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Ayurvedic Nutrition - Think Before You Drink!

Should I be having dairy products, especially milk, and, if I don't, how do I get enough calcium?

Read on to discover the ayurvedic nutrition response to this question.

Those who come to see me for nutritional guidance or sign up for my newsletter, Nutri-Jyoti News, lead busy lives. And I've noticed a trend in the questions my private clients, in particular, ask me in their first consultation. These questions also sometimes come up in direct enquiries I receive.

The first of the top three questions I get asked is:

Should I be having dairy products, especially milk, and, if I don't, how do I get enough calcium?

Ok - that's actually two questions but they are very much related.

Many clients, especially those approaching the menopause ask me this question. Very often they have increased their intake of dairy products because this is the well-known traditional source of calcium and they want to avoid the issue of osteoporosis. However, they read that dairy products are not such a good option because they can cause digestive problems (e.g. bloating, feeling heavy, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, even undue fatigue). Add to that the facts that pasteurisation and homogenisation create changes to milk proteins, which are then harder to digest and many modern-day commercial dairy products contain hormones and antibiotics given to animals in their food and injections, which we, in turn, ingest.

In Ayurvedic nutrition, milk is considered to be a complete food. However, modern-day practices of milk processing mean that depending on the particular imbalance you are currently experiencing you may need to exercise caution in how you use it. Also it's important to use raw milk if you can.

It is known, for example, that milk promotes sleep but you need to heat it up beforehand and add a pinch of nutmeg and a little cardamom. These spices help to reduce the heavy and cooling quality milk has which causes many digestive complaints associated with this food.

Other dairy products, for example, yogurt, cheese are fine if you have a good digestive fire but are heavy and should only be eaten at lunchtime.

If a client has digestive problems with dairy products made from cow's milk, I frequently suggest they use products made of goat's or sheep's milk, depending on their imbalance. Goat's milk, for example, has astringent properties (astringent is one of the 6 tastes in Ayurvedic nutrition) and may be appropriate for someone who has slow digestion, for example.

For those clients who cannot (because of their health issues) or want to stop or reduce eating dairy products there are other excellent options for sources of calcium.

  • dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli
  • sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (e.g. pumpkin and sunflower mix, trail mix and/or make the seed spread recipe from Plans for Dinner? to add to your salads, or use as a spread on bread)
  • sesame seeds they deserve a special mention because they are one of the most abundant sources of calcium, way ahead of dairy in terms of bio-availability

At the end of the day, you have the final say what you put in your mouth and how you nourish your body. So, to support you in your goal to achieve balance in your busy life with Ayurvedic NutritionArticle Submission, I'll just leave you with this thought: think before you drink!

(c) 2009 Janet Gomez

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About the author: Janet Gomez, nutritional consultant, produces the "Nutri-Jyoti News", a free bi-monthly e-newsletter for busy professionals. Feel ready to learn how to use nutritional strategies to manage your energy levels? Then sign up for her FREE e-course "5 Nutritional Keys to Vitality in your Life" at

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