Raw Milk: One of Nature’s Healthiest Foods
Clean, raw milk from grass fed dairy cattle has sustained human populations for thousands of years. It is a complete and balanced food.
It also contains lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein which has anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
The FDA, CDC and USDA will tell you that raw milk is full of bacteria that will make you sick. But I know from experience this is not true. I have had raw milk many times, have many friends who drink raw milk every day, and we are all very healthy.Raw milk from healthy, grass fed dairy cattle is a vibrant, health building, protective food.
However, I agree that the polluted commercial milk from industrialized, factory farmed, sick cattle will make you sick. Commercial milk has to be pasteurized because it is full of infectious organisms passed through from the sick diary cattle from which it is taken.
Unfortunately, raw milk has gotten a bad reputation in the United States, thanks to scare tactics used by the federal government and lobbyists who work for the commercial dairy industry.
Although legal in a few states, in many states in the US, it is illegal to sell raw milk to the public. The only way to get raw milk is to own the cow from which it came. Most raw milk dairies offer "cow shares" in which you can buy a share in a cow, and in effect become part owner. The dairy "boards" the cow for you and the other owners and you purchase the right to take several gallons of clean, rich milk home each week.
My Experiences with Raw Milk Products
The raw milk I've consumed came from a cow share I purchased from a locally owned dairy located about 50 miles south of us. The first time we visited a raw milk dairy, we were treated to a tour of the facility.
We stood in the milking barn and watched as the cows wandered in by themselves from the green pasture outside, seemingly aware that it was milking time.
Each cow entered a stall and waited patiently while their udders were cleaned and sanitized before the milking machine was attached. Meg, the veterinarian who owns the dairy, mentioned that the cows preferred to be milked since the heavy udder starts to become painful after a while. The cows looked healthy – their eyes were clear and bright, and the coats shiny. I was surprised at how big they were up close. The cow closest to me had a head that was at least 2 feet in length, with hooves the size of dessert plates.
The milk was transported via a set of stainless steel tubes into a super clean, stainless steel holding tank in the next room. It was from this tank that some of the milk was bottled in sterilized glass containers and placed in refrigerators for the owners to pick up. Some of the milk was transported to another stainless steel tank to be made into cream, butter and cheese.
In addition to the untreated fresh milk, I purchased cheese and cream made from it. What a treat! The cream was so thick we had to spoon if from the jar.
And the milk tasted wonderful – creamy, cold and delicious and best of all, I was able to drink a whole glass of it in two gulps and not get sick to my stomach. If I drink pasteurized milk in any large amount, I get a stomach ache and spend the next hour in the bathroom.
Pasteurized milk, which has been heated to 145 degrees, has little left of the vitamins and nutrients present in raw milk. In addition, the beneficial digestive enzymes have been destroyed. I believe so many people are lactose intolerant because the milk they drink has no beneficial enzymes, and I’m sure it’s why I get a stomach ache when I drink pasteurized milk, even though I buy organic brands.
Why Are Grass Fed Cattle Important?
Grass fed dairy cattle are raised under blue skies, with plenty of sunshine and green grass in the summer and clean grain and hay in the winter. They are healthy animals, with strong, balanced constitutions because they eat a natural diet meant for their systems - grass. Not corn, or leftover grain, or soybeans, or chicken manure, or any of the other unnatural foods that commercial diary farms feed to cattle. This natural diet of grass translates into the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals being stored in their bodies. Those vitamins and minerals are available to us when we drink the clean, natural milk from such animals.
Meg, our local dairy owner, has a great philosophy which is at the heart of the benefits of clean, raw milk. She says "If we take care of our cows and feed them correctly, they are healthier and so are the consumers of their dairy products. Good pasture or forage is essential for animal health and, through the omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid in the milk we drink, it’s critical for human health, too."
In contrast, dairy cattle in commercial "factory farms" stand on concrete for the whole of their lives, being fed pesticide soaked, genetically modified corn, old bakery waste, soybeans, the remains of other dead animals, chicken manure and worse. These foodstuffs are unnatural to the cow’s system, and upset the delicately balanced ecosystem in the cow's rumen, the special digestive area of the stomach. In addition, cows that live on these "foods" absorb lower amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, even when these vitamins are added to the feed; consequently, less of these vital nutrients show up in the milk.
To make matters worse, factory farmed cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which forces their bodies to produce more milk on a faster time schedule. The end result is more milk, yes, but from very sick cows. Their lives are shortened and they frequently have udder infections from general ill health and being milked so many times during the day.
Consider this: whatever these factory farmed dairy cattle are fed and injected with winds up in the milk you drink from that cattle. Drinking commercial, pasteurized milk exposes you to the same chemicals, hormones, infections and pollutants to which the cows are subjected.
Raw Milk Provides Complete Nutrition
Milk which comes directly from grass fed dairy cattle has all the nutrition needed to support human health. You could live exclusively on it if that became necessary. It contains:
If you don't have access to clean, raw milk, at least buy organic milk from grass fed cows. Both Organic Valley and Natural by Nature brand milk are from grass fed cows.
The Weston A. Price Foundation is leading the charge to ensure all Americans have the right to clean, unpasteurized milk if they want it. You can find out more about the fight for your right to choose what you want to drink and eat here.
Recently, the Weston Price Foundation started the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to help raw milk dairy farmers fight the harassment they receive from state governments, the FDA and the USDA.
Resources for Further Reading