Milk is the basic dairy product that gets transformed into other forms of dairy such as yogurt, cheese, butter, buttermilk, or ghee. Here I will focus on milk; you will learn about the other dairy products in the recipes coming next.
Ayurveda calls milk “ambrosia,” but when consumed in the wrong way, it can turn into poison for the body. Drinking milk in the wrong way will sooner or later lead to allergies or inflammation. To make milk the least harmful and get its ambrosial benefits, there are three factors to consider: quality, compatibility, and consumption.
1) Quality: not all milk is the same
Choose the best quality dairy: Ahimsa, raw, whole, organic, from grass-fed cows. Since this quality is rather difficult to find, search for the next best: organic, whole, unhomogenized; try to stick to organic and whole milk at all costs. Many of us get negative reactions from eating conventional dairy. Honestly, if I had to choose between consuming conventional dairy and avoiding dairy completely, I’d choose the latter. Conventional dairy is just too unnatural for our bodies.
2) Compatibility: mixing milk with other foods
As I discussed in “Opposites That Don’t Attract—Learning to Mix and Match for Delicious, Digestible Meals,” milk only combines well with foods of sweet taste, such as grains, nuts, and dates. To protect your digestion, avoid mixing milk or cream with sour foods, salt, meat, fish, radishes, bananas, other raw fruits, nightshades, sesame seeds, cheese, or yogurt in either an individual dish or a meal.
3) Consumption: how and when you eat it
By nature, milk is heavy to digest and therefore more likely to cause congestion and phlegm. Drinking cold-out-of-the-fridge milk makes it extra clogging. If you wish to drink cool milk, boil it first and then cool it to room temperature. You can further limit milk’s phlegm-increasing tendencies by boiling it for five minutes with appropriate spices.