With all the current hoop-la over raw (real) milk, not too many folks even know about an alternate way to restore nutritive value to pasteurized milk. There are a few catches, which I'll tell you about and then lead you to the best routes I know around them. It takes some effort to get started, but once the starter is created, it's a pretty easy go.
Why would anyone want an alternative to raw milk?
Before I get started, let me clarify about this raw milk thing. I'm talking about unadulterated milk from clean facilities and reputable farmers, preferably farmers that we know. Proper raw milk from cows that graze on grass, grass, grass. Yes, there are times of the year when grains are supplemented, or in the best cases, hay is fed, but for the most part, it's a grass thing. This is important. Very important. The "Food, Inc." documentary, (which may be watched via Netflix), tells us that a cow's system can be detoxed in a period of about two weeks...Two weeks on a pesticide-free grass diet.
Let's look at the cost of unadulterated milk. Whether it's via cowshare, as in Virginia, or directly bought from the farm, as in Texas, it's going to cost more than store-bought, pasteurized milk. A cowshare may run from $50.00 to $100.00. Monthly boarding, which covers vet care, feed, milking, etc, runs around $35.00. This varies from farm to farm. The cowshare owner reaps about 4 gallons of milk/month and usually either travels to the farm to get the milk or shares the cost of transport with other owners. That's nearly $9.00/gallon before the original cost of the share and travel are computed. That's nothing to laugh about. Consumers pay big because farmers have to pay big to jump through the same hoops as mega-bucked industrialized corporations. They have less quantity to offer the public. Common sense tells us that it's going to cost more. And the truth is, better quality costs more...usually. Consumption of real milk does cut deeply into the pocket and is a viable reason, especially in the current economy, for many to pass on the raw milk opportunity. But I have watched since I first began to consume real milk, and in spite of the cost, more and more families are opting in...many of them running on single incomes. There are so many 'newbies', in fact, that my transport group has had to split and both groups are maxed out because a single car/van can only carry so many jars. (It's a good problem to have!)
I am not going to spend a whole lot of time on the why's of this phenomenon, but here is what many are looking at as the trade-off: They simply spend less on doctor's bills because this enzyme and nutrient rich product is healing digestive disorders and, falling in line like dominoes, a plethora of other health disorders.
But there are those pesky "Diet Dictocrats", so aptly named by Sally Fallon Morrell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. They have demonized non-pasteurized milk for so long and with such vehemence, largely funded by pasteurized milk manufacturers, that most of us have inadvertently bought into the lie. And while there was a time when non-pasteurized became dangerous because of TB, this is a thing of the far past. Read more about that HERE. (I strongly encourage readers to educate themselves on the truths of real milk!) Or you can look back into my archives and read more about it, HERE. So, because we believe the lies, we hesitate, for love of health, to venture into this brave, 'new' world of traditional eating that just about begins and ends with unadulterated milk.
It's understandable that many would hesitate. The internet has put out some really scary stories...even for someone like me who has been drinking real milk for years. Even in my 'seasoned' state, I read one article and felt my pulse quicken from the fear it generated. So sad. I am inclined to believe, after looking at this for several years now, that people get more angry over food choices than religion. Indeed, some have made food their religion.
And while I do get angry myself about the depth of deceit that has spun its web around our food world, making the subject of nutrient-dense food into a religion is not going to happen here, even if I do believe strongly in what I teach and share.
So, maybe at this time, you just can't cross the line into traditional eating or specifically, raw milk. Still, because you are aware of the lack of nutrients contained within pasteurized milk, you may feel backed into a corner, but there are a few courses you can go. The first would be to omit milk altogether from your diet. If you are not drinking rBGH or rBST- (hormone-) and antibiotic-free milk, I would recommend this route. At the same time, if your milk is from a conventional dairy and isn't treated with antibiotics, that's a bit scary, too. The cows at conventional dairies are over-crowded, live in bacteria-spawning environments and don't get grass, their natural diet. (Major cattle industry has become so defensive about this that they are trying to get laws passed that no passers-by may take pictures.) Sorry, but the truth is, to keep these cows from producing pus-ridden, sick milk, to keep them well enough to pass inspection, antibiotics in large amounts are necessary.
So although you do know your pasteurized milk is nutrient-starved and that pasteurization kills precious enzymes and nutrients, milk is a part of your life and...you want your milk.
Then there are those who know all this, have the funds, but for whatever reason, don't have access.
This article is for all of you.
Piima milk may be for you. Gently pasteurized is another option.
Piima milk is a cultured milk, some compare it to buttermilk. It will not be exactly like what you're used to. Although some of piima starter retailers claim it may be used to regenerate life and nutrients into any milk, it is strongly recommended that the milk be whole, organic, not ultra-pasteurized, and not homogenized. Since the Weston A. Price Foundation is known for being a food purist, I would lean toward thinking that what they recommend is the BEST way...but not the only way. Get the very best quality milk you can. Stick with whole...this we know we can still get anywhere!
Remember, the fat in God's food works for more than taste...It works in synergy with our bodies for the best assimilation of that food. If God made it with fat and told us it's okay to eat, if the smell of burning fat was pleasing to him as documented in the Old Testament, then there is something good to it. Science has found that good. The problem is that toxins find their way to fats. So, if the food is toxin-laden, the toxins are going to be found in the fat. If you're consuming meats from suppliers that don't incorporate the use of green, organic fields into their animals' diets, leave the fat behind.
Piima is a culture that comes from cows that feed on the butterwort herb. Apparently, milk from cows eating this herb clabbers better than milk from cows eating regular grass. (If milk clabbers well, it is an indication of some good enzymatic power going on.) Piima is needed to 'start the starter', and may be purchased at Cultures for Health. To make starter, add the piima to the best quality cream you can find. It is taught that ULTRApasteurized is a 'no-no'. While pasteurized cream/milk retains some nutrients, enough to allow piima to create enzymes and nutrients, ultrapasteurized apparently does not. Once the starter is made, it can be used in pasteurized milk to restore nutrients and enzymes. Retain some of the finished product to use as starter for the next batch. This is sometimes referred to as 'serial culturing'. (Retain 1 Tbs./Qt.)
It can be difficult to locate cream that is not ultrapasteurized, so you may need to start with an online source for a cream that's 'gently pasteurized', like Trickling Springs of Pennsylvania. Because creameries using low temp pasteurization, as Trickling Springs does, are more localized, (shelf life is less, so they don't ship cross-country), you may have to do some research to find gently pasteurized milk/cream in your area.
For those with funds and desire, but not the desire to put forth the effort to create piima milk, you may want to go with just ordering gently pasteurized milk. It's not the best option, but it's at least a step better than what can be found in stores.
A word of caution: Do your homework! Understand that the word, 'natural' is not regulated...even MSG can fall into the 'natural' category if it's found in another ingredient. Also, even the word, 'organic' has loop-holes. I know...we so want to trust everyone that smiles at us while telling lies, don't we? But Jesus was cunning. (Yes, it's true, even though we don't sing of that aspect of his character in our pious hymns.) Let us be imitators of Christ and be cunning, too. At least to the point of not being deceived in our food choices! The best way to get it right is word of mouth from others who perhaps investigate more deeply than ourselves, (Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leaders, for instance), or by interviewing the farmer ourselves. As much as possible, KNOW YOUR FARMER.
Making piima milk starts with making piima starter. We'll get right to it in the next post!