I remember when I first read about SCD legal yogurt, I was immediately put off. I was new to the kitchen and cooking was hard enough without learning how to make fermented foods. From some reading online, I figured the only reason I needed to eat the yogurt was for it’s probiotic effect. So I reasoned if I could get those probiotics in pill form, why would I ever mess around with creating my own yogurt?
Well, that’s the danger of doing incomplete research on the web. Without investigating both sides of every story, we will usually only find the side we want to hear. Of course I found the answer I was looking for – plenty of websites telling me how good it was to take some probiotic pills. What I didn’t do was fully read about the difference between the two. Because I chose the easy way out, I didn’t start yogurt until sometime in the 2nd month of the SCD diet. This was a huge mistake, because as soon as I started it I saw a HUGE improvement in my bowel movement quality.
What is Yogurt?
Wikipedia defines yogurt as a dairy product that is produced with bacterial fermentation of milk. I only half agree with this definition, as I’ve seen almond yogurt and coconut yogurt made using a non-dairy yogurt starter. So I think we should rewrite Wikipedia with a more scientific statement that talks more to the bacterial fermentation part. Something to the tune of “a fermented food that results when the (good) bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus transform a seemingly good food into a POWER FOOD.”
Now that we’ve been all PC and include all versions of yogurt that can be made, why should you eat it besides the awesome amount of bacteria it contains? Well, it turns out that yogurt is very high in protein and a great source of calcium and the B vitamins (2,6 and 12). Now, if you don’t know, anyone who is having digestive trouble is not completely absorbing the vitamins and minerals they are ingesting, so eating a very high concentrated source like yogurt is very important. What if you are thinking like I used to and say “Well, there are pills for that too…”
Why You’re Wasting Time by Not Eating Yogurt on SCD
We all know that the SCD diet is designed to reduce inflammation by removing grains and other hard to digest foods. In the process, we also remove the food source of many bad bacteria. And the killing of bad bacteria is what causes “die-off” symptoms at the beginning of the diet. Well, if we are taking the time and effort to kill the bad bacteria, we need to do everything in our power to put some good bacteria in their place. I used to think, “No big deal. I will load up on probiotic pills.” But always in the back of my mind is “Do I need the yogurt?” Great question…
The answer is simple – there isn’t a probiotic source available that will give you what 1 or 2 cups of homemade SCD legal yogurt will in terms of a bacteria payload. For each 1 ml of yogurt you eat, you ingest about 3 Billion CFU’s of probiotic goodness. CFUs are colony-forming units or a way to measure how many bacteria are in a substance. According to Elaine, SCD legal yogurt contains at least 700 Billion CFUs per cup. Now, go look at your probiotic pills. I bet at most you’re getting about 50 billion CFUs a day. That’s the equivalent of shooting a machine gun at a fortified bunker. Except this bunker is your digestive tract and it currently has on average of about 100 TRILLION bacteria in it.
Now, I’m not saying that probiotic pills are a waste of time or money – just that they aren’t comparable to SCD legal yogurt. Probiotic pills have their place in the healing journey. They are especially useful in the beginning months of the diet, and we advocate taking Lactobacillus Acidophilus right from day 1. They are also useful when they supplement your diet with bacteria strains that are not in your yogurt starter. But after some healing has taken place, it is time to break out the big guns and start eating some bunker busting yogurt to really help your healing.
So, now that you are ready to dive into the world of making homemade yogurt, where do you go to learn how? Below are some of the most useful links available on the web for free.
The take home point of the article is don’t neglect eating SCD legal yogurt. It is an extremely nourishing food that delivers a payload of good bacteria that are just waiting to help get rid of the bad bacteria in your gut. SCD legal yogurt cannot be substituted by using probiotic pills! But don’t throw them away, as they usually contain other good bacteria strains not available in homemade yogurt. Ideally, you will start taking probiotics as soon as you start the diet. Then, very slowly, start adding in SCD legal yogurt at the end of the 2nd week or in the 3rd week of the diet.
I know deciding to start eating SCD legal yogurt gave me a huge bump in health, and I’m sure it will for you, too! Making it at home is easy and straightforward with the above links. In our most up-to-date version of SCD Lifestyle: Surviving to Thriving, we outlined in picture-by-picture steps how to make goat’s, cow’s and almond milk yogurt.