India's First Vegetarian Magazine.

India's First Vegetarian Magazine , Vegplanet, is Finally Here. Subscribe Now for All the Latest Vegetarian News, Buzz, Eats, Entertainment and More.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

SHOCKING! TV actress Shruti Ulfat arrested for posting live video of a cobra.

Jama Raja fame Shruti Ulfat landed her self in trouble by posting a live video of mishandling cobra, snake. Yes. The actress has been arrested by Thane forest department for posting a live video of cobra on Instagram. The time she posted the video, she was shooting for her TV Series Nagarjuna- Ek Yoddha based on the mythical Naaglok which is a part of Hindu puranas and epics like Mahabharata.

Sunish Kunju of PAWS immediately raised this issue to the forest department for forensic investigation. Apart form Shruti three other members from her production team, Nitin Solanki, Utkarsh Bali and Pearl Puri were arrested and booked under the violation of sections wildlife act 1972 -Sections 9, 39, 48a, 51.

The complainant revealed how the production team kept misleading the forest department just to hide the fact that they had shot with a real snake. He said, “If such acts are performed by television personalities it will only promote capturing snakes and making such videos. We also want the forest department to arrest the main culprit who provided the snake as it was not only extremely risky for people but also traumatising for the snake.”

Now we wonder how will Shruti tackle this trouble.

Please click for :TV actress Shruti Ulfat arrested for posting live video of a cobra

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

I never thought the day would come when I would recommend the drinking of milk!.

I never thought the day would come when I would recommend the drinking of milk! But it has and I am recommending the drinking of camel milk. The Foods Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)has, on December 2, 2016 , put camel milk on its list of animal products that can be marketed for human consumption. This decision has come as a result of sustained lobbying by Sahjeevan, the NGO that is working to save camels and pastoral breeders. However, since FSSAI is, after all, ruled by government bureaucracy, they cannot do anything without making major mistakes. So some worthy (read idiot) in the Food Standards Bureau has written that the standard for camel milk has to be 3.0% fat. This is unrealistic, as camels in India are open grazed and their milk has 1.5 - 2.5% fat. FSSAI has been made aware of this discrepancy and has agreed to revise the standards when a study by a credible agency samples fat in camel milk in India.

Drink camel milk for three reasons:

1. It will save the camels. Camels are in steep decline. In 2012 there were 4 lakh camels – down from 10 lakh in 2008. Now they are less than a lakh. They arefound in the five states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, UP and Bihar. Of these, 80% are found in Rajasthan, largely bred by the Raika community of pastoralists. There are 9 recognised breeds of camels in India, of which 7 are in Rajasthan. There are 2 crore camels in the world – and India is the only country where they are declining, because keeping them has become increasingly unviable for the pastoralists. Their traditional way of life has been attacked by disappearing grazing lands, mechanized farming, parasitic disease. The Raikas also find themselves struggling to survive in the face of active hostility towards their migratory traditions.

In Rajasthan the number of Raika herders have dropped more than 70% from the 1990s. The number of camels has fallen so drastically in the past 30 years that it has prompted the Rajasthan government to declare it as their state animal in 2014, hoping to increase protection for the animal.

With draught requirements being replaced with motorised options, camels are increasingly being illegally sold for meat. Everyday 100 or so are brought out of Rajasthan – even when the law there says that no camels can be taken outside the state – and cut in Mewat /Baghpat/ Meerut, or sent to Bangladesh. If we could drink camel milk then the herders could earn thousands every month and they would have an incentive to keep them.

2. Camel milk cannot be extracted in the same cruel fashion as cow and buffalo milk. The camels are free grazing. They cannot be locked up and their male children sold to the butchers, as they simply won’t give milk. Female camels’ thirteen-month gestation period must conclude in a live birth followed by suckling, else the female camel will stop producing milk. Unlike a dairy cow, which is parted from her calf when it is born and then gives milk for six to nine months, a camel can share her milk with the farmer and her calf for twelve to eighteen months. Therefore, pastoralists will be the main suppliers.

3. Camel milk is much better for you than cow or buffalo milk.

It is a superfood for diabetics. With 67 million sufferers, India has the highest population of diabetics in the world. Camel milk contains 52 units of insulin per litre, which is 60% of the average necessary external insulin administration for type 1 diabetics, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels, giving your body the insulin intake it needs in the most natural form. A study conducted on 24 Type 1 Diabetes patients, who consumed camel milk along with standardized exercise and standardized diet concluded that “There was a significant improvement in the microalbuminuria after receiving camel milk for 6 months. A significant reduction in the mean dose of insulin for obtaining glycemic control was achieved.” There is evidence that Camel milk helps with diabetic nephropathy.

One of the major complaints which diabetics have is that their pancreases do not function efficiently to process the sugar into its energy components. Camel milk improves the pancreatic function of the body, thus enabling the proper breaking down and absorption of blood sugar. A study conducted over 3 months compared the effects of camel’s milk and cow’s milk on a group of diabetic and non-diabetic men. The diabetics who were given camel’s milk, showed a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels and in blood glucose after eating. Their average blood sugar levels (HbA1c) were also reduced.

One of the serious complications of Diabetes is delayed wound healing and the consequent high chances of bacterial infections. A study demonstrated that camel whey proteins expedite the healing of diabetic wounds, by enhancing the immune response of wounded tissue cells .

Research has shown that camel milk might be helpful for people with autism, Type 1 diabetes, food allergies, hepatitis B and other autoimmune diseases, according to dietitians at The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Centre, and in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. “Studies have shown that the consumption of camel milk increases the bodies' production of antioxidant enzymes thereby lowering oxidative stress within the body.”

Camel’s milk contains A2 beta casein, unlike breed cows like Holstein or Friesian which produce milk that contains A1 beta casein. A1 beta casein is broken down into a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), whichsuppresses the immune system, causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and has been implicated in the development of Type 1 diabetes.

It apparently is also good for autistic children. A study, published in the 2005 edition of the International Journal of Human Development, cited anecdotal evidence of improvements in young autistic patients who switched from cow to camel’s milk. A study by Baba Farid Centre for Special Children (BFCSC), along with National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi alsoclaims that camel milk is beneficial for autistic children. Autism is often accompanied by gut problems, food allergies and food intolerance. Camel milk does not contain beta lactoglobulin, the allergen present in the milk of ruminants.

Nutritionally, camel’s milk is lower in total fat, saturated fat, but equal to cow’s milk in protein. It has ten times more iron and 5 times more vitamin C than cow's milk. One cup of camel milk contains approximately 107 calories and 293 milligrams of calcium (more than any other milk) besides 5.4 grams of proteins. It has a higher amount of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and copper, Vitamins C, Vitamin A, D, C, B1, B2 & E. Immunity boosting lysozome and lactoferrin (antimicrobial agents) and less fat, whey protein, lactose and zinc. Cholesterol in camel milk is lower than in cow or goat milk. It is considered safe for children allergic to bovine milk. In many countries, camel milk is given to babies suffering from malnutrition.

Is camel milk something new? Camel milk production is more than 18,40,201 tons per year globally, with Somalia making the most. In 2006, in view of its medical value, UN declared camel milk as a superfood.

But camels, because they have not been tampered with genetically and given hormones and antibiotics as cows and buffaloes have been, produce only 4-5 litres a day – as against 40 litres that cows are made to produce. So there is less of it, and it is more expensive. The upside is that it is totally organic, and you do not get deadly poisons in it like oxytocin – which every single litre of cow/buffalo milk has in India and which gives tuberculosis, cancer and other diseases.

Where can you buy camel milk? You can get it from the Bikaner based National Research Centre on Camels. India's first camel milk microdairy project, was set up in 2016 by LPPS, an NGO working with Raika camel breeders. The Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, based at the LPPS Camel Conservation Centre at Sadri, Rajasthan, produces pasteurised camel milk and cheese products and distributes it to Delhi.

You can order it online from Camelicious, a company in Dubai which has recently launched its range of Camel Milk Products like Camel Milk Powder, Camel Milk Ghee, and Camel Milk Cheese for online sale of camel milk in India. Or you can ask your local supermarket to get it. If there is demand, there will be supply.

Environmentally, camel milk is much better than any other milk. It has supported pastoral communities for centuries. Herders survive solely on milk when taking the camels on long distances to graze in arid environments. It is an alternative to cow dairy farming in dry regions of the world where bovine farming consumes large amounts of water and electricity. In fact, camels contribute to de-desertification, according to UNESCO. Camels, with their ability to go 21 days without drinking water, and produce milk even when feeding on low-quality fodder, are a sustainable option for food security in difficult environments.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

485 camel relived by pfa

Vellore medical students brutally kill monkey: Maneka Gandhi backs fight for justice

Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, a fervent campaigner for animal rights has added heft to the demand of animal rights activists in Tamil Nadu for justice for Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the name given by activists to a year-old female monkey who was found partially burnt and buried in the campus of the Christian Medical College in Vellore, near Chennai on 21 November. Prima facie, the body showed signs of horrific torture and abuse – the monkey’s limbs were tied, a telephone cord around her neck, multiple fractures on her body and a stick shoved up her rectum and forced out front.

In an exclusive interaction via email with Firstpost, Gandhi said – "Putting a rod into the rectum and pushing it so that it goes through every organ is not rape but murder. The monkey was tortured terribly in full view of bystanders for hours and then killed by a group of louts that are studying to be doctors. What kind of medicine will they practice on humans? Nowadays, anyone with money can get into a medical college and I fear for the lives of their patients. These kinds of butchers should be immediately removed from the college and put into jail."

http://www.firstpost.com/india/vellore-medical-students-brutally-kill-monkey-maneka-gandhi-backs-fight-for-justice-3125810.html

This Vet Is Putting Amputee Animals Back on Their Feet with Prosthetic Limbs. Free of Cost!

