Moving Beyond Food Intolerances: A Story About Me, My Mind and Milk


Sipping on a cup of warm milk is a nighttime routine for many.

For me, it was not so simple. Food intolerances and a “severe milk allergy” were my reality for years. They were labels I received and completely identified with. When I started eating according to Ayurveda and “doing everything right”, I felt a lot better but still not there yet. I had a lot of fear of milk. When I read the title of Myra’s book Freedom in Your Relationship with Food I thought at first, “I don’t need to read that book. My relationship with food is fine, I just need to get rid of all those allergies.” Long story short: it was exactly what I needed. Even though I was allergic to milk and was vegan for a few years, I started to get attracted to ghee and milk. I went from “just the thought of milk makes me feel nauseous” to the idea that milk could be very healing for my body.

It was a little voice of my intuition that got louder and louder. 

At first, I started using store-bought ghee. This was already a step for me, but it does not contain the milk solids. Also, I choose to be unconscious about what I was exactly eating. I just bought a jar and tried not to think about it, until it was time to shine my light inside. I went through a whole process of investigating all the beliefs I had about myself and about milk. One by one I peeled them away: 

  • “Milk makes you sick”. After seeing documentaries like What The Health and reading scientific research like The China Study, this was my fearful conclusion. I decided to never drink milk again. But I slowly learned to listen to my own body and nature’s wisdom, rather than trusting blindly on research, media, or others. 

  • “You are a bad person when you drink milk”. I felt guilty about my desire to drink milk. How could I contribute to the harm of animals? The conventional dairy industry has horrible practices. Next to that, the current consumption of dairy has a big environmental impact. I could not sleep about this for nights. I contemplated on the principle of ‘ahimsa’ and explored my actual motive to drink milk. That was very clear to me: I see milk as a real medicine to heal my body. So I felt more and more at ease with it. Just a tiny amount, from a good source where animals are treated well. I feel very grateful for the cows and the gift of milk that they share with us.

  • “I need the approval of others to drink milk”. I was very afraid of the judgment of people close to me, who believe that veganism is the only way. I was looking for acceptance or forgiveness of those people about my decision to start drinking milk. I am learning that I am enough and do not need the approval of others. And the beautiful thing is, because of this process those people slowly opened up to other perspectives. This has strengthened our connection. 

  • “Milk will give me ojas”. After reading about the special qualities of milk, I became very attached to the idea of it. I felt fear about being underweight and was willing to do everything I could to fix it. From this place of fear, I just wanted the strength, immunity, and vitality of ojas. I thought that milk would be the solution to all of that. Releasing expectations and non-attachment were other lessons for me to learn. 

  • “I have to find the perfect source”. After releasing the initial guilt about animal harm, I made it my personal mission to find the best local, organic supplier of milk. I emailed farms and went to visit them. But I did not find the “perfect” little local farm which I imagined in my dreams. The cows are not honored like in India, but they are treated well. It’s not raw milk, but lightly pasteurized. And that’s okay, I tried my best. I found acceptance and peace in it. 

  • “My body is too weak to digest milk”.  My agni has improved so much with Ayurveda. But just when I thought I felt ready for it, another round of fear came along. Am I still allergic? Will I harm my body when I try it? Will it be too heavy to digest in the evening? Do I have to wait longer until I am stronger? Another exercise in training the mind which thoughts I want to keep and which ones to let go of. 

All these thoughts running through my head had one underlying belief. It was fear. Fear that I am not good enough and my body is not good enough. And I worked on releasing that fear step by step. And I am still working on it, it has become a daily practice. During a non-dominant handwriting session, I asked my inner child what I could do to help her to feel less fear. My pen touched the paper and started writing about my grandmother.

“My sweet grandmother made me feel so safe, seen and loved. She was such a special person who has taught me a lot about non-judgment and having faith. I remember the sleepovers with her when she would always make me a warm cup of milk with ground anise before bed. So nourishing. And exactly that kind of love I want to give to myself. ”

One evening I created a special moment.

I made milk with a date, ghee, cinnamon and of course, anise. I had faith that it would only bring me nourishment. It tasted delicious and I enjoyed every sip of it. And then... nothing happened. No running to the toilet, no throwing up for hours, no rash all over my body, no inflammation. To be honest, the next day I felt that my pitta burned a little brighter - the result of a slight tension about what could happen in the 24 hours afterwards. But it was okay, I reminded myself that I just faced one of my biggest fears. I laughed a bit about it and it cleared up soon.

Every night I have been drinking milk for 2 weeks now. It is my special moment to give myself some extra love. It has strengthened my body, but most of all it has strengthened my mind. It showed me to have faith and listen to my inner self. I am very grateful for that lesson.

I am not sharing this to show off that I can drink milk now or to tell you that allergies are all just in the mind. In fact, sharing all those thoughts about myself makes me feel quite vulnerable. The reason I am sharing this, is because maybe it can be helpful on your path. If you feel stuck and you are doing “everything right” according to the rules, I know how you feel. I invite you to take your journey inside a little step further. Myra’s book is a wonderful source to guide you with that. It is a special process and I am happy to practice with it every day. This story about milk is just a tiny part of my journey, because it really is about all of life. 

Tonight I am celebrating the full moon with making a big badge of ghee and of course: drinking my nourishing milk. 

Madelon Tiemens lives in Sweden and is enrolled in Hale Pule’s Agni Therapy program.

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