Every once in a while, you come across some like-minded folks who really have it together.
Meet Rebekah and Kaelin:
These two gorgeous local real food foodies (the co-chairs of our local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation), are making a real difference in the food sources and information that’s available for all of us! They really know the ins and outs, the whys and why-nots of traditional nourishing foods. And we are so excited that they are going to be joining us over the coming weeks with a few guest posts.
Today … they’re here to dispel all the myths you “know” about raw milk. So we’re going to step out the way and let the experts do the talking …
Raw Milk- An American Staple Reconsidered
What is delicious, creamy, pure white, smooth, and one of the most nourishing foods on the planet?
We’ll give you and hint; it’s not Double Stuff Oreo filling. It is good with cookies though…
If you guessed, full fat, pasture-fed, unprocessed milk, you are correct!
This may come as a surprise, since many people have given up on milk for health reasons. Or been swayed by the Powers-That-Be that skim milk is the path to svelte nirvana-ness. However, raw, fresh milk was once an American staple on every table and widely recognized as an essential food, especially for growing children. But, alas, in our modern day, dairy milk is now often replaced with “healthier” alternatives such as soy, almond, or hemp milk. But there are a few reasons we think you should not give up on real milk just yet…hear us out. First the bad news though.
Modern, processed milk is no longer a health food for two main reasons: Pasteurization and Industrial Dairy Operations.
Pasteurization is a method of heating milk to kill bacteria. Unfortunately this process is very destructive, leaving milk indigestible and lifeless. It kills the beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes, disables a cortisone-like factor which prevents stiffness in the joints, denatures proteins, completely destroys vitamins B6 and B12, largely destroys vitamins A, D, C & E, promotes the rancidity of saturated fatty acids, and inhibits the absorption of minerals. Whew! In other words pasteurization leaves milk void of any nutrients. In fact, it can render it even anti-nutritive. Because the naturally occurring Vitamin D is obliterated, a synthetic, toxic Vitamin D is added. Huh?
(We also want to point out that homogenization, toxic additives like skim milk powder, thickeners, deodorizers, and artificial flavor enhancers are also on the naughty milk list, although we won’t focus on them here.)
Without going into the grim details, Industrial Dairy Operations leave a lot to be desired, including milk purity. Modern dairy cows are bred for extreme production, pushing and stressing the animals to the limit.
They are generally fed unnatural diets of grain, corn, soy, (all usually GMO), and are often given whatever can be scrounged up to meet their “nutrient” requirements. This includes chicken poop, gummy worms, ground up sponges, chocolate, ice cream sprinkles, animal byproducts, and even leftover Mexican food. Seriously.
The extremely high milk yield combined with low quality feed, demands technological saviors to keep industrial dairies afloat. These include insane amounts of growth hormones (rBGH) and large, steady doses of antibiotics, all of which transfer directly into the milk.
The laundry list of problems associated with industrial milk:
- Frequent ear infections
- Gastro-intestinal problems
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Skin rashes (eczema)
- Increased tooth decay
- Growth problems in children
- Heart disease
- Colic in infants
Is it enough to say- stay away from grocery store milk?
Raw Milk: The Real Deal, With Benefits
Not all milk is created equal. In fact some milk is highly superior. Raw milk from grass-fed cows, with full-fat content is a LIVING food. It is also one of the most profoundly nutrient dense foods available.
It is rich in minerals and enzymes essential for digestion. For example, the enzymes phosphatase and lactase allow for absorption of calcium, and digestion of lactose in milk. This is why most folks who are lactose intolerant can enjoy raw milk with no side effects. Yay! The high butterfat content not only makes milk delicious, but contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. These are the same vitamins nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, (www.westonaprice.org) found in very high amounts in all the isolated, traditional cultures he studied that were experiencing perfect health. The fat content in the milk helps absorb these vitamins. Amazing how they work hand-in hand! This is why we ALWAYS steer clear of reduced fat dairy.
Raw milk hosts many beneficial bacteria, as well as lactic acids, which allow the bacteria to colonize in the intestines. In fact, raw milk has been used in folk medicine (and the Mayo clinic) to treat diabetes, eczema, intestinal worms, allergies, arthritis, and asthma. In fact, a large European study was done in 2007 showing kids who drink raw milk are 41% less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies.
Only from happy, grass-fed cows, flows nutritious milk. The benefits of happy cow milk don’t stop there. It is very high in omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has strong anti-cancer properties. Grass-fed milk has 3-5 times more CLA than the pasteurized milk from factory cows. Immunoglobulins are present which provide resistance to many viruses and bacteria. When milk is pasteurized there is a significant loss of these important disease fighters. Vitamin K2, a critical, but hard to come by vitamin, is present in the milk-fat of cows noshing on wonderful spring grass.
Another reason to drink raw milk? It ferments instead of putrefies. Try leaving pasteurized milk on the counter for a week. Dare to drink it? You first…Wait don’t. But leave raw milk on the counter for a week and you have clabbered milk or cottage cheese brimming with beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
But, wait, raw milk is dange-er-ous, right?
And if, by chance, I want to risk it; where do I get it?
– Stand by; answers coming soon…
Note from O’Mamas: here’s where we should have a photo and link to a recipe from our kitchens that we could share with you on what beautiful thing happens when raw milk is fermented. Instead, we’ve got this (which is made from low-heat pasteurized, non-homogenized milk … which is definitely not raw).
We will be making some raw-milk yogurt in the coming weeks (which is a little different process as fresh raw milk doesn’t get heated to 185 degrees because that would kill the bacteria you’re trying to hold onto) and be sure to share the secrets for those of you interested in the experience!
P.S. We recognize that the idea of drinking raw milk is controversial (the USDA doesn’t recommend it). But as “real food foodies” we think it’s important to have all the information before we make our own personal choices about the food we eat. Reminder: we are not doctors or scientists. We are moms, sharing our own experiences with food and health. Talk to your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or exercise regime.
Kaelin Kiesel-Germann is a self-described “green as a cucumber traditional homemaker.” Her explorations in raising and preparing traditional foods were inspired by the research of Dr. Weston Price and visits to Mongolian pastoral nomads. Knowing that a nutrient-dense diet is a foundation for whole body health, Kaelin has served as co-chapter leader with Rebekah for the Weston A. Price Foundation-Bozeman Chapter since 2011