|Got Raw Milk?|
Here is a picture of my daughter, almost a year old and just about ready to start drinking raw milk. Chewing on the lid of the ice cold milk must have felt good on her teeth :) I nursed for a year and then she naturally weaned and we started her drinking raw cow's milk. I have no qualms whatsoever about giving my children raw milk after one year in age. I'll spend the rest of this post explaining why.
This can be a very controversial subject, but it is one that I believe people need to be fully educated about it (just like vaccinations, circumcision, whether to use a microwave or not and other healthy eating issues) before they make a decision. It is so easy for people to state that raw milk is dangerous, but I want to first take an honest look at the paturized, homogenized milk you get in the store.
According to "Nourishing Traditions": The milk you get in the store comes from cows with abnormally active pituitary glands and high-protein feeding. This allows high levels of bovine growth hormones (present in all mother's milk) to be in milk. Large amounts of this hormone can produce growth abnormalities. The high-protein feeding of soybean meal to cows "stimulates them to produce large amounts of milk but also contributes to mastitis, liver problems and shortened lives. The proper food for cows in green plants."
Pasteurization is a hugely controversial subject. It was originally intended to to kill bad germs from diseased cows and worse yet, the diseased people milking them. Contrary to popular believe, pasteurization is not a cleanliness guarantee. According to "Nourishing Traditions": "Raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. Raw milk in time turns pleasantly sour, while pasteurized milk, lacking beneficial bacteria, will putrefy."
Some people are genuinely allergic to casin in milk, but many think they are allergic, but are really lactose intolerant. There are important enzymes in raw milk that aid in the digestion of milk. I have yet to have a lactose intolerant individual be unable to consume my raw milk products. "Heat alters milk's amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins." Many times synthetic Vitamin D(s) are added which can be linked to heart disease or be difficult to absorb. It also makes the minerals found in milk less available. "Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat." Fermented milk products are especially easy to digest.
Homogenization is "the process whereby the fat particles of cream are strained through tiny pores under great pressure. The resulting fat particles are so small that they stay in suspension rather than rise to the top of the milk. This makes the fat and cholesterol more susceptible to rancidity and oxidation, and some research indicates that homogenized fats may contribute to heart disease."
The only concern I have with raw milk is the process of getting the milk from the cow into the jar. You need to make sure that the farmer you are buying milk from is clean and sanitizes his jars very carefully and is very careful in his milking process. They should be cleaning the udder before milking. Also make sure that their cows are disease free and fed on fresh green grass or hay. Go during milking time and watch the process. See where your milk is coming from!
We make many of our own raw dairy products. It isn't as hard as it sounds. Click here for links to some great raw dairy recipes and raw cheese recipes.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment.