The last post I did on milk I talked about the history of milk. In this post we’re going to really talk about the benefits of milk….REAL milk. Not what you buy in the stores that has hardly any nutritional value at all in it. We’re going to talk about Raw vs Pasteurized milk and why you need to choose wisely for your family.
Now, when I even mention Raw Milk at all, some of you shudder and think, “Is he crazy!? You can’t drink raw milk, don’t they know how many diseases you get from raw milk?” The reason you believe that about raw milk is because that’s what we were all taught and what we were all led to believe. But we’ve been lied to! I’m not a big whistle blower so don’t run off so you don’t have to listen to another bitter person talk about how the government and every big corp is out to “get us”. But there are some historical truths that have led us to the point we’re at as a country that we need to look at so you have all the information and can make an informed decision about what you’re going to feed your family and why. So what happened to raw milk that made it so bad?? What changed from all of our ancestors and settlers first to America relying on raw milk to survive?
In the early 1900s when Pasteurization was implemented, there were still many small country dairies that were producing and shipping raw milk into the cities. After World War II though, those numbers declined rapidly as many of the dairies were forced to close under the pressure for compulsory pasteurization. To speed up the switch to pasteurized milk, two different national publications published smear campaign articles on raw milk. The first in 1944 was in the “Ladies Home Journal”. The journal claimed that raw milk caused Undulant Fever (Brucellosis). They claimed with absolutely no documentation to prove their numbers than tens of thousands of people in the U.S. had suffered from this disease due to drinking raw milk. The following year in 1945, the “Coronet” magazine ran an article called “Raw Milk Can Kill You” written by Robert Harris, M.D. Similar articles showed up in “Readers Digest” and “Progressive Magazine” the following year. The article talked about a city called Crossroads, USA that had an epidemic of Undulant Fever and despite the best work by area doctors, 1 in every 4 people in the town died and it was all because of raw milk. The only problem was, THAT TOWN DOESN’T EXIST AND THE EPIDEMIC NEVER HAPPENED!! Later in an interview with John Hopkins University, Dr. Harris admittedly said that the story was fictitious and that an epidemic could never happen…but no retractions were ever written and the damage was already done. Despite his confession, many articles appeared in other publications over the following few years, scaring millions into switching to pasteurized milk instead of their first choice…raw. This trend continued to worsen as corporations with interest in seeing pasteurized dairies become king, began campaigns with medical doctors to discredit raw milk and turn it into a dirty, disgusting, ridiculous choice for people to make and made pasteurized milk out to be the saviour our health and bone structure.
The position of the health department and conventional medical community is that raw milk is unsafe and carries disease and they have diligently worked to restrict and stop the sale of raw milk in regular stores. Due to their efforts, the only place you can purchase raw milk is directly from the farm that produces it in most states. But are these claims based on real science? Or is it bias and economics? In truth, raw milk contains antimicrobial bioactive components that reduces and in most cases eliminates harmful bacteria itself and at the same time boosts the immune system of the drinker. In 1938, in the textbook “Fundamentals of Dairy Science”, researchers found that raw milk would not support the growth of a wide range of pathogens. They noted that the only way to get the pathogens or bacteria to grow was to heat it up. There are 2 major components that are responsible for this in milk, they are called inhibins and the two are : 1. Lactoperoxidase and 2. Lactoferrin.
1. Lactoperoxidase is an enzyme that uses small amounts of free radicals to seek out bad bacteria and destroy them. It is found in saliva and tears in mammals. Levels actually tend to me higher in animal milk than human milk. Goat milk contains 10 times more than human milk.
2. Lactoferrin works to steal iron away from pathogens and carries it through the gut wall into the bloodstream. So it kills iron-dependant bacteria, and helps with iron absorption in the drinker. It also stimulates the immune system. Lactoferrin has also been shown to inhibit the growth of parasites. But even though it kills off an entire host of pathogens, it does not attack beneficial bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacillus.
Raw milk also contains white blood cells or leukocytes, exactly like those found in the blood. It contains B-Lymphocytes that are crucial in the formation of immune boosting antibodies that engulf and clean out foreign invaders. There are also components known as immunoglobulins found in the milk that actually help to pass immunity onto the drinker through the milk.
Pasteurization is a process designed to slow the microbial (bacterial) growth in food. It is not intended to kill off all pathogens, just to minimize certain pathogens to reduce “risk of infection”. Pasteurization largely wipes out the protective factors naturally found in milk. The process deactivates various leukocytes, antibodies, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. According to a paper written in 2003 by the USDA/FDA/CDC concerning Listeria Monocytogenes, a lethal bacteria, there were 515X more illness from L. Mono per year due to deli meats, and 29X more illness from L. Mono due to Pasteurized milk than raw milk. Due to the statistics, the paper stated that you are 10X more likely to get sick from deli meats than raw milk, but you don’t see any warnings about the meats do you? Sickness per year from general foods is 25% chance. But from raw milk, there is less than .01% chance of any sickness due to drinking the milk. The following is a chart showing the number of outbreaks per year by consumption of certain foods…look how low milk is…
So which one is more nutritious for us? Raw milk, hands down. But again, there are other factors involved. Regular store-bought milk is produced from cattle that are confined and are never allowed to graze outside. They are fed hormones (much of which ends up in the milk), given antibiotics, and fed mainly grains. The milk produced by these cows is inferior at best, unhealthy at worst. You remember the old adage “Garbage in Garbage out!”? That same thing applies to the milk produced by these cows. Below is a chart that shows nutrients found in food and which ones are active vs inactive in raw vs pasteurized milk.
So you can see the difference in the nutrients available in the different types of milk. The saddest part of that graph is the infant formula on the far right is pretty much a worthless excuse for nutrition.
So hopefully you can see all the benefits that raw milk has for you and your immune system. Should you drink gallons of it daily, probably not, just like anything else…..but it is much better for you than pasteurized milk. Next post I will give you places and resources to find your own raw milk.