crohn's disease, Food, Uncategorized

Less Lactose, More Probiotics: How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the oldest foods known to man. Derived from milk, the creamy substance is packed with proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, and probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts that help keep your gut healthy). Without a doubt, yogurt is a super food for anyone with digestive issues. The problem is many of us with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can’t eat commercialized yogurt because of the presence of lactose. Even commercialized Greek yogurt that has been strained multiple times still has some lactose left in it.

Have no fear! You can make yogurt at home that is virtually lactose-free. It’s called “true yogurt” because the lactose is digested by the bacterial culture and further lactose digestion is not required by intestinal cells (Breaking the Vicious Cycle). This pure form of yogurt comes out tart and tasty. Homemade yogurt can be an extremely beneficial food to help heal inflammation associated with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Making yogurt at home is super simple and requires only a few ingredients and products. The fermentation process takes 24 hours, so be sure you have the time before starting this recipe. In this blog I will be making the 24 Hour SCD™ yogurt. In just one cup of this yogurt, you’ll get 708 billion beneficial bacteria which is about 50 times more than a typical probiotic supplement.

Homemade Yogurt Ingredients

  1.  Whole milk, 2%, or skim. Whole milk makes the tastiest yogurt. If you’re on the SCD diet, you will need to get a 100% grass-fed, no grain milk.


2. Large pot 

yogurt 2

3. Electric Yogurt Making Kit. This recipe calls for a Yogourmet kit which includes a yogurt maker, yogurt starter,  and thermometer. Any electric yogurt maker will work, though.

Homemade yogurt

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

This recipe comes from the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. I encourage you to buy this book if you’re interested in learning about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet has shown to drastically reduce inflammation in the gut and improve the quality of life for Crohn’s Disease patients.

  1.  In a large pot, bring one quart (or liter) of milk to a simmer (180 F) and remove from heat. Stir often to prevent scorching and sticking.
  2. Cover and cool until milk reaches 120 F. You can speed up this process by placing the pot in ice water.
  3. Remove about one-half cup of cooled milk and mix in the yogurt starter powder to make a paste. Stir until there are no clumps.
  4. Mix the paste into the cooled milk and stir thoroughly.
  5. Pour the milk into the Yogourmet container and close the lid tightly.
  6. Fill the Yogourmet yogurt maker with water and place the closed container inside the yogurt maker. The water should come to just about an inch from the top of the yogurt maker once the container is placed inside.
  7. Make sure the yogurt maker is on and allow the fermentation process to begin! Set a timer for 24 hours. This time frame allows all lactose to be completely digested.
  8. After 24 hours, remove the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
  9. Scoop into a bowl and serve with honey drizzle or fresh fruit.


The yogurt won’t be as thick as commercial yogurt because all the lactose has been digested by the bacteria. This yogurt should be much easier to digest for IBD patients, however it isn’t for everyone. It is a good idea to experiment by eating just a spoonful of it to see how your gut reacts.


Huge thank you to Michelle and John Burtch for teaching me this recipe and introducing me to the SCD diet.


You may also be interested in: “5 Ways to Use Indian Digestive Spices in Your Kitchen” and “8 Yoga poses for Bloating, Cramping, and Gas.”


5 Ways to Use Indian Digestive Spices in Your Kitchen

Indian spices have incredible digestive benefits. Many of them have been used medicinally in India for thousands of years. Today, Indian families across the world use these spices in almost every meal. People living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome can use these spices to assist with symptom relief and prevention.

Indian Healing Spices

From sprinkling the spices on fruit to adding them into tea, it is really easy to incorporate the spices into your daily routine. Here are some easy ways to use Indian digestive spices in your kitchen. By the way, all of these spices can be found at any grocery store.

Warm Turmeric Milk 

Recipe: One glass of milk with one tablespoon of turmeric powder. I like Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder. Add a cinnamon stick for taste. Drink this before bed.

Benefits: Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which has powerful medicinal benefits including anti-inflammatory effects.

                                                                                   Starfruit with Garam Masala 

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Recipe: Cut starfruit into half an inch pieces. Sprinkle a liberal amount of garam masala over top. I like to eat this as a snack during the day or dessert after dinner. So yummy!

