Is Milk Nectar or Poison for the Body?
Updated: Oct 15
Between work, the change of season and the upcoming holidays, some of us might be feeling as though our energy is a bit stretched thin. As we feel the effects of this shift in our calendars, I encourage us all to consume foods that revitalize our ojas.
In Ayurveda, ojas refers to our life force and sense of vitality. We want ojas in our body; ojas keep us alive. Challenging work days and sleepless nights deplete our life force. This is why today, I'd like to discuss the benefits of drinking milk, an ojas-enhancing food.
Is Milk Actually Good For The Body?
To clarify - when I say milk, I mean cow's milk. Now, I know that cow's milk is contentious topic, particularly within wellness communities. I used to avoid milk as I thought my body couldn't properly digest dairy. It wasn't until I reevaluated the kind of milk I was consuming that I found that I could drink it and reap its many benefits.
According to Ayurvedic thought, the food we consume can serve or harm us depending on the time of year, the quantity with which we consume it, and the way the product is processed. Cow's milk benefits and detriments are no different. So, today is all about understanding how milk can serve us or harm us.
The 10 Properties of Milk
In Ayurveda, we consider milk to be a sort of power food when it comes to penetrating the body's 7 dhatus or layers of tissue (bones, nervous system, muscles, fat, blood, plasma, and reproductive tissue).
The 10 properties of cow's milk deliver energizing ojas to the body. These are the properties:
The Benefits of Milk
When consumed in the right state, milk is extremely beneficial for the body. In fact, you might've started seeing "ojas milk" pop up in health stores. This is because good quality milk creates ojas, which we all need to thrive. Milk gives us a multitude of health benefits including:
Higher quality sleep
Help developing the good bacteria in your gut
Fertility (pregnant women and women trying to conceive are often told to drink more milk)
How To Consume Cow's Milk
When I discuss cow's milk, I am referring to a fresh, high quality product. Generic grocery store milk is often bleached, highly processed and homogenized, which detracts from its innate nourishing qualities.
Good quality milk is non-homogenized and comes from farms where the cows are grass fed and treated well. Additionally, we want to buy milk that is as fresh as possible. If you see cream at the top of the liquid, you can deduce that the milk is fresh. You can buy quality, non-homogenized milk at the farmer's market and even some grocery stores. If you live near a farm, you can call and ask to buy their fresh milk.
You really want to pay close attention to the milk you're buying as 90% of the cows in America are given grains and concentrates. This diet detracts from milk's naturally high source of omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (both great for heart health!) Additionally, grain fed cows have a 52% higher content of omega-6’s (typically found in fried and processed foods) which raise our risk of developing diabetes and clogged arteries.
Lastly, we want to avoid milk that comes from a farm that abuses their cows. On principle I always try to support ethical businesses and farms that treat their animals with respect but additionally, it is said that fear can cause the cows to produce excess hormones that will not serve us.
Milk That Benefits Digestion
For those of you who experience dairy intolerance, I suggest reflecting on how you've been consuming milk. Cow's milk doesn’t combine well with other foods like cereal, cookies or fruits and veggies for a smoothie. The combination makes for poor digestion. Additionally, temperature plays an important role in digestion. Cold milk, as you might find in yogurt, ice cream or fro-yo, is hard to digest as well.
Try drinking warm or hot milk. Cooking milk with grains or drinking it sans excess food allows for smooth digestion. I like to add spices to my warm milk such as cardamom, turmeric or ginger. I also enjoy drinking golden milk. Have fun with it! Try mixing and matching spices to see what tastes you enjoy most.
Give Cow's Milk a Chance
For my friends that remain staunchly anti-milk, I hear you. I used to feel the same way. But since investing in higher quality milk, I've felt its many benefits. I even regularly incorporate drinking milk into my bedtime routine in order to combat sleep deprivation.
Milk is nourishing and grounding in different seasons of life, especially during Vata season. When I speak with clients experiencing certain ailments, I always recommend adding milk to their diet because it provides ojas to boost immunity and vitality. When consumed the right way, cow's milk is the nectar you migh be missing.
Do you want to know more about drinking cow's milk? Are you curious about which foods will harm you and which will help you? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can devise an Ayurvedic nutrition plan that will benefit your body!