Ulcerative Colitis Diet: Yogurt

Yogurt is very good for you and it is extremely important to heal you and keep you healthy, particularly if you have ulcerative colitis. The problem is that a lot of commercial yogurts may taste and look like yogurt, but they are really not that helpful or beneficial and may even harm you.

Let me explain.

Why Is Yogurt Good For You?

We don’t live alone. We have bacteria living in our colon, and that is a good thing. There is good bacteria that lives in harmony with us, and bad bacteria that hurts our colon. In the old western movies, the good guys would wear white hats and the bad guys would wear black hats to make it easy for the viewer.


The bad bacteria (with the black hat) loves sugar and carbs, and loves it if there are not many good guys (good bacteria) around. In that environment, they thrive. The problem is that the more the bad guys thrive and multiply, the more it hurts us, from discomfort (constipation, excess gas, chronic diarrhea) to diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

A simple way to send more good guys to your colon is to eat good yogurt. Good yogurt is loaded with billions and billions of good guys that will keep you healthy. However, unless you want to have a huge battle between your good guys and your bad guys in the colon, you also have to starve the bad guys.

That means cutting down on sugar and carbs. That is where the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Anti-Fungal Diet [link to Anti-Fungal Diet page] come in.

What Yogurt Is Good For You?

To understand that, you need to understand what yogurt is. Yogurt is made from milk. Milk contains sugar; milk sugar or lactose to be specific among other things. When you introduce good bacteria to milk, they LOVE eating the milk sugar and produce something (lactic acid) that thickens the milk and creates the consistency that we see in yogurt. As they eat the milk sugar, they reproduce and reproduce and reproduce until you have billions of beneficial bacteria in your yogurt.

You may think, yikes! I am eating bacteria. But these kinds of bacteria are not only good for us, but they are necessary for us to stay healthy. These kinds of bacteria in the yogurt are also known as Probiotics and you can purchase them as supplements, but there is really no need to spend a lot of money on expensive Probiotics if you make your own yogurt. In fact, home-made yogurt has billions of more beneficial bacteria than purchased Probiotics.

Now you may be thinking, “What? I have to make my own yogurt? I was planning to just buy yogurt the next time I am in the supermarket.”

That would not be good for you, in particular if you have ulcerative colitis. Remember, one of the food items to avoid is sugar and that includes milk sugar (lactose). In order for the milk sugar to be completely gone, you need to give the bacteria enough time to eat ALL of the milk sugar and not just some of it.

Now, most commercial yogurt producers don’t do it because it would make the yogurt sour, too sour for what most people are expecting. From the time you introduce the bacteria to the milk, it takes about 24 hours for the bacteria to eat all the milk sugar. Most yogurt producers stop the process after 4 to 8 hours to retain the sweetness that most people like and add thickeners to the yogurt to give it the yogurt-like consistency. That way they can say “no sugar added.”

It would be easy for me to blame the commercial producers, but they are only giving us what we want. They are in business to make money, and if collectively we wanted something else, they would produce it.

Now, coming back to making your yogurt, initially it may seem a little daunting, but it is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.

Steps To Making Your Own Yogurt

Buy the Equipment
You need a yogurt maker. I recommend the Yogourmet Electric Yogurt Maker. I personally have 2 of those. I usually make a batch of yogurt every 2 weeks with 2 yogurt makers to cut down on the yogurt making time, but one is perfectly fine.

You can buy it on Amazon.
Buy the Bacteria

There are many bacteria packages, also called yogurt starters. I recommend the Probiotic Yogurt Start from Yogourmet. It has the best package of good bacteria that I am aware of. I am using it all the time.

You can buy it on Amazon.
Buy the Milk

I usually buy grass-fed organic whole milk from Organic Valley.

I want to use only high quality milk. Grass-fed organic is best. Whole milk makes the best yogurt.

You can get it at Whole Foods, which are in many locations in the US, Canada and the UK.
Make the Yogurt

No, you don’t have to be a mad scientist to make the yogurt like the picture on the left. It is actually quite easy.

How to Make Yogurt – As simple as 1, 2, 3 and 4
1. On medium heat on stove top, heat two liters or two quarts of milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) for 2 minutes, stirring it every couple of minutes. This is an important step to kill off any potential bad bacteria in your milk. You can use the thermometer that comes with the above yogurt maker to monitor the temperature.

