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Real Member Questions: Bulgarian Yogurt, Soaking Nuts & Seeds, Minimize Foods, and More!

Member QA Blog6

Welcome to Viome's Weekly Deep Dive! 

Every week, we dive deep into the questions and curiosities of our community, where people like you seek to understand the profound connections between your body, your nutrition, your microbiome, your health, and ultimately – your happiness.

Our mission at Viome is to empower each individual with knowledge, creating a world where illness is optional. In this spirit, we've selected four pressing questions from our members this week, answering them with detailed insights backed by the latest research.  

For those of you keen on learning more, we've also added a 'Deeper Dive' section at the end of each answer, directing you to further resources and studies to quench your thirst for knowledge. 

This Week's Featured Member Questions:

WEEK 42:


Could you please explain the 20% rule for Minimize foods? Is that 20% or less on the plate?  Is it 20% or less over the whole day?


Hi! For your Minimize list, it is 20% for the whole day. This is equivalent to about two servings of any food that is categorized as Minimize.


Listen to Viome Clinical Nutritionist Janelle Connell give us a little more information behind our Minimize food list.


I can have cow butter (Enjoy) and ghee (Superfood), but other dairy is in my Minimize list. I'm wondering if it's okay to have Bulgarian yogurt because it's a 24 hour yogurt, and there is no lactose in it?


It looks like dairy products, which are high in fermentable sugars, are recommended for you to Minimize. Since Bulgarian yogurt has no lactose in it, you should be able to enjoy it. Just be mindful of how you feel after consuming it.


The fundamental way all yogurt is made is by heating milk and combining it with bacteria strains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, then leaving it to culture for several hours at a warm temperature, around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This ferments the lactose (dairy sugars) into lactic acid, which gives yogurt its unique, tangy taste.

Most yogurts sold at grocery stores are made using this basic fermentation method. But stores also carry a much wider variey, including:

Skyr, an Icelandic-style yogurt made using an enzyme called rennet. This gives it a high-fat content, making it closer to cheese than other yogurts. It makes a good substitute for sour cream.

Greek yogurt, which is very thick and creamy, from a triple-straining process to remove much of the water and whey. Greek yogurts also can contain seven or more strains of bacteria.

Caspian Sea yogurt originates from Armenia and Georgia. It has a thinner and sometimes stringy consistency due to its cultivation process without heat, usually at room temperature.

The probiotic strain Lactobacillus bulgaricus is named after and native to Bulgaria, where yogurt may have originated around 4,000 years ago. Nomadic tribes poured milk into animal skins, containing the naturally occurring bacteria, which warmed against their bodies in their long treks, creating Bulgarian yogurt. The new dairy dish was first made in those skins, where the environment was the perfect temperature. Eventually, they switched from using mare's milk to sheep's milk, which gave them a thicker product, and they called it kiselo mlyako.


The concept of soaking nuts and seeds is new to me. Sunflower seeds are on my Superfoods list, but I tried them raw the other day and had digestive upset. How exactly should I soak and prepare them and store them afterward?


Sorry to hear they triggered you. We have a great help section in the Viome App on food preparation. Open your app, tap the More tab in the Navigation. There you will see "Food Tips" in the Help section. Select that, then select "Preparing Your Foods" for our guide to soaking nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.


Grains, flour, legumes, nuts, and seeds all have a protective coating. This coating inhibits the absorption of nutrients and can often cause digestive upset. Soaking these foods prior to cooking or consuming them will break down and remove the protective coating.

For optimal absorption of nutrients, it is important to soak all grains, flours, legumes, nuts, and seeds prior to cooking.


1. Place grains in a bowl and cover completely with filtered warm water

2. For every one cup of liquid, add 1 tsp of lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar

3. Cover the bowl and soak for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature

4. Buckwheat, brown rice, and millet should be soaked for 8 hours

5. When done soaking, drain the water and cook normally


1. To soak flour to use in your recipes, add the liquids from the recipe (water, oil, etc) and flour together

2. For every one cup of liquid, add 1 tsp of lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar

3. Cover and allow to soak for 8 hours

4. When finished soaking, proceed with the normal recipe

5. If making yeast bread, reserve 1/2 cup water to dissolve yeast and use the rest of the liquids for soaking


1. Put legumes in a bowl and add enough water to cover them

2. Add a pinch of baking soda

3. Soak at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, while changing the water and baking soda at least once

4. Rinse and cook normally

Nuts and Seeds

1. Put raw nuts or seeds in a bowl and cover with warm water

2. Add 1 tbsp of sea salt

3. Soak at room temperature for 7 to 8 hours

4. Drain nuts and spread on a cookie sheet to dry


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