So this post may blow your mind a bit. Everyone knows the ads: “Got Milk?” According to the California Milk Processor Board, “milk has protein to build muscle and a unique mix of nutrient to help you refuel.” This is completely true, for FULL-FAT, UNPASTEURIZED, RAW dairy. Let’s get down and dirty with the facts here.
The Problem: milk in process
First the cows, whose natural diet is grass, are fed grains. They are packed very closely together and fed a diet that their bodies don’t know how to process. They contract diseases and pass them between each other like hor d’oeuvres at a cocktail party. To keep them from getting fatally sick, their farmers pump them full of antibiotics and hormones and then milk them.
The milk is then separated. This process removes the dirt and debris. For skim milk, it also separates the milk fat from the milk. For full fat milk, this part of the process divides and separates the fat globules. Not even the fat is full in full fat milk!
Then the milk is “fortified” with Vitamin A and D. I’ve always had a bad feeling about any of my food being fortified. Shouldn’t it already have all the nutrients it’s supposed to without us messing with it?
On to pasteurization. Whole and skim milk is heated to 161°F (72°C) for 15 seconds. This kills all the bacteria that may be leftover from our diseased cows. It also breaks down the lactase and makes the good parts of the milk unrecognizable by our bodies. There are almost NO NUTRIENTS in pasteurized milk.
The milk is then homogenized. This breaks down the fat particles (again) and distributes them more equally throughout the milk. This part of the process prevents the milk from separating and floating to the surface as cream after it is packaged. Why is the cream bad? Do we really need to break down the milk particles even more?
WTF mate!! That’s what you should all be saying right now. How did our milk become so molecularly altered? The biggest reasons for this extensive process is that people tend to get sick from diseased cows. We need to nuke the crap out of that milk to get rid of all those germs. Well here’s an idea, how about we just focus on having healthy cows! Organic, raw, unpasteurizing farmers avoid disease by feeding and keeping their cows the natural way: in fields, eating grass.
Unfortunately, it costs a small fortune to fund and distribute from farms like that, meaning raw milk can be pretty expensive.
A note on skim milk: most people have been trained to believe that fat is bad. Well some fat is bad: chemically processed and altered fat like canola oil, Crisco, and other oils heated until they’re rancid. But some fat is good: natural, unrefined fat like coconut oil, raw dairy, olive oil, organic eggs (even the yolk!), and many others. So please stop trying to just remove fat from your diet, instead just make sure that the fat you do eat is in its raw, unrefined, unheated form.
1. Find a farmer in your area that you can trust. My bosses get theirs delivered to the office! They also buy their beef in bulk from the same farmer. This website gives a sweet list of raw farmers in every area of the US.
OR use other kinds of milk such as coconut, almond, oat, hemp, etc. Unless it’s specifically labeled, the only way to really ensure that even this milk is raw is to make your own. Coconut milk is pretty easy to make from coconut flakes and water (see this recipe). But for those of us without a Vitamix (I want one so badly!) you can make raw coconut milk from canned Thai Kitchen brand (see this recipe).
OR find a natural food store that sells raw, unpasteurized milk. There may be more than you think. Supernatural brand dairy products are organic, from grass-fed cows, un-homogenized, and heated to the lowest temperature allowed by the FDA. This is called VAT pasteurized and is definitely the lesser of the evils. Your health food store may carry a different brand. All you have to do is ask!
Why? Personal Motivation.
Conventional milk is so much cheaper and easier to find than raw milk. It tastes good too! Why would you spend all this time and money searching out the raw milk? Well I don’t know about you, but I eat food not only because it tastes good but because it give my body the nutrients I need to stay healthy. If I can drink a type of milk that helps me get my vitamins and minerals, why wouldn’t I take that trade? It is the same with all healthy eating.
Also, I thought I was lactose intolerant for about 2 years. Then I tried raw, full fat milk and I had no reaction! Pasteurization removes lactase, the natural enzyme that helps your body break down the lactose in dairy. Those who are lactose-intolerant can drink raw dairy!
There will always be a cheaper, less healthy alternative. You need to determine why you eat the way you do and figure out if raw milk is worth it for you. Honestly, while writing this post, and finding that not even the coconut milk I was drinking is imperfect, I felt myself breaking down. Why do I do this?? Nothing I every buy will be perfect. I’ll have to make everything from scratch. NOOOOO. I don’t have the time.
So for me, I will be choosing the lesser of the evils. My unsweetened, organic coconut milk will do just fine for now. There is no lactose, no additives, and no underlying chemicals like in normal milk. This milk is much denser in essentials nutrients and fat than anything else I can afford. And as soon as I feel prepared and driven enough, I will start to make my own coconut milk.
Also, normal, organic milk just doesn’t really appeal to me. I haven’t had it in years and still don’t love the taste or the idea. I have this view that humans aren’t really supposed to drink milk beyond their babyhood. But that’s a whole other topic and not something I’m prepared to argue right now.
So I have even turned the tables on myself with this article. Becoming healthy is a never-ending battle, but it’s worth it. As we become more informed, our industry will have to start catering to our needs. We, as consumers, have a lot of power.
If you are interested in the full scientific write-up, check out this Mercola Article. And another great article from Real Food University.
Any questions, suggestions, or points I’ve missed? I’m still learning too!
Hope you’re all having wonderful Mondays! 🙂