Benefits: Starfruit comes from a tree native to India, but can be found in most grocery stores. It is packed with antioxidants and fiber. The fruit has a sweet taste and pairs perfectly with the sweet and spicy flavor of garam masala. This spice is commonly used in Ayurveda to improve digestive fire. It increases your body temperature which raises your metabolism and decreases constipation.

Masala Chai Tea 

Recipe: Here is my favorite recipe. It calls for the following spices: black peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. It tastes best with whole milk, so this is not the best option if you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive.

Benefits: Every spice in masala chai has individual health benefits. Overall, you are getting powerful anti-inflammatory effects, metabolism boost, natural pain relief, and bloating reduction.

A Handful of Fennel Seedsshutterstock_526104295

Recipe: Eat a handful of fennel seeds after each meal. It’s a common digestive in India. You can also try my favorite brand of fennel tea if the seeds are too strong for you.

Benefits: Fennel seeds can provide relief from constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and flatulence. Fennel also has an amino acid called histidine that can help treat anemia. The seeds taste like black licorice and help cleanse the palate and curb cravings.

Tacos with Red Chili Powder 

Recipe: Any one of your favorite taco recipes! Sprinkle a small amount of red chili powder into your taco ingredients. A small amount goes a long way!

Benefits: Red chili powder can prevent acid reflux and kill bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. It also has a large amount of fiber which helps ease digestion and prevent constipation.

As you can see, Indian spices can be used in a variety of ways. A common misconception is that you can only use these spices in Indian food. On the contrary, the spices will work well in dishes you are already making in your kitchen. Experiment with these spices and see what you discover. I know one thing- you will be doing your digestive system a big favor.

Buddha Bowls for Crohn's Disease

Happy Belly, Happy Mind: Buddha Bowls for Crohn’s Disease

Buddha Bowls can be a great meal option for people living with Crohn’s Disease. The classic “hippie” bowl is packed with greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans, and healthy grain. I know what you’re thinking, “Raw veggies and beans?! No, thank you!” Yes, raw veggies and beans can be rough on the gut and cause unpleasant symptoms, but the Buddha Bowl is versatile. I use cooked vegetables and garbanzo beans, both of which are much kinder to the stomach and packed with nutrients and protein. Remember, everyone is different. The beauty of the Buddha Bowl is you can choose ingredients that serve you.

Buddha Bowls for Crohn’s Disease

When I am in remission, I take every opportunity to eat healthily. With that said, a Crohn’s Disease diet is different for everyone. If you’re like me, you may have trouble eating a balanced diet. Nuts, raw vegetables, red meat, and dairy all affect my colon. I am always trying to find creative ways to get all the food groups in my meals.

Buddha bowls have been a stress-free meal for me. I use cooked vegetables that I know don’t hurt my stomach. I also only use garbanzo beans (chickpeas) for the bean portion of the bowl. If you’re experimenting with different diets, the Buddha Bowl can be made both gluten-free and vegan. Here’s why I like them:

  1. Quick and easy to make. With prep and cook time, it takes me about 45 minutes to make five bowls. I meal prep them every Sunday.
  2. Affordable ingredients. My grocery bill is never more than $35 for five bowls. I shop at Trader Joe’s or the local farmer’s market.
  3. Keeps you full and helps prevent snacking.  Overeating and overindulging can exacerbate my Crohn’s symptoms. One Buddha bowl keeps me full for hours and suppresses my sugar craving.
  4. Gives you more energy. The bowls are packed with protein and whole foods, so I always feel more energized and awake. It’s a great option if you’re trying to get back into a workout routine!

My Favorite Buddha Bowl Recipes:

These are some of my favorite recipes that don’t upset my stomach. Again, substitute and alter anything that doesn’t serve you. Once you start making the bowls regularly, you may begin to create your own recipes.

Protein-packed Buddha Bowl from Tasty **(I buy pre-marinated tofu from Trader Joe’s. Saves time!)

Chickpea Buddha Bowl from Tasty

Vegan Buddha Bowl from Eating Well 

Chicken Buddha Bowl from All Recipes

Sweet Potato Taco Bowl from My Kitchen Love

You may also be interested in “5 Self-Care New Year’s Resolutions to Spoil Yourself in 2018”.