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Less is Good: Grow Your Own Probiotic Yogurt (It's super quick and easy!)

Less packaging. Less additives. Less money. Probiotic supplements cost a lot. Yogurt costs a lot. Using just one capsule from a great quality probiotic supplement and a box of soy milk, you can make 6 servings of probiotic rich yogurt that tastes just how you like it and builds up helpful bacteria in your microbiome. Save one of those servings as a starter to mix with another box of soy milk, and make 6 more! Your homemade yogurt will pack a probiotic punch that puts store bought yogurts and probiotic pills to shame. Best of all, making your own soy yogurt with an instant pot is really easy.

Start with a good probiotic capsule. When it comes to the bacteria in your gut, you want as many different types as possible, so choose the probiotic with the longest list of bacteria. The good ones are pricey, but they will last a long time if you only use one pill every 12 days or so and you may find you can keep your starter going even longer than that. The firmness and taste of your yogurt may vary with different brands and combinations of probiotics. It's interesting to note that store bought yogurts often add thickeners, some of which are not good for you. Thickeners are not needed when you start with a lot of live cultures and give them the time they need to grow.

1. Open and pour the capsule into a box of soy milk and shake vigorously. Boxed soy milk, unlike cow or goat milk, does not need to be heated or cooled ahead of adding the starter. Your chosen soy milk should have only two ingredients: soybeans and water. Any additional ingredients may interfere with your yogurt production so keep it simple in order to succeed. 2. Pour the soy milk mixture into six glass jars and stack them in your instant pot, no need for a rack underneath. 3. Cover with the vent open, press "yogurt," and set the timer for 15 hours and you're done! More time makes more tangy thicker yogurt. Less time makes less thick less tangy yogurt.

When your yogurt is done, put the jars in the fridge where they will cool and firm up more. Two days or more in the fridge will make it significantly firmer. I usually add fresh or frozen fruit (blueberries are my favorite), some sunflower or pumpkin seeds for the added nutrition and fiber, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon to warm it up and make it even more tasty and digestible.

As an acupuncturist, I'm fascinated by the new discoveries about the role of the microbiome in human health. This is because acupuncture improves health by promoting good digestion and the body's ability to adapt and restore homeostasis. A healthy microbiome contributes primarily to these factors as well. Sure enough, animal studies are beginning to show what looks like positive changes in the microbiome as acupuncture treatment impacts conditions like tumor growth, ulcerative colitis and Parkinson's disease.

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