One of you wrote to me and said, "Hey, Monica B, what does Ayurveda say about milk and cheese?"
Great question! Is it good for us, bad for us, good for certain people or certain seasons? Lots to think about!
Some people absolutely love it and it does really well for their body. Some people are actually intolerant of it and can't have it at all.
So I wanted to talk a little bit about what does milk and cheese exactly do for our bodies and who it's good for.
1) sweet and
Cheese is heavy. It is coating, and sometimes it can be sweet, which is cooling, and sometimes it can be sour, which is heating.
Sweet cheeses are soft and more milky like cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, especially fresh mozzarella and burrata. Ricotta also falls under the sweet category.
Sour cheeses are the sharp cheeses — very hard, tart and crumbly. They're cheeses that have been sitting around for a while like bleu, gorgonzola, stilton. In general moldy cheeses are more sour and salty too.
Overall, milk and cheese increase kapha. Builders for the body.
That means, in general, milk & cheese are balancing for vatas and pittas. Keep in mind, the sour cheeses may be a bit too sour and salty for pitta, which can aggravate pitta a little bit.
And as with everything else in Ayurveda, it depends :) Keep your digestion top of mind! If you don't feel like you digest milk & cheese well, have it less often or skip it. You know your body best! Listen to it.
The taste of milk is sweet (if it's high quality!). If you choose to have milk, it should be organic and whole. If you can find raw milk, buy it! Such a delicious treat and stellar for our immunity! However I think they don't sell it in most places.
Our goal is to have the highest quality, the purest kind of milk in us. We want to make sure that the animals are treated well and that they're eating good things. The higher the quality and the more pure the ingredients the animal's getting to eat, the better it is for us.
Before you freak out about the quality of your dairy: Do the best you can with what you know. And with what you don't know, don't freak out about it. Just give your food a little blessing before you eat it and say "Thank you!" and eat happy.
Something else you should know, milk should be consumed alone! At least, for the love of Pete (who is Pete anyway?), don't mix milk and cheese with fruit! It's considered a bad combination in Ayurveda because the fruit curdles the milk in your stomach. No bueno.
Now, as with anything, we want to be mindful about our quantity of milk & cheese because too much dairy in general, increases kapha, which can create mucous, weight gain, congestion, etc., Like, have you ever drank a glass of milk and then tried to sing or had to do a speech or a talk somewhere? You'll notice a murky throat because the milk is coating our throats.
So if you have congestion, either in the sinuses or the chest, milk and cheese is not a great thing to have at that time. Lay off the milk and cheese or dairy in general for a little while until your sinuses clear up and until your chest comes up.
When we look at foods in general, we're not putting blanket statements over all of them, but we will notice that some foods suit us better than other foods. The key to that is just to listen to who we are as unique individuals. That's what Ayurveda's all about.
If your friend can do fine without dairy, but you're like, "I feel like I really need that as part of my diet," then have it. Vice versa. If you're like, "I just don't do well with dairy. It's just not for me. It's not my thing," then don't have it.
Overall, that is the story of milk and cheeeese! Just like anything else, it is good for some people, not good for some people and we should seek the highest quality when possible.
Milk & cheese will build the body, but can also exacerbate congestion and mucous. If you already have a problem with that, limit the dairy or just eliminate it until you start to feel better.
Particularly in spring, we will probably want to limit these foods (cause Kapha season) but in summer, they can actually be an amazing aid to help cool the heat. Ice cream anybody? Totally!! Cooling and sweet perfection!
I hope this helps you! Keep bringing Ayurveda to life!