How many of you remember this add when we were younger?? Every other commercial on TV was a white mustached super star with the slogan “Milk, it does the body good…” at the end. So after all these years, record milk consumption and the worst health of any industrialized country in the world…does it?? Does milk really do the body good?? There’s been a huge debate for years that has re-surfaced about the safety and validity of the claim that milk is good for you. But one problem is there is never a distinction about the type of milk either side is talking about. You may not be aware of this, but not all milk you find on the grocery store shelf is equal. ”I thought milk was milk?” Not quite, my friend….
Historical studies show people groups using and drinking animal milk (in this instance it was antelopes around the Red Sea) as far back as 30,000 years ago…long before the days of agriculture. Many different type of animals have been used for their milk over the years: buffalo, antelope, reindeer, sheep, camels, yaks, zebus, goats, and cattle to name a few.
The word “milk” comes from the Latin word mulgeo which means to “press out by softening with the hand”. There hasn’t been one civilization established that was not associated with the subjugation of animals and the subsequent use of their milk. The Bible has 50 different references to milk associating it with blessing and abundance. Hippocrates, the most famous of all physicians in history, describes the making of butter and recommends milk and its products as “wonderful foods”. He contended that nature has an innate power to heal the body and was credited as saying, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” The early Romans dedicated milk to their god’s and used milk in many of their most important ceremonies. In the 16th Century, William Shakespeare uses over 75 references to milk in his many plays. The century before him, Christopher Columbus and his followers relied on the cattle with them to sustain them on their travels when they had no food.
In America, the start of dairying began at Jamestown. The city had barely survived due to disease and attack but in 1611 Sir Thomas Dale arrived with 100 cows, and they are credited with saving the town. The cow became so popular at that time due to the success at Jamestown that every new colony created was infused with cattle to help support the settlers. In Plymouth, the settlers for the Massachusetts Bay Company assigned one cow for every 6 settlers to ensure survival. In the early days, there were dire consequences to anyone who mistreated cattle.
So if milk was idolized, sought after, and revered in the old days…why all the fuss now? Isn’t it still as good for you as it was? What happened to the way things used to be?? Well, you have to look ahead a couple hundred years to see….
In the 1800s, populations in America had risen so much that there was not enough room to allow the cattle to freely graze in the middle of town and surrounding areas, and it was getting increasingly difficult to acquire milk. After the War of 1812, our whiskey supply was cut off from the British West Indies and the American liquor industry was born. Distilleries popped up everywhere, cutting into the grazing areas even more. The process of fermentation of grains (to make the alcohol) produced an acid refuse known as “distillery slop”. The owners of the distillery fed this slop to the cattle they owned and discovered that the cattle would produce a greater supply of milk, at a much cheaper cost. The cattle were fed awful diets and kept in the very worst of conditions. Despite the fact that the slop fed to the cattle kept them undernourished and emaciated, they produced an abundance of milk while on it. However, the quality of the milk produced was so bad that they couldn’t make butter or cheese out of it. They could only sell it “as is”, and it became known as “swill milk”. The cattle would be tied to a certain spot in the pens, closely packed together and would not be moved for 9 MONTHS!! The cattle would usually die right where they stood, and they would just come cart them off. In a few rare instances, you can read about the cattle actually standing in the same spot for 18 MONTHS…but they usually never made it that long. Distillery dairies continued to sell swill milk well into the 1900s, despite the fact that infant mortality rose sharply during this time and other diseases became apparent.
The quality of the milk in America changed because the health of the cow and what they were feeding the cows had drastically changed… And, for what??? MONEY!! Even some of the better dairies out of town, that were feeding the cattle properly, started adding a lot of water to the milk to make better profits. Adding to these profits…pasteurization came on the scene. This procedure of heating the liquid, to kill any bacteria that caused the material to spoil, was started- on wine- by a man name Louis Pasteur. He was a chemist and writer that earlier had championed the “Germ Theory” (key word theory here, still has never been proven). His implementation of Pasteurization was to allow the milk to have a longer shelf life because it effectively destroys any living organism in the milk, making it a functionally dead food. Funny though, wine is no longer pasteurized, while milk remains pasteurized…hmmm. Pasteurization really became popular after a group of medical doctors, focused on fixing the problem with infant mortality, blamed milk and set out on a mission to make milk safe from all bacteria. This was in 1890 and they formed the “certified milk movement”. Their goal was to have all milk be certified (controlled production) and pasteurized to ensure “healthy milk”.
This was the start of the decline of the health benefits of milk, as we know it. Pasteurization kills any opportunity for healing properties that the milk would have. It destroys the enzymes necessary for breaking down the dairy proteins. These enzymes are also important for protection from pathogens or “germs” found in raw milk. It destroys anywhere from 10-50% of the Vitamin C content in milk. It also destroys or inactivates the B-Vitamins found in milk, as well. (We’ll cover more of the differences in my next post.)
Sad isn’t it? Something God created that was so perfect became so messed up (and remains that way) because of money, profit, and power.
But, there is a solution… In our next two posts on Milk (stay tuned), I’ll give you options, alternatives, and contact info to find good, organic, raw milk like we were intended to drink. In our very next post we’ll compare Raw vs Pasteurized milk and look at the differences in both.
John Crewe, M.D. , founder of the Mayo Clinic (ironic I know) stated that, “Four weeks on nothing but raw milk cured most all chronic diseases.”