There are foods and drinks in every traditional culture that are good for maintaining beneficial bacteria in the gut. In Ayurveda we use buttermilk. The ancient texts say "The one who drinks buttermilk regularly will never suffer from disease". Now, do we need any more incentive than that??
Buttermilk is an excellent tonic for anytime of the year, and for every body type. It promotes appetite, calms the digestive system, and helps with assimilation of nutrients.
Traditional buttermilk is made from yogurt and the term is honestly quite a misnomer. It is actually the opposite- a light drink made by removing the fatty component from yogurt. While yogurt can weigh down the system and cause heaviness, buttermilk helps lighten emotions and give the body energy. It’s perfect for summer, and provides a boost of beneficial bacteria for better digestion and assimilation.
Buttermilk that you buy in grocery stores here in North America is quite different than the buttermilk we make in India. It is thick, heavy and fatty. I was vey surprised when I first came across it in my early days in Vancouver. I prefer to make my own buttermilk fresh at home when a recipe calls for it, or if I simply need a good digestive mid-afternoon tonic.
Ayurvedic Buttermilk Recipe
· ¼ cup fresh cold plain yogurt (make your own at home when possible, for best results)
· ¾ cup cold water
· ¼ tsp. cumin powder
· ¼ tsp. coriander leaf (also called cilantro)
· 1 pinch of rock salt (sea salt is an acceptable substitute)
· Place the yogurt and cold water in a blender, and blend for three to five minutes. (one minute if you are using a Vitamix).
· Collect and discard the fatty foam on top (foam may take a minute or 2 to set before you can scoop it off). If the liquid still seems thick or solid white, repeat blending and remove another round of fatty foam. The liquid should be watery but cloudy when finished.
· Add the salt and spices and stir by hand to mix.
· Serve at room temperature.
And since a video is worth a thousand words, I made a quick little demo of how I make buttermilk at home. Here it is on my facebook page.