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Easy Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that boost immunity, aid digestion and simply put, help you feel better than ever (read more about them here). YU may already know about probiotics (a.k.a. live, active cultures) because you know that yogurt contains these beneficial microorganisms. YU probably also know about the health dangers associated with dairy products, but since it’s the probiotics in the dairy that is what you are actually after, all you have to do, is create another food “home” for them to flourish, so you can reap the delicious benefits. Cue the recipe for Almond Chia yogurt—your dairy-free yogurt option.

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Before we dive into this simple recipe, let’s go over a few things.

Life is all about balance, and that also applies to your gut and its microscopic inhabitants. Good and bad bacteria should naturally coexist in your gut—but YU want the good guys to outnumber the bad guys (keeping them in check) for vibrant health.

Probiotics: Good guys outnumbering the bad

Benefits of probiotics/cultured foods (read more here):
• Improves digestion: fermenting/culturing pre-digests the food before we consume it and directly supplies our digestive tract with living cultures that are key to breaking down what we eat and making sure it assimilates into our system.

• Balances gut flora: say “goodbye” to constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, yeast infections, allergies and ailments like asthma (linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut)—cultured foods are loaded with the good flora our systems need to thrive (happy blue dudes above).

• Rich in enzymes: properly digest and assimilate the food/nutrients you eat with enzyme-rich cultured foods—don’t just ingest your food, absorbit.

• Shed extra lbs: most of the time, extra fat on our body is stress and toxins—improve digestion and assimilation and watch the excess go “bye bye.”

• Increased energy: consuming live, pre-digested foods adds zip to the body instead of depleting it (no labored digestion).

• Boost immunity: when bad bacteria dominates, poorly digested food (and fungus) spread around the body and can lead to ailments like leaky gut syndrome. This increases inflammation, which manifests in numerous autoimmune disorders like arthritis and diabetes. Reset the important friendly bacteria balance, and in turn charge up your immunity.

• Clear skin: friendly bacteria decrease the toxic load on our bodies—since our skin is one of the greatest outlets for toxins, you’ll see your skin repair and glow.

• Improve liver function: rid the body of toxins and help assist the liver in its cleansing functions.

• Detoxify: our beneficial bacteria pals grab hold of toxins like mercury, lead, aluminum and arsenate and makes sure they are removed from our bodies in the form of productive #2s.

• Sharp thinking/memory: it is known that our guts are our second brain (ie: “what does your gut say?”), heal the gut and say goodbye to mental fog, depression and anxiety.

Why no dairy yogurt? I thought it was good for me (find loads of important info here).
That’s what the dairy industry wants YU to believe because it fattens a bottom line. Here are some facts to consider:

• Cow’s milk is a liquid, designed by nature, to take a baby calf (not a human) from birth to 1,000 lbs in its first year of life. We are the only animals on the planet to drink the secretion from another animal on a regular basis—into adulthood no less.

• When human mothers are nursing, doctors recommend staying away from certain foods and medications because they can be toxic. Whatever mother consumes goes straight to her baby through the milk. Why wouldn’t that be the case when consuming cow’s milk containing antibiotics (that wipe out the good and bad bacteria in our bodies) and dangerous hormone boosters (notice young girls starting their periods at earlier ages these days?)

• Dairy products are incredibly acid forming (even pasture raised). In an effort to balance acidity in our cells, the body leeches calcium from our bones (alkaline) to regulate this imbalance—years of this process leads to osteoporosis. This is why countries that consume the most cow’s milk, and its by-products, also have the highest bone fracture rates.

The good news?
You don’t need dairy to enjoy yogurt. And you can make it easily at home. Whew.

Tools:
Blender
Cheesecloth
A couple glass bowls
One probiotic capsule

Ingredients:
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews*
3 cups spring or distilled water (you don’t want chlorine-treated water)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp chia seeds

*You can substitute equal amounts of sunflower seeds or macadamia nuts for cashews. YU can also try my nut/seed-free yogurt recipe here.

Let’s get started.

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

Soak almonds and cashews in pure water for 8-12 hours. Rinse well and transfer to the blender.

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

Add 3 cups of pure water (distilled or spring) and blend until super smooth.

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

Strain this “milk” through a cheesecloth into a bowl—really working all liquid out of the pulp. Save pulp to make crackers, cereal or chocolate mousse!

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

Take your probiotic capsule…

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

… and open it up into your milk.

Almond_Yogurt_probiotic

Stir with a sterilized wood or plastic spoon—no metal (probiotics don’t like metal).

Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm spot in the kitchen, away from direct sunlight.

Probiotic Almond Chia Yogurt

(Behold, my fermentation station above—kombucha, sourdough starters and other goodies coming to YU soon)

Let the milk culture for 24 hours. After 24 hours, give is a good stir (it will likely separate) and taste it with a clean non-metal spoon to determine if it is ready. It should taste sour like yogurt. You shouldn’t be able to detect sweetness. If there is still too much sweet, give it more time to culture.