Dr. Tapesh Mathur, a veterinarian who serves at the Rural Veterinary Polyclinic in Jaipur, used to see numerous cases of amputation in animals. Most of these animals, especially cows, would lose their limbs in vehicle accidents. Dr. Tapesh performed surgeries and allowed the animals to be taken back by their owners. But he was always wary about the future of these animals. “They could not walk or lead normal lives. Their owners wouldn’t have the means to take care of invalid animals. This thought disturbed me for many years and I wished to do something for the animals. That is how I started researching the subject of prosthetics for animals,” says Dr. Tapesh.

A small room in Dr. Tapesh’s home became his workshop. He researched how prosthetics are made for humans and how they can be made for animals.

http://www.thebetterindia.com/72343/krishna-limb-dr-tapesh-mathur-jaipur-prosthetics-amputee-disabled-animals/?utm_source=The+Better+India+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1786f500be-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cd579275a4-1786f500be-73984817

Learning Medicine from Maneka Gandhi

Not many moons ago Maneka Gandhi wrote an article (which was published in her regular page "Write to Live", in "The Island" of October 3 entitled "Fish oil ruins your heart") where she said there is no evidence to say that fish oil protects the heart. In fact, she went a step further, and said it could be harmful to the heart.

Gandhi, citing clinical trials on omega-3-fatty acids points that while omega-3s can in laboratory settings (in-vitro) increase blood flow, reduce blood pressure and give neurons structural strength, these properties don’t translate into any benefits in the human body (in-vivo). She went on to say that a review in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), involving almost 70,000 people, found no compelling evidence linking fish oil supplements to a lower risk of heart attack , stroke or early death.

For more Details Please Click here:

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=155629

Since the colour of food influences consumers.

Since the colour of food influences consumers, many food manufacturers use dyes in foods ranging from meat and candies to wine. The aim is to simulate a colour that is perceived by the consumer as natural, such as adding red colouring to canned cherries which would otherwise be beige. Food companies add more than 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes to foods each year.

How did this begin? In the early 1900s, as the industrial age got underway, workers became dependent on low cost factory produced food. Food producers used the cheapest ingredients and adulterants and then, to hide this, they "restored" the colour. Red lead was used to colour cheese and confectionary. Copper arsenite was used to colour used tea leaves for resale. The bulk of chemically synthesized colours were derived from aniline, a toxic petroleum product and coal tar. Manufacturers phased out natural dyes for economic reasons: chemically synthesized colours were easier and cheaper to produce. Their use spread from paint, plastic and clothing to food.

Processed meat, fish and sauce contained Armenian bole, red lead, or sulphuret of mercury. Curry contained lead and mercury, pickles, bottled fruit and vegetables had copper, candies had any number of poisonous pigments and green tea had Prussian blue pigment mixed in it. Dyes entered all sorts of popular foods and drink. Many people died.

Gradually food dye regulations came, with each country developing their own legislation regulating the use of dangerous minerals such as arsenic, copper, chromium, lead, mercury and zinc, which were frequently used as colorants. In 1962, the WHO and FAO created an international commission, the Codex Alimentarius, to work out the application of food additives. However, this is not legally binding till today. In the United States, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 reduced the permitted list of synthetic colours from 700 down to seven.(The most commonly used dyes are Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which make up 90%+ of the market. These dyes are created synthetically by burning coal tar or are petroleum byproducts like tartrazine and erythrosine.)

Regulations differ from country to country even now. For instance Yellow, which is tartrazine (used in soft drinks, energy drinks, cake mixes, salty snacks, cereals, packaged soups), and has been linked to asthma, allergies and behavioural changes, is banned in some countries and allowed in others.Orange B is banned all over the world but is still used in the US for hot dog and sausage casings. Dyes used in meat, milk, and candies, like Quinoline Yellow, Carmoisine, Ponceau 4R, Patent Blue V and Green S, are not allowed in the US and U.K. Erithrosine, which was recognized as a thyroid carcinogen and is banned in cosmetics, is still used for sausages. Sunset Yellow, which causes adrenal tumours in animals and hypersensitive reactions, is still used in meats and gelatine deserts.

In all processed meats, fish, poultry, milk and eggs,dyes are used to mask quality failure and hygienic shortcomings. For instance, wild salmon has a distinctive pink colour which comes from the krill it eats in the oceans. But the salmon you get in restaurants is raised in crowded ponds and fed artificial food in order to make it fatter faster. This salmon is grey and looks inedible. So, fisheries use artificial dyes to make it pink. The dye is a chemical, Canthaxanthin, which has been linked to retinal damage in humans.

In meat processing, red and yellow colour types are preferred, with brand names such as “red blood”, “orange yellow” or “sunset yellow”. Tartrazine (E 102, yellow), cochineal extract (E 120, red) or carnoisine (E 122, red). While the first is made from coal tar and is very contentious for its role in allergies, the other two are made from crushed beetles.

Nitrates and nitrites are used to cure meat and poultry. They help kill bacteria and give meat a pink, or red, colour. Nitrite is highly toxic (the lethal dose in humans is about 22 mg/kg body weight). The use of nitrites is controversial, because nitrosamines are formed when it is cooked at high temperatures and these are carcinogenic.

The meat industry keeps the raw meat packaged in carbon monoxide. This is called "modified atmosphere packaging" (MAP) so that it can last longer in shops. When meat is exposed to carbon monoxide, it gives the meat a bright red colour. As meat ages it becomes brown or grey, but carbon monoxide keeps it looking artificially fresh for up to a full year, and can hide the growth of bacteria.

Annatto is a commercial dye produced from the red pulp of the seed of the achiote tree. It is used in cheese, butter and smoked fish. Betanin, or Beetroot Red, is a red glycosidic food dye obtained from beets and used for colouring meat and sausages to dark brown. Caramel is one of the oldest and most widely-used food colourings and is found in almost every kind of fish, shellfish, roast beef, ham, pastrami or chicken.

Carmine, made of killed insects, is routinely added to food products such as meat. yogurt and ice cream.

Carotene, which is a pigment found in many dark green, leafy, and yellow vegetables such as collards, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash and in the fatty tissues of plant-eating animals, imparts the yellow coloration to milk-fat and butter. Turmeric is used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow colour to dairy products and yogurt.

Synthetic astaxanthin is not approved for human consumption, but is permitted to be used in fish feed that humans ultimately eat. Astaxanthin is used to keep the flesh of farmed fish pink, no matter how diseased their bodies are.

Consumers like yellow yolks. But birds that don’t eat fresh grass, or see the sun, cannot produce eggs with yellow yolks. So egg producers put various dyes into the poultry feed. There are eight dyes registered as feed additives for poultry. Canthaxanthin is used here as well, even though, in 2007, the European Food Safety Authority established maximum residue limit as 30 milligrams/kg.

Illegal dyes are used as well in poultries. Sudan IV has been detected in hen and duck eggs. Sudan dyes are carcinogenic. Egg yolk yellow is also achieved with xanthophylls extracted from plants.

Cadmium is a yellow metal used in squid and cuttlefish.

Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, colour additives may not be used to deceive consumers, or to conceal blemishes or inferiorities in food products. Usage is prohibited "if it is found to induce cancer when ingested” by people or animals.

Both these conditions are violated. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released a 68-page report “ Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” detailing the potential of artificial food dyes to contribute to hyperactivity in children, increase cancer risk and lead to other health problems. In CSPI's summary of studies on food dyes, some of the most commonly used food dyes could be linked to cancer. CSPI reported:

"The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply."

CSPI revealed that nine of the food dyes, currently approved for use in the United States, are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions -- and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself.

As CSPI reported: "Almost all the toxicological studies on dyes were commissioned, conducted, and analyzed by the chemical industry and academic consultants. Ideally, dyes (and other regulated chemicals) would be tested by independent researchers.

In addition to considerations of organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions, mixtures of dyes (and Yellow 5 tested alone) cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children.

… Because of those toxicological considerations, including carcinogenicity, hypersensitivity reactions, and behavioral effects, food dyes cannot be considered safe. The FDA should ban food dyes, which serve no purpose other than a cosmetic effect…

In the meantime, companies voluntarily should replace dyes with safer, natural colorings." The UK Food Standards Agency commissioned a study at Southampton University of the effect of six food dyes (Tartrazine, Allura Red, Ponceau 4R, Quinoline Yellow WS, Sunset Yellow and Carmoisine)on children. Published in 2007, the study found "a possible link between the consumption of these artificial colours and a sodium benzoate preservative and increased hyperactivity"

Research suggests that some children may be susceptible to even tiny amounts of artificial dyes, but that a significant number of children were affected by amounts over 35 mg per day. It was estimated that many children are consuming 3-4 times the 35mg amount per day. Food colorants sometimes cause allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock in sensitive individuals. Even natural colouring agents can be potential hazards and include annatto, cochineal and carmine

An important study, published in the journal The Lancet in 2009, concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate, cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible. The study also found that the E-numbered food dyes do as much damage to children's brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ. The results of this study were what prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behaviour. In July 2010, most foods in the EU that contain artificial food dyes were labelled with warning labels stating the food "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children." No other country has done so. What food dyes are used in India? Does anyone know or care?

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Birds in tropical climates face predators.

Birds in tropical climates face predators- larger birds, mammals and snakes- who rob their nests, stealing eggs or killing chicks. In a study published in The American Naturalist, scientists report a novel nesting strategy adopted by a tropical lowland bird that inhabits an area with very high losses to nest predators. The newly hatched chicks of the Cinereous Mourner in Peru have downy feathers with white tipped long orange barbs. The nestling moves its head very slowly from side to side in a way typical of a poisonous caterpillar nearby with similar size and coloration as the nestling. The nestling tricks predators into thinking that it is a toxic, spiny caterpillar rather than an edible nestling. This remarkable adaptation decreases nest predation.

Even chickens exhibit intelligent behaviour within just a few hours of hatching. Newly born chicks are able to keep track of numbers up to five. When given a choice between two groups of plastic eggs they invariably choose the bigger one, even when the decision was between two eggs or three. And their mathematical ability does not end there. In a paper, The Intelligent Hen, spanning 20 years of research, Professor Nicol proves that the birds are born with an understanding of physics – and particularly structural engineering. This is demonstrated by experiments in which they showed more interest in a diagram of an object that could actually be built rather than one that defied the laws of physics. Experiments also showed that very young chicks understand that an object that moves out of sight still exists. It takes human babies two years to grasp the key concept that out of sight does not mean out of existence. Chicks also show basic empathy and can plan ahead and exhibit self-control until the time is right. For instance, birds quickly learnt that if they waited longer to start eating food, they would be allowed access to it for longer. Further evidence of hen intelligence comes from tests showing that at just two weeks’ old, they can navigate using the sun, something that requires the creatures to take account of the height and position of the sun during the day.

Even newborn ducklings, according to a study in Science journal, challenge our idea of what it means to be a birdbrain. Zoologists at the University of Oxford devised an experiment. 1-day-old ducklings were exposed to a pair of moving objects. The two objects were either the same or different in shape or colour. Then they exposed each duckling to two entirely new pairs of moving objects. The researchers found that about 70 percent of the ducklings they studied preferred to move toward the pair of objects that had the same shape or colour relationship as the first objects they saw. In other words, a duckling that was first shown two green spheres was more likely to move toward a pair of blue spheres than a mismatched pair of orange and violet spheres. Ducklings go through a rapid learning process, called imprinting, shortly after birth — it’s what allows them to identify and follow their mothers. These findings show that ducklings use abstract relationships between sensory inputs like colour, shape, sounds and smell to recognize their mothers – meaning that an animal baby can learn relationships between concepts without training.

When people want to direct the attention of others, they naturally do so by pointing their hands/fingers. Researchers, reporting in Current Biology, have shown that even baby elephants spontaneously, without any training, get the gist of human pointing and can use it as a cue for finding food. Elephants that were born or kept in captivity were the same as wild-born individuals when it came to following pointing gestures. Scientists say it is possible that elephants may do something akin to pointing as a means of communicating with each other, using their long trunk. Elephants do regularly make prominent trunk gestures and these motions may be "points."

Foals can get up and gallop in the first minute of life. Whale calves can instantly swim with their pod. Puppies understand social hierarchies within a few days of opening their eyes: “who’s moving up or down the social ladder, and who is sleeping with whom.”

What is animal intelligence? Life has taught me that the answers are irrelevant: it is the questions that are important. A new book called “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” by Frans de Waal argues that the mental powers of animals are far more complex than often generally assumed. Many scientists have been asking the wrong questions about animal intelligence, blaming the creature in the cage for poor test results when it’s the person in the lab coat who is flawed.

It’s a mistake to compare animal intelligence to that of humans instead of seeing it on its own terms, he writes. The Clark’s nutcracker, a bird, can remember exactly where it put many of the 20,000 pine nuts it buries each year — but people forget where they put their car keys all the time.

Young bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days, researchers from the School of Biological Sciences, University of London have shown. The tiny insects are able to calculate the shortest possible route between flowers discovered in random order.

The classic puzzle involves finding the shortest route that allows a travelling salesman to call at all the locations he has to visit. Computers solve the problem by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the one that is shortest. Bees manage to reach the same solution. When researchers showed them a bunch of artificially controlled flowers, the foraging bees took one look at the place and were instantly able to figure out the shortest route between them After exploring the location of the flowers, bees quickly learned to fly the best route for saving time and energy.

The author says that chimpanzees might do better at cognition studies if somebody tickled them first, rather than scaring them by separating them from their parents. And the same applies to rats and fish. If you really wanted to know, signs of animal intelligence are all around you. When you eat and abuse an animal you are really eating someone as bright- if not brighter – than you. The only thing that makes the animal “stupider” is that it refuses to learn violence for violence’s sake – something that a human child is taught in its infancy by watching its parents be cruel to the rest of the world.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

All Hindu mythology is intertwined with animals.

All Hindu mythology is intertwined with animals. Thousands of stories abound in all the texts, and the largest of wars is often due to a small insect being killed. Devdutt Pattanaik has put some of these stories into a book called Pashu.

Of these myriad stories that exist in all the 300 versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, in the Vedas and Puranas, here are some of my favourites. They carry lessons to live by:

The Pandava prince Arjuna saw an unusual creature in the forest. It had the head of a rooster, a peacock’s neck, a lion’s waist, the hump of a bull, a snake’s tail and various limbs of a tiger, deer, elephant and human. Arjuna raised his bow to kill it. Then he thought – just because a creature is unfamiliar, why suppose it is a monster? He lowered his bow and the creature raised its human hand in blessing. It was God himself, testing Arjuna’s wisdom and tolerance.

Tumburu, the Gandharva, was a great and vain musician. He and Narada competed for the title of best singer. They went to Vishnu to decide. Vishnu, mischievously, said that he thought Hanuman was a better singer than both. Insulted, they went in search of Hanuman and found him on a snow covered peak. Sing for us, they commanded and Hanuman’s low and beautiful voice caused the snow to melt. When he finished, the molten snow froze again. Not good enough, they said. Hanuman bowed his head humbly and left. When they got up to leave they found their feet sealed in the snow. They called to Vishnu in distress. If you are better than Hanuman, sing and melt the snow, he said. They did – with no impact. Finally, they conceded that Hanuman, who sang out of devotion and not to show off, was better.

Gandhari accidently stepped on the hundred eggs of an insect. Heartbroken, the mother insect cursed Gandhari that she would see her hundred children die before her eyes. The cries of animals are heard by the gods as clearly as those by humans and it takes one act like this to change a person’s life.

Mandavya, the hermit, was arrested by the king who had him impaled on a stick. His crime was that he had stolen goods in his hermitage – something he was unaware of. He died during torture and when he stood before Yama, the record keeper, he demanded to know the reason for this unjust punishment. Not unjust, said Yama, when you were a child you tortured birds and pinned them to the ground with sticks. The pain you caused animals has to be understood and paid for in the same way.

When Rama’s army was building the bridge across the sea to Lanka, a little squirrel carried grains of sand on its back in order to help the bridge come up faster. When the others laughed at his efforts, Rama picked him up, stroked him while thanking him and left the marks of his hands as stripes. No good deed is too small that it is not noticed.

King Yudhisthira held a great yagna and thousands of people were fed. A mongoose, with a half golden body, entered and lay on the ashes of the yagna fire saying, “If this is a true sacrifice, let my body become all golden.” It didn’t happen and the mongoose was sarcastic. The priests were curious and he explained “During a drought, a farmer had a few rice grains left for his family. A stranger – old, tired, hungry- knocked on the door. The farmer gave him the entire family’s food and he left, satisfied. The family died of starvation that night. I entered the house and rubbed my face on the plate and it turned golden. I have travelled the world looking for a sacrifice as great as the farmer’s so that the rest of my body would change. I have not found it till today.” The king realised that meaning of a sacrifice was more than mere ritual.

Gunakeshi , the daughter of Indra’s charioteer, Matali, fell in love with a Naga, Sumukha. He couldn’t marry her as Garuda, the eagle, had been promised one naga a day as his food so that he wouldn’t kill all of them together. It was Sumukha’s turn the next day. Matali begged Indra who went to Vishnu for help. Spare him, said Vishnu. Garuda refused – I will remain hungry, he said. Vishnu placed his hand on Garuda and the eagle found he could not flap his wings any more. He was pinned. Have compassion on me, he begged Vishnu. For that, you must show compassion to another - for that is how all life is sustained. Garuda let the Naga go.

(My absolute favourite) : The Pandavas and Draupadi, after ruling for 36 years, decided to climb the mountains and enter the home of the gods. “If we have lived virtuous lives, the Gods will let us enter”, said Yudhishthira. But as they walked one by one they fell down till only Yudhisthira and a dog, that had come unbidden with them, stood before the gates. “You can enter, not the dog,” said the Gods. “But, he has equal rights since he has come on the same arduous journey and has never faltered in his desire and diligence”, argued Yudhisthira. “The flesh may be different but the soul is the same. If he can’t come in, I will stay out as well.” The Gods smiled and blessed Yudhisthira. “The dog is Dharma and you have demonstrated your innate spirituality in recognizing that all creatures are the same.” They welcomed both in to Paradise.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

My favourite Zen story is when a question is asked of a Zen monk

My favourite Zen story is when a question is asked of a Zen monk – ‘‘A house is on fire. What is the most important thing that you would save?’’ He replies – “I would save the fire.”

This story has stayed with me for 40 years teaching me to look deeper into what we consider valuable.

Let’s talk about the single tiniest living being on the planet – the bacterium, a tiny single cell being so small that millions live together and are collectively known as bacteria. A gram of soil contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A millilitre of fresh water usually holds about one million. Earth is estimated to hold at least 5 nonillion (54 zeros!).

A bacterium is a proper being. It can communicate, travel, multiply, generate energy, understand its environment. There are three types: ball shaped or cocci, rod shaped or bacilli, and spiral or spirilla. They are found everywhere – from your stomach to the Arctic ice and volcanoes, the bottom of the ocean to 30 miles up in the sky. Soil, plants, animals – all of us are walking mountains of bacteria.

Some of them are extremophiles, surviving in such toxic conditions or extremes of temperature where no other being can survive.

Bacteria are the first forms of life on this planet about 4 billion years ago. You are their descendants.

They were first attempted to be identified by Marcus Terentius Varro (Roman - 116 BC-27 BC) who suggested that disease may be caused by miniscule animals that floated in the air. They were finally identified by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (Dutch 1632-1723) who made microscopes, with which he saw what he called animacules in 1676 (to be called bacteria 162 years later). He is known as the father of microbiology. Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (German 1795-1876) introduced the term bacterium in 1838. Robert Koch (German 1843-1910) was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905 for proving diseases were caused by bacteria. Paul Ehrlich (German - 1854-1915) won the Nobel prize for pioneering the use of stains to detect them.

Bacteria feed themselves in a variety of ways. Some eat other organisms. Some absorb dead organic material, such as decomposing flesh. Some parasitic bacteria kill their host. Some make their own food out of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. In fact, these helped create the oxygen atmosphere of the earth. Some use water, and chemicals such as ammonia, sulphur, phosphorus, nitrogen, zinc, iron to produce their food. We call them nitrogen fixers. They are common in plant roots.

Aerobic bacteria grow only in the presence of oxygen. They can cause corrosion and bad smells. Anaerobic bacteria can only grow if there is no oxygen present. In humans, they are most commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract. They cause gangrene, tetanus, botulism and dental infections. Some grow with or without oxygen and are found in soil, water, vegetation, humans and animals. One example is salmonella. Human bacterial infections are mainly caused by mesophilic bacteria (like ecoli) - because our bodies are moderate (37 Celsius). Mesophiles thrive in moderate temperatures. The human intestine contains many beneficial mesophilic bacteria, such as dietary Lactobacillus acidophilus as well. Extremophiles thrive in conditions considered too extreme for most life forms - temperatures from 85 to 113 degrees Celsius, salt lakes, acidic or alkaline environments.

They multiply by dividing themselves, or by passing genes from one cell to another when they come in contact through a tube called pilus. Some bacteria move by gliding on surfaces. Others control their movement through internal gas bubbles. Some bacteria have tails and they rotate them like propellers going as fast as 0.00017 km per hour - the equivalent of a man running at 100 meters per second. E.coli can travel 25 times their own length in 1 second, equivalent to a horse running 215 km per hour.

When bacteria do not have enough resources to live they turn inactive. Spores can remain dormant for centuries. They are resistant to radiation, desiccation, starvation, chemicals and extremes of temperature. In 2007, biologists revived a 8-million-year-old bacterium from the Antarctic ice.

Most people react negatively to bacteria. But they create the air we breathe; the nitrogen in the soil that plants need. Friendly bacteria help the human body survive. Bacteria in the digestive system are crucial for the breakdown of nutrients, such as complex sugars, into forms the body can use. Friendly bacteria protect us from dangerous ones by occupying places in the body that disease causing bacteria want to occupy. Some friendly bacteria rescue us by attacking bad bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria have been used for the preparation of foods as cheese, soy sauce, vinegar, yoghurt and pickles and fermented foods for thousands of years. Bacteria can break down organic compounds at remarkable speed and help in waste processing. They are frequently used for cleaning up oil spills and clearing up toxic waste. Pharmaceutical and chemical industries use bacteria in the production of chemicals. Bacteria, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, can be used in agriculture instead of pesticides without the undesirable consequences of pesticides.

On the other hand some of the most deadly epidemics in human history have been caused by bacteria – Cholera, Diphtheria, Dysentery, Plague, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, Typhus.

Here are some more odd facts:

1,458 new species of bacteria live in the bellybutton of human beings. Everyone’s bellybutton ecology is unique and one volunteer’s belly button harboured bacteria that had previously been found only in soil from Japan, where he had never been.

Bacteria only multiply – unlike humans - to the extent that there is food. The amount of bacteria on a pair of jeans reaches a maximum after 2 weeks of wear. You can wear them for the rest of your life without worrying about them getting any dirtier!

Human faeces is mostly bacteria that are both dead and alive.

Magnetospirillium magneticum has the ability to take in iron, convert it to magnetic magnetite, align it along its body, and travel using magnetic fields.

Millions of people don’t actually need to use deodorant (especially East Asians) because they have a gene that stops them from producing sweat that attracts body-odour-causing bacteria.

One teaspoon of the bacterium C. botulinum, properly distributed, could kill every human being in Asia.

The “smell” of rain on the earth is produced by bacteria.

Floating bacteria are effective at spurring condensation, leading to snow and rain. Some scientists propose spraying bacteria into the clouds to end droughts.

Deinococcus radiodurans can survive 10,000 times the dose of radiation lethal to humans, making it a prime candidate for the clean-up of nuclear waste.

Ralstonia metallidurans can turn dissolved gold into solid nuggets.

Some marine animals have specialized light organs which contain bioluminescent bacteria which turn on and off like a flashlight. The flashlight fish uses its light to communicate with other fish, attract prey and avoid predators. The bacteria benefit by receiving nutrients and oxygen from the fish's blood.

Bacteria signal to each other through chemicals produced. Through these signals, bacterial species know how many others of their kind exist and whether there is a “ quorum”. The bacteria change and coordinate their behaviour when a "quorum" is present.

Are humans beings the dominant life forms of the Earth, or are bacteria? The terrifying "thought control" talent of the Toxoplasma gondii protozoa is amazing. It infects rats and then alters their brains so that the rodents seek out their natural predator, cats. This is because T. gondii can only complete its reproductive cycle in feline intestines. The rats offer themselves to be eaten and the T. gondii parasites complete their lives. It also infects humans and I wonder how much of our activities come from its orders. After all, your body has 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

I am really sad that Dr. Sanjeev Balyan has been moved out of the Animal Husbandry department.

I am really sad that Dr. Sanjeev Balyan has been moved out of the Animal Husbandry department which he headed as MOS Agriculture for the last two years. He is a vet himself and an excellent administrator. For the first time in my life I will tell you about a Minister’s achievements.

The first thing he did was to change the Veterinary Council and put two outstanding people as the heads – Dr. Sharma and Dr. Gurdial Singh. The secretary, who was the worst officer in the history of India and had destroyed the entire institution, was made accountable for all the cheating he had done for years, and left in a panic.

What was the situation that Dr. Balyan and this Government inherited: a totally useless Veterinary Council that had no control over the quality of veterinary colleges or the behaviour and knowledge of vets – in fact it was totally unaware of how many vets there are in the country and what they did. The syllabus was outdated and there were no courses for wildlife, ophthalmology, or any specific organ. No vets were taught how to castrate (crushing the testicles between two stones is the normal practice), dehorn or follow any hygienic methods of insemination – leading to sweeping diseases of foot and mouth and bovine leukaemia. No vet ever studied to increase his knowledge after he got his initial degree.

In the last two years Dr. Balyan worked at changing the veterinary syllabus, making standards for veterinary practices, making it compulsory for all vets to attend a refresher course every year or have their licences cancelled, and making an all India register of vets and where they were practicing so that anyone who needed a vet could find out immediately.

Veterinary education and veterinary practices in India have undergone sweeping changes. The new veterinary syllabus of 2016 will stop the cruel use of live healthy animals for veterinary teaching and training. It will, instead, ensure the use of ethically sourced cadavers for anatomical studies and simulation methods for students to acquire better clinical skills, before handling and treating animals under supervised clinical training. Veterinary students and teachers had often protested about using live animals to teach veterinary science, since all over the world this has been replaced with technology. Numerous studies have proved that the learning generated by non-animal teaching methods are better than those achieved by animal use. Non-animal teaching methods do not cause students psychological trauma, or force them to be a part of something that they consider to be cruel and abusive. The new curriculum also makes students undergo internship programmes at animal welfare organisations so that they learn animal welfare.

The new Veterinary Practice Regulations, once implemented, will ensure that minimum standards of veterinary services are made available to animals through static and mobile veterinary clinics. These facilities will be well equipped with man power, essential veterinary medicines, instruments, diagnostic facilities, and waste disposal system and will function on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and humane veterinary practice protocols. The protocol on humane veterinary practices mandates that animals must be given anaesthesia before invasive and painful animal husbandry procedures, such as castration, and that when euthanasia is required, such as to alleviate suffering from terminal illness, it must be done in a painless manner by a veterinarian. New modern courses have been introduced, especially in the area of wildlife and birds. We finally have a syllabus that is on par with foreign colleges. Now all we need is a type of student who likes animals, rather than aiming to simply get a ‘Doctor’ in front of his name so that his dowry rates go up.

Continuing Veterinary Education is not a new concept. Doctors need to learn the latest knowledge whether they are in government or private practice. Each vet will participate in one training course per year. To bring a mechanism for compulsory CVE programme for veterinary practitioners in India, VCI will set up a credit based system of certification for compulsory knowledge upgradation of practitioners.

For the first time, online registration will be made compulsory with VCI, for veterinarians, to practice anywhere in the country. The animal husbandry sector needs about 2 lakh veterinarians – as of now there are only 63,000. The VCI has increased the number of seats in colleges from 60 to 100 seats and made it easier to start new colleges.

Dr. Balyan also banned the commercial import of dogs for breeding. Thousands of diseased and unsuitable dogs were pouring into the country, being bought illegally by breeders. The notification from Director General of Foreign Trade came in consultation with the Agriculture Ministry. India has an unregulated pet trade, growing at a rate of about 20% per year, and these imported breeds are responsible for 90% of the dog bites and zoonotic diseases. Animal shelters like mine are crowded with pedigrees that have been thrown away by owners a few months after they buy them.

Dr. Balyan has gone to the department of water preservation. There are hundreds of issues still pending – from amending the sizes of battery cages for chickens to making minimum standards for all the hideous rotting government veterinary hospitals in the country. From banning exotic skins and meat to reforming slaughterhouses. The most important step in conserving animals and people is to ban oxytocin and remove antibiotics from farm animal feed, and this should be the topmost priority of his successor. Let me keep my fingers crossed that we get someone who understands the importance of animal welfare.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

When you buy fish or eat it in restaurants, you should be told whether it is caught from wild waters or farm raised.

When you buy fish or eat it in restaurants, you should be told whether it is caught from wild waters or farm raised.

We are told that fish have beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids that improve the health of the heart and promote mental health. But is your fish healthier than mutton or chicken? Not if you are buying farm raised fish.

Industrial fish farming, or aquaculture, is the fastest growing form of food production in the world. 50% of the world's seafood now comes from fish farms. By 2011, global farmed fish production topped beef production, and the gap increased in 2012 when 66 million tons of farmed fish were produced, compared to 63 million tons of beef. The farmed seafood industry continues to ramp up to the tune of $60 billion in revenue a year.

Has taking factory farming to the water had any ill effects – to your health and to the planet?

At first glance, farmed fish may seem like a good idea to help protect wild seafood populations from overfishing. The government’s agriculture ministry is going all out to promote fish farming. Not one bureaucrat has pointed out the dangers of this – probably because our bureaucrats don’t know much and their egos prevent them from learning.

In reality, however, the industry is plagued with the problems of pollution, disease and inferior nutritional quality.

Farm raised fish grow up eating corn, soy feed, animal and human faeces. This is nothing like their natural diet. As a result they have 50% less Omega 3, protein, calcium and iron. These fish have a high risk of disease and parasitic infestation and are loaded with antibiotics.

Does eating them protect our wild fish? On the contrary, many farmed fish are being fed a small fish diet. These tiny prey fish, like anchovies and herring, are not being farmed anywhere. They are caught in the millions by trawler nets, pulped and fed to farmed fish. As a result, both species are in danger of extinction. Since they are almost gone, so are species that depend on them. Scientists blame aquaculture for the decline in whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, penguins, albatross and many other species. They state "Rather than relieving pressure on wild fish, growing these large carnivores [salmon and tuna on fish farms] requires a steady supply of prey that are caught and ground into oil and meal. As the industry grows, it is straining the existing supply of prey fish, putting additional pressure on populations that cannot supply the demand." The Jevons Paradox says that "as production methods grow more efficient, demand for resources actually increases – rather than decreasing, as you might expect," This is precisely what has happened with aquaculture. As fish farming became more efficient, demand for wild fish has increased significantly. This has, in turn, put increased demand on the oceans.

Fish are farmed by stuffing them so thickly in artificial ponds that they cannot swim and are cheek by jowl with each other – like chickens in battery cages. The close quarters where farmed fish are raised, combined with their unnatural diets, means disease spreads quickly. Because most farmed fish are often raised in pens in the ocean, pathogens spread and contaminate wild fish swimming past. Sea lice, a type of crustacean found parasitizing captive fish, have become a significant problem and have been blamed for the declining numbers of wild fish, as well as the species that eat them – animals and birds. Other types of lethal viruses which spread from fish farms are also now being detected in wild populations, including leukaemia viruses and influenza.

Concentrated antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals are commonly used to fight farm fish diseases and parasites. These wash into the water and are found miles away.

Farmed fish often escape into the wild seas. The escaped fish breed with wild fish, and research shows that these hybrid-born fish are less viable and die earlier, contaminating the entire gene pool and harming the future of the wild population. For instance, new research from the University of Melbourne has shown that half of the world’s most popular fish - farmed salmon – have a hearing loss because of a deformity of theearbone. Fish have ears and they use them for hearing and balance, just like we do. This deformity has broader implications. Each year, billions of captive-bred juvenile salmon are released into rivers in North America, Asia and Europe to increase wild populations. Their survival is 20 times lower than that of wild salmon. Loss of hearing plays a major role. And when they breed with wild populations, this could decimate them as well.

Scientists have raised serious concerns about high levels of contaminants, like lead and cadmium in farm-raised fish, which enter your body where they bind to your cells. In 2006 Russia banned Norwegian farmed salmon (top producer in the world) for this reason. Instead of reducing the toxic ingredients, Norway has lobbied the EU to raise the permissible level of toxins in salmon feed, which has now been granted!! The new, official recommendation to Norwegian women of childbearing age, or who are pregnant, is to limit their consumption!

The most common farm-raised fish are: salmon, tilapia, catfish, “sea” bass and cod. (Don’t be fooled by menu descriptions. “North Atlantic Salmon” and “Chilean Sea Bass” are farmed breeds and not the oceans where they are caught.) Because farm-raised fish are kept in cages, they have the tendency to be fatter with a higher concentration of omega-6 acids. The problem with getting too many omega-6 acids is that they cause inflammation. Studies show that farm raised Tilapia worsens inflammation in the human body and can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other serious health problems. Scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of pork/bacon. According to USDA data, farm raised salmon has 52% more fat than those caught wild. Toxins are stored in fat and the fat in farm raised salmon is found to be contaminated with over 100 pollutants and pesticides.

According to the Environmental Working Group in 2004 Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a set of carcinogenic manmade chemicals, are 11 times higher in farm-bred salmon compared to wild salmon. “The first-ever tests of farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores show that farmed salmon are probably the most PCB contaminated protein source in the food supply.” In three independent studies, scientists tested 37 fish meal samples from six countries and found PCB contamination in nearly every sample (Jacobs 2002, Easton 2002, and CFIA 1999). PCBs were banned in the U.S. in the late 1970s and are among the “dirty dozen” chemical contaminants slated for global phase-out under the UN treaty on persistent organic pollutants. PCBs have been linked to cancer and impaired foetal brain development. Once these toxic chemicals enter your system, it takes 7 to 11 years to flush out. Other species of farmed fish have been found contaminated with methylmercury.

The source of the fish you eat may not be something you’ve ever thought about. But you should. For instance, farm-raised salmon meat is grey and has to be dyed to look like normal salmon does. SalmoFan is a colour chart fish farmers use to pick various shades of salmon-coloured fish dyes.

Anyone concerned about their own health, and the world around them, should try to find out where their fish came from and avoid farmed fish completely. And perhaps educate the government on their new fish farm policy.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Even an ahinsak like me makes an exception for the mosquito. I may not kill them myself – but I have the usual array of anti-mosquito devices to protect my house

Even an ahinsak like me makes an exception for the mosquito. I may not kill them myself – but I have the usual array of anti-mosquito devices to protect my house: from various versions of Goodnight to a much healthier and better smelling cowdung and camphor biscuit that we set alight every evening. In the bird pond, we have put small black fish called Gambusia which are voracious mosquito egg/larvae eaters.

Mosquitoes are the most deadly animals on the planet – as dangerous as the human being (and that is saying a lot!). They spread malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever. In 2015, 438,000 people died from malaria, according to WHO. 30,000 died of yellow fever and 22,000 with dengue. Mosquitoes have killed more people than warring humans. In fact, during wartime, more soldiers die of malaria than from bullets. And now comes Zika which has brought an entire subcontinent to its knees. Imagine being pregnant and finding out that, because you were bitten by a mosquito, your baby will be born with a small head and brain. The mosquitoes that have been implicated in this awful disease are day-biting mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Day biters are so much more dangerous than night biters because we have no protection against them at all.

And its not just humans. Dogs and cattle go crazy when mosquitoes buzz around them. Prior to the 1800s, mosquitoes did not exist on the Hawaiian Islands, so the wildlife there had no natural resistance to the diseases they can carry. When mosquitoes arrived as hitchhikers on human ships, countless species of native Hawaiian birds were decimated by diseases such as avian pox virus. And this is the story of all islands.

If the mosquito were bigger, it would be so much easier to kill. Humans have almost exterminated every large species of animal. If it were in the ground, we could deal with it as well – after all we have destroyed earthworms and thousands of other insects through our mad use of pesticides.

But it grows in temporary little puddles of water anywhere, in ponds that are not cleaned, in old tyres left in garbage dumps, in half filled tins. It travels. As the planet warms it goes higher to areas that were untouched because they had low temperatures.

Who can stop this tiny killing machine? Every day one country or another declares war on it. And that immediately brings joy to the chemical manufacturers. But nothing works. We are the only country in the world that still uses DDT and we have killed more people and birds with this chemical than mosquitoes which are immune to it.

Or perhaps a lot. There are 3,500 species of mosquito and they play a major role in nature. Male mosquitoes eat nectar, becoming major pollinators of some crops and flowers—even orchids. They eat aphids which are destroyers of plants. Mosquitoes themselves feed on decaying leaves, organic debris, and microbes.

Mosquito larvae are aquatic insects. The larvae are filter feeders that strain tiny organic particles, such as unicellular algae, from the water and convert them to the tissues of their own bodies, which are, in turn, eaten by fish. Mosquito larvae feed on detritus that floats and clogs the surface of the water, keeping the detritus from choking off nitrogen and oxygen necessary to the survival of plants below. Without mosquitoes to eat away the waste, the plants and the ecosystem they support could vanish as well, since they cannot gain access to the nutrients they depend on for life.

