7 mins read

Raw Milk for Real People

Remember back in the olden days when you would have the unfortunate experience of opening a sour gallon of milk and your nose would be hit with an intensely disgusting smell that nearly knocked you over and made your entire body shudder? Then the inevitable would come – having to pour the curdled stinky blobs down the drain with even more funky fumes wafting up towards your nose.  These fumes can literally burn nose hairs!  The entire experience can be downright disturbing.


So why does it seem like those days are a distant memory? It is because most Americans today consume modern milk, which has been highly pasteurized instead of the raw milk we grew up drinking. Modern ultra-pasteurized milk has been heated to temperatures as high as 275 degrees F. This ultra pasteurization method allows for an extremely long shelf life with out even the need for refrigeration.  So is this ultra pasteurization process more about extending shelf life or saving lives?  If my kids were going to continue to literally “crave” milk, for me this was going to require a deeper dive into the real health benefits of milk and how the milk of generations past might in fact be a better choice for my family. 


So here is what I discovered.  As mother’s we all must follow our intuition.  Mine has led me down this path – so take a quick journey with me and see what your intuition tells you!


First of all I NEVER got sick from drinking raw milk during my entire childhood and neither did any of my five other brothers and sisters, (aside from the few near fainting spells I had from accidentally drinking sour milk directly from the jug when no one was looking).  This fact alone is probably not evidence enough in favor of raw milk but it was for sure a good starting point. 


So the big question is – Won’t raw milk make my kids and me sick?


Well as it turns out the research indicates that raw milk is very safe to drink when it is properly collected from cows fed organic grass (and a minimum of grain). Heavy grain diets change the composition of the milk and hinder its ability to protect itself. Grass-fed milk has natural antibiotic properties that help protect it (and those lucky enough to drink it) from pathogenic bacteria. If you’ve been using pasteurized dairy products, you might want to eat small amounts of yogurt or kefir for a week or so, to give your digestive tract a pro-biotic boost, before switching to raw milk. 


Well I must say – I do trust old Mother Nature and the natural order of things, and as I mentioned before I NEVER got sick from raw milk as a child. So the search continued….


Then I wondered – so why are so many of us allergic to milk?  Well as it turns out unheated milk contains its full complement of enzymes and lactase-producing bacteria needed by our bodies to break down and assimilate the milk sugar lactose. These helpful bacteria are killed in the pasteurization/homogenization process. The enzymes, which also help break down the mucous forming properties of raw milk are also killed. For those allergic to milk they may want to try fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, which are naturally lower in lactose due to the actions of various Lactobacillus and other lactic acid-producing bacteria and may be better tolerated by some. 


So next I decided to explore why my kids “crave” milk?  Why is it that they want it all the time? Turns out, milk is an incredibly nourishing food.  Just as human breast milk is nourishing, the same essential life giving properties exist in cow’s milk.  Protein, raw fats, and essential vitamins & minerals like calcium and vitamin D, all of which are vital to the needs of our children’s growing bones, muscles and brains.  When milk is heated the enzymes that aid in the absorption of these vitamins & minerals are killed. Another feather in the cap of raw milk!



Then there is the whole issue about fat and cholesterol found in milk and is it really bad for you?  The vitamins & minerals found in milk are fat-soluble. Meaning these vitamins & minerals can ONLY be absorbed into our system with the presence of fat.  So the fully leaded variety is actually preferable.  Well this fly’s directly in the face of what we have all been told for the past 50 years!  Fat is good?  YES!  Our bodies need fat to grow our children’s brains and to help them absorb the needed calcium.  Cholesterol is also vital for proper hormone functioning and we would die with out it in our bodies.  Our bodies manufacture cholesterol so if we consume it then we wont have to make it and our bodies can work on other metabolic functions.  When we consume too much cholesterol most of use will eliminate the cholesterol through our bowels.  Some of us however do not possess the intrinsic factors needed to eliminate cholesterol from our systems and must watch carefully their cholesterol intake.  It is in my humble opinion that the real reason our society suffers from high cholesterol and obesity if not from milk fat but from overly processed foods and heated/fried vegetable and animal fats.   The fats in raw milk have not been heated so they are much healthier.  For more information on this subject I suggest the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill by Dr. Udo Erasmus.


So there you go Modern Mom’s.  It’s going to be your own journey and discovery process that will ultimately determine what you choose for your own family. My husband and I now have a bi-weekly ritual of traveling to our local farm to buy raw milk. I feel so much better about the nourishment my kids receive from the raw milk we buy and I am even enjoying milk again in my morning chi tea.  (go to www.hailmerry.comfor my morning chi tea recipe).


We must all follow our intuition.  I am a big fan of the book Practical Intuition by Laura Day.  Our female intuition is our gift as females.  This is just one of our genetically superior genes that we possess over men. Trust in it –  intuition can help you to unleash greater health and happiness in your lives and the lives of your children!


To find local raw milk in your community go to A Campaign for Real Milk,  a project of The Weston A. Price Foundation


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