Once it’s ready, stir in chia seeds and let them plumpen for about 20 minutes. Transfer to the fridge to chill if you like, or go ahead and enjoy some room temp with fresh chopped berries and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Try it topped with homemade Blueberry Cherry Granola, make a potato salad with it. Have fun and share what YU try out with us.

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How do you like to enjoy yogurt? I want to hear from YU, so tell us with a comment below.

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References: Mark Bittman’s “Got Milk? You Don’t Need It” via The New York Times

Read the comments or add yours.

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  1. Angela

    Hi. I was wondering what Probiotic you like to use? There are so many and I know the quality/strains vary…so what do you think is a good one for families? Thanks!!

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Angela, I’m a big fan of Megaflora—you’ll find it in the fridge section at the health food store. I like the strength of refrigerated probiotics best.

  2. Katie

    Love this! I’ve developed a lactose sensitivity and miss my yogurt. I have a question though, would it be possible to save some to somehow start a new batch with? I just need to save money and wouldn’t want to have to use a new pill everytime… Any ideas?

    • Heather Crosby

      Katie, I bet that would work just fine, definitely save some (about 3 tbsp) to start a new batch. Let us know how it goes, I’m sure other folks aout there are curious too!

  3. Peg Clark

    Hi, I’m new to your fantastic site and am very eager to try your fantastic recipes. I have a concern about nuts in regard to their ability to go rancid. I’m particularly concerned about cashews because of not even being able to get local ones. What are your thoughts and do you have recommendations for particular brands? Thanks!

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Peg,
      I live in an old home and it tends to be humid, so I love this question. I keep most nuts (especially Brazil) and seeds (pepitas/pumpkin seeds) in the fridge these days, but in past homes, where the air was drier, I had no problem keeping items like these and cashews in the pantry in an airtight container. If I know I’ll be consuming nuts and seeds within about 2-4 weeks, they stay out and I’ll add a pinch of sea salt to the container to keep things drier. I buy nuts from many sources online and locally, it depends. Thankfully, I have yet to have issues with rancidity from sources, only in my own home for particular types (Brazil/Pepitas). If you live in a humid climate, I say go with the fridge (and maybe even add that pinch of salt for insurance). Hope that helps, H

  4. Maggie

    Hi! I love this recipe but I fear I may have gone astray in making it. How can you tell if the yogurt is sour good or sour bad after 24 hours? My ready batch had a powerful smell and I’m wondering if it was possible to over-do it on the probiotic? Mine comes in three capsules so I used them all.
    Or, if the water I used was treated with chlorine and I didn’t know it, is there a chemical reaction that has warning signs?
    Thank you!

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi there Maggie,
      Hmm, a little probiotic goes a long way (you can even make this without the capsule(s) and let the beneficial bacteria in the air in your kitchen ferment the yogurt—more in this awesome book). The smell of your yogurt should be yeasty, sour and fermented, not foul or putrid. If your body recoils at the smell, trust your nose, this batch has probably been lost to bad bacteria and it’s probably not ok to eat. Hope this helps. H

  5. Kate

    How long will the yogurt last? About a week?? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi there Kate,
      A week seems about right 😉 It will continue to ferment and sour each day… H

  6. Amber

    Hi,
    I made this the other day but let mine set for 30 hours and it was still pretty liquidy even after stirring. Did I maybe do something wrong?

    I also want to say thank you so much for this amazing website. My one year old has had an ear infection for about three months and the doctors just kept changing his antibiotics. Well I had enough and decided to take matters into my own hands. He is now on a gluten free and dairy free diet with no medication (except probotics). Just in the past couple of days he has shown huge strides in improving.

    Thank you,
    Amber

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi there Amber,
      I’ve heard this from a few others, but I still use these measurements with success——it’s a mystery! So, here’s what I recommend: add more chia seeds to soak up the excess water and next time, maybe cut the water called for by 1 cup. If it’s too thick, you can always thin it out a bit with more water——it’s more challenging to go backwards when there’s too much water 😉

      I am so delighted to hear about your son’s progress. You are setting things up so his little body can heal. Bravo, mama. x H

  7. Laura

    Hi there, Love your website….chia hurts my tummy. 🙁 Missing yogurt. Young coconuts too expensive to give coconut yogurt a try. What if I make this without the chia. Will it not thicken then & I’d just have a drink instead of yogurt?

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Laura, you can try making it without chia, just start with 1 cup of water (adding a bit more at a time until you reach desired thickness). When the consistency is right for you, then stir in probiotic and ferment. Note that mixture will thicken up a bit during fermentation… You can always thin it out post-ferment with a bit of non-dairy milk before eating. Please let us know how it goes! x

  8. Jen

    Do you think it’s possible to make walnut yogurt or a cashew/walnut yogurt blend? I assume since walnuts are also a high fat nut, it would be creamy like cashew yogurt and coconut yogurt. Just wondering.

    • Yes, it’s possible for sure! Just note that cashews and walnuts can turn purple—this is just a sign of pH change—perfectly edible! Let us know how it goes. x

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