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Milk – White Gold or White Poison? Part 2

Here I want to focus on the two unanswered question in the first part of my blog – Is A2

milk good for us and weren’t our ancestors always consuming milk?.

Q1: Is Desi Cow’s A2 Milk good for us?

There is a lot of talk nowadays that all the ill affects of milk are related to A1 milk, while A2 milk consumption is highly beneficial to our health. Is it so? Lets start by examining the facts.

It’s not an A1 vs A2 issue

Before addressing this question let me clarify something at the outset. I am not getting into a comparison between A1 and A2 milk – which has what properties and nutrients, which is better and so on. There is enough funda out there on this issue. My focus here is limited to the question of whether consumption of A2 milk is beneficial to our health.

What is nature telling us?

I believe that nature, as it has been created – evolved, is the ultimate perfection and our best option is to observe it carefully, learn from it and apply its principles and laws in our lives. When we live in harmony with nature we are at peace internally and externally and our health and well being is guaranteed. So firstly, let’s see whether A2 milk negates the basic two principles of nature that I spelt out in my earlier blog.

Principle 1: that milk is produced by nature to meet the nutritional needs of the infants of that species and is specifically engineered and perfected for that purpose through millions of years of evolution.

Principle 2: that in no species in nature, an adult consumes milk or milk of another species is consumed.

The answer to both is an unambiguous NO.

Whether its A2 or A1 milk or cow’s / goat’s / any animal’s / human milk, the basic purpose of milk as designed by nature does not change. That’s why the nutritional composition of milk of each animal is different and is always designed to support the nutritional needs of the infants of that species, which varies from species to species depending on the evolutionary needs of that species.

So drinking milk of another species is like filling diesel in a petrol car.

Further even within a species milk is produced in the mother only during the infancy of the new born of that species and not throughout. This is true in all species without exception, That’s why our bodies stop producing the enzymes needed to digest milk after 4 years of age in humans and such relevant age in other animals.

Hence neither is cow’s milk (A1 or A2) suitable to human infants nor are human adults able to digest and absorb nutrients from cow’s milk (A1 or A2). In both cases it will cause only harm without benefiting us in any way!

But isn’t A2 milk is superior to A1 milk?

Most certainly, the milk of a free grazing desi cow is 100s of times more nutritious and medicinal as compared to a hybrid cow which has been extensively tinkered with, fed with a highly unnatural diet, made to live a sedentary life (tied up in a shed all the time), and pumped with growth hormones and anti-biotics. There is absolutely no doubt about it.

But the fact remains that this milk is highly nutritious and medicinal for the calf and not humans.

A1 or A2 – The basic nature does not change

Further, the basic nature of casein (the protein in cow’s milk) and calcium, and the presence of high levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones and fat, does not change. These properties are highly suitable for the rapid growth requirements of a calf but not for humans, in whom it tends to promote cancer and other hormonally controlled diseases.

Ofcourse the additional ill affects of artificially injected growth hormones and anti-biotics, and even higher levels of fat present in A1 milk are not applicable in the case of A2 milk.

But that does not change the basic unsuitability of any milk for adults or the unsuitability of milk of another species to human infants or adults!

Q2. But haven’t we been consuming cow’s milk since ancient times?

Yes, in ancient Indian tradition cow’s milk and its derivative products (like ghee) have been consumed. That’s a fact. But let’s put that in perspective.

Desi cow is not a milk factory

Firstly, any desi cow is not a milk factory, producing milk non-stop, moving from one pregnancy to another, as we see in today’s modern dairy industry. Cows today are artificially inseminated as soon as their milk yield starts to decline and made pregnant well before their natural reproductive cycle, to ensure non-stop supply of milk. Natural cycles of reproduction do involve significant gaps in milk production. Further a calf is mostly denied its rightful share (which is actually full share). Secondly most desi cows, except for a few breeds, give very little milk. For example, the milk yield of Malnad Gidda cows, native to the western ghats (that we have in our farm), is hardly between 1 to 2 litres, even at the prime yield.

Quantity and frequency makes all the difference

Given these two facts – the availability of desi cow milk in ancient times would have been very limited. And when you take away from it, what was used for ritual purposes, what was left for consumption would be miniscule. The same is the case with ghee, which was mainly used for ritual purposes and to some extent medicinal purposes (in very small quantities).

Infrequent consumption of such small quantities of anything does not create a detrimental affect on the body.

The scenario today

Compare this to today’s scene – where we drink 1 or 2 glasses (or more) of milk every day; use curds, cheese, butter, paneer, ghee etc. in addition regularly; consume milk or milk products indirectly through so many foods like biscuits, chocolates, ice creams, cakes and so on. There is a huge difference.

The bottomless supply of A2 milk

It’s a separate issue that today the way A2 milk supply is being scaled up in response to growing demand is highly suspicious to say the least. In an objective situation where number of desi cows are limited and not increasing in any big way and their milk yield are very limited – how can a supplier keep supplying ever increasing quantities of A2 milk is anybody’s guess.

Lifestyle Comparison

Now also consider another important fact. Our ancestors led a very active life full of natural physical exercise. Walking several kms every day or riding horses, washing clothes, drawing water from a well, working in the farms, climbing trees – every activity they did on a daily basis involved strenuous physical work. Is this how we live today? Sitting in airconditioned offices and cars, sitting again at home watching Netflix or TV, using all the gadgets and the ‘conveniences’ of ‘modern’ life – our lifestyle has become very sedentary. No amount of walking on a treadmill or exercising in gym can make up for this complete lack of physical activity in our daily lives.

Comparing the incomparable

So, when you take both these factors into consideration, i.e. the quantity of milk and milk products consumed today coupled with our highly sedentary lifestyle, can we use the argument that our ancestors used to consume milk and so we can? In all such comparisons the context is critical.

Its only when we put things in perspective that the real facts become evident, that we cannot compare the incomparable.

Medicinal usage

Here let me clarify that I am not against use of ghee for medicinal purposes. For example, in both Ayurveda and Naturopathy medicated ghee is used for detoxifying and cleansing our system. But this is done under medical supervision and in very small quantities on rare occasions. Such usage is ofcouse fine and should never be confused with roasting/frying our food in ghee, adding ghee to dosas or rice or rotis and so on. While the 1st is certainly beneficial to health the latter is most certainly detrimental to our health.

In conclusion

I again want to reiterate that nature in its wisdom has provided more than enough natural foods – fruits and vegetables, greens and sprouts, grains, pulses and beans, nuts and seeds which provide every single nutrient needed by our body (be it protein or calcium or fat or carbohydrates or micro nutrients) to support a healthy body and a healthy mind. We do not need to consume any products which are not naturally suited or naturally produced to meet our nutritional needs. So, there is no need to go in search of either A2 milk or some xyz supplement for this purpose.

All we need to do is consume a diverse whole food plant-based diet and nature and our body will take care of the rest.

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