Is Being Dairy-Free a right choice?-An Ayurvedic view
These days, in my experience, many people are choosing to go
dairy-free,gluten free and some also wish to try the raw food diets etc..All
fad diets of course….gaining popularity.
But if we think over carefully,are we getting enough
recommended levels of nutritional benefits from these diets?
Dairy foods provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients,including calcium, potassium,phosphorus, protein,vitamins A,D and B12,riboflavin,and niacin.
Many individuals give up dairy due to a suspected lactose
intolerance or some find it difficult to digest and felt better when they’re
off it. Some parents are even being advised to stop feeding their kids dairy in
the case of recurrent ear infections and asthma.The elimination of dairy foods feels like it’s on the rise. Dairy
allergies are very different to lactose intolerance. Yet nowadays people
easily decide to give up all dairy. So is being dairy free a right choice?
What does Ayurveda say? Inability to digest dairy food could
be a sign of weak digestive fire.It could also be a result of unhealthy food
The Ayurvedic view of dairy products is quite different. Ayurveda
uses many dairy preparations medicinally, particularly for improving resistance
to disease, and to promote convalescence and regeneration. These include milk decoctions
and medicated ghee.Dairy is not only recommended for the young,but also for
the elderly and for those who are in debilitated or needing strength.
WHOLE COW MILK is
regarded as an excellent food for maintaining health, promoting longevity and
spiritual growth. Milk and milk products are the most blessed foods.Most
rejuvenating herbs are given with milk or Ghee (clarified butter).
- Milk is highly revered because it nourishes the deep tissues
of the body,it also is nourishing to the immune system,reproductive system and
promotes a peaceful mind
- It is sweet and cooling so decreases Vata and Pitta
and increases Kapha.
- Despite the current controversies surrounding milk, cows'
milk is the most sattvic and nourishing of all foods.Cow's milk is considered the most
nourishing milk, and thought to be the best to feed babies if mother's milk is
- Some people experience difficulty to digest milk.Adding a
spice either a pinch of ginger/cardamom/saffron/nutmeg to warm milk
helps to aid digestion and also
enhances the flavour. It also promotes good sleep.
- Let milk be a meal by itself, a cup of warm spiced
milk is a great idea for breakfast too,for people who are not too hungry in the
- For people having sensitivity to milk can try to gradually
reintroduce it into their diets after intervals after a proper advice of a
- Rice milk, almond milk would be alternatives to dairy for
those who are lactose intolerant.
- If milk is
consumed cold and in bad combinations at the wrong time increases mucus in the
system and encourages toxin formation,causes sinus allergies and candida.
YOGURT made from cow milk is heavy and is described as being
sour in taste, mucus forming and also promotes weight gain.
yoghurt decreases Vata dosha, and increases Pitta and Kaphaa, so its best for
It combines well with cucumber, a popular yogurt salad served with most Indian
- Yogurt is best taken with spices like cumin, coriander,black pepper making it
lighter to digest.
- However, the more sour the yogurt, the more it can aggravate
pitta and kapha. Naturally sweet yogurt
is better. Its unhealthy to eat fruits with yogurt,another unhealthy combination.
INDIAN BUTTERMILK It is a good food for convalescence and weak digestion,though it is cooling in nature, and it is particularly helpful for malabsorption and diarrhoea.
- It can be taken during lunch to help digestion and ease flatulence and bloating.Can be used in summer due to its cooling benefits.
- The natural lactic cultures ie.friendly bacteria in the buttermilk /yogurt help in the process of digestion.
- A good way to take yogurt is to mix it
with equal parts of water in a blender and add some cardamom or nutmeg. It can
also be taken with ¼ tsp of cumin powder or grated ginger and pink/rock salt as
a savoury version. Remember all the spices included here have medicinal
properties.This is called takra/lassi or Indian buttermilk.
considered sour, heavy, difficult to digest and congesting to the channels.
is Indian cottage cheese favoured in cooking but should always be consumed with
digestive spices such as black pepper,ginger
to help negate their mucous-forming effects. Cheese is high in protein
but should be taken in moderation by pitta and kapha constitution.
- It is not recommended when there is congestion, stagnation, or channel
blockage. It can aggravate arthritis, gout, skin infections, acne, colds, and
pulmonary disorders, and can increase cholesterol.
BUTTER is also
heavy, difficult to digest.
- It is advised that butter be clarified into ghee
which is sweet, light cooling and enkindles the digestive fire.
- Ghee should be
used in place of butter as it is suitable for all constitutions.It pacifies
vata and pitta doshas.
- Too much butter can clog internal channels and elevate
GHEE made from
cow milk (clarified butter) increases strength,vitality, and intelligence.
- It boosts the immune system and promotes both longevity and awareness.
- Ghee is
known to increase intelligence,refine the intellect and improve the memory. It
increases the qualities of Kapha and decreases Pitta and Vata.It is excellent in
arthritis,eye conditions and also skin issues.
- It is advised to take ghee in moderate amounts depending on
health conditions e.g.high cholesterol,heart conditions etc.
- Ghee kindles or increases the digestive fire- Agni thereby
promoting good healthy metabolism.
- Ghee helps in improving enzyme secretions and
and helps in detoxification process.It helps penetrate and dissolve toxins in
the deep tissues allowing doshas to
carry away toxins-ama.
- The ingestion of Ghee is used in Panchakarma (detoxification
procedures)specifically to first penetrate into deeper tissues,and then gradually
bringing the toxins to the intestinal
tract and then expel them from the body.
All dairy products should only be consumed with certain foods – including grains, spices and dried fruits .According to Ayurveda they should specifically never be combined with fresh fruit or fish.Generally people with Kapha constitution or Kapha imbalances should avoid dairy foods, particularly in winter.
- The dietary importance of the dairy foods is pretty much
clear.So the choice is completely yours.Will you opt for a dairy free option?