birth to death to live healthy lives. Undoubtedly, certain nutrients in dairy products are very valuable to a balanced diet, but if we examine samples of healthy people of all ages in cultures other than our own, (which do not have the space to graze an unlimited number of cows), we find that they can satisfactorily get the necessary animal nutrients from more compact and efficient sources such as cheese, ghee, butter and yoghurt, rather than from daily litres of pasteurised, homogenised, full cream, or even low cream, plain or flavoured milk. Like all rich, high energy foods, in small quantities they do no harm, but in excess they will overload the digestive system.
It was once pointed out to me (by a farmer who kept many different milking animals) that the size of the protein molecule in cow's milk is many times larger than that of the human milk protein molecule, but that the size of the goat's and sheep's milk protein molecule was nearly identical to that of human milk. He pointed out too, that cow's milk is made to promote a calf's growth at a rate of 1.2 kilograms per day, from a 30 kilogram to a 200 kilogram calf in just 4 months. These simple facts indicate that the milk produced by a mother cow is a far richer in nutrients and growth hormones than humans would ever need for their young. But many people nowadays drink a litre or more of cow's milk per day and, as a result, often end up looking rather bovine! The growing number of children and adults with milk allergies, lactose intolerance, high cholesterol, obesity, inability to process fats in their digestive system, poor skin, and many other food complications, clearly suggests that the popular, modern, high-dairy diet is drastically wrong.
This great milk con may well take a long time to die down, due to our cultural and psychologi-cal conditioning which teaches that beyond weaning from mother's milk, we should still be drinking some quantity of milk everyday. In olden times when people went out to work in the fields and exhausted far more protein and fat in their working lives; when our ancestors came from far colder climates where a higher body fat content was needed for protection from the elements; perhaps, a greater dairy consumption was necessary. But these days, in our much hotter Australian climate, and with so many people leading more sedentary lives than our forebears, the need for a large quantity of dairy fats in the diet is far, far less (even though the need for a minimum amount of animal protein remains constant).
Even the way humans feed their domestic pets regular supplies of milk, is a projection of our own preferences for sweet and fatty substances. Do they really need cow's milk? But they are cats and dogs. If they didn't have a house to live in and a bowl of milk to drink from, would they would go off in search of milk from a cow, even beyond their weaned age? No. They are just sopping up one of the nicest things in the world because we give it to them. And possibly, like some adults who may have been weaned prematurely or not even breastfed at all, they hold within them a deep and unresolved craving for mother's milk.
Previously, I have indicated the importance of both proper food and yoga practice upon the nature of one's life force and consequently upon one's health. These are like the 2 wings of an aeroplane. Neither should be neglected for the other, as both are necessary for all round digestive health. This is summed up very simply in the words of a great yoga master, Paramahansa Swami Satyananda:
"Yoga practise is as important as diet.
But if you are only concerned with food
and are not practising yoga,
then you are a fanatic ".
Today, there are very many food fanatics. There are people who have healed themselves with a particular dietary regime, who believe that everyone with that same ailment should be on their diet. There are people with so-called "natural" concepts of eating, who live in secluded communities where they can casually wander through the forest or garden all day picking the natural fruits and berries. There are highly educated types who claim to have unlocked the finer details of the body's chemical equations and insist that their latest thesis shows what no-one has ever discovered before. There are certain health therapists who believe that herbal potions are the best and only way to health, and others who say that vitamin and mineral supplements are the way to go. There are sport and fitness freaks who have a tailor-made recipe of foods and drugs to keep in peak condition. There are people over 100 years old who have their own dietary beliefs for their longevity. There are believers in: