Hi Myra, thanks for providing a video for this process. I enjoyed hearing you talk about the benefits of fresh cheese as well. As I'm sure you are aware, there are beliefs that dairy products, especially those coming from cows are mucus producing and can lead to more vulnerability to illness and disease. Where do you stand on this and what role does quality, organic dairy (in moderation) play in an Ayurvedic lifestyle?
Thanks for your great question. Yes there is a great deal of concern about dairy and it being the cause of many health problems today. Actually most of those problems are not from the dairy, but stem from the following:
1. having the dairy cold
2. having too much at one time
3. poor quality dairy
4. poor combinations with other foods
Dairy is heavy and cooling by its nature. It requires a reasonably strong digestion to process successfully. The digestive fire, or agni in sanskrit, is the energy available to transform what we consume into consciousness. What this means is that you need to have enough energy to digest food and life into something usable. Think of agni as a fire. If you stoke it with wood and oxygen it will get larger. If you throw sand on the fire it will smolder.
When any drink or food is eaten cold it reduces the digestive fire. When a heavy food is eaten in large quantity and the digestive fire is weak, the food will not digest well. Milk or cheese, for example, will curdle and rot in the digestive tract if the body is not able to digest it. This will then cause mucous formation from the poor digestion in certain individuals. Some individuals will have gas and bloating. The difference depends on the individual's constitution and state of imbalance. Eventually undigested food in the digestive tract leads to disease.
Poor quality milk with homogenization, pasteurization, taking the fat out, added hormones, and antibiotics are all things that make milk a questionable food to consume. Having fresh untreated milk is the best choice. The next best choice is whole organic milk from a company you feel comfortable with their practices.
Milk, fresh cheese, sometimes called paneer, and ghee are all recommended in Ayurveda. The amounts and frequency recommended might vary according to the individual's constitution and current strength of agni. High quality dairy consumed consciously is nurturing and nourishing for the body and soul. Ghee is particularly beneficial as it is balancing for all doshas and provides lubrication to the tissues.
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