When I was juggling a full time job and raising a family, I never had the time to do much research about what we ate. We just spent a ridiculous amount of money trying to buy foods that were organic and called it good. But now that I am a stay at home mom, I have made it my JOB to feed my family and do it right. One of the first (and best) changes we made was switching to raw milk. Read on to find out why raw milk is clearly the better option, and why if you’re not going to drink raw milk, you really shouldn’t be drinking milk at all.
Should Adults Even Be Drinking Milk?
I am a big fan of breastfeeding and its numerous health benefits. A mother’s milk is designed to give her baby all of the nutrients it needs to grow as it begins life. All other mammals do this as well, cows included. Does it strike you as a little odd that in drinking cow’s milk we are essentially drinking what was designed for a baby cow? Most adults (60-70%) don’t even produce the intestinal enzyme lactase (which all baby mammals produce) which is needed to properly digest milk! That coupled with the fact that many adults are allergic to the milk protein casein and I’m surprised that it is even so widely accepted that milk is part of our food pyramid (which is another post in and of itself!). So if you do in fact choose to drink milk, the pasteurized and homogenized milk you find on store shelves is hardly fit to even be called milk.
Factory Farms House Freaks of Nature
Every grocery store and gas station advertises the low price of their milk as an enticing factor to draw you in. In order to bring you milk for $1.89/gallon, the milk is obtained by treating these living, breathing, feeling creatures like pieces of machinery in an assembly line. The cows are crowded together in feed lots, fed corn and grain to fatten them up (rather than the grass that their bodies are naturally meant to digest), pumped full of bovine growth hormones in order to produce 3 or 4 times more milk than their bodies are designed, get mastitis, secrete pus, and hence need the routine antibiotics that these conditions create. Did you know that there’s an allowable pus content in store bought milk? That means they know that every cow will produce some pus and so they allow for a certain amount of that to be passed down to the consumer. As a breastfeeding mother, I am meticulous about what I eat because I know it passes directly to my baby. It’s the same with cows! When we drink their milk, we are essentially taking in whatever they did. Now that I have children, I am mortified to think that these hormones could be passed through to them and actually cause them to hit puberty early.
Pasteurization Destroys Everything Good
When you think about the allowable pus content in store bought milk, does it make you feel a little bit better to know that it’s been heated to a high temperature at least? Heated pus…mmm-mm-mmm! The process of pasteurization is supposedly needed to protect us from infectious diseases, even though as Sally Fallon points out in her book, Nourishing Traditions, “ALL OUTBREAKS OF SALMONELLA FROM CONTAMINATED MILK IN RECENT DECADES – AND THERE HAVE BEEN MANY – HAVE OCCURRED IN PASTEURIZED MILK.” Raw milk has lactic-acid producing bacteria that will naturally protect your body from these and other harmful pathogens. Milk is alive! It is full of enzymes that help our bodies digest and assimilate all of the bodybuilding factors including calcium. Pasteurization kills these enzymes along with altering the amino acids and making the protein less available to us. It also reduces milk’s mineral components, losing at least 50% of vitamin C, destroys the essential vitamin B12, and has even been linked to diabetes because of the unnecessary strain on the pancreas. Are you crossing store bought milk off your grocery list yet? I haven’t even mentioned the unnatural process of homogenization and its link to heart disease because the suspended fat and cholesterol particles are more prone to rancidity and oxidization or the fact that skim milk has a bluish color until powdered milk is added to it, and powdered milk has oxidized cholesterol which can damage the arteries and lead to atherosclerosis! But on to greener pastures!
The Benefits of Raw Milk
- If you had to, you could live off from raw milk alone. It is a perfectly balanced food.
- It is an excellent source of saturated fat and cholesterol. Both of these necessary dietary components have been unjustly demonized by mainstream media. Read my blog: The Truth About Fats to learn about how wrong we’ve all been about fats.
- It is rich in fat soluble vitamins A and D.
- It is an excellent source of protein with all twenty of the standard amino acids.
- It has immunoglobulin proteins that provide resistance to many viruses and bacteria.
- It has a perfect balance of minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium that allows the absorption of calcium.
- It has sixty functional enzymes that aid in its own digestion giving our pancreas a break.
- It contains lactobacilli bacteria that digests lactose and may allow people who lack the enzyme lactase to digest it.
- It is abundant in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is an extremely beneficial polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid that can raise the metabolic rate, help remove abdominal fat, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, strengthens the immune system, and lowers food allergy reactions. Grass fed cows are known to have three to five times more CLA than cows that are grain fed.
- Drinking raw milk is an excellent way to reverse insulin resistance. There was a recent study done that compared two groups of people. One group consumed four servings of dairy a day and the other group consumed two servings of dairy per day. The group that consumed four servings of dairy per day improved their insulin resistance by 11% over a six month period.
The Raw Milk Experience
We get our milk from a little Amish farm in west Michigan. We drive 40 minutes one way to get it fresh every week. The kids get out to stretch their legs and play with the Amish children as my husband pours the milk fresh out of the cooling vat that has been collected within the last few days. We can see the cows grazing in the fields surrounding the farm. Sometimes they are so far away we can’t even see them! They milk three or four cows at a time using a hand operated electric pump (run off from a generator) and actually bring in the baby cows to feed, which costs them but is better for the baby cows. Their milk is tested regularly and always passes with flying colors. But the best part of all is the taste! The fresh, rich, creamy, ice cold glass of frothy milk is so delicious, filling, and decadent that I almost feel guilty! This is an amazing experience for our kids. They get to see where their milk is coming from and not just assume that everything comes off from the shelves at a store.
How Much Does It Cost?
Purchasing raw milk is illegal, so we actually own a cow share and pay boarding fees. We own 6 shares, which costs us a refundable deposit of $300 and we pay $120/month in boarding fees which is $5/gallon. This may seem like a lot of money and a lot of milk for one family, but it is an amazing source of nutrient dense food that doesn’t take any time to prepare that we can have with meals, as a snack, or even as a meal substitute when we’re on the run. Our kids can be picky eaters at times, but they LOVE raw milk and drink it all the time. We keep their sippy cups constantly full and they open the refrigerator often to grab their cups and take a drink whenever they choose.
Being on a budget, we have to prioritize many things, but our raw milk is the one thing that we will maintain no matter what happens. If this was the ONLY thing I could do for the health and well being of my family, it would be enough to make a difference.
For More Information…
- To find a raw milk source near you, check out Real Milk Finder. Their website also has a ton of great information if you would like to learn more about raw milk.
- To find the latest news about raw milk and lots of other good information, check out the Weston Price Foundation.
- If you want a really great informative read, check out Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.
- I also got some great information for this post about raw milk in Natural News.
- Check out this 11 minute video if you want to see a great summary of the benefits of raw milk or this video if you want to see a 2 minute video on Sally Fallon’s perspective.