2. Take the milk off the stove and let it cool down to 73 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 25 degrees Celsius). Cover the milk while it is cooling to prevent airborne bacteria and dust contamination. You can speed up cooling by putting it in a sink of cold water.

3. Dissolve 10 grams of the above yogurt starter in the cooled milk and mix well, and pour it inside the Yogurt Maker and switch on. Leave it running for a full 24 hours. The Yogurt Maker will keep the milk at the optimal temperature for the good guys (good bacteria) to do their job.

4. After 24 hours, gently, without stirring, put it in the fridge to cool down. After it is cooled down a few hours later you have healthy home-made yogurt.

Bon appetite.

This home-made yogurt will be not as sweet as store bought yogurt, and that is a good thing. Remember, sugar is bad for you and that includes milk sugar.

I have come to like the sour taste, but my wife adds the healthy sweetener Stevia as she likes it sweeter.

6 Responses to Ulcerative Colitis Diet: Yogurt

  1. Hannah says:

    Hi there,

    I’m new here and reading your articles with great interest. I was wondering: Is there any other way to make yoghurt than from animal derived milk? I am allergic to the caseine in milk. So what about nut milk or soy milk?

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Hannah,

    There are really two answers here. For someone without UC, there are many ways to make something that tastes and feels like yogurt from milk, soy, coconut, and nuts.

    For folks with UC, the whole point of making home made yogurt is not the milk. It is all about eating a huge amount of bacteria (probiotic) while minimizing the exposure to milk sugar (lactose). That is why the founder of the SCD Diet (Elaine Gottschall) calls for a 24-hour fermentation of the yogurt. Any shorter and there will be still too much lactose in the milk. Any longer (more than 30 hours), and it starts to kill the good bacteria. That recipe was based on the amount of lactose that is usually in milk. If you use non-milk for yogurt, you would need to determine how much sugar there is in the soy milk or nut milk and adjust accordingly. It will be trial and error.

    Another thing you may want to consider is that your body will respond to home made yogurt differently than to milk or commercial yogurt. Growing up I could never drink milk. I always saw myself a milk intolerant. Never figured out if it was lactose, caseine or whey. In any case, I don’t have any problems with home made yogurt made from regular milk, as long as I follow the above recipe.

    For me, and it may not be true for you, it turns out that I can stomach yogurt. I just can’t eat commercial yogurt. I am not the only one. You may want to try out making a batch of milk yogurt following the above recipe and carefully eating a little bit to see how your body reacts. You may find out that it works for you. Here is a quote from someone who is casein intolerant that you might find helpful:

    “I have been gluten and dairy free since the end of Jan and on SCD since May and am gradually recovering. I know I am lactose intolerant, but may also be casein intolerant as I don’t cope with most dairy. However, I have been making the SCD milk-based 24 hour yogurt most of the way through, and seem to be able to cope with that ok. It seems that not only is most, if not all of the lactose digested by the bacteria, but the process changes the casein structure, making it more easily metabolised, too.”
    Source: https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/50326-dairy-free-scd-is-it-possible/

    Hope that is helpful. Please let me know how it turns out.


  3. Hannah says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for all the information.
    I have bought the book you’re refering to recently and will definitely give it a try. I have lived gluten and dairy-free for the past three years due to gut and skin issues/ allergic reactions which really helped. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with uc last week. Still today it feels a bit overwhelming. You get so many information and even though my doctor said that food had nothing to do with it I absolutely believe that it does. You have a wonderful and very informative blog here. So Thank you for that!
    Long story short: I will try the yoghurt but will do the diet before to make sure that my gut will be okay by then. I’ll keep you posted!
    In the meantime this might be of interest for you:


    Greetings from Germany, Hannah

  4. Eric says:

    Mike, all of those alternatives can be cultured as well and brands do exist.

    For me the answer is a whole foods plant based diet, not scd. Been vegetarian 11 years and I went off asacol right after becoming vegetarian.

  5. Eric says:

    Knowing the what suffering is like, why contribute to the massive scale unnecessary suffering and slaughter of billions of animals a year? You can get everything from plants more healthfully. Better for us, the planet, the animals, karma, all. Alternative yogurts can be cultured too.

  6. Mike says:

    Eric, thanks for sharing. My only experience is making yogurt from milk following the SCD rules. What was your experience making alternative yogurts? Did you follow the SCD rules?

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