Ayurveda recommends daily consumption of milk for all healthy individuals and for all ages, it pacifies vata and pitta dosha and increases kapha dosha. However, modern milk is not the same as it was in ancient times and can have a detrimental effect on many people due to the high levels of hormones and other chemicals contained within it. Traditionally, Ayurveda viewed milk as a nectar and indeed it still would be but for the commercialisation of milk which has caused the following:
- chemical pesticides and fertilizers for cow’s food
- hormonal injections to increases the milk output
- the limited freedom of cows to roam and be happy thereby injecting a feeling of emotional distress with them.
These are some of the causes that explain why the milk as mentioned in the ancient texts are not the same as the milk of modern times. Due to the heavy overload of chemicals, milk is indigestible for many and so we find many resorting to other forms of milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, oatmilk and such like. Lactose intolerance has become an issue for many now and this may well have been caused by the factors associated with the commercialisation of milk as mentioned above. So now we beg the question ‘to have milk or not?’ I would personally say ‘no’ unless it is organic or non-commercially produced. This may be a harsh statement given that most of what we consume has pretty much the same amount of chemicals or more than milk itself. There are ways we can purify the milk with spices so as to make it less toxic and one would be by adding 2.5g turmeric into a 200ml glass of hot milk.
Where organic and non-commercially produced milk are available, here are some tips on how to consume it:
When to drink milk?
Morning milk can increase the strength of the body, provide nourishment and help with weight gain for the emaciated. However if drinking milk at breakfast makes you feel lethargic, heavy, dull and causes acidity, then it should be avoided in the morning.
Midday milk increases strength, improves appetite, helps those who are suffering from difficult or painful urination and kidney stones. It is particularly recommended for children as a supplementary source of nourishment
Night milk pacifies all 3 doshas. There should be at least a 2 hour gap after dinner and it is ideally consumed at least 30 minutes before sleeping.
How to consume milk?
Milk can be consumed plain but should be had hot to eliminate its mucogenic properties; furthermore it becomes easier to digest when hot. Where the digestive system is weak, milk will become heavy to digest therefore black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom can be added in milk.
When to avoid milk?
During fever, indigestion, cough, obesity, increased kapha dosha in body, diarrhoea, certain skin diseases and intestinal worms. Milk should not be consumed with meals, fruits or most food items including fish and meat.
If in doubt about whether it is appropriate for you to consume milk, please contact the author for any queries.