On Raw Milk: Post One

June 10, 2008

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I promised to start a series of posts on the topic of Raw Milk. This is the first one.

Raw Milk: What Is It?

To fully understand why I drink raw milk, let’s talk about the differences between raw, pasteurized, and homogenized milk.

Pasteurized milk is milk that has gone through the pasteurization process.

The milk is heated to high temperatures and all the bacteria and enzymes that is contained in raw milk is destroyed.

This is why pasteurization began in the first place – ostensibly to avoid dirty milk than can cause illness (such as listeria).

But what was genuinely needed was to clean up the collection and storage process. And this is what we see with modern dairy practices.

Modern milking machines with stainless steel tanks, efficient packaging and better distribution practices make pasteurization obsolete. Pasteurization destroys vitamins (such as folate and Vitamin A), nutrients, and it denatures proteins as well. Immunoglobulins are also destroyed.

Proponents of raw milk agree that (pasteurized) milk has been known to cause allergic reactions and leads to illnesses such as dairy intolerance, ear infections, immune disorders, osteoporosis, etc.

I used to be one of those people who thought that dairy products were not fit for human consumption. I used a lot of arguments that seemed to make sense to me at the time (such as the high percentage of people who lack lactase, who seem to have problems digesting dairy, human milk for humans, etc). But that was before I started learning about all the benefits of raw milk and started drinking it myself. It was also before I started researching native peoples and their diets – almost all of which included plenty of raw dairy products.

Just one argument: The osteoporosis thing. In my milk hating days, I used to throw about these stats that say that in countries where people drink a lot of milk (and eat a lot of protein), osteoporosis rates are higher. What I didn’t know then is this: The enzymes in raw milk are needed for digestion and when they are destroyed through pasteurization, they body cannot assimilate the calcium, which leads to: you guessed it, osteoporosis!

Personally, when I started drinking raw milk, my life long “allergy” to dairy disappeared. For years I have been unable to consume dairy without stomach pain and other symptoms. Not so with raw milk. Another thing I noticed is that my achy bones and joints goes away when I’m drinking raw milk every day. Since I was 19 I’ve had these vague pains in my bones that would bother me during the day and wake me up at night. They disappear when I drink raw milk. :)

There is some evidence that drinking raw milk helps prevent (or heal) ALL types of allergies, not just to dairy products. A study published in The Lancet showed that children who drank raw milk had lower risk of asthma, wheezing problems, hay fever, and other symptoms.

I have noticed that for the last few years (since I’ve been drinking raw milk), my springtime discomfort has disappeared. I wasn’t a huge sufferer of seasonal allergies but I did notice definite symptoms in the spring. No more! I’ve read stories like this from other raw milk drinkers.

Homogenized Milk

The process of homogenizing of milk involves mixing the fatty/cream content into the milk itself.

Many experts consider this process detrimental since studies indicate that when the fat is broken down, the enzyme known as xantine oxidase is released.

This is a process of oxidation that occurs when the fat is exposed to air and increases the chances the milk will spoil. When this milk is ingested, it can penetrate the intestinal wall and cause damage to the arteries and heart, even resulting in unhealthy cholesterol levels, heart disease and atherosclerosis.

So – the belief that I share with many raw milk proponents is that it is Homogenization and Pasteurization that are dangerous and associated with health problems, not the milk itself.

Raw Milk

Raw milk contains vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids, and enzymes which are important to maintain good health. Here’s a stat for you:

According to the FDA, folate is inactivated by pasteurization. In the olden days, pregnant women were told to drink milk. They seemed to have this ancient wisdom that told them that this was a food that was important to moms and babies.

Now we know how important folate is for pregnant women. And yet everywhere I look, pregnant women are told they don’t have to drink milk, and are especially warned against raw milk. Huh?

Vitamin A is also degraded by pasteurization.

What most people don’t know is that you are

Interestingly, an article in the Spring 2008 Wise Traditions magazine said that sales of raw milk in Europe continues growing my leaps and bounds. In Italy, for example, raw milk is dispensed from coin operated vending machines. :-)

I’ll talk more in a future post about raw milk about the safety issues.

More Information about Raw Milk:
The Raw Truth About Milk

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

More Posts By Carrie:

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