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Allergies, Dairy and the Sunnah

Have you ever been told to go off dairy in order to keep your allergies under control? This seems to be the go-to solution for most doctors nowadays. I received some A2 Certified dairy products recently that made me question whether this was just an easy cop-out rather than a real solution.

Milk is after all a sunnah food. I find it problematic to throw the figurative “baby out with the bathwater” when milk is prescribed in the Quran. Nabi Muhamed (peace be upon him) loved drinking milk. Based on a hadith mentioned by Imam Tirmidhi, the Prophet said that nothing suffices as food and drink except milk. The Quran also says in Surah Al-Muminun, verse 21:
“And verily in the cattle there is indeed a lesson for you. We give you to drink (milk) of that which is in their bellies. And there are, in them, numerous (other) benefits for you, and of them you eat.”

Moira is the owner of Tori Raine, a small farm in Modimolle where they produce A2 certified dairy products from grass-fed, free-range cows. She is hugely passionate about the quality of their product and was able to make sense of my questions. The farm is not halaal certified, but the products are ethically produced and rennet used in the cheeses is of plant origin.

The A1 – A2 Question

Casein is the largest group of proteins in milk, making up about 80% of total protein content. There are several types of casein in milk. The two most common forms are:

  • A1 beta-casein. Milk from breeds of cows that originated in northern Europe is generally high in A1 beta-casein. These breeds include Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire, and British Shorthorn.
  • A2 beta-casein. Milk that is high in A2 beta-casein is mainly found in breeds that originated in the Channel Islands and southern France. These include Guernsey, Jersey, Charolais, and Limousin cows (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein, but A2 milk contains only A2 beta-casein. Some studies suggest that A1 beta-casein may be harmful and that A2 beta-casein is a safer choice.

In fact milk originally had only A2 beta-casein, but over time a genetic modification in cows brought about A1 beta-casein. Now most commercially farmed cows produce A1.

The Debate

The jury is still out and debate continues about this, but I personally noticed something that makes me lean towards A2. For a week, we were drinking A2 milk and in that week, I heard no bedtime sniffles as is the usual case with Taufeeq. He has allergies, which requires me to give him some Allecet at night. For that week, he did not seem to need it. It could be co-incidental but I will be switching to A2 for a while to see if it makes a lasting difference. Will keep you guys posted.

I also got to try Kefir for the first time. Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow’s milk or goat’s milk. It tastes sour like yoghurt but a little more salty and has a thinner consistency. So, Kefir is touted to be a nutrient powerhouse and has many health benefits:

  • As a probiotic it is more potent than yogurt
  • Kefir can improve bone health and lower the risk of Osteoporosis
  • It has anti-bacterial properties
  • Is being used by cancer patients to stimulate the immune system
  • Aids with relieving digestive problems
  • It may improve allergies and asthma symptoms

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-health-benefits-of-kefir

I found the kefir hard to drink on its own so decided to make a smoothie with it. Due to the saltiness of the Kefir the smoothie tasted a bit like a lassi. It was delicious and refreshing. Here’s my recipe you can try.

Blueberry, Banana and Kefir Lassi

2/3 cup Kefir
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup yoghurt
1 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 Tbsp honey
Blitz it all together in a blender or use a stick blender. Makes 2 glasses.

I also found the cheddar cheese very tasty, and not dry like most commercial varieties and made an amazing Khuri with the Amasi.

All in all, choosing dairy from a free-range organic source seems to make a lot of sense. It is currently rather more expensive than normal dairy. However, the financial investment may be offset in the long run by better general health. Over time if big industry moved towards a healthier industry perhaps healthy food could be more accessible for everyone. But that is a topic for another day…

Get my Khuri recipe on Instagram.

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