Is Cheese OK to eat in Ayurveda ?

Student question : What about Prakriti Satmya and cheese ? We eat cheese since we are babies, so we do have the enzymes to digest it. But we have been told by an Indian Ayurvedic doctor that cheese should be avoided all the time, and that it is not a question of prakriti satmya. Is that correct, and if yes, why ?

Answer : Indians do not like any fermented food but have no problem eating 1 kg of white sugar and 1 liter of highly refined oil per day. This combination has led to an explosion of heart disease in India and heart related deaths are the number one cause of death in India since the early 1990’s. Indian Ayurvedic doctors do not like cheese because it is not good in the Indian climate and culturally it is considered to be putrid. Most Indian’s are not able to make the adaptation of Ayurvedic nutrition to the West as they think the whole world should live in a semi-tropical climate and eat food that is suited to that climate. Look at Caraka Samhita, Sutrastana, Ch. 26, verse 12, where he says there is nothing in the creation that cannot be used as food or medicine when the rules are followed. This is correct.

In cold climates like Northern Europe we need to eat fermented foods as our culture gets our sour (acid) rasa this way. This is how we build heat in the body in order to keep warm in the cold seasons. Hot spices (pungent rasa) burn too fast and do not give the same level of internal heat. 1) few hot spices grow in Northern Europe, 2) fermented food is easy to make. Simple put if you want to live in a cold climate you need heat which is best derived from the sour rasa (fermented food) as it is longer burning heat than pungent rasa. As we do not have hot, pungent spices in our environment we must assume that nature is intelligent and did this for a reason. Hence, accepting that there are few hot, pungent spices in northern climates we must assume again that the world wide use of fermented foods in cold, northern environments is also due to nature’s wisdom. People who try to eat vegan or vegetarian without fermented food freeze to death in Northern Europe because they cannot generate enough heat with their diet. Try it and see for yourself !

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