Do you remember, as kids, being coaxed to drink up that tall glass of warm milk every morning and evening? I know, some of you couldn’t even tolerate it and so emptied the glass in the flower pot or the sink, right? The smell and the taste can be off-putting, so I can understand.
But, there’s a reason why our parents wanted us to drink that glass of milk, you know?
Milk is a COMPLETE FOOD as it consists of every such nutrient that we humans need.
We have heard it since the time we were kids about how drinking milk will give us strong teeth and healthy bones as it is rich in Calcium.
But, apart from that, it also helps keep the heart healthy and the blood pressure under control.
Milk fortified with Vitamin D helps us sleep well and helps produce serotonin–our ‘good mood’ hormone–which could keep depression away. Now, this is an information my doctor provided. He said that a lack of Vitamin D results in all of the PMS related feelings like mood-swings, irritability, depression, fatigue, etc, that, if not taken care of, can only worsen with time.
And, yet, so many of us find it unbearable to even bring a glass of milk close to our nose! Well, if the smell puts you off, you could always add a spoonful of some nutritional powder, like Horlicks, Boost, Complan, or even almond/cardamom powder–there’s a wide choice of nutritional drinks available in the market. Choose the one that you like.
If hot/warm milk gives you nausea or gas, try chilled milk. I love chilled milk. I add a spoonful of Horlicks to it and have it for my breakfast. My last post was on coughs and cures, where I failed to mention that my cough usually gets cured by a glass of chilled milk, instead of the usually prescribed warm haldi wala doodh (milk with turmeric)!
Lactose intolerance and food options:
When the body cannot digest the lactose present in the milk, it makes you lactose intolerant. One could suffer from nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea and, hence, stay away from milk, altogether.
However, if not milk, then you can surely have other milk products such as curd or yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese or paneer, ghee, butter and milk which is lactose-free.
Other alternatives are soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain calcium as does Amaranth. Chia seeds, beans, lentils and tofu are other foods that also contain calcium in good quantities.
Milk products for the lactose intolerant:
Curd contains high amount of proteins making it a highly nutritional food. Add some fruits of your choice, some dates and other dry fruits and honey and you have a delicious and healthy bowl for a midmorning or evening snack, ready in no time!
You could also make a smoothie with curds and some fruits. Keep sugar out of these recipes, though. And, artificial sweeteners, too. Using honey, dates or raisins is a better alternative.
Curds go well with parathas, rice (curd-rice, any day!) or oats, too.
Buttermilk, when had after a heavy lunch, makes for the best digestive. Just add some cumin powder, rock salt (kala namak), some finely chopped green chillies and coriander and you get the best cooling, digestive drink, ever. You know that, don’t you?
Cottage cheese, or paneer, is another milk product loaded with calcium and proteins. And, it aids in weight loss, too. Homemade paneer tastes the best–soft and creamy–as opposed to the readymade one, which is often rubbery and lacks any taste. Just add a spoon of lemon juice to some warm milk and when the milk curdles and the curds separates, pour it through a cloth in a strainer. Gather the cloth, squeeze it lightly to drain the excess water and tie it up. That’s it. Perfect, soft, tasty paneer ready to be used in your recipes, or eat it as is.
Cheese provides calcium and proteins, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc. The best benefit of cheese, I read, is for the teeth as it prevents tooth decay. For those trying to gain some weight, you could add cheese to your diet. It helps improve the bone density and also strengthens the muscles.Opt for cheese with low salt content as otherwise it could affect your blood pressure.
And, finally, ghee, or clarified butter, is another milk product that you can consume on a daily basis. It will help in maintaining your gut health, keep your joints healthy, your heart beating beautifully, your skin soft, and your weight under control. My post on Ghee has the method of preparing it at home. it’s really easy to make, or you could buy white butter from the market and use that to prepare the ghee.
So, if you have deleted milk from your daily diet due to lactose intolerance, do include it now through the various milk products. You will be doing a world of good for your health–mental as well as physical health. Trust me!