Drink Raw Milk

Having spent the majority of my life on a dairy farm, I have had the privilege of enjoying fresh, clean, delicious raw milk. There is nothing like it! I would be willing to wager that very few have ever experienced the enjoyment of sipping a tall, ice-cold, creamy “straight from the farm” glass of milk. There is nothing in the world that compares with the overall taste, the nutritional content, and the health benefits found in raw milk. Raw milk should be an option for everyone to consume. There are warnings and new research advising consumers to avoid raw milk and raw milk products.

Indeed, I was surprised to read Nelson (2010) that, “Raw milk stands alone as the only food that has ever been outlawed, and its advocates point out that it took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol,” (p. 3). Nonetheless, the movement seems to be gaining in popularity. The Oake Knoll Ayrshire farm in Foxborough, Massachusetts owned by the Lawton family is a perfect example of the momentum that the raw milk movement has gained. “Lawton figures that she has 200 weekly customers, versus just a handful two years ago,” (Gumpert, 2008).

With the “organic” fresh products movement and the increased accessibility to farmer’s markets, consumers have become more aware of these alternatives. According to the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a foundation that stands strongly behind the raw milk movement, an estimated half a million Americans or more are consuming raw milk. There are many issues surrounding the raw milk versus pasteurized milk debate, but at this time I want to focus on the issue of choice. The taste of raw milk is the first thing I think of every time I drink pasteurized milk. There are drastic differences in taste, sweetness, and texture.

Raw milk is mild, creamy, and even sweeter than pasteurized milk. “Fresh milk has a delicate flavour contributed by compounds of low molecular weight in trace amounts. Heat treatment affects the flavour of milk and produces detectable off-flavours,” (Aboshama, 1977). Many raw milk consumers testify that one of the main reasons they drink raw milk is for the flavor and creamy texture. In a New York Times article, several raw milk drinkers’ sentiments are voiced about the taste of raw milk: “richness and density,” “complexity of flavor,” and “we trust the traditional food chain [flavor] more,” (Drape, 2007).

The best tasting milk is going to come from cows that are pasture-fed. There is a direct relationship between what the animal eats and the taste and nutritional value of the milk. “Products from pasture-raised animals are healthier [tastier] for you to eat than those from grain-fed animals for many reasons. Animals get more readily available nutrients from fresh pasture plants than from grains, so their products contain more vitamin E, beta carotene, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids,” (Schivera, 2003). This pasture-fed cow’s milk is the high quality raw milk that so many people are seeking out and defending.

This high standard of milk resembles that of which most Americans once lived on, when either everyone owned a cow or knew someone who did. Research done by Levieux (1980) explains that two types of protein exist in milk; they are casein and whey. Unlike casein, whey protein is deconstructed during pasteurization (p. 93). These proteins play an important role in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Colman, Hettiararchychy, and Herbert (1981) reported that many vitamins and minerals are attracted to these proteins and potentially bind to them.

This bond can facilitate their absorption by the digestive system. Pasteurization destroys the ability of certain proteins in milk to bind the important vitamin folate and hence help its absorption (p. 1426). The components of raw milk that are thought to be most affected by the pasteurization process are the water soluble vitamins and the proteins. According to research completed by Rolls (1973), there is approximately a 10% loss of vitamins BI, B6, B12 and folate and a 25% loss of vitamin C (p. 10). Ultimately, raw milk provides the consumer with more available vitamins and minerals than pasteurized milk. The following chart compares the nutritional values of raw milk and pasteurized milk and clearly shows raw milk offers far more benefits than pasteurized milk.

Raw Milk And Pasteurized Milk

  • Enzymes:All available. Less than 10% remaining.
  • Protein:100% available, all 22 amino acids, including 8 that are essential. Protein-lysine and tyrosine are altered by heat with serious loss of metabolic availability. This results in making the whole protein complex less available for tissue repair and rebuilding.
  • Fats: (research studies indicate that fats are necessary to metabolize protein and calcium. All natural protein-bearing foods contain fats. )All 18 fatty acids metabolically available, both saturated and unsaturated fats. Altered by heat, especially the 10 essential unsaturated fats.
  • Vitamins:All 100% available. Among the fat-soluble vitamins, some are classed as unstable and therefore a loss is caused by heating above blood temperature. This loss of Vitamin A, D, E and F can run as high as 66%. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50%. Losses on water-soluble vitamins are affected by heat and can run from 38% to 80%.
  • Carbohydrates:Easily utilized in metabolism. Still associated naturally with elements. Tests indicate that heat has made some changes making elements less available metabolically.
  • Minerals:All 100% metabolically available. Major mineral components are calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur. Vital trace minerals, all 24 or more, 100% available. Calcium is altered by heat and loss in metabolism may run 50% or more, depending on pasteurization temperature. Losses in other essential minerals, because one mineral usually acts synergistically with another element.

