Raw Milk is Better and
Better For Us

raw milk, pasteurized, homogenized

Did you know that raw milk may be very tolerable for people who suffer from lactose intolerance? The term raw milk is unfamiliar to many people. Raw would seem to be the opposite of cooked, but milk isn’t cooked. Is it? Yes, most milk available to consumers is actually cooked a lot.

The USPHS (United States Public Health Service) of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) states that pasteurization is deemed to be satisfied when every particle of milk or milk product is heated in properly designed and operated equipment to a specific, and very high temperature (145 degrees fahrenheit or 63 degrees celsius all the way up to 212 degrees fahrenheit or 100 degrees celsius) for a specific minimum time (seconds or fractions of seconds up to 30 minutes) and held continuously at or above that temperature for at least the time specified.

Pasteurization sanitizes milk in order to prevent foodborne disease. Ultra pasteurization is used to describe a product that has been thermally processed at or above 138°C (280°F) for at least two (2) seconds, either before or after packaging, to produce milk whose refrigerated shelf-life is extended.

Years ago, with the best of intentions, I purchased organic milk regularly. It was ultra pasteurized. My husband and I noticed that this organic milk seemed to never sour. Literally, it lasted so long, we were shocked.

Ultra Pasteurized

One day it occurred to us that it wasn’t the fact that it was organic, hormone-free milk that caused it to last so long, but probably the ultra-pasteurization that had killed any and all bacteria. We had been drinking dead milk.

When we looked into this, we also learned that organic doesn’t mean the dairy cows providing the milk are necessarily treated any more humanely than any other factory farm animal.

From a nutrition perspective, the beneficial bacteria as well as enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids were likely destroyed or depleted. (Nevermind that milk is ‘fortified’ with Vitamin D – it’s synthetic and toxic to the liver).

Pasteurizing milk also destroys the good lactic acid that limits bacterial growth so that pathogenic bacteria can actually multiply faster than possible with raw milk, though the shelf life of this highly processed drink is extended.

The FDA has apparently considered raising the temperature requirement for pasteurization because many bacteria are adapting and becoming heat resistant. The UK’s Sunday Times reported in 2000 that British government scientists had produced evidence that a form of tuberculosis bacteria was present in Britain's pasteurized milk supply.

Ron Schmid who graduated from MIT and later went on to medical school to become a naturopathic doctor wrote The Untold Story of Milk. In his book, he talks about the 1985 salmonella outbreak that affected around 175,000 people in states in the central part of the US. All confirmed infections were traced back to pasteurized milk.

It is much harder to digest this so called milk as well. Lee Dexter, a microbiologist who runs White Egret Farm (where we buy raw goat milk), explains it like this:

All food components, and especially proteins are three-dimensional structures. Nature created the three-dimensional structures, so that, digestive enzymes could "lock" onto them during the digestive process. Digestive enzymes were meant to "fit" onto foods much like the pieces of a puzzle fit together.


During pasteurization, the high heat-treatment collapses (denatures) protein structures. Therefore, instead of being open and lattice-like, the proteins become harder, and more ball-like. This makes it difficult for the body's digestive enzymes to "dock" and begin the digestive process. It also means that a longer time will be required for digestion, because the protein now has less surface area on which enzymes can act.

Homogenization – A Heart Attack Waiting to Happen?

In the ‘olden days’, raw milk was often delivered to your home in bottles. Cream rose to the top of the bottles. Empties were left outside to be refilled. Milk was locally produced and distributed. Today, milk is processed and shipped across great distances.

With the advent of pasteurization came the need for homogenization so that the cream which would ordinarily rise to the top could be evenly distributed (along with the sludge formed by the bacteria killed by pasteurization, yuck). Homogenization breaks down the fat molecules into much smaller particles so the cream (and the sludge) are uniformly incorporated into the white fluid they still call milk.

Dairy products contain an enzyme called xanthine oxidase that’s implicated in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). A very basic summary: Humans also have xanthine oxidase in the liver for converting specific compounds to the waste product, uric acid. Kurt A. Oster, MD developed a theory about the enzyme, homogenization and the connection to heart disease.

When we drink pasteurized but unhomogenized or similarly, raw milk, the substance xanthine oxidase is digested. Because homogenization dramatically reduces the size of the fat molecules, Oster thought that xanthine oxidase might be incorporated into the new outer membranes of the smaller fat, protecting it from digestion and allowing it to pass into the blood stream.

When ‘foreign’ xanthine oxidase enters the bloodstream, it targets plasmologen, the stuff that holds cell membranes together within arterial walls. This in turn causes lesions and the body responds by depositing calcified plaque. When you think of arterial calcification, think heart disease, heart attack and stroke risk, and high blood pressure.

There are those that believe that Oster’s theory was flawed and according to a 2003 article by Mary G. Enig, PhD published by the Weston A. Price Foundation, more scientific reviews questioned the validity of Oster's hypothesis, and pointed to some inconsistent findings.

However, homogenization is obviously another method of altering a naturally occurring food in a very unnatural way. This could be one reason for the increase in allergies to ‘modern’ milk, as the homogenization process results in a greater amount or concentration of casein and whey proteins, common allergens, casein being similar to gluten.

Synthetic Hormones and Cancer

It’s bad enough that a time honored food like whole raw milk has been adulterated to such a degree it’s barely recognizable as the original thing. Enter Monsanto with a synthetic bovine growth hormone (aka rBGH and rBST) to artificially stimulate milk production.

The hormone has been undeniably linked to cancer and it’s banned completely in Europe, Japan, Australia and other industrialized countries, but not in the US. Monsanto itself admitted that the stuff makes cows sick, admitting to some 20 toxic effects, including mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland). The mastitis causes the milk to be contaminated with pus as well as the antibiotics used to treat it.

Many Americans don’t want milk from cows given the genetically engineered hormone and major grocery chains like Safeway and Kroger have made sure their store brands are rBGH and rBST free. Even Starbucks wouldn’t purchase the dairy products from cows treated with the hormones.

Perhaps that’s why Monsanto announced August 6th, 2008, they would be selling this division of the former chemical giant (in order to focus more exclusively on the business of genetically engineered seed they say).

Milk from cows treated with the hormone has extremely high levels of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) which is absorbed during digestion. High levels of IGF-1 are implicated in various cancers including breast, colon and prostate cancer.

Low Fat & Skim

When I was a little girl, my mother would drink non-fat, powdered milk (I won’t mention any brand names). If we happened to be out of ‘regular’ milk, she would offer me her concoction, mixed in a pitcher and poured in a glass or over cereal. It had a dirty dish water look to it and tasted even worse to me. I probably thought it was some sort of healthy alternative, but I know I didn’t want any of it.

According to the Campaign for Real Milk, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, butterfat is good and low fat and skim milk is really bad:

Average butterfat content from old-fashioned cows at the turn of the century was over 4% (or more than 50% of calories). Today butterfat comprises less than 3% (or less than 35% of calories). Worse, consumers have been duped into believing that low-fat and skim milk products are good for them. Only by marketing low-fat and skim milk as a health food can the modern dairy industry get rid of its excess poor-quality, low-fat milk from modern high-production herds. Butterfat contains vitamins A and D needed for assimilation of calcium and protein in the water fraction of the milk. Without them protein and calcium are more difficult to utilize and possibly toxic. Butterfat is rich in short- and medium chain fatty acids which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system. It contains glyco-spingolipids which prevent intestinal distress and conjugated linoleic acid which has strong anticancer properties.

It also seems that those who switched from whole to skim or low fat milk for health reasons have increased their cancer risk:

The amount of calcium and vitamin D in the diet appears to have little or no impact on the risk of prostate cancer, but the consumption of low-fat or nonfat milk may increase the risk of the malignancy, according to the results of two studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Dietary calcium and dairy products have been thought to increase the risk of prostate cancer by affecting vitamin D metabolism. Data from several prospective studies have supported an association, but many other studies have failed to establish a link.

Can We Easily Get Raw Milk?

The short answer is no. In many states it’s illegal to sell raw milk. In some cases it may be sold, but only for animal consumption, not for humans. Where it is legal, inspectors may hold the raw milk dairy to much greater standards than larger, comparatively filthy operations. It’s unfortunate that so many people have been swayed by the propaganda against truly healthy (raw) milk. Just this year a Mennonite dairy farmer was arrested for selling raw milk. Officials continue to claim that raw milk is dangerous and makes people sick. I’ve seen no real evidence of this to speak of. If I couldn’t get raw milk, I’d drink no milk at all.

We drink only raw goat milk and have been buying delicious raw goat milk from White Egret Farm for awhile. It freezes and thaws beautifully and it’s delicious and nutritious. Our dogs and cats love it too and it’s so good for them. Click here to see where raw dairy products might be available for you in your state.

“Cow shares” are legal in some states where the sale of raw milk is not. A cow share (or goat share) will enable you to buy an interest in the farm and take your dividends in raw milk - real milk!

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