My family consumes fresh raw milk daily and I love that I can provide my growing boys with nature’s perfect food. Milk has gotten a bad rap on so many levels in this day and age. On the one hand dairy allergies are popping up all over the place causing the spotlight to be on the safe consumption of milk in general. Not to mention the argument by many that no animal except humans drinks milk after infancy. There’s also the fear that raw milk is dangerous and could get one very sick. But prior to the 1900′s when pasteurization became commonplace, the entire human race for ages consumed fresh milk safely, in fact many cultures thrived on it. So why now are we in this place of great confusion over one of nature’s most perfects foods? Let’s tap into the benefits of fresh raw milk and see just why it really should be something every American chooses to purchase and consume regularly. (Raw Milk in a cooler for our weekly Friday Raw Milk Cooperative Pick-Up).
The ideal raw milk is taken straight from animals fed only fresh, organic, green grass, rapidly cooled to somewhere around 36-38 degrees F., and bottled. That’s it. No processing, just filtration, and cooling. Most milk produced today undergoes some form of processing before it reaches the consumer.
Diet of the cows is a major factor in the quality of raw milk. Studies have shown that over-feeding starchy grains can affect the acidity of the cow’s stomach environment and change fat and nutrient levels. Raw milk from cows fed a large component of grain is just not as optimal a food as grass-fed and lacks many of milk’s self-protective properties. Milk like this, potentially more easily contaminated, should be tested regularly, as should all raw milk, for that matter.
Many non-grass foods (such as soy and alfalfa) contain compounds that mimic the actions of the female hormone, estrogen. While these can cause cows to produce more milk than they normally would (and thus increase profit per animal), some studies have called into question possible impacts on animal health and nutrient content of the milk.Cows are ruminants, with a complex digestive system designed to break down cellulose, a type of structural sugar indigestible to humans, and other substances found in the cell walls of grasses and other green plants they’re likely to encounter while grazing.Prior to the advent of organized agriculture about 10,000 years ago, there simply weren’t fields of grain growing wild, upon which animals could munch. As mentioned above, a heavy starch load of grain can alter the usual conditions in a cow’s rumen (stomach) and affect the composition of its milk.
Milk from grass-fed cows has amazing properties, one of which is the presence of naturally produced antimicrobials in solution. Another is the production of a beneficial fatty acid known as CLA, short for Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Countless studies have shown that CLA has many potential health benefits. For comparison, grain-fed cows have as little as one fifth the CLA in their milk as grass-fed . (Source; Randolph Jonsson of RawMilkFacts.com)
Here is a section from Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’, describing what pasteurization actually does to the milk;
‘Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed as is vitamin B12, needed for healthy blood and a properly functioning nervous system. Pasteurization reduces the availability of milks mineral components, such as calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur, as well as many trace minerals. There is some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why milk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes.
Last but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk — in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer from osteoporosis. Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat. Modern pasteurized milk, devoid of its enzyme content, puts an enormous strain on the body’s digestive mechanism. In the elderly, and those with milk intolerance or inherited weaknesses of digestion, this milk passes through not fully digested and can build up around the tiny villi of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and promoting the uptake of toxic substances. The result is allergies, chronic fatigue and a host of degenerative diseases.’
My Kids Drink Raw Milk- Do Yours?
I might add that my kids are thriving on raw milk. My one son who could not tolerate pasteurized milk, can easily handle raw milk and drinks it daily. I have seen his teeth straighten out quite nicely as well, and am hoping he will be able to avoid braces. My youngest is solid and sturdy, he often consumes a quart per day. I am so thankful that I can legally purchase raw milk in the state of Pennsylvania.
For more information on Raw Dairy, check out the site Real Milk. Here you can read numerous articles and research covering multiple facets of the raw milk movement as well as many testimonials. Not to mention you can see what states it is legal and what all the legalities are regarding raw milk. To me it is ridiculous that the government can actually make laws against people actually purchasing raw milk, but that’s a topic for another post. Be sure to check out this video done by Mark McAfee, founder of Organic Pastures Dairy Company. Mark is a very listenable speaker, full of passion and insight to the raw milk movement, along with a great understanding of the under-minings of the movement.
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Lydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’.
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