Raw Milk: an Essay

September 4, 2008 § 6 Comments

For many months now, I have have been educating myself on nutrition, health, natural foods and many many other things. I didn’t realize how much I had really taken in until a poster on a forum I belong to asked the question, “Why raw milk? Won’t you get sick?”

To which I replied the following:

We have a friend who disparages raw milk because he’s a germ-a-phobe. I told my husband, “Next time he says anything about raw milk, just tell him that pasteurized milk he’s drinking has cow poo in it. That’ll shut him up.”

The truth of the matter is that raw milk has to be certified and regulated– much more strictly than industrialized milk. As a PP said, the dairies that produce and sell raw milk are generally small, organic, and raise heirloom/heritage dairy cows (as opposed to the industrialized Holstiens) who produce richer, more vitamin/mineral dense milk.

Holstiens are bred for production, expressing over 60-80 gallons of milk per day per cow. They are raised on a diet of soy/corn/grains, antibiotics, and often some animal by-products. They are also generally confined. They get sick often and have very short life spans, living only about 3 years on average. The milk they produce is gathered in bulk, and the sanitation standards are nil compared with the organic farmer’s. Basically, the “big chunks” are knocked off the udders before milking, but they are not *clean* by a long shot. Manure, and pus from infected udders, is taken in along with the milk. Then they boil boil boil the heck out of it to kill what shouldn’t even be there in the first place.

This doesn’t really make it safer, since the healthy bacteria has been destroyed with the bad, the milk will now putrefy and spoil rather than naturally and safely sour. But now there are also *dead* bacteria and other stuff floating in the milk. The proteins and sugars have been denatured and changed, which leads to allergies and lactose intolerance. Then they homogenize it, which rips apart the molecules of the milk, making them jagged and dangerous. It is the homogenization process that renders the milk lethal on a molecular level, leading to heart disease, and other cardiovascular issues.

Heritage breeds such as Guernseys, or Jerseys (and many more) produce less milk, but the milk they produce packs a wallop. They are fed the proper diet for a cow (foraging for grass in the summer, hay in the winter) and they live a much longer, happier life into their teens and twenties (the natural span of a cow.) The certified organic raw dairy farmer has to maintain a level of sanitation rivaling (and sometimes surpassing) that of your local hospital. Every teat must be sanitized prior to milking, latex gloves must be worn when doing anything with the cows or milk, and you practically have to be able to eat off the barn floor. Or at least the milking floor! The farm where I buy my milk actually smells clean.

There are many places to go for more info here on the web; if you can’t find the book mentioned in previous posts, check out these websites: A Campaign for Real Milk or Mercola.com, plugging in “milk” or “raw milk” for a list of articles.

I realized that if there had been a test on this subject, I could easily get an A.


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§ 6 Responses to Raw Milk: an Essay

  • kingodin says:

    I think I’m becoming somewhat lactose-intolerant myself since my body doesn’t seem to digest milk as well as it used to. Very informative.

  • frodo_esque says:

    I’ve recently discovered I’m lactose intolerant and use lactaid to get through a bowl of cereal.
    Is raw milk the same as organic?

  • DT says:

    Not exactly. Raw milk is usually sold by organic farmers, but not all milk advertised as organic is raw. Organic has to do with the conditions under which the cows are kept, how and what they are fed, and whether chemicals, hormones or antibiotics have been administered. Generally, this effects the quality of the milk.
    The word “raw” indicates that the milk has not been processed after being taken from the cow. Pasteurization is the process of heating the natural (raw) milk to kill all bacteria and organisms in the milk. If the milk has been developed through organic farming methods, and proper sanitation is applied, the necessity for pasteurization is eliminated.
    If you are lactose intolerant, that just means that the sugars that are produced and developed through pasteurization are not digestible to you, and you will probably do well to switch to raw milk. Most of the time, folks who are allergic or intolerant drink raw milk just fine– plus you will have all the benefits of all the nutrients that get boiled out of industrial milk. Plus, it’s richer, creamier and I think tastes much better.
    There are places you can find it in GA, just look here for local stores and dairies.

  • lijuun says:

    I am so glad you wrote this! I have been interested in getting to know more about raw milk ever since it was mentioned on Daily Coyote (did you know some states make it illegal? That’s so wrong!). I am going to try to find someplace around here that I can buy raw milk. It sounds totally worth it.

  • DT says:

    Yes, it’s crazy the laws that some states have about agriculture in general, and the feds aren’t that much better. Knowledge is increasing but it seems to be one step forward, two steps back. I really would like to see small farms and renewable, sustainable farming practices grow and be promoted.
    You can find out where you night be able to find a local dairy in your state at the Real Milk website. Just click on “where” and click on your state.
    It is worth it, and helping the small farmers is ALWAYS a good thing!

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