193. Milky Myths

In India and many other countries, Milk is the white elixir which ensures strong bones and shiny teeth! But in several other parts of the world, taboos and myths about milk, prohibit the consumption of milk got from any animal.

In many cultures, the milk obtained from the cattle, goats, sheep, horse, camel, buffalo and reindeer are either forbidden food or sacred food–unfit for human consumption. There is also a wide spread belief that the characteristics of the animal will be passed on to the man, through its milk!

In some areas of China, milk is considered as the excrement unfit for human consumption. Lengua Indians fear that milk might impair the physical and mental health of their youngsters, who drank it.

Among the Bangala people of the Upper Congo, any one who drink milk is considered unclean and is not allowed to eat with the others. For the same reason milk is not included in the diet of Japanese, Polynesians and Melanesians.

Bahima and Masai people of Africa believe that if milk is boiled, the cow that gave the milk would die! Toda tribes of India believe that the milk of the buffalo is too sacred to be drunk by human beings.

Aversion to milk may have some scientific reasons besides these superstitions. Many people have difficulty in digesting the milk sugar called Lactose. Enzyme Lactase converts milk sugar into simpler forms which can be easily assimilated. Any deficiency in Lactase will render the milk indigestible.

This might be the real reason behind the many myths and taboos prevalent about milk.

Visalakshi Ramani


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