I remember drinking milk right off the cow when I was little. Triple yummy! It was thick, creamy, warm, and even sweet. Of course that was in my native country which can be considered by many a third world nation. Oy. Then I moved to the first world and naturally started consuming pasteurized milk. It was the only thing available and I didn’t think twice about it.
Recently I went back to drinking raw milk and eating raw butter. So far so good. I no longer experience the digestive problems I used to have when drinking pasteurized milk. My allergies have also subsided although to be fair I also get allergy shots every 2 weeks.
What are the differences between pasteurized and raw milk?
Pasteurization is the process of heating something in order to destroy naturally ocurring bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeasts. Raw milk is simply unpasteurized milk.
It can be argued that pasteurization not only destroys 99.9% of microorganisms found in milk but also alters the proteins it contains in such a way that when consumed, the human body thinks they are foreign proteins and mounts an inmune response. The process also reduces the content of vitamins naturally found in milk. Killing the bacteria and enzymes in milk also means that beneficial bacteria is killed. Our digestive process is aided by beneficial bacteria.
Many people who are considered to be ‘lactose-intolerant’ will stop being so after switching to raw milk. In such cases it is very possible that before they were either reacting to the deformed proteins or to the array of hormones, antibiotics, or type of feed given to the cows all of which make their way into milk and can survive the pasteurization process.
The feed given to cows is highly worrisome as it contains known allergens such as soy with its estrogen-like compounds, genetically modified grains that are susceptible to mold, and citrus peel laced with potent neurotoxic pesticides. Farmers who offer raw milk tend to be at the forefront of the organic, natural foods, small production, food quality, and animal welfare movements which translate on producing milk from cows that are not fed antibiotics or hormones, are not stressed (stressed animals produce stress hormones which find their way into their meat, eggs, and milk), and are allowed to graze on green pasture.
The ‘back to basics’ movement advocates the consumption of foodstuff that has been consumed for centuries with no major consequences. This recent Washington Post article ‘The Great Divide: Who Says Good Nutrition Means Animal Fats‘ offers food recommendations by the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization dedicated to spread the word of Dr. Weston Price. Price was a dentist who studied the nutritional habits of isolated non-industrialized populations. His research yielded little evidence of tooth decay or chronic disease on those populations which he attributed to diets that were high on vitamins A, D, and K. These vitamins can only be obtained from animal foods, including seafood, organ meats, and butterfat, and eggs from pastured animals. These happened to also be the diet of the studied populations.
A great disclosure on what pasteurized milk contains, and doesn’t contain, can be found in this interview Real Milk for Real People. A well researched article from the Boston Globe Got Raw Milk? gives arguments from both sides of the divide.