Thursday, November 6, 2008

Got Milk?

As I mentioned earlier this week, Jerad and I have started drinking only unpasteurized, raw milk. This was done after a lot of research on both of our parts. For ever I have gone on and on about how cow's milk is not good for you. We don't drink very much milk, I'll buy a 1/2 gallon or gallon and usually have to throw it out because it has expired.

I have a hard time processing milk. I feel sick and will get bumps on my face if I drink very much. As a kid, I couldn't drink cow's milk at all. I would drink fresh goat's milk. Pasteurized cow's milk is the number one allergic food in this country. However, even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.

The pasteurization process, which entails heating the milk to a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F and keeping it there for at least half an hour and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F, completely changes the structure of the milk proteins (denaturization) into something far less than healthy. While the process certainly destroys germs and bad bacteria, it also destroys the milk's beneficial bacteria along with many of its nutritious components.

Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. You may notice that raw milk left out will sour naturally but pasteurized milk will rot. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the raw milk helps to keep putrefactive bacteria under control. Pasteurized milk, however, does not have any of the beneficial bacteria left to keep it from rotting.

Then, of course there is the issue of the antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones and the fact that nearly all commercial dairy cows are raised on grains, not grass, like they were designed to. This will change the composition of the fats in the milk, especially the CLA content.

Raw milk is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidolphilus, vitamins and enzmes, and it is a great source of calcium.

Jerad, who usually just placates my stances on these kind of things has become a HUGE advocate. He is preaching about unpasteurized milk to anyone that will listen. He says it tastes creamier and also like grass?!?! I can't really tell the difference. Like I said, I couldn't drink cow's milk as a kid (pasteurized cow's milk) so one of our neighbors that was a sheep farmer got a goat and I grew up drinking raw goat's milk. So, this reminds me a lot of the goat's milk except milder.
Depending on what state you live in, it may be difficult to purchase, has a page that can help. In CA many health food stores, and some markets carry it. It is more expensive. We were already buying organic, milk to make sure that the milk we were consuming was free of artificial hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic fertilizers. The raw isn't too much more. For us its not bad because like I said, we don't drink a lot of milk. Even if you do, what's a few more dollars a week?

Both Paso and Atascadero have dairies that sell raw milk, but we decided to order from a big dairy in Fresno, Organic Pastures that supplies to the whole state and is closely regulated. They have a very informative FAQ page, but here are a few interesting highlights from it:


What is homogenization?

Homogenization is the process of destroying the natural butter fat cells found in raw natural milk. This process uses extreme pressure to break apart the soft buoyant fat cells, which cause the remaining small fat pieces to blend into milk and no longer float to the top making the cream line. Some European countries have studies that show that this process is dangerous and may strongly contribute to heart disease and arterial plaguing. Our FDA disputes these findings under pressure from the strong dairy lobby. Homogenization is not a required step, but rather a step of convenience to deny the consumer the ability to see how much cream is actually in the milk they buy.

Why is milk pasteurized?

In the 1800s, many US dairies began commercially producing low quality raw milk in the inner cities of Boston and New York and others. These Brewery dairies would feed their cows very poor quality "brewer's mash." The resulting milk was very weak and nearly blue from lack of protein, mineral, and fat content. This occurred during the Jamaican rum embargo. During this same time period, the dairy industry did not use or have access to refrigeration, stainless steel, milking machines, rubber hoses, hot water, or chlorine as a sanitizer. TB and Brucellosis were rampant (not to mention horse manure on the streets, flies, and lack of public sanitation and sewage) and the cows were milked by hand without mechanical machines. The cows stood in manure and there was no access to pasture (sounds like some factory dairy farms of 2005). The resulting unhealthy milk from these sources literally killed millions. The heating of milk to high temperatures reduced this horrible blight. During this same time period, milk from the countryside taken from pasture grazed healthy and clean cows was the best medicine of the day. In fact, the Mayo Clinic used this high quality country raw milk as a basis for many disease curing therapies. This was the untold story of raw milk. Because of pasteurization successes, commercial interests prevailed and all dairies (the good, bad, and the ugly) then began to pool their milk so that "nobody would die," even if milk quality was very poor. This was great news for milk mass marketing, and creameries created high profits. These pasteurization practices continue today with the chief benefit being extended shelf life. These modern dead milk products now cause allergies and lactose intolerance to huge sectors of the population. Current (PMO) Federal standards for pasteurized milk permit 100,000 bacteria per ml for milk going to be pasteurized with as many as 20,000 injured or living bacteria to be alive after pasteurization, and this may include pathogens (this is arguably the reason why milk is pasteurized). California standards for raw milk require that milk sold for raw consumption have fewer than 15,000 live bacteria per ml and no pathogens. OPDC averages about 1500 beneficial living bacteria per ml (and never a human pathogen).

What are pathogens?

Pathogens are disease causing bacteria and organisms. The three human pathogens that are tested (state mandated) at OPDC include Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Ecoli 0157. To date, not one of these pathogens have ever been detected by any test at OPDC or conducted by any state or federal agency. Tests privately performed at OPDC (BSK labs) showed that even when these pathogens were added to OPDC raw milk at extremely high levels (7 logs) they would not grow and die off (test results available upon request).

OPDC milk products are highly pathogen resistant. In more than 32 million servings, and more than five years of intensive testing, not one single pathogen has been found or detected. Not one person has complained to the state of CA that they have become sickened by an OPDC product. Tests performed by UC Davis, Dr. C. Berge DVM revealed something quite startling: Fresh manure from OPDC cows did not contain Salmonella. At other dairies tested, many of the findings were positive (31% of conventional milk tanks tested showed a human pathogen present).

In summary, it has been theorized that the combination of grass feeding, no antibiotics used, no hormones, and low levels of grain used in diet cause a change in the cows immune system and rumen. This change in physiology directly inhibits pathogen development in the milk (actually a transfer from environmental contamination that does not seem to occur; there are no bad bugs in the manure that transfer into the milk and the clean raw milk is highly pathogen resistant).


Anyways, I realize this is not something for everyone, but maybe you'd be interested in trying it once, or at least learning a little something new:)

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