The Weston A. Price Way

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Makes Raw Milk So Good?

We've touched on some of the reasons why pasteurized milk is more along the lines of empty calories rather than good nutrition...But why are so many opting for raw milk?

When people convert or even semi-convert to becoming food 'traditionalists', one of the first things we see change in their lifestyle is often the change from pasteurized milk to raw. For one thing, if it's accessible, it's a relatively easy change. It doesn't have to be cooked or prepared-Just shake the jar well to mix in that wholesome, nourishing and delectable cream. In the time it takes to gulp, we become healthier.

But there is a process to obtaining the milk and there is a cost for the milk, as described two posts ago. So, what makes it worth the effort?

Well, first of all, it's important to note that when traditional foodies speak of raw milk, they are not speaking of raw milk coming from a sickly cow in a corporate dairy. Nor are they speaking of the 'healthy' cow from such a place...'healthy' only due to high doses of antibiotics, which they must have because if you were tromping around in feces most of your life, breathing it in, and even ingesting it, however accidental, and consuming foods never intended  for your consumption, you'd be sick, too.

And because so many of us Westernly civilized folks are consuming such animals, we are steadily becoming a sickly society. I know we hate to hear this. Believe me, I understand the temptation to say, "Well, no, not really." Or, "Well, maybe, but we have the best medicines to combat that sickliness." But truth is truth, and who wouldn't prefer naturally preventative nourishment to becoming sick and having to combat it?

The raw milk spoken of  and advocated by the Weston A. Price Foundation comes from cows that graze on fertile green pastures as long as they are green, eat hay when it isn't, and are protected from the elements in clean stalls. Their diets are healthy and natural, without thyroid-inhibiting soy or genetically engineered growth hormones. They live natural, low-stress lives. They are, quite frankly, happy cows.

Joel Salatin, long time expert and educator in natural farming, speaks of the need to keep farm animals as stress-free as possible. He's so right-on about that, that the mainstream milk companies adopted this truth and now claim it as their own creed via commercials making claims in regard to 'happy cows'. They know it appeals to the consumer to have such cows because happiness is equated to stress-free, which equates to health and health equates to better milk production, richer milk and even more flavorful, tender meat.

Raw milk from cows that eat green grass, especially the fast-growing grass of the spring and fall seasons, contains several nutrients absent or greatly diminished by commercial feed: Vitamins A, D and K2/Activator X*. Before pasturization, raw milk also contains: enzymes, milk protein, Vitamins C and B12, as well as beneficial bacteria.

If the milk is raw, the consumer receives all these nutrients. If the milk is pasteurized, they are lost or severely degenerated.

The consumer of pasteurized milk never sees the farm, doesn't know the farmer, and is usually unaware that there is no requirement for inspection of dairy herds when the milk is going to be pasteurized. Yet the poor, sickly cows producing this milk also produce slime and pus that is removed via centrifugal clarification.

Raw milk from most smaller farms/farmers is clean from beginning to end. The small farmer is inspected frequently via his customers who want to be sure he is doing what he claims to be doing. Word of mouth is a mighty tool that consumers use, often without mercy. Unlike corporate style diaries serving millions, one unhappy customer can quickly put a dent in the business of the small farmer. His methods of milking better be clean or he loses valuable business fast.

It's important to know your farmer either first-hand, or by reputation. Ask questions and be ready to search for better if need be. If they are actively involved in an organization such as The Weston A. Price Foundation, they are much more likely to feel and respond to the responsibility of providing a superior product. Do your homework.

There is one other plus to raw milk that I cannot close without mentioning...It tastes better. It is creamy and rich, wonderfully satisfying and can easily take the place of a nutrient-poor cookie at snack time. Drink it whole and shaken, without skimming. We'll talk about good fats in other posts, but for now, try to believe the fact that the fat in raw milk is vital for the assimilation of it's other nutritive qualities.

Check out the links below, especially those dealing with milk. Delve even more deeply if you like and decide for yourself...pasteurized or 'Pasturized' milk?

Next post: What about milk substitutes?

*Activator X/Vit. K2: Dr. Weston A. Price discovered a vitamin he named "Activator X", which is believed to be Vitamin K2. It helps the body use minerals. As Dr. Price studied non-industrialized populations world-wide, he found this factor in those that were healthy. Yet, it has nearly vanished from today's western diet. Butter that comes from cows eating the fast growing grass of spring and fall is packed with Activator X/Vit. K2.

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