Raw Milk

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Raw Milk:

Do you drink raw milk? Raw milk is real milk!

What is Real Milk? Well, it’s milk that comes from old fashion breeds of goats, sheep, llamas, camels or cows other than Holsteins (which are bred for delivering HUGE amounts of milk—about 3x more than other breeds of milk cows).

The cows you get your milk from should be eating real feed—green unsprayed grass in the spring, summer and fall and dry hay, silage and hay plus root vegetables in winter. They should NOT be fed soy, cottonseed meal, commercial food, bakery waste, chicken manure, or citrus peel laced with pesticides. Can you believe they make commercial dairy cows eat this crap?

Cows should be tuberculosis (TB) and brucellosis free (ask your farmer and they will share their herd’s test results with you if you like). The milking shed, surroundings and cow’s teats should be clean, milk is kept chilled and tested regularly to ensure the absence of human pathogens. Raw milk dairies are tested regularly and then surprise spot inspections/testing also occurs.

Raw Milk vs. Organic Milk

Beware of labels that say the milk is organic. Some of these facilities feed commercial feeds and their cattle never ever get out to eat real grass.

What about pasteurized milk? Milk that is pasteurized destroys enzymes, kills beneficial bacteria and vitamins, promotes pathogens, and denatures fragile milk proteins.

Should Milk Be Pasteurized? Pasteurized milk is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, osteoporosis, colic in infants, arthritis, heart disease and growth problems in children.

Organic milk is often Ultrapasteurized which is a process that has its own issues. Just because it’s organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.

Unpasteurized (raw) milk does none of these things. As a matter of fact, many people who drink raw milk don’t have the allergies, lactose intolerance and phlegm associated with pasteurized/ homogenized milk.

The Raw Milk Diet:

Have you ever heard of the Mayo Clinic raw milk diet? Isn’t that strange? It’s a diet where the patient drinks only whole, grass-fed cow’s milk. That’s it. Nothing needs to be added to raw milk, especially that coming from grass-fed cows, to make it whole or better. No vitamins. No minerals. No enriching. It’s a complete food.

Raw milk has been used and is still used by leading physicians in the treatment of tuberculosis, edema, heart failure, skin disease, acne, asthma, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, prostate disease, urinary tract infections, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic fatigue and obesity. In Germany today raw milk therapy is provided in many hospitals.

My own raw milk experience: I drink raw milk. Have for years. I was hesitant to try it at first because it was just a phlegm producer in my diet, but I wanted to support our neighbor’s small raw milk dairy. Boy, was I won over! From day one I noticed that my body did not create phlegm after drinking the milk.

I’ll never forget the first week I picked up my order. Another raw milk drinker and her two kids were at our place to help us in the gardens and to pick a bunch of raw veggies for their family. I looked at that milk with a good 3 inches of cream on the top of the half-gallon jar and asked, “What do you do with the cream?”

They all looked at each other and broke out laughing. “You shake the bottle up, pop the lid off and pour a cup!” Heck, I’d never had unhomogenized milk before in my life! “Oh. OK.”

It was cold and delicious.

Now I make raw milk yogurt, raw butter, raw milk cheese and occasionally raw cream ice cream. Even our dog Sophie (born on the raw milk dairy farm) wants her serving too! I’m sure if I gave her store bought that it would give her the squirts, but her parents drink raw milk as a large portion of their diet from time to time, so I’ve noticed.

Does Raw Milk Taste Different?

Many people think that raw milk has a superior flavor and texture to pasteurized, homogenized milk (it does, I concur). Raw milk drinkers often use words like “fresh”, “real”, “alive” and “rich” to describe it.

Consumer research demonstrates that flavor is one of the top reasons that consumers choose raw milk in states where it is legal to buy.

Many drinkers appreciate the subtle shift in the color and flavor of the milk through the seasons as the grasses mature. Occasionally one will run across a cow with milk that doesn’t taste good, but the dairy person usually culls that animal from the herd. Flavor is influenced by the breed of the cow and its diet preferences. I know our local dairy had to replace one of their cows because their children would absolutely not drink the milk from one critter.

Raw milk is totally different than milk you purchase from the store. Store-bought milk has been pasteurized, homogenized or ultra-pasteurized. This liquid is not really milk.

  • It is a chemically altered substance, heated to remove pathogens and bacteria to prolong its shelf life
  • Its low-enzyme activity makes it difficult to digest
  • The altered fat content renders the vitamins and minerals difficult for the body to absorb
  • The residual drugs and antibiotics pose a threat to human health
  • The naturally occurring beneficial bacteria have been destroyed
  • The body cannot recognize the split/denatured proteins of the ultra-pasteurized milk so the body treats it as an allergen

Can Raw Milk Make You Sick?

Milk from grass-fed cows is safe, wholesome and good! Milk from commercially raised cows can be dangerous unless it is pasteurized.

The Weston A. Price Foundation found that, though the relative risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk is about nine times greater than it is from drinking pasteurized milk, the absolute risk of developing a serious illness (i.e., one that would require hospitalization) from drinking raw milk is exceedingly small: about 1 in 6 million.

“This milk is Growth Hormone Free” says the label, but is it really safe when farmed animals are routinely fed an unnatural, high-protein soy- and corn-based, genetically modified diet high in chemicals? Do cows really eat these foods given a choice? I say no. They don’t. These commercial dairy cattle are being continually injected with antibiotics, they live in manure knee deep and are kept in inhumane conditions far from their natural environment. They are subjected to enormous amounts of stress, and that isn’t right.

Raw Milk as Medicine

Milk from commercial dairy cattle can cause sludging of mucous membranes leading to an increase in ear infections, asthma, and eczema.

On the other hand, raw milk actually helps protect against allergic reactions and boosts the immune system.

Raw Milk Health Benefits in Children:

In early studies involving humans, raw milk was shown to be superior to pasteurized in protecting against infection, diarrhea, rickets, tooth decay and tuberculosis; and children receiving raw milk had better growth than those receiving pasteurized milk.

Raw milk is an incredibly complex whole food, containing, carbohydrates, proteins, