The Calming of Milk

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I subscribe to and practice medical principles with a history of several thousand years.

There are so many contradictory spins on milk consumption right now that we’ll never see cream. I feel compelled to expose readers to some ‘milk knowledge’ which has withstood the test of time — time most of us cannot comprehend.

Given the current agitated state of milk, it’s easy to understand the confusion.

  • Yes, the dairy industry in this country is a travesty of greed, ignorance, and deceit.
  • Yes, its products are not worthy of consideration by any thinking individual who values their health.
  • Yes, milk off a grocery store shelf bears little meaningful resemblance — in taste or nutrition — to what comes out of a teat.
  • Yes, industry, through government, is suppressing the availability of truly healthy milk.
  • Yes, the milk industry has thoroughly sold our culture on the erroneous idea that milk is indispensable to a life of purity, strong bones, and good health.
  • Yes, US consumers pack away far too much milk and dairy products — of any kind.
  • And, yes, over-consumption of milk (the American norm) is a setup for a wide range of degenerative diseases.

But to demonize the proper consumption of conscientiously produced raw milk is nothing more than a reflection of our culture’s tendency toward polarized extremes.  Black, white. Love, hate. Hot, cold. The closest relationship we have with ‘balance’ is when we briefly catch a glimpse of it as we go screaming past on our headlong dive from one extreme to the other.

Could we please take several deep breaths (in the belly, not the chest), still our media-fed mind, and consider what human beings have known for a long, long time?




I’m going to draw heavily on Ayureda for this discussion. As a cultural, medical paradigm, its five thousand year history with milk is better established than anyone else’s, and their perspective is deep and reflects wisdom rather than reaction.

Ayurveda holds milk in high regard.

To enjoy its benefits, it must be consumed properly. Here is the Ayuvedic perspective on how that’s done. It’s simple, straightforward, not difficult to remember, not challenging to do.

These are general, basic guidelines for the consumption of high-quality raw milk:

  1. In small amounts (½ to 1 cup)
  2. Diluted with water
  3. Heated (thermally)
  4. Spiced with energetically warming ingredients (cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger work nicely)
  5. ‘Chewed’ slowly in moderation, if your constitution and health status suggest it would be beneficial for you.

That’s a little different than grabbing a frigid 12 oz. glass of commercial ‘milk’ straight out of the refrigerator and guzzling it, isn’t it?



What I did not mention in my post on ice cream is that dairy is cooling. It’s also tonifying, so imbibing in excess creates stagnation. Consuming dairy in the volume and manner that Americans do creates massive stagnation of both cold and dampness. These may not sound alarming to you, but several of their manifestations will take you to an early grave. Many resulting conditions affect both sexes, but a common example of cold and damp stagnation would be cysts and tumors of the female reproductive organs.

So, once again, I would entice you away from looking at concerns such as pathogens, size of molecules, or calcium deposits in arteries, and toward the ‘qualities’ of milk.  Therein lies a clearer and more effortless path to wisdom and informed choices.

Good milk can be highly beneficial to those individuals with a constitution to benefit from it, and who know how to use it.

If you care to try a sample of this approach, here’s a favorite of ours from Amadea Morningstar’s Ayurvedic Cookbook (which is a lovely introduction to Ayurvedic cooking adapted to American familiarities).

Kapha Lassi

  • ½ cup plain goat yogurt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅛ tsp each:
    • cinnamon
    • dry ginger powder
    • ground cumin
    • black pepper
  • Seeds from one fat cardamom pod

Blend, preferably at low speed.

This recipe is offered simply as an intriguing introduction to dairy à la Ayurveda. The recipe is specifically for Kaphas, so don’t make a habit of this unless it’s your constitutional tendency.  Buy Amadea’s book or perhaps Robert Svoboda’s Prakriti, Your Ayurvedic Constitution, and familiarize yourself with some delicious concepts with longevity!





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9 thoughts on “The Calming of Milk

  1. An Indian cook friend of mine made us the drink you recommended (with the addition of a little black decaffeinated tea and called it chai masala)…thanks for making just a little dairy available to us nodairy folk and kids. It is nice to be able to offer a substitute to hot chocolate.

    Thanks for recommending the books. I looked at the table of contents of Svoboda’s and saw the constitution types listed. Is there an easy way to figure out which type one is? It can be a little challenging to be objective :). When Larry told me that most mammals don’t consume milk after they are weaned, that made sense to me.

    Thanks Larry, for another great read!

    1. Annie, both books offer means to help determine one’s general dosha.

      Did you really have chai with yogurt and cumin and black pepper?

  2. Joel Castellanos January 26, 2011 — 2:53 pm

    What about cheese – not that atop Domino’s pizza or a sugary cream cheese, but the organic cheeses available at Whole Foods Market or, to an increasing extent, in Smith’s? Like the milk, should it only be taken with warming spices and heated with other foods? Nutritionally, is there a significant difference between say swiss, munster, pepper jack, bree, cottage, ricotta and gouda? I guess that, like milk, it would be fine to use as a garnish when cooking, but how about a 1/8th inch slice covering organic whole grain bread with a slice of fresh organic tomato in between?

    1. Good to hear from you, Joel!

      Generally, cheese is more cloying and stagnating than milk. However, as you know, recommendations cannot be broadly made for everyone.

      Assuming we’re shooting for optimal health or recovery from some condition, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine must know the client well, understand the constitution and tendencies of that individual, as well as current conditions and weaknesses. And it goes even further: what time of year, what time of day, food combinations. (The one you mention is not a good one…)

      As I’m sure you also know, cheese doesn’t play a prominent role in Asian cooking. And it’s not because they don’t know about it.

      Organic is great — obligatory for me — but evaluating a food’s value because it’s organic doesn’t hold water in the Oriental (or Ayurvedic) paradigm. I recently read a commentary from an Organic Valley farmer who felt that ‘organic’ flavored milks were acceptable for school children — simply because they’re organic.

      Whole Foods’ shtick is based on this faulty premise. “If I bought it in a health food store, it must be good for me.”

      Most importantly, the choice must be made for each specific individual.

  3. It should be noted that the FDA effectively outlaws the sale of “raw milk” (ie, unpasteurized/homogenized) thus forcing upon the American consumer an inferior and arguably toxic product.

    Your tax dollars at work…

  4. Hi Stu, you are right that the government is actively engaged in promoting inferior food-like products. However, what the FDA was able to outlaw many years ago is the interstate transport of raw milk for sale as raw milk. In other words, raw milk can be transported across state lines if it is intended to be pasteurized there, but not sold as raw. Because they had no legal authority to regulate commerce within a state’s borders before SB510, they worked as a shadow agency to incite states’ regulatory agencies to go after raw milk producers, distributors, and lately, even consumers. Mark Kane filed a FOIA request in his state to expose the FDA’s activities there, so this is not speculation – it has been documented.

    In New Mexico it is legal to produce and sell raw milk in a retail setting. It is not legal in the city limits of Albuquerque. More NM info here:

    That said, the FDA is effectively at war with raw milk, and in a general sense, the consumers’ choice of food. They have already gone on record saying that we have no inherent right to any food, or to health. Which explains also their alliance with Big Pharma as well as Industrial Dairy.

    This interstate ban is currently being challenged by Mark McAfee and the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (see url above).

    To follow the raw milk saga, a good source besides the FTCLDF is David Gumpert’s He wrote the book The Raw Milk Revolution. It’s far too big a subject to encompass in one post.

    I have been following this karma for several years, partially because I personally had great difficulty obtaining raw milk, and also because it very closely mirrors other shadowy activities going on in NM regarding the practice act for Oriental Medicine.

    The provenance of high quality, nourishing, vital food has become ever more challenging, and ever more important for health. Which is why in addition to our garden, we now have a small flock of chickens and ducks, which is an adventure you will probably be reading about in future posts. Stay tuned, in the highest sense!

    1. Thanks for the detailed clarification, Sue.

      If there is anything we the citizens can do to assure that Oriental Medicine remains “legal” in NM let us know.


      1. Thanks for the support, Stu!

        Oriental Medicine probably isn’t in any immediate danger in New Mexico, but the handful of us practicing advanced techniques in Oriental Medicine are definitely under attack — backed by Big Pharma and perpetuated by some practitioners.

        Both are threatened by what we do, which is understandable on a level, but ultimately unacceptable to the future of the world’s most mature form of medicine and to the health of our clients.

    2. Thank you, Sue! Great coverage.

      Sue monitors both ‘industries’ — raw milk and Oriental Medicine — and, as you can see, she’s quite knowledgeable.

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