batch.  Homemade yogurt cultures may become weak and not thicken properly over time.

If you decide to try it and run into problems let me know.  I have lots of troubleshooting tips but I've not had any problems yet.  Add a drop, or two or three, of honey and you're good to go!!

Storebought yogurt costs about 3 times the cost of homemade.  It costs me about $1.25 for 4 cups of the best whole milk I can buy.  It's probably between $3-4 for a quart of the best yogurt at the store.  Next time you're at the store, look at the grams of sugar on the back of your favorite flavored yogurt.  I promise you'll be surprised!  Some have as much as a can of coke.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1st Babystep

The thing that initially motivated change was a book by Jordan Rubin called the Makers Diet.  Actually I read his book The Great Physician's Rx (GPRx) first.  It's a watered down, slower version of the 40 day detox mentioned in the Makers Diet, but the Makers Diet is the "way of life" that is the goal of GPRx as well.  It all sounds a little confusing, but I'll outline the keys and most important principles in following posts.

Basically, the goal is to eat and live the way God first created us to eat and live.  Forget spreadable margarine and Starbucks caramel machiatto.  Ok, so I haven't given up the Starbucks habit but I have toned it down to a latte with just caramel drizzle AND Jordan Rubin's own wife took years to give up her machiattos.  She would actually sneak out of the house and skip over the fact she had even been gone.  However, she got pregnant after years of infertility on the last day of the Makers Diet after finally giving up caffeine!!!

Some of the other things that convinced me to read these books were stories from friends that had been living this way for years.  Each of them could testify to illnesses they had been cured of...insominia, loss of smell, migraines, severe irritable bowel, and additional weight loss as a perk.  The goal is not to lose weight, but to eat foods in their whole form.  Some of the information was pretty intuitive...drink organic milk as close to natural as possible, but did you know that whole milk is WAY better for you than skim?  I have been lactose intolerant for years but I can drink a glass of nonhomogenized, low pasteurized whole milk with zero problems.  The process to make milk "skim" is not natural and not only takes enzymes and nutrients out but makes it harder to digest. 

Some of the stuff was more eye opening.  Do you think you're staying healthy from taking a multivitamin chock full of 100% or even 1000% of the daily recommended allowance?  Chances are if you're taking Target brand or any other brand from Target your body isn't even able to use most of the stuff in it.  Vitamin C wasn't really meant to be synthesized in a lab and slapped together with a bunch of synthesized zinc, Vitamin A, B, D, E, K, etc, etc.  It's best taken straight from whole foods and kept in that form.

Other things like soaking grains and beans are little more foreign to me.  A few more babysteps...

Organic or bust!

I wish I could go 150% organic like some of my friends.  I think it's the best thing for my family and the way God intended us to live.  However, the most important thing that I have learned in my quest to live more "wholesome-ly" is not to be too legalistic.  I have a very compulsive personality at times, and it would be very addicting for me to go 150%.  I also know that with compulsion comes stress and frustration when I can't reach my goal so I have decided to take babysteps.  Hopefully these steps will one day get me to 150%, but in the meantime I've decided to chronicle these steps in order to encourage myself and others to do the same!