Why I Don’t Drink Milk

Why I Don’t Drink Milk
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/23/2018 5:54:24 AM IST

 Lalthara IAS(Retd) former chief secretary Nagaland

In this article Lalthara, who retired as chief secretary Nagaland in 2013, relates about what made him give up drinking milk. The milky way was perhaps not meant to be his chosen path and so in this series, Lalthara pens his arguments in quite an interesting manner.
In the year 1990, I was the Secretary, Department of Food & Civil Supplies, in the Govt of Nagaland at Kohima. And like most of the other senior officers occupying govt quarters with good compounds, I was also keeping a milch cow. So, along with my nephew who was with me at that time, a glass of milk was a regular item in our breakfast and dinner, as well as at bed time. Those days, I was having some problems with my digestion and bowel movements, such as mild discomforts and rumblings in the stomach, accompanied by loose irregular stools. I had suspected that I was having a mild form of chronic diarrhoea. Although it did not cause any major problem with my daily routine and activities, it was somewhat annoying and worrying me. My consultations with various doctors in Kohima, and their prescriptions did not help. So, during one of my visits to Delhi, I went for a complete check up of all my digestive and alimentary canal systems in a reputed hospital. But they could not find any disease or chronic illness in my systems.
During my return flight from Delhi to Kohima, I happened to read in a newspaper an article about milk by Maneka Gandhi. She says that milk is an infant food, and most adults cannot digest it, because to digest the lactose in milk, we need lactase. During infancy, we have plenty of lactase in our digestive system, but not after adulthood. So, milk causes indigestion and stomach problems in most adults, especially people of Asian and African origins. She also says that most of the milks available in the markets are badly adulterated, either at source, or by the middlemen. The middlemen also regularly adulterate milk with flour, vegetable oils, liquid soaps etc. Some middlemen would even put earthworms in the milk, because the slime they execrate increases the density of milk! 
After reading the article, I said to myself “Eureka”! I was convinced that I had discovered the cause of my chronic digestive problems. That evening, as I sat on the dining table with my nephew, I said to him, “I am not going to have milk anymore. You can have all of them by yourself”.
A bit taken aback, he asked me the reason.  Then, I explained to him my chronic digestive problems, the result of my comprehensive medical tests done in Delhi, and the article on milk by Maneka Gandhi that I had just read that day, and my conviction and conclusion that milk has indeed been the cause of all my digestive problems. Without much ado, my nephew decided that he would also stop having milk. He said that he had been having the same problems as mine, especially more so during my tours, when he had to consume more milk to prevent wastage. Immediately, we called our servant, and told him our decision to give up milk altogether. We also told him to dispose of the cow as soon as possible, and that in the meantime, he could do whatever he pleases with the milk: either to consume it or sell it. After we gave up milk, our chronic irritable bowels syndrome was also gone.
My decision to give up milk became a defining moment and a watershed in my personal life in many ways. I practically became a ‘born again’ person in the way I think, and in the way I look at many things and issues. Since then, I started developing my own milk theory, which is essentially based on the law of nature, or the natural way of life. My lifestyle, my food preferences and my views and attitude towards many things were gradually influenced by what I consider to be ‘the natural way of life’. I have also been regularly reading Maneka Gandhi’s articles that used to appear in the Nagaland Post newspaper, where she constantly maintains that milk is not a good food for adults. She has been advocating non consumption of milk by adults on various grounds, such as: (i) that consumption of milk in various forms compromise peoples’ health; (ii) that it involves cruelty to animals, especially to the cow and the calf; (iii) that there are too many pollutants in the milk; (iv) that the cattle industry has greatly contributed to green house gases and global warming problems etc.
 While I totally agree with the above views of Maneka Gandhi, my milk theory is based on a different logic or foundation. It is based on the scheme of creation, or the ways of nature, and the advantages of respecting and following them. In other words, it is based on the unquestionable wisdom of creation, according to which, milk is meant for infants only, and not for grownups. I think this is also the most logical reason why milk is not good for grownups, and why the habit of consumption of milk by grownups has been the cause of many health problems. My theory is that if man ignores the laws of nature, he will have to face some kind of a negative backlash. 
Many of these natural laws may not be as visible as the law of motion or the law of gravitation, but they do work silently and relentlessly. One clear example is the grave danger being faced by all living creatures on this planet earth, including man himself, due to the effects of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change, etc. We have reached this dangerous situation, because man has been flouting natural laws for a long time, without bothering to listen, or heed the voice of nature.
