You’ve probably come across the hype online in wellness circles and it sounds great. But you can’t help but asking that nagging question: Is raw milk safe? I’m going to lay out what the big deal is all about and why I make sure mine is raw, alive and healthy!
What is Raw Milk?
Let’s talk about what raw milk is. Raw milk means milk straight from the cow or goat. It’s what the baby calf or kid drinks. This milk has not been heated to kill pathogens and it’s not homogenized. Usually, it’s milked directly from the animal and then chilled as rapidly as possible. And, it’s what all the generations before your grandparents drank! But I know you’re still wondering: that’s all great to hear but is raw milk safe?
What Kind of Milk Have I Been Drinking? (The Science)
First off, you should know that whether you’ve been buying conventional or organic, you’ve probably been drinking pasteurized milk. Yep, remember from science class? Pasteurization was invented by Louis Pasteur during the Industrial Revolution when people were living the big city life. Instead of milking family cows on family farms, milk had to get into the cities. Cows were taken off grass pastures and crammed into pens to be fed grain, which increased profit. Cramped conditions and a high-grain (acid) diet led to cows that had infections more often, and likely contamination of milk. Milk producers also started to take short cuts in the milk processing in order to (you guessed it) make more money. It was during this time that the first reports of children getting sick and even dying from raw milk began to circulate.
Instead of looking critically at how raw milk used to be and how it has been changed, big dairy producers in the 1930s finally pushed to stop raw milk sales. Cows should have been sent back to pastures but instead profit pushed dairy into crowded dairy barns and pasteurization was the thing to fix it all.
What’s Wrong with Pasteurized Milk?
Nothing. If you’re looking for a nutrient-void beverage containing pus, antibiotics and several medications in a safe form to drink. Pasteurization strips the milk of naturally occurring organisms (the good and the bad) leaving no good bacteria to out-compete the bad that can contaminate milk. It also destroys the vitamins and minerals that make milk such a perfect food. And, because the naturally present enzymes have been obliterated, it makes the milk nearly impossible for most people to digest. Hello, dairy intolerance!
You might be spending extra bucks on organic milk. But this milk is often ultra-pastured, which means it was headed to 280 degrees, killing literally everything. What you are paying more money for is dead, white liquid. Why do organic companies to this? Because it extends the shelf life of milk to incredible lengths. Milk that has an expiration date 6 months out? Again…profit.
Is Raw Milk Safe? (More Science)
For thousands of years, our ancestors were milking cows, goats, sheep, camel and buffalo as a source of nutritious protein, carbs and fat. You can ask any great-great grandparent living today and they can probably remember drinking raw milk straight from the cow!
Raw milk literally has safety built right in. Here come the big terms! There are lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, and antibodies that kill pathogens in the milk. Polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, and beneficial bacteria prevent pathogens from being absorbed by the intestinal wall. And lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors strengthen the immune system.
Most importantly, raw milk contains lactic-acid producing bacteria that out-crowd any potentially dangerous bacteria. That is why raw milk will turn sour, not rot! The same bacteria is responsible for making yogurt and cheese.
Raw milk is safest when it is fresh and whole. It must be sourced from healthy, well-kept animals who are milked in sanitary conditions. Look for local dairy producers and ask to visit their farm and see their set-up. Ask questions about what the animals eat, how the milk is handled and how their dairy works.
What are the Benefits of Raw Milk?
Well, if pasteurized milk is dead, it makes sense that raw milk is alive. It is a source of perfectly balanced and bioavailable vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and D and calcium. It also contains cancer-fighting CLAs. The naturally occurring enzymes help your body to digest the milk. Lastly, it is a great source of healthy saturated fat.
So, is raw milk safe? My family enjoys the benefits of drinking raw milk from healthy, pastured cows. It is the way God intended milk to be, from happy, healthy animals, milked by farmers that we have met and spoken with directly.
If your family ready to try raw milk? Do you want even more support and guidance around true nourishment? Then, my course, Bare Naked Hormones is for you!