Mosquito larvae are nutrient-packed snacks for fish and other aquatic animals. Their role on the bottom of the food chain doesn't end at the larval stage, of course. As adults, mosquitoes serve as equally nutritious meals for birds, bats, and spiders, fish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, spiders, lizards, turtles, dragonflies, songbirds, swallows and bats. Would bats disappear if mosquitoes did? Perhaps not, because they eat other insects as well. But other creatures could. Remove mosquitoes and the ecosystem might experience a paradigm shift; numerous species might starve out, with newer species rising up to replace them. Removing them probably does not mean the end of all life, but in a few years’ time, the ecosystem will look vastly different to the one we know today.

Scientists simply don’t know how the mosquito fits into the food chain. Research has unravelled food webs of bigger mammals, such as lions or leopards, because they are easier to observe. But no one knows the entire impact of the mosquito. Obviously, if you remove an animal from an ecosystem something will change, but can we afford it when we don’t know what? Mosquitoes populated this planet long before man; the oldest mosquito fossils date back some 200 million years, to the Cretaceous period. They seem to be an integral part of several ecosystems, since they have co-evolved with many species along the way. Presumably, sometime after large animals evolved, some insects started to take advantage of the rich nutrient source that is their blood. The insects that were best at eating vertebrate blood prospered, and their offspring, with mutations that made this task easier or more effective, prospered even more. Their distant descendants are today's mosquitoes.

What would happen if these creatures were eradicated completely? According to some ecologists, the loss of mosquitoes would harm most ecosystems. Others believe that other organisms would step in and assume mosquitoes’ role as food sources, detritivores, and pollinators.

The good part of their eradication? So many diseases would disappear, so many people would get a good night’s sleep without inhaling chemicals, and so much money that is now being spent on mosquito coils, bednets and medicines would be saved, so many hospital beds would be freed up. All good.

The bad part? Eradication of mosquitoes cannot be done without destroying the world. If we use even more pesticides the damage to the environment would be colossal. As it is these pesticides give millions of people cancer. I would rather have malaria than cancer.

If you wanted to change the habitat you’d have to clear forests. You'd have to create a desert essentially to get rid of water sources. If you introduced a lot of predators - like fish, dragon flies – they might finish the mosquitoes but then they're going to start taking care of other things you don't want them to take care of.

Mosquitoes actually dictate ecosystems. For example, each year when the snow melts in the Arctic tundra, mosquitoes hatch from their eggs. These insects serve as an important food source for migratory birds. Mosquitoes even impact the migratory routes of caribou. As caribou move through the Arctic, they take certain routes specifically to avoid mosquito swarms. These migratory routes then impact plant distribution, dictate the feeding behaviour of wolves etc. Not just animals, mosquito-borne diseases have effectively protected people who reside in certain malaria-endemic regions from the influences of foreign intruders - whether those be military or commercial.

Elimination of mosquitoes might make the biggest ecological difference in the Arctic tundra. If that biomass vanished, the number of migratory birds that nest in the tundra could drop. In the absence of their larvae, hundreds of species of fish would have to change their diet to survive. And the loss of these or other fish could have major effects up and down the food chain. Many species of spider, salamander, lizard and frog would also lose a primary food source. One ecological effect of eliminating mosquitoes is that you will have even more people, and an increased human population could outweigh the benefits of a healthier one. Do humans serve any meaningful purpose in nature? Is there a purpose to nature or are we all here because we have traits that allow us to survive?

When you spend a weekend watching Hollywood horror movies based on mosquitoes

When you spend a weekend watching Hollywood horror movies based on mosquitoes – ‘Mosquito Man’, ‘Skeeter’, ‘How a Mosquito Operates’, ‘Sucker’ (the story of a suicidal man transformed into a vengeful mosquito) and ‘Mosquito’, then you realize how important the mosquito is to the economy. Imagine the number of people employed by these movies - actors, directors, script writers, animators, stuntmen, makeup artists, spot boys, distributors, popcorn sellers and ushers.

The mosquito is the largest employer in the world. It makes millionaires out of ordinary people. Even I have benefitted by getting space in a newspaper for this article. And so do at least ten thousand people who blog about the mosquito regularly. So do junior newspaper reporters who, running out of ideas, write about the “new breakthrough” in the battle against malaria. and the columnists who give advice on how to keep the bites away (wear yellow, don’t wear yellow), the newsprint makers who sell so much more paper to accommodate the news and printers who print out miles of statistics on the mosquito every year.

Look at the gadgets. The Good Knight owner who had so much money that he put it into Malayali films in which elephants sat on chairs and smoked cigarettes (I met him when the film got banned!) There are strange blue light gadgets that lie in offices and consume electricity while waiting for mosquitoes to fly into them. There are things that plug in to the wall near your bed, coils and sticks, and Fogging machines that patrol through your streets poisoning man and mosquito alike. Weed killers, lawn mowers, concrete layers, pond and marsh drainers. Manufacturers, labour, staff, distributers, shareholders – everyone makes money.

Then come the insect repellent creams like Odomos and at least a hundred different “ayurvedic” anti mosquito pastes, creams and sprays. “Natural alternative” skin patches made with vitamin B. If each company employs 100 people plus the distributors, how many would that be?

The ‘machhardanis’ that we all grew up with, the tents saturated with anti mosquito chemicals that are sold on the roadsides. The cloth makers should give the creature a big thank you for the long sleeves that everyone in a mosquito area wears - More cloth, more money. Perfumers have found that perfume repels more mosquitoes than Deet, so that is the new selling gimmick.

Now the heavy hitters: the chemical companies that have destroyed so much of the world while trying to kill the mosquito; all the companies that manufacture DDT which, despite being banned, is used everywhere. Larvicides are chemicals, like Methoprene, Pyriproxyfen, applied to water to control mosquito larvae. Adulticides like malathion, Permethrin, Resmethrin, Sumithrin, Scourge and Anvil are used in spraying to control adult mosquitoes. Synergists like Piperonyl Butoxide and MGK-264 which are not toxic to the mosquitoes themselves, but make Adulticides more effective. All these chemicals are dangerous – pyrethroids are neurotoxins and have been linked with liver and thyroid failure. All the chemicals listed above cause human cancer. So, thousands of doctors are given jobs and hospitals flourish – all because of the mosquito. Pyrethroids are highly toxic to fish, crustaceans, and bees; So more doctors get jobs when you eat poisoned fish and crabs. And once the bees all disappear, I am sure thousands of people will have to be employed to manually pollinate the fruit trees so that we can continue to eat. Please include the foggers, sprayers who are employed by the mosquito. And the people who make the thousands of cans that carry the chemicals. Because fogging is so dangerous, the market has created respirator masks with replaceable cartridges. So lots of more people have been given jobs to protect you from things that are invented to kill mosquitoes. Imagine the legions of advertising agencies and sales representatives.

Government municipal agencies should also thank the mosquito, because they can pretend to buy chemicals to fog the towns and divert the money. Many daughters have been married off and many sons of middle level bureaucrats have gone abroad to study on mosquito money.

Have I included all the thousands of people and scientists who have written reports on how these chemicals are extremely toxic? After all they get grants to do study after study proving the same thing – That none of these pesticides have any effect on mosquitoes and at the same time are harmful to human health. None of what they say has any effect on the pesticide industry or government regulations. But they all, bless the mosquito, get lifelong research jobs. Millions of scientists research the mosquito all day, every day: whether they can sterilize it, whether it can spread Aids, whether crossing one species with another will make them ineffective, modifying mosquito genetics to make them flightless, creating transgenic bacteria which eat mosquito guts etc. Inventors of non oily films across water. Researchers who have found a chemical that disables the part of the insect's brain that smells humans. Others who find a way to switch off the mosquitoes’ heat detection ability. Vaccine makers who experiment on thousands of children in Africa without any luck. Scientists who work on introducing scorpion venom into mosquito genes. Pills which, when swallowed, kill any biting mosquito. Ovi traps to attract egg laying females. Recently a British company, called Oxitec, opened a genetically modified mosquito farm in Brazil to produce millions of GM insects which will (hopefully) battle the other mosquitoes.

How many mad scientists, during the Second World War, escaped war duty in Germany and Japan by working in laboratories to create malarial mosquitoes and their carriers. The Germans tried to halt the march of the Allies into Italy by introducing millions of larvae of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. British and American soldiers survived due to quinine. The Italian population didn’t - malaria cases rose from 1,217 in 1943 to 54,929 in 1944.

Let us not forget the people employed directly by mosquitoes. Mosquito inspectors who come regularly to inspect my pond. All the thousands of people who work in Public Health Institutions and sanitation companies around the world. All the mosquito “biologists”.

This is a partial list of the current vacancies advertised by mosquito control agencies in the US:

Labourers to operate tractors, lawnmowers, weed-eaters and other equipment in mosquito spraying programmes, Mosquito Control Division Manager to oversee budget, planning, operations, research, and personnel, Manager Mosquito Abatement, Program Extension Agent Mosquito Management Services, Vector Ecologist, Operations Supervisor Mosquito Services, Land Stewardship Seasonal Fellow in Controlling Invasive Species, Research Assistant lymphatic filariasis, Manager Public Health Community Programme, Research Entomologist, Research Geneticist, Information Technology Intern, Biologist / Entomologist / Toxicologist, Industrial Hygienist / Chemist, Program Assistant Zika, Seasonal Assistant Vector Control, Senior Environmental Health Inspector, Zika Technical Advisor, Environmental Health Specialist (Full-time and Part-time), Executive Assistant to Public Health Officer, Senior Environmental Health Inspector, Pest Control Specialist, Vector Control Inspector, Education Coordinator Vector Control, Integrated Vector Management Compliance Officer, Urban Water Compliance Planner, Entomologist, Communications and Knowledge Officer Tropical Health, Seasonal Vector Technician, Street Maintenance Crew Leader, Administrative Assistant Mosquito & Vector Control, Public Health Sanitarian, Environmental Health Director, Mobile Application Developer.

We employ doctors, nurses, ward boys, hospital management, and ambulances for those afflicted with malaria, encephalitis, zika, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya. The glucose manufacturers, the syringe guys, the medicines, the quinine manufacturers. The pharma companies earn no less than a billion dollars every year from the mosquito bitten. And they employ millions of people.

Have we left out the aquaculture industry? The fish bred for human eating are fed millions of mosquito larvae which are specially grown for the industry. I had to buy Gambusia fish for my pond so that larvae are eaten – imagine how many fish are bred for this purpose and released into still waters.

In all this we forget the main economic importance of mosquitoes. They are eaten by other insects which, in turn, are eaten by birds and animals who are either eaten by us or used by us for our own well being. For instance mosquitoes in the Arctic regions decide how the caribou move to avoid the mosquito swarms. The local hunters follow these paths and get their food. Mosquitoes eat aphids which otherwise would destroy all our plants. They serve as pollinators as well. Mosquitoes influence the development of agricultural areas by preventing or limiting the use of infested territory. Dredgers, swamp fillers, tree cutters – all owe their living to mosquitoes. They decide whether a party is held outside or inside, whether windows are open or not. The air conditioning industry owes a lot to these pests.

Their final employment is, of course, the people who bury and cremate humans. Mosquitoes have killed more than half the people who ever lived. More people have died in wars from malaria than from bullets and bombs. Even now mosquitoes cause anywhere from 1 million to 2.7 million deaths each year. Imagine the employment of thousands of grave diggers and priests, crematoria staff, professional mourners, hearses, white sheet sellers and florists.

The only thing that hasn’t happened is mosquitoes as human food. But even that will happen. Entomophagy (eating insects by people) has been recommended by the UN as the only way to save the planet.

Could the mosquito be God? If it disappears, so do the jobs of at least 150 million people. The economy of entire countries will be ruined, Wall Street stocks will come crashing down, pharma companies will go bankrupt. The population will double within a year and food will run out. People will come onto the streets and riots will ensue.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

I hate press conferences. I always manage to talk myself into controversy

I hate press conferences. I always manage to talk myself into controversy. The problem is that I am always trying to think of better ways to do something. In my current job it is ways to get rid of malnutrition by feeding our children better, or how to stop putting medical people into jail while stopping girl children from being killed in the womb. It’s difficult to survive a new idea. There are so many entrenched “experts” who will trash any new thought. It took me 9 years to stop dissection in schools – simply because biology teachers felt that their students needed to kill rats and frogs in order to become doctors. Now no one remembers the millions of animals that were killed.

Most politicians prefer to take a current system and then tweak it gradually. Unfortunately I don’t believe that a patient can have less or more of a medicine that doesn’t work, for it to work.

To come back to press conferences: after the questions of my ministry are over, and attempts have been made to make me say something political, there will be two inevitable questions – one from Kerala and one from Himachal Pradesh.

The Kerala reporter will ask about the “menace of stray dogs “and the Himachal reporter about “the menace of stray monkeys”.

This article is an attempt to set both issues at rest.

Let me start with the obvious, but is not: I did not give birth to either species! I did not multiply them or make them a problem!

In fact I am part of the scientific solution. And it is because neither of these states listen that they have a problem.

People don’t care about the number of dogs. They simply want dogs that will stay out of the way, not spread disease including rabies and will not bite. The solution of sterilization is a tested method for all these problems. Make a sterilization centre in every district – as mandated many times over by the High and Supreme Courts – sign an MOU with an NGO, which has been trained and recognized by the Animal Welfare Board, and pay them to sterilize the dogs over 5 years. When the male / female dogs are picked for sterilization they are also given anti-rabies injection that lasts for three years (the average life of a street dog is never more than 4 years) and if they have any other disease, like mange, they are kept by the NGO till they are disease free and then returned to the same area where they live out their lives harmlessly and happily. No sterilized dog ever bites. The only time a dog bites is when the female is on heat and the male is driven insensate with lust. He will fight with other males, cross boundaries into other territories and in the process some human will get bitten. The second reason is when the female has had babies and she is so frightened that they will be killed (as 90% are in the first two weeks, by cars, vicious humans who think nothing of stoning little puppies, starvation and cold) that she guards them strenuously and bites anyone who comes near them. The third reason is something that is easily preventable by adjusting human behaviour. If you constantly abuse / hit a dog, he will lose his innate trust in human goodness and then he will bite someone whom he thinks is going to be mean to him – because meanness is all that he has ever seen. Once a dog is sterilized and returned to his / her own place he will NOT bite as he has no sexual desire left, she will not bite because she will have no children – and if you are nice to them or ignore them at best, they will not bite the residents of the area as they know their habits intimately. Kerala kills all its dogs all the time. Happy healthy creatures who would make excellent pets and guard dogs, are made into “menaces” by politicians and newspapers for no reason. The panchayats lap up this regular hate mongering because, according to the law, they get Rs.75 for each dog they kill, so any panchayat leader who is dipping his hands into the till kills fifty dogs, and then claims he has killed 500. The Chief Minister, who is a good human being, has repeatedly given money to start sterilization centres. At the moment three Kerala districts are running them well – and you never hear of “dog menace” in them. The entire state of Kerala has fewer dogs than Delhi – and yet the hype by the papers carries on. If they would just relax for two years and let the experts do their work, everyone would breathe easier. By the way, government spends 700 crores per month to remove polio. The Environment Ministry spends less than 50 lakhs a year on removing rabies. If the programme could be taken up by the Health Ministry – which has taken Haryana on an experimental basis - and 100 crores spent yearly, we would have a good healthy small, population of dogs within 10 years. It has taken 20 years for polio – I guarantee half that time.

Now for the monkeys and Himachal Pradesh. Veterinary doctors who should have their licences taken away combined their brains with those of forest officers and decided that the only way to get rid of the “monkey menace” in Himachal was to sterilize the monkeys as well.

Unfortunately, this is the worst possible decision. Dogs are more or less solitary. Monkeys live, like humans, in large extended families. If you trap a single monkey, then two things happen: the family rushes away from their own territory/area. They get very angry with humans. So they enter areas that they are unfamiliar with, because now they are too scared to go back to an area where their relative was trapped. Now they enter people’s homes and fields in search of new larders and in the process hurt humans and themselves and destroy crops. The single monkey that has been captured usually breaks a limb during this hideous capturing process (Himachal pays Rs.500 to anyone who captures a monkey) and is sterilized while in terrible pain. He / she usually dies (the mortality of Himachal’s monkeys by the so called vets is unbelievably high). If he/she survives, it is left at the place where it was picked up. But by then the family has disappeared and the troupe replacing them will not accept this poor animal. So, to survive, he enters human homes and becomes predatory. Sterilization in monkeys has resulted in the opposite of what happens in dogs. It has no impact at all on the population of monkeys: that is in any case reducing drastically because of poisoning, shooting and other illegal ways: from 85 lakhs in the 80s they are now a mere 5 lakhs in the whole of India. The difference is that they are sharing space with humans.

Why do we have this problem in Himachal and Uttarakhand? Because the Government of India pays money every year to the state forest departments to set fire to the edges of forests. The logic is that if trenches are dug and the leaves in them set on fire then the forest will not catch fire during the dry season. But the forest ranger sees this as bonus money. He doesn’t dig trenches, he doesn’t map vulnerable forest ranges. He simply cuts a large number of trees illegally and then sets fire to the forest to hide his criminal activity. The fire eats the underbrush, the new trees, berries, vines, soft grasses, new shoots which are the food of wild boar, monkeys, deer, nilgai and other grass eaters every January/February – and so the hungry animals come out. I have urged time and again that if this nonsense is stopped the monkeys will retreat from human habitations almost immediately. Secondly, we must start planting Indian fruit and berry trees in the middle of forests so that animals remain there. But the forest department refuses to stop the firelines as it will stop the large amount of “pocket money” that the centre gives to each forest ranger. If Himachal and Kerala would only listen, we could create a more real set of “menaces” that could occupy press conferences – paedophiles, children molesters, kidnappers, wife beaters etc!

Twenty five years ago I wrote a quiz book called Wise and Wonderful published by Rupa.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

How weird human beings are. Ask a normal person to touch a snail and they recoil in horror.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Are you lactose intolerant?

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Shaktimaan, the police horse, will probably be the deciding factor in the Uttarakhand elections.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

How many disgusting things do you eat in your food that you are not aware of?

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

How Much Wood Pulp Do you Eat?

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

There is nothing that the human will not use in order to make herself / himself more alluring.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Millions of people experience heart burn at some time.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

New horrors come my way almost every month.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Two months ago the Ministry of Health raided the kingpin of the illegal oxytocin trade in India.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

My mother died of breast cancer.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

If you meditate properly, over a period of time you can develop parts of your brain to do things that normal people can’t do:

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

We may try to protect our wildlife but it is vanishing rapidly.

Are you lactose intolerant?

Do you experience bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive gas in your stomach often? This could be lactose insensitivity which is a very common reason for digestive problems.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose should be broken down in your upper intestine by the enzyme lactase. Most people in India have varying degrees of lactose insensitivity, making it difficult for them to digest sugar. But since the pain and bloating differs, people often don’t connect the two.

Technically, as infants, humans produce lactase in our digestive systems and can digest milk. As we enter adolescence the enzyme in the body starts decreasing and with it the ability to break down lactose. This is natural because milk is for infants and humans are the only animals that drink milk beyond infancy. All Asians and 75% Africans and Caribbeans, 50% Europeans and 35% Americans have degrees of lactose intolerance. The only people who can really digest milk are Northern European whites and Americans of North European descent who have a genetic mutation to deal with lactose. Unfortunately, it was these North Europeans who colonized much of the world and they brought their eating habits with them; which is why America, colonial Africa and Asia started drinking milk.

So, while your background defines whether you can tolerate dairy or not, most governments push milk aggressively, and food manufacturers find milk sugar a cheap ingredient and add it to wide variety of processed products; which is why the largest selling medicine in the world is a lactose digestive.

How sensitive you are depends on how much lactase enzyme your system is still producing. Some people can drink a glass of milk without apparent side effects. Some can have just a spoonful in their tea or coffee or on their cereal and it triggers off a gastric upset.

Why does lactose cause gas and abdominal pain?

When your body does not produce enough lactase in your small intestine, all your milk/milk products pass through to the large intestine undigested. Bacteria in your colon love lactose and quickly ferment it. This fermentation creates lots of gas. Due to the high levels of protein in the milk, the gas is very smelly. These extra gases bloat the intestine causing spasms and cramps. When the pressure from the gas interferes with water absorption in the colon it causes diarrhoea. Some people experience bloating and flatulence in 15 mins.-2 hrs. after ingesting milk or its products. Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, loose stools or throwing up are common symptoms.

While passing wind almost immediately is the best thing to happen, apart from being uncomfortable it is also embarrassing for you - both the smell and the noise are not socially acceptable. Smell has a decisive role in changing mood and it becomes very annoying for people to share your space.

Since this is such a common problem, why do most people not realize it. One of the reasons is that since food containing lactose (paneer with vegetables for instance) travels much slower than liquid, it may take hours for the symptoms to appear. You could have eaten something in the morning and end up with gas in the evening without making any connection between the two.

Here is a list of food and drinks that contain lactose.

Milk is obviously the first product that you should avoid, especially cow and goat milk. All dairy milk, even skimmed milk, has extremely high levels of milk sugar. All protein powders have concentrated lactose. Butter and all cream contain slightly less than milk but enough to cause you trouble. Freshly made cheese- feta, paneer etc. has a large amount. The harder the cheese, the less lactose it contains. For instance, parmesan will have much less than mozzarella. Ice cream is particularly bad because not only is it made from milk, but manufacturers add extra milk sugars to sweeten it. Good quality curd, made at home and without any flavouring has the least amount of lactose. But commercial yogurt is simply thickened, sweetened milk with very little beneficial bacteria in it. All yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. Check the label for the words "contains live and active cultures.". Canned soup has lactose – especially if it is “creamy”. So do packaged savoury snacks, especially if they are cheese flavoured. Milk chocolate, cakes, puddings, biscuits, doughnuts have lactose, as do premade sauces, gravies and salad dressings like mayonnaise. Breakfast cereals are sometimes made with milk powder or solids and then you eat them with more milk. Bread, baked goods, instant breakfast drinks, instant potatoes, instant soups, pancake, cookie, and biscuit mixes, margarine and salad dressings too. Even processed meats like sausages, luncheon meat have lactose. Pizza with its combination of soft cheese, bread and perhaps processed meat is the worst thing you can eat. Start looking at labels for the words lactose, milk solids, milk powder, milk protein, non-fat dried milk, casein, sodium caseinate and whey. Strangely enough, birth control pills, headache tablets and some drugs and supplements also contain lactose. By themselves they are unlikely to have a major effect but if your food is bad, it all adds up.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is far more serious that just cramps, bloating and flatulence. If the colon is constantly deluged by fermenting lactose it can leave the digestive system permanently weakened with harmful bacterial overgrowth and weakened immunity. If you are Indian, take it for granted that you have some level of intolerance. Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after a surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In rare cases, new-borns are lactose-intolerant – this is serious because diarrhoea causes dehydration. Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. Lactose intolerance increases as you get older.

You need to check out what harm you are doing to yourself. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

There are two tests that doctors have: the Hydrogen Test Breath Test. Before the test, you need to avoid certain foods, medicines and cigarettes. On the day of the test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose and then breathe into a machine several times over a couple of hours. If the hydrogen levels in your breath are high, you may have lactose intolerance. The other test is the Lactose tolerance test. This test measures your blood sugar after you eat or drink lactose. After midnight on the night before the test, you should not eat or drink anything. On the day of your test, you will drink a liquid that contains lactose, which may cause gas or pain in your belly. Then your blood will be tested every 30 minutes for 2 hours. If your blood sugar levels do not rise, you may be lactose-intolerant. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your faeces. The faeces of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery and foamy.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by replacing milk products; with soy milk/cheese. If you are worried about getting enough calcium, you can easily get it from all greens, bhindi, broccoli, saag, almonds, and all soyas. You can use non-dairy creamers in your coffee. If you cannot bear the thought of life without milk, ice cream, cheese and pizzas you can take lactase supplements of which the best known is Lactaid 9000 Fc. You need to take these pills just before your lactose based food. The capsules start at 1000 FC for those with slight insensitivity. But pills always have their own fallout.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Animal con artists are so sophisticated that they make us look like amateurs

Animal con artists are so sophisticated that they make us look like amateurs. Mimicry – in appearance, scent, sound and behaviour (for instance a harmless red milk snake will change its colours to look like a venomous coral snake), camouflage, feigning death or injury, adopting threatening poses, verbal and tactical deception and straight out lying are some of the tricks they use to get food, save themselves or win contests. Some harmless species imitate poisonous species. Some change their behaviour so that the prey is lured in. A parent bird will feign a broken wing to attract a predator away from its defenceless offspring. Some moths use an effective stratagem against bats. When they hear the ultrasound emitted by hunting bats, they produce loud clicks to mimic the unpalatable Tiger moth so that they are not targeted. The "two-headed" snake of Central Africa has a tail that resembles a head and a head that resembles a tail. The snake even moves its tail in the way most snakes move their heads. This confuses the prey as to where the attack is originating from.

So many animals change their colouring to become invisible in their surroundings. Uroplatus geckos can become completely invisible. Katydids can change their body colouring and shape to match entire leaves, half-eaten leaves, dying leaves, leaves with bird droppings, sticks, twigs, and tree bark. Different chameleon species are able to change colours which include pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise and purple. Some octopuses can use muscles in the skin to change both colour and texture taking on the spiky appearance of seaweed, or the scraggly, bumpy texture of a rock among other disguises. The mimic octopus combines its highly flexible body with its colour-changing ability to look like more dangerous animals such as lionfish, sea snakes and eels.

A wide range of animals, lizards, birds, rodents, beetles and sharks, will pretend to be dead, to avoid being killed, as predators will usually take only live prey. The male nursery web spider feigns death to avoid getting eaten by females during mating.

Some appear more threatening than they actually are. Mantis shrimps have front limbs known as smashers to attack. Baby mantis shrimps bluff by spreading their front limbs, even though their still-soft bodies mean that they cannot use their smashers without damaging themselves

Cuttlefish are amazing. They are able to simultaneously communicate two entirely different displays to two different observers. When a male cuttlefish courts a female in the presence of other males, he displays two different sides: a male pattern facing the female (courtship), and a female pattern facing away, to deceive other males.

Female marsh harrier courted a male to obtain access to food he had stored. She then took this food and fed it to chicks which had been fathered by another male. Ravens hide their food in caches. But if they feel they have been spied on, they frequently change cache sites, or recover their food items.

Apes are masters in tactical deception. A well-known example involves a chimpanzee that was approached from behind by a loud aggressive rival. The chimpanzee manipulated his lips several times before losing his fear grin and only after he had done so, he turned around to face the challenger, concealing his fearful expression.

In another experiment food was hidden and only one individual, named Belle, in a group of chimpanzees, was informed of the location. Belle was eager to lead the group to the food but when one chimpanzee, named Rock, began to refuse to share the food, Belle changed her behaviour. She began to sit on the food until Rock was far away, and then she would uncover it quickly and eat it. In an attempt to speed the process up, Rock looked away until Belle began to run for the food. On several occasions he would even walk away, acting disinterested, and then suddenly spin around and run towards Belle just as she uncovered the food.

Baboons use an exaggerated "looking" gesture which means the detection of a predator, to avoid attack by an adult male.

Junior Tufted Capuchins employ a vocal form of tactical deception when competing with dominant monkeys over valuable food resources. They will use alarm calls normally reserved for predator sightings to make the rest run away and then take advantage of the distraction to pilfer food.

The Alcon Blue butterfly caterpillar drops to the ground and emits a scent that fools Myrmica ants into believing that she is one of their own – only just a little bigger. They take her into their nest and feed and take care of her as if she is a queen. As soon as the caterpillar changes into a butterfly she escapes the nest before she is attacked. There are Australian spiders that smell and behave like ants: some are so convincing that the ants will allow a spider to live permanently as one of them. This spider will then feast upon its new friends, but it won’t eat all the ants, or even a significant number; instead, it extracts resources slowly, sustainably, and over time.

The Giant Geometer Moth Caterpillars take camouflage to the next level, incorporating elements of whatever plant they're eating, into their bodies – and end up smelling like the stick. This strategy fools hungry ants who march all over the moth larvae. If the same caterpillars are put onto a plant they have not sampled, the ants attack.

The harlequin filefish lives among coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. The fish fends off potential predators by eating – and smelling – like the Acropora coral it calls home. Coral-dwelling crabs or predatory cods can’t tell the difference between the smell of the coral eating filefish and the coral itself.

But it's not just about avoiding being eaten. Some sneaky moths, like male Asian Corn Borers, imitate bat sounds to make females freeze in fear, then take the opportunity to mate with them. These males are not good at copulation so they use this trick to improve their odds. Male yellow peach moths do even better. They use a similar sonic hoax to scare away rivals when they are in pursuit of a female.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Contact Details

Back to Top