In the year 2008, I was vacationing in Mizoram to spend Christmas & New Year holidays there. The general election to the Mizoram Legislative Assembly had just been held, in which the Congress party under the leadership of Sri Lal Thanhawla had won a massive mandate, defeating the ruling MNF party. Together with my two brothers, Shri C. Lalsawta, IAS, and Shri Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, IAS, who were also vacationing in Mizoram at that time, we made a courtesy call on Shri Lal Thanhawla at his private residence in Zarkawt. He and his wife warmly received us in their drawing room. When tea was served, all of us opted for red tea, with no one touching the milk pot, which was kept separately in the tea tray. 
Then a short discussion followed on the advantages of red tea, during which the Chief Minister’s wife, Mrs Lal Riliani, who is widely known in Mizoram for her great contributions to the anti-tobacco campaigns, and for her meticulous and hygienic lifestyle, told us how she had been propagating the advantages of red tea in her own ways, and how the various women’s groups in the Zarkawt locality now mostly have red tea in their committees and social gatherings. During the discussions, I also came to know that her aversion to milk is not on the basis of any theory, or on the results of any scientific experiments or tests, but on her own personal experience, as well as her general observations about the ill effects of milk consumption on various peoples. The time available was too short for me to explain my milk theory in details. So, I just said a few words about my own experience, and why I consider the habit of milk consumption by grownups is bad for health.
In the year 2010, when I was the Chief Secretary of Nagaland, I had a visitor in my official residence one fine morning. He was Rev Candid Sareo, the chaplain and PRO of Patkai Christian College, who has been known to me for several years, and has always been helpful whenever students from Mizoram seek admission in that college. As usual, my servant brought two cups of red tea. As we chit chat over tea, he jokingly asked me why Chief Secretary of a state should offer only red tea to his visitors. I said, “If you are not in a hurry, I will explain to you why I don’t drink milk. And since you are a man of religion, you will easily understand the logic of my theory”. Then for about half an hour, I explained my milk theory. At the end of my lecture, he showed great interest, and said he had never thought it that way, and that it was quite an eye opener for him, The next morning, Dr Sareo called me up from Patkai, and he enthusiastically informed me how he had discussed with his family members my milk theory the previous night, and how they had unanimously decided to become a milk-free family. 
As I was in the midst of writing this book, on the 13th October, 2017, I had another visitor. He was Shri Basu Dev, Investment Counsellor and Assistant Vice-President of Axis Bank, Guwahati. As his arrival at my residence coincided with my return from morning walk, his first remark was: “Sir, we meet after many years, but you have not changed at all. Tell me the secret of your health.” That gave me the opening to talk about my milk theory again. As we sat down in my drawing room, I offered him a cup of red tea, gur and plain bun; and I started to explain to him about my milk theory. He appeared to be quite interested in the subject; and since I was also in the midst of writing this book, I also got a bit carried away. 
I concluded my discourse by saying: “The Hindus also believe in the God of creation, ‘Brahma’, and that there is undisputable wisdom in creation. Then how can you believe that drinking of milk by adult, which is clearly against the principle of creation, will be good for your health. I am aware how milk occupies a central place in your Hindu culture and tradition; how milk is liberally used for worship in temples and Shiva lingam; and how a bride is made to offer a glass of milk to the groom on the wedding night or suhaag raat. It appears you believe that milk provides sexual power or fertility. But one thing you seem to have overlooked is this: that male sexual drive comes from male testosterone hormone, whereas milk contains only female estrogen , which, in my opinion, is likely to dampen male sexual drive.”
I further said, “You, the Hindus revere cows so much, and some of the Hindu zealots have even formed ‘Gau rakshak dal’ or ‘cow protection force’ all over the country. But you don’t seem to realise how you are perpetuating acts of cruelty on the cow and the calf by forcibly collecting milk from the cow, which is actually meant for the calf only and not for you”. He took my jibe in good spirits and thanked me profusely. Two days later, I got a whatsapp message from him that says: “Sir, I have started morning walk from today. In six months, I will be a changed man in health. I have also left milk”.
As mentioned by me in the preface, this book is not only about milk, but also about many other issues concerning modern lifestyle and diet, and its value systems etc. It is my hope that it would become a catalyst of change in our mindset and attitude towards milk and many other things, which the modern society have been taking for granted without much thought and application of mind; and that it would initiate a process of free and radical thinking, setting us free from many old habits and practices which had silently enslaved the civilised society today. 
Milk is a very big industry in the world today; and milk and its various products occupy a big space in our economy and in our diet. The adverse impacts of milk industry on the global warming and climate change are also much more devastating than we imagine. It is hoped that this book will make the civilised society realise the plain and simple fact that milk is not meant for grownups, that it is neither properly digested, nor needed by grownups; but it is rather the cause or the source of many of the lifestyle and other diseases the society is facing today. When we realise this plain and simple law of nature, and also respect it, then our world will become a healthier and better world in many respects.

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