There is a loss of enzymes that serve as leaders in assimilation minerals. NOTE:Bacterial growth in Raw Milk increases very slowly, because of the friendly acid-forming bacteria (nature’s antiseptic) retards the growth of invading organisms (bacteria). Usually keeps for several weeks when under refrigeration and will sour instead of rot. Pasteurization refers to the process of heating every particle of milk to at least 145 F. and holding at such temperature for at least 15 seconds. Pasteurizing does not remove dirt, or bacterially-produced toxins from milk. Bacterial growth will be geometrically rapid after pasteurization and homogenization.

Gradually turns rancid in a few days, and then decomposes. Note. The above chart on nutritive values was cited from “Report In Favor Of Raw Milk: Expert Report and Recommendations,” by A. Vonderplanitz and W. C. Douglass, 2001. Raw milk offers many health benefits which include physical, digestive, and even cognitive health. Perkin (2007) reference cites one of his earlier studies Perkin (2006) that, “Found protective effects of unpasteurized consumption on current eczema and seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms,” (p. 627).

This research has been supported by others such as Waser (2007) who questioned why most farming children seem not to suffer from these ailments. There are many examples of research that show raw milk’s health advantages. Nelson (2010) identifies published studies that find evidence for the following health benefits: Childhood consumption of raw milk resulted in significant reductions in the development of asthma, eczema, and hay fever (in Nelson 2010, p. 6). Consumption of “farm milk” showed a significant inverse relationship to asthma and allergies in a study of nearly 15,000 European children (in Nelson 2010, p. ). Although the follow studies are dated and have been continually dismissed by popular science, this research shows a correlation between early childhood consumption of raw milk and the absence of certain childhood ailments. Children who drank raw milk were less likely to develop cavities and higher resistance to tuberculosis (in Nelson 2010, p. 6). Raw milk prevented scurvy and protected against flu, diphtheria and pneumonia (in Nelson 2010, p. 6). I find it ironic that we currently immunize children (and some adults) for several of the above diseases.

It makes me wonder whether the consumption of raw milk (or the lack of) has played a significant role in the necessity for these immunizations. Milk in it’s cleanest, rawest form offers the most health benefits to the consumer. The controversy surrounding the legality of raw milk continues to rage on, although the focus should be to eliminate the production of “dirty” milk. I recall from my time on my parents’ dairy farm that as long as the bacteria count remains below 100,000 per ml, organisms if present, cannot represent significant health hazard.

Nelson (2010) confirms that not only does state regulators require a bacterial count of 100,000 per ml for milk slated to be pasteurized, they require the bacteria count of Grade A Raw milk to remain under 30,000 per ml (p. 5). The solution to the raw milk debate is in the creation of a universal standard for all milk, not in the banning of unpasteurized milk. The pasteurization process continues to be of great value for mass produced milk, where animals are kept in confined spaces and reated with antibiotics and hormones, but there is no reason to deny the consumer the enjoyment of high quality unpasteurized milk. The purpose of this essay is to provide you, the reader, an explanation of the benefits of raw milk. Even though these benefits exist, many people have never tried raw milk because it continues to be illegal in many states. Drape (2007) reports that while human consumption of raw milk is illegal in fifteen states, there are 26 states that raw milk can be bought in with certain restrictions.

In my opinion, this is possibly information that many of you have been denied because many health officials (pressured by politics and large corporations) fear that unpasteurized milk is unsafe. The evidence I have presented, illustrates that untreated milk tastes better, has a higher nutritional value, and offers health benefits above and beyond pasteurized milk. At the very least it has a better flavor, with none of the damage caused by the pasteurization process. I challenge everyone to find a local dairy farmer who produces clean, raw milk and enjoy a glass.

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