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Dairy Dilemma

Many complementary medicine practitioners diss yogurt as just another outpost of dairy's evil empire. Yet Ayurvedic practitioners hold it in high esteem. What's a yogi to do?

By Catherine Guthrie

milk

As you stand at the grocery store in front of rows of snackable, packable yogurt—seemingly an easy add to your kids' lunch—it's not surprising that you might hesitate over what type to buy, or even whether to buy it at all. After all, many complementary medicine practitioners diss yogurt as just another outpost of dairy's evil empire: a vile, mucus-making, immune system no-no. Yet Ayurvedic practitioners hold it in high esteem. What's a yogi to do?

Ayurveda considers milk products the building blocks of tissue, says Reenita Malhotra Hora, an Ayurvedic clinician at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. In Ayurveda, the body is made up of seven layers of tissue: water, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue. Milk is thought to contribute to the health of each layer.

"The Western world says milk causes mucus and allergies, but the problem isn't dairy; it's the manufacturing processes," Hora says. "India has been drinking raw milk for 5,000-plus years without a hitch." But she acknowledges it's not easy for Americans to get their hands on safe raw milk.

Short of parking a cow in your backyard, your best bet is to buy plain organic whole-milk yogurt with live cultures from a reputable producer, says Hora. Whole milk is key because the fat is where the tissue-building properties are found. (Whole milk is also high in saturated fat, so moderation is also key.) Plain is nonnegotiable, Hora says, because fruit interferes with the live bacteria, ferments the yogurt, and makes it more acidic. "In Ayurveda, you never mix fruit and dairy," she says. "The combination is practically considered poisonous."


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Reader Comments

Hey Nik

No one is stealing calf's milk, most the milk goes waste after calf's consumption, which needs to be taken out.....it's kind of use it or lose it

Tee

To each his own. Some people may do well on dairy. For myself, the best thing I did was eliminate dairy completely from my diet. I have never felt better and my yoga practice has more endurance, strength, and flexibilty.

No one can convince me that the dairy industry is not insidious in trying to lure us to consume as much milk, cheese, and other dairy as possible.

Also, the subsidies given to dairy farmers as opposed to fruit and vegetable growers make dairy very attractive and cheap. Ary you getting a subsidy?

Yoga Journat needs to give out thorough, unbiased information about dairy and let the individual decide whether or not to consume dairy.

Ann Moore

Many adults are lactose intolerant, especially those whose ancestors came from non-milk-producing cultures. Moreover, many of us have to reduce animal fat in our diets. A little balance is needed in telling people that milk is across-the-board good for you!

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