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Friday, January 7, 2011

Spiced Milk

In India the cow is sacred and the milk that it produces is highly regarded in Ayurveda. We know it is high in calcium and great for bones and teeth and that too much of it can cause us to put on weight. From a doshic(personal constitutional) and therefore Ayurvedic perspective it is good for vata and pitta but not great for kapha due to its mucus forming properties (try goat's milk instead).

When I first stared studying Ayurveda we were told  that cold drinks and therefore cold milk were not good for us as it would create an imbalance, and Ayurveda is all about maintaining balance to maintain health. The reason is our bodies are not cold so if you drink or eat anything cold or icy then our body has to work at not only digesting what has been eaten or drunk,but it also has to try to regulate the body temperature. So basically the body has to do more than it is naturally designed to do. Refrigerators and freezers are fairly new inventions in the whole scheme of things when you compare their existence to ours.

So what are we to do? Heat it up with spices! At first I was quite put off the idea and resisted for a long time. Warm milk on my muesli!? No way! But eventually I gave it a go and haven't turned back. I heat it gently and add 2-3 cardamon pods that I break open, some cinnamon and fennel and pour it over my muesli. It's so much better then the cold boring alternative I had been using all my life. I add the cardamon because it is a bit of an anti-mucus herb so good to use in milk. It's also good for digestion as it stimulates agni. I add cinnamon because it tastes so good in milk and it's also good for digestion. The fennel is also good for strengthening agni and assisting the digestive process. It is also has a cooling post digestive so helps to keep my pitta in check and balance the heat of the cinnamon and cardamon.

I have made dietary guideline forms for each dosha (Ayurvedic constitution) so you can easily see what spices you should and shouldn't have depending on your dosha and current state, click on the one appropriate for you - vata, pitta  and kapha. The list of spices are on the 4th page so you will need to scroll through.  If you don't know what your dosha is have a read of my post on the doshas and you will be able to determine which one or ones relate to you, it's quite easy and usually very obvious. There are loads of spices you could use, experiment and see what you like and pay attention to what you body has to say about it too. It's like having chai on your cereal! Enjoy