What’s better than a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie? Or how about your favorite cereal covered in refreshing, cold milk and a glass of juice? These types of meal and snack combinations have been revisited for decades by many well-intentioned people. The fact is, milk has been glorified and heralded by various so-called “health experts” for years. We are told by endless sources that milk is one of the best sources for calcium. But did you know that consumption of pasteurized milk and milk products can actually be harmful to your health?
Let us first make a distinction between the picture painted by the government and medical communities of tainted, disease-ridden milk that hasn’t been pasteurized and clean, wholesome raw milk from a reliable, organic source. When the raw milk you are drinking is obtained from a well-maintained facility following organic standards that allows its cows to graze only on certified organic grass and does not treat the animals with chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics, the result is an extremely healthful and beneficial substance that gives life.
As with anything else that is not produced in a sanitary environment, food products will reflect the quality of the facility from where they originate. One very good example of bacteria entering the food chain and making people sick is the products which come from commercial and factory farms. It’s no secret that thousands and thousands of meat products are currently being recalled off the shelves. ABC news reported on February 18, 2008 that, “the U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef”. If you watch the video on this news site, you can see that the animals from farms where the meat is raised are not living in healthy conditions. Would you consume anything that comes from an environment such as this? The fact is, this type of food product represents the bulk of what is available for consumption on the market.
That is why there is such a movement from concerned farmers, consumers, and specific organizations to change current farming methods and practices. This issue is a serious problem that threatens the health and well-being of everyone in our nation. Most farmers who sell raw milk do so with the intent to deliver a healthful, untainted product to those who consume it. Their efforts and practices are time consuming and expensive, but most farmers do it because they possess a passion for producing healthy products for their customers. Many of them are more than happy to let the public come in and learn about their processes and see how they work. Can commercial farmers say the same? Mounting evidence suggests otherwise.
Raw, unpasteurized, whole milk contains the right balance of fat, protein, and enzymes that nature intended for the body to use. Without fat, the body is unable to absorb calcium nor digest protein. You also need saturated fats be able to absorb calcium with which to build strong bones. Nina Planck says, “Milk fat also contains glycosphingolipids, which are fats that encourage cell metabolism and growth and fight gastrointestinal infections”. Did you also know that unadulterated raw milk remains one of the best sources of Vitamins A and D? Milk that has had the fat removed does not contain these vitamins, so they are added back in – synthetic versions of these vitamins that are not recognized by the body, and therefore, not absorbed. Do you really want to put something in your body that has the natural, life-giving substances removed and then artificially added back in? Eating whole fats and proteins does not make you fat, in fact, it’s vital to health. For more information, read The Importance of Dietary Fats.
Much of these milk products also contain antibiotics to keep away illness due to poor sanitation practices, and steroids and hormones which are intended to artificially boost cattle growth rates (which means they turn a profit faster). Hormones in food have been repeatedly linked to the early onset of puberty in children and diseases that are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotic treatment. Nutritional experts have connected other health problems related to the consumption of pasteurized milk. The list is long and varied but includes allergies, asthma, auto-immune disorders, cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, and osteoporosis. When milk is pasteurized, the heating process effectively kills all bacteria. The only kind of bacteria you are drinking in pasteurized milk, then, is dead bacteria. Pasteurized milk has been denatured or altered such that the human body is unable to process it. Raw milk contains natural friendly bacteria and probiotics that aid in digestion and many other processes in the body such as immune system support. If you compare the two types of milk, raw will sour naturally and develop even more beneficial bacteria, while pasteurized variety will simply rot and is then completely unfit for consumption.
Is Raw Milk Safe?
Since the beginning of the use of pasteurization (late 1800s), dairies have had to comply with federal government regulations stating the that the sale of raw milk is illegal in most places. Pasteurization originally came about due to the growing size of dairy farms and the “inability” of staff to keep the premises clean enough to sell the milk raw. Since the advent of Agribusiness and industrial farming, organizations and groups following the “bigger is better” or “profits translate into justification for anything” philosophy, farms have not been required to be as accountable for conditions of sanitation on the premises. To make up for their lack of accountability, they simply use liberal dosing of antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and other medications which have contributed greatly to the downfall in our health as a nation.
Raw milk produced from reputable, organic, grass-fed facilities is absolutely safe and healthy to drink. These facilities guarantee proper herd management practices, high standards of milk management, and employ methods which preserve the wholesome qualities of pure, raw milk. If you are still in doubt, read Why Nature Intended Milk to be Raw and Organic.
From the 1930s to the forties, an amazing experiment was conducted by Francis Pottenger, a medical doctor who set out to discover the benefits of raw milk on health. Using four groups of cats, all received one-third raw meat and the other two-thirds of the diet raw milk or various heat-treated milks. The cats who consumed pasteurized milk showed degenerative diseases as well as infertility issues and skeletal changes. Those who consumed a raw diet lived long and healthy lives largely free from disease and illness.
I won’t lie to you, I am a raw milk advocate in every sense of the word. People think I’m crazy when I tell them our family drinks raw milk and eats raw dairy. That’s fine with me. Most revolutionaries encounter this type of thing, and I believe I’m no exception. But just think about it. People used to drink raw milk without a backward glance. Why? Because it was a pure and wholesome food that delivered superior taste and health benefits. Well guess what? The only thing that has changed is the laws governing the sale of milk because dairies and large corporations don’t want to take responsibility for selling a healthy, quality product to the public. Instead, they’d rather be lax about sanitation and ensuring of a quality, natural product which will keep people well instead of making them sick. It’s really that simple, but yet utterly complicated at the same time by politicians, physicians, lobbyists, the dairy industry, and other groups who want control over this domain which used to be governed only by the farmers, their humble cows, and the fields.
In what type of environment should cows who produce milk for human consumption be allowed to live? Dairy and beef cattle alike, should not be confined in barns and feedlots, but rather allowed to graze on hay and grass, as nature intended. They should not be fed grains, soy, or corn. These feeds artificially alter many aspects of milk and meat. What you are eating and drinking, with raw milk and meat from grass-fed animals contains the perfect combination of enzymes, vitamins, proteins, and fats, just as nature intended.
There is a whole, active movement advocating the availability of raw milk out there. Become part of it, and start a revolution! Don’t take my word for it, read the research and see what you’ve been missing! Visit the Campaign for Raw Milk site and see what’s going on in the world of intelligent and safe food production and management.
For more information on purchasing healthy, raw, organic milk, visit Organic Pastures in Fresno, California. My family and I drink their milk and eat their butter, and it is fabulous!
A modified version of this article is featured in the September 2008 issue of Healthy Beginnings Magazine.
Update! New endorsements by the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Raw Milk Workgroup about raw milk! This group is comprised of members from dairy officials from the Michigan State Department of Agriculture the dean from Michigan State University.