Milk in its natural form is an amazing food indeed. It contains wonderful fatty acids that help our bodies to burn fat (they are called conjugated linoleic acids or CLA’s for short), immune boosting immunoglobulins (intended for the calves to help fight off illness), and beneficial bacteria that strengthen the immune and digestive systems. Raw milk is considered a superfood and is deserving of the title.
How is raw milk different from “regular” milk?
All milk used to be raw until 1908. Most milk that you now find in the grocery store is processed in two ways: pasteurized and homogenized. Pasteurized milk has been heated to 161 degrees to kill bacteria and extend shelf-life. Ironically, milk intended to be sold in its raw form typically has low levels of the bacteria that can be harmful if consumed in abundance because the beneficial bacteria keep it at bay. Commercial milk, however, has potentially dangerous levels of bacteria since the cows are not eating grass and are confined in spaces conducive to bacterial breeding.
Read the excerpt below from Organic Pastures for a full understanding of what happens to milk once it is pasteurized. If you still want to drink pasteurized milk after knowing what it is, at least you will have made an educated decision.
“After pasteurization, bacteria found naturally in milk are killed. During the high temperature heating process, cell bodies of these bacteria are ruptured and their contents are spilled, releasing histamines. This causes many milk drinkers to suffer allergic reactions. Almost all of these same consumers can drink raw milk and not have allergies. The high levels of bacteria permitted in milk intended for pasteurization are still found in pasteurized milk; they are just dead and not removed by the process.”
Yes, that’s right. When you drink pasteurized milk and milk products, you are also ingesting ruptured bacteria. This is partly why some people who cannot drink commercial cow’s milk can drink raw milk without negative side effects.
Homogenization is a whole other can of worms. Unadulterated fat molecules from milk (natural molecules that our bodies recognize) are pressure treated, producing “smooth” milk fat whose broken up, blended fatty remains may contribute to heart disease and arterial plaquing. Weston Price Foundation says, “
“Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification.”
What happened to raw milk?
In a nutshell, up until 1908, pasteurization was not standard processing for milk. Most people drank raw milk. Sadly, raw milk is becoming more and more difficult to find and is illegal in most states. Selling raw milk is legal in California.
People are uneducated and misinformed if they think that commercially processed milk is safer than raw milk. The media paints a favorable picture of commercially processed dairy. They don’t tell you that almost every single bacterial contamination in the past 100 years has been from pasteurized milk, not raw!
Benefits of raw milk
- Easier to digest. The enzyme lactase that is normally present in milk to help us digest it gets destroyed when heated through the process of pasteurization…as do the beneficial bacteria.
- Rich in CLA’s. Raw milk comes from cow’s munching on pasture rather than fed grain, corn and soy.
- Loaded with beneficial bacteria.
Where to buy raw milk
In Santa Cruz, we have two delicious brands of raw milk: Organic Pastures and Claravale Farms. Both are available at most health food stores (i.e. Staff of Life and New Leaf). Santa Cruz Local Foods will even deliver it to you!
To find raw milk in your area, check out realmilk.com.
Raw milk is superior in nutrition and taste. Give it a try!