My mother told me that as a baby I declined to sleep in peace unless I was given a bottle of 300 ml milk even after a full meal. Milk and all its derivatives, in all forms (even that ‘malaai’ layer on milk that many find yucky!), was comfort food for me for almost 30 years of my life. Parents of peers, who had a distaste for milk, always sung praises for my love of milk!
And why wouldn’t I enjoy those? I was always given to believe that milk is, by itself, the most nutritious meal I could ever get. Calcium, protein and so on…I consciously opted for curd during my hostel days, ordered a paneer dish on a restaurant outing, gulped down that glass of buttermilk with pride and joy on a hot summer afternoon or, added a dollop of golden ghee on a plate of warm rice. I even loved that ‘Doodh, doodh, doodh’ song on Doordarshan so much that I remember its lyrics even today.
Quite naturally, when I had my first child, I was waiting to see her grow up on cow’s milk. I kept my fingers crossed that she doesn’t turn out like those children who throw that glass of precious milk down the sink behind their mother’s back. Thankfully, she didn’t. Around 100 ml of milk in a day, became a part of her meal routine, almost until she was two and a half years old. The diet chart on the doctor’s file supported it too.
In the meantime, a friend proclaimed that I must visit a nutritionist to seek relief from a chronic issue I was battling, and that she knew someone who has helped her lead a medicine free life. The idea of a ‘Medicine free’ life stirred me up and I took the plunge! This was quite like someone taking me from a cave to a space of bright light that I wasn’t used to and my pupils shutting themselves up!
3 years later, today, as I write, my family and I do lead a medicine-free life. . How that happened is a story for another day, but what I must tell you about is one of the biggest changes that I had to make to our lives since then. Yes, MILK. Say NO to MILK. Forever. True, but not sad.
That meant, giving up on my first love and a part of my identity, forever.
That meant, challenging a whole bunch of preconceived notions about milk.
That meant, arguments with beloved family members and friends.
That meant, learning a lot about nutrition and foods, to help me make this shift.
I went back to the books, quizzed my nutritional counselors insanely, experimented with my own body and lifestyle, found other people who had been ushered on this path, just to get my facts about milk, right.
What I am going to share with you here are probably the rudest and barest truths that I discovered but there’s much more!