Probiotics are one of the best ways to maintain gut health and yogurt is one source many people turn to. But, if you’re dairy-free, you might have trouble finding a store-bought probiotic yogurt that meets your needs. When you do manage to find one, vegan yogurt tends to be rather more expensive than dairy-based. So what’s the solution? You buy full-fat coconut milk and make it yourself!
This vegan probiotic yogurt recipe is extremely easy—all you need is a little time and four ingredients. Making your own yogurt is a great way to avoid all the artificial sweeteners and refined sugar found in store-bought yogurt. Refined sugar is linked to several diet-related health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease,[3, 4] and many others. Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and aspartame, are linked to weight gain, obesity, and a craving for progressively sweeter foods.
Why You Should Eat Yogurt
The health benefits of eating yogurt are real (and delicious). Yogurt contains probiotics, which are live, cultured bacteria that are good for your gut. These beneficial bacteria provide many health-supporting benefits for:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Allergies and eczema
- Oral health problems
- Digestive upset (diarrhea) from infections or antibiotic use
In order to be formally considered yogurt, the probiotic mix you add to your yogurt’s base must contain both Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Probiotics work by competing with harmful microorganisms for space and resources in your intestines. Probiotics antagonize unhealthy microbes and work with your immune system’s response to fight them. Floratrex™, the probiotic in this recipe, features L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, and 21 other health-promoting strains for a healthy, happy microbiome.[youtube https://youtu.be/F7y1UdDNfYw]
Vegan Probiotic Yogurt with Floratex
- Culture time: 12-24 hours
- Refrigerate for 6 hours minimum
- Total time: 18-30 hours
- Glass bowl
- Food-safe thermometer
- 2 large canning jars
- 2 cans of organic full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup
- 1 tsp. of Floratex (empty about 5 capsules into a small bowl)
- 2 tsp. of organic agar flakes or tapioca starch, keep the preparation instructions within reach
- Combine coconut milk and maple syrup in a saucepan and whisk together for about 10 seconds. Set the burner to medium heat.
- Once the coconut milk mixture starts to boil, immediately remove from heat.
- Pour saucepan contents into a clean glass bowl. Complete steps 4, 5, and 6 while the milk cools.
- Monitor the temperature of the coconut milk with a food-safe thermometer until it reaches 115° F.
- While the coconut milk is cooling, prepare the thickener (tapioca or agar) in another bowl using the appropriate method. (Unfortunately, preparation directions for agar and tapioca differ based on brand. Check the packaging for specific instructions.)
- Once the thickener has completely dissolved, stir it into the bowl of coconut milk.
- Carefully sterilize your jars, rings, and lids in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pull jars out with tongs. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot water.
- Once the coconut milk cools to 115°F, stir in the contents of 5 Floratrex capsules. Do not mix in the actual capsules—open and shake out contents before adding Floratrex to the bowl. Stir until well combined.
- Pour the yogurt into a sterilized glass jar and screw the lid on tightly.
- Wrap jars in a towel to insulate them.
- Place jars into an unheated oven with the light on, or in your yogurt maker. Alternatively, use a heating pad on a low, or use hot water bottles to keep your yogurt at 105°-115° F while they culture for the next 12-24 hours. The longer your yogurt cultures, the tangier (more like Greek yogurt) it will become.
- Once you’re done culturing your yogurt, place it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to suspend the fermentation process. As the yogurt cools, it will thicken.
- Once cooled, you’re free to eat your homemade vegan yogurt! Add it to recipes for a creamier consistency or mix in some fruit and nuts for a cool, tart breakfast.
- “Added Sugars Add to Your Risk of Dying from Heart Disease.” 16 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- Bunim, Juliana. Quantity of Sugar in Food Supply Linked to Diabetes Rates. UC San Francisco, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- Purdy, Michael C. “Scientists find new link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s | the source | Washington university in st. Louis.” Medicine & Health. The Source, 4 May 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- Moreira, Paula I. “High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care.” (2013): n.pag. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- Strawbridge, Holly. “Artificial sweeteners: Sugar-free, but at what cost? – Harvard health Blog.” Diet and Weight Loss. Harvard Health Blog, 16 July 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- Supplements, Encyclopedia of Dietary. Probiotics: In Depth. NCCIH, 4 May 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- “CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.” Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
- VP, Singh, et al. “Role of probiotics in health and disease: a review.” JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 63.2 (2013): 253–257. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.