The Ayurvedic Recommendation :
Based on Ayurvedic texts, krya recommends regular dietary use of Desi A2 cow ghee for all prakritis. When we say “desi ghee” we usually refer to ghee made from the milk & curd of indigenous Indian cow breeds, with a prominent “hump” on their shoulder . Theseindigenous breeds are derived from the primary strain of “Zebu cattle” , descended from Indian Aurochs.
What is commonly available today ?
What is available commonly today is A1 milk, curd and ghee. A1 milk is derived from the European version of Bos, which migrated away from the Asian and African heartland close to 4000 years ago. This species developed a slightly different version of Beta casein in the Milk which is now called A1 beta casein, as opposed to A2 Beta casein found in Indian indigenous cattle.
Why we recommend desi A2 Milk ?
As per Ayurveda and recent research, A2 milk is easier to process and digest by our bodies. In practice, we have found that A2 milk is usually less fatty, causes less bloating and digestive discomfort, and exhibits all the properties of Milk we have studied as per Ayurveda.
Issues with Commercial dairy farming and A1 Milk
When we buy Dairy from large conglomerates, they follow a collection + aggregation model . Here Milk is sourced from small dairy farmers with any breed of cow or buffalo , mixed together, homogenised to follow government
standards of fat percentage and then sold as toned milk, full fat milk, etc.
This is the case for all major co-operative dairy conglomerates across India.
• Milk is sourced from different kinds of daily cattle and mixed together: so we have desi (A2), foreign (jersey – A1), hybrid (desi+jersey), buffalo, and sometimes goats milk being mixed together . The properties of each of these are different and will have a different effect on the body. Depending upon the mixture we get, the body may accept it better or it may not.
• As Dairy farmers are rewarded for fat percentage of Milk (higher cost paid for higher milk fat), they are incentivised to replace lean indigenous breeds with foreign breeds which are naturally high in fat. Again to conserve milk fat, they restrict the animal’s movement and can feed the Animal high fat and unsuitable diet in order to extract high fat milk.
• Unnatural, cruel dairy farming practices: To extract maximum yield from Cows, dairy farmers unnecessarily induce lactation through hormone injections. The animals are often kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions leading to diseases and antibiotic injections. As the animal is subjected to so much strain, her natural life comes down to half.
• End user contamination: Often due to the presence of a very large cold-chain, on and off there is adulteration of Milk – Urea, Detergent powder, etc are used to preserve milk for a few days till it reaches you
Ayurvedic recommednation on sourcing Milk
Milk must be sourced from a farm where the animals are treated well. When we take Milk from a cow, we are taking a portion of food that she has produced for her calf. So we incur a Karmic debt towards the Cow and her Calf. We must ensure that we treat the Cow and her Calf well, look after their health and ensure they live happily with us to reduce that Karmic debt slightly. Hence these practices are specified in Ayurveda
• Milk must be taken after the calf has had her full
• Cow must not be subjected to extended lactation period simply to get more Milk out of her
• Cow and calf must be housed in clean, hygienic and pleasing environment
• Cow and calf must both be healthy and willing to spare excess Milk. We must not take milk from a cow who has lost her calf, or whose Calf is sick.
• Cow and calf must be allowed to graze and eat their normal diet. We must not give them food that is not suitable to them and which makes them ill (both are common practices in commercial dairy practice).
• As far as possible, we must take Milk from locally available breeds – their fat content and other nutrient parameters are most suitable for the climatic conditions we live in.
• We must source Raw, unpasteurised cow’s milk which we then boil at home as per prevalent Ayurvedic practice. Hence it is “cooked” for the first time when it reaches us.
• Dairy is precious. It is made by a Mother from her dhatus for us. We must use it as necessary and should not over indulge in it or waste it.
What to look for when sourcing Desi A2 Ghee ?
If you look at the above, it is ideal to make your own Desi A2 ghee from the Milk you buy everyday from a farm that you know of personally. This is a process – many of Us may not be there as yet. So here are some guidelines to determine whether the Ghee you are planning to buy is physically and spiritually correct for you and your family
• How are the Cows treated: A conversation / visit should have you enquiring about the health of the cows. Please remember sourcing ghee from badly treated cows is going to increase your spiritual / karmic debt. Ayurveda tells us that all food is endowed with “gunas” or spiritual qualities. The state of the people making the food, the state of the cow are both important to source truly good ghee. Therefore, it is preferable to source from smal local dairy farms or gaushalas which you can trust, to source ghee & milk.
• Milk – Ghee ratio: It takes about 30-36 litres of Desi A2 Milk to make 1 Kg of Desi A2 Ghee . This ratio is assuming normal fat proportion of Bos Indicus strains which is always lower than A1 strains. If you assume this ratio to be a factor in costing, Desi A2 Ghee should cost around Rs. 1200 – 1500 / Kg or more. Again costing depends upon many factors, primarily the fat percentage of the Milk produced by the Indigenous strain. Certain breeds like Gir and Red Sindhi have slightly higher fat percentage compared to certain strains like Kangeyam. So price will vary accordingly. If it costs less than Rs.700 / Kg, you should check whether it is actually Desi A2 cow ghee.
• How is the Ghee made: We are looking for Ghee to be made using the Ayurvedic method. Hence, Malai (cream) is taken out from Milk and stored. Curd starter is added to this Malai to make a thick curd. This is churned to extract Butter + Buttermilk (fat free chaas). This butter is then heated to make Ghee. This ghee is sweet, digestive, pitta balancing and chakshushya (good for the eyes). Many households also modify this process by adding Cream removed from curd along with Cream obtained from Milk – In this case, by the time we get to making butter, the cream has already become curd due to the presence of curd starter bacteria. Sometimes this can make the cream very smelly – so we recommend the first Method.
Generally if you use good quality A2 milk, you can make about 250 gm of ghee after saving Malai for 2 – 3 weeks.
How should Ghee look / taste and smell ?
Good quality ghee should have a characteristic pleasing, ruchi inducing aroma. It should not smell burned in any way (indicates that butter was excessively heated). It should be light and easy to absorb in your food.
Good quality A2 cow’s milk and ghee can have an excellent impact on your overall health and of course will help you build good skin and hair systems. It will be an excellent one-time investment of your time to switch to a good local brand so that you can ask the farmer all the relevant questions to re-assure yourself.