Tuesday, February 16, 2016

To boil or not to boil?

I was at the doctor’s a few days back with an extremely painful neck and shoulder. Looking at my X-Ray he tut tutted all over it then pronounced ‘Cervical Spondilitis’ - which I believe is pretty common these days. He also found ‘abysimally low’ levels of Vitamins D and B.

He went on to prescribe, along with a bunch of medicines, more time outdoors (which I liked), swimming (which thrilled the kids since I’m never able to make time to take them swimming) and a bunch of medicines. He also asked me to stop boiling the milk that I had everyday. 

What? Not boil milk? Hasn't that been an intrinsic part of my morning routine? Just as it was my mom’s and her mom’s too.

However, what the doctor said made sense - If we are drinking pasteurised milk we don’t really need to boil it. Pasteurisation meant it had been boiled and cooled already, the bacteria had been taken care of. When we boil it again, he said, we kill the vitamins, specially those of the B Group.

A look at google pretty much confirmed what he said but confused me too. I had no clue there was so much science to boiling milk the correct way. I mean you put it in a pan, put it on the stove, watch it till it comes up then switch it off. Right? Wrong. I found a bunch of dos and don'ts and I got so confused that I wiped them clean off my mind.

I decided to do my own thinking. 

Here's why I felt I needed to boil the milk: 

1. The packets are often so dirty that it is difficult to believe the milk they contain is safe.
2. After boiling I could remove the layer of cream and get toned milk (the fight against fat, remember?)
3. The milk lasts longer once it is boiled.
4. And lastly of course - generations of habit.

I have now struck a mid-path to make sure I get my vitamins:

1. I wash the packets thoroughly before I cut them open. 
2. I switched to double toned milk. A friend suggested switching to cow's milk - I might do that - it's lighter on the stomach.
3. I try to consume it on the same day and boil only what I need to carry over to the next day.

It seems to be working fine as of now.

So do you boil your milk or was it only me all this while?


30 comments:

  1. of course boil the milk, look at it steadfastly and then get bored. Look somewhere else and then panic when the milk is already spilling. Curse yourself for doing it every time. Wipe the extra milk & sleep peacefully.

    Take care my dear!

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    1. Lol! Smita - milk has a way of boiling over the moment your attentions flags for that fraction of a second, isn't it? Some kind of a sadistic trait. it's been happening to me for years now.

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  2. I don't boil the milk anymore unless I'm making coffee. I just warm it up from the pack directly in the microwave. Also, neck pain, cervical spondylitis are all alarm bells. Remember my neck and shoulder pain? And the prolonged agony? Yep. That was what it was. More time outdoors and swimming are definitely doable for me. This is a wake up call. Thanks Tulika. And please take care

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    1. You're one smart person. There I was listening to H and N study Pasteurisation in the chapter on 'Methods of Food Storage' and yet it never struck me. Habit makes us blind.

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  3. Tulika - weird not to boil the milk cuz coffee needs really hot milk to taste great (even though I really don't drink it piping hot - prefer to gradually sip it from hot to lukewarm). But yes, no need to boil pasteurized milk - however, as you said the packets stink outside and it is so hard to consume directly. I remember a cousin of mine who was perpetually late would simply cut the pack directly drink and toss it.

    Incidentally, even if you boil the milk, it spoils by evening depending on the weather. So - I guess always refrigerate.

    Which brings us back to Square A. If you love coffee, the milk HAS to be boiled. Sigh.

    Get well soon. There are some excellent exercises for cervical spondylosis that help a lot - worth doing them regularly. I will find the bunch and msg you. Hugs! Swimming and the other stuff sound fun anyway!

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    1. Yes of course for tea and coffee we need to boil it but for consumption otherwise we can go without the boiling. I'm looking some neck strengthening exercises. Thanks.

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  4. O everyone does. I mean who doesn't boils milk? But you know what, I like it better without boiling. The taste is so good like that, don't you think? That's a nice tip that I got from you :)

    Thanks a lot Tulika :)

    Cheers

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    1. Exactly Geetika. I realised I like the taste too.

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  5. Ya, that was one of the things I learned as a doc, not before that. And yes, more time outdoors is the one thing I dont get in my life and it has resulted in a Vitamin D deficiency for me too... not that I can do much about it sitting inside an operation theatre.

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    1. Hmm.. the OT needs you I guess. Me time for doctors is something that needs to be dwelt upon. Do take care Roshan.

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  6. here I buy bottled milk and drink it as is, unless I am making hot chocolate. But I never realised there was this much science behind it. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are feeling better.

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    1. I'm better, thanks. I didn't realise there'd be all that much the science too. Bottles are safer I would think.

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  7. I hope you are feeling better now Santa!

    I always boil the milk I buy after washing the packet thoroughly. I boil it as many times as I can too. Because I need my drinks to be piping hot always!

    You better take care of yourself. If you were in Bangalore, I'd send you a cake to make you feel better :)

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    1. That's the sweetest thought Soumya. I feel good already.

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  8. I have read and heard about it, but I can't digest the idea of having milk without boiling it first. In fact, I don't even know these days whether, what I'm getting in the name of milk, is actually milk or not! Vitamin D deficiency seems to be common these days. I'm also on supplements for it since over a year. Supplements just don't work way the way sunlight does. So soak up all the sun that you can.

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    1. You're right. It's nicer to get the vitamins from the food we eat. However as we grow older supplements become a reality we have to live with. For now I'm going with the milk though.

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  9. OH NO and after reading the comments its a bigger OHHHH NOOOO .. I dont boil my milk.. simply pour it in a glass add my sugar and coffee and 3 minutes microwave .. nice and hot ..

    oooops I better start to boil but then its rush rush rushhh in the morningsssssssssssssss


    Bikram's

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    1. That's the way to do it Bikram - no boiling - you're doing fine.

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  10. I did not know this at all... GEez and I have always been boling the milk for my kids... MAkes sense... I should avoid the boiling henceforth

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    1. You should. It seems the sensible thing to do.

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  11. Ah Tulika. Hope you are better now. Been suffering a terrible headache since 3 days. Comes and goes. Yikes. About the milk, the packets are yuck and also because I am not sure if these delivery guys refrigerated it properly. So many times while boiling the milk I find out that it has spoiled. Mostly in summer. Hence I always boil the milk. In US though I used to drink it right from the can. Actually I preferred the cold milk for cornflakes.

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    1. Ugh headaches are terrible. They render you totally unproductive. Hope you are better now. I love cold milk and Cornflakes too.

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  12. Hahaha, we all boil milk, I guess. But glad doctors' advice was an every opener.
    I learned a bit too.

    Btw, we all are deficient in Vit B and D...that's what I got to know few months back.

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    1. That's sad isn't it? To think that Vitamin D is available free of cost!

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  13. Oh no! I boil it all the time. I want it hot. Gosh! These things confuse me so much. The whole pasteurized and skimmed - low fat, cholesterol free thing!

    Hope you are feeling better Tulika. Take care and get back up soon!

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    1. Me neither Parul. But this one I took the trouble to find out. Pasteurisation, according to H and N's text book, is the process of heating milk to high temperatures and cooling it rapidly to kill the harmful bacteria.. FYI :-).

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  14. You take care and get well soon!!
    The best way out would be turn vegan!! ;)

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    1. Vegan - no dairy products? That's a toughie.

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  15. What! Not boil milk.
    I have to. It's now gone into OCD mode; I'd rather boil milk and take a Vit B supplement if need be.
    Get better soon, Tulika

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha Sid I know how it is. But supplements are cumbersome and I'm looking at it as cutting out one daily chore. Isn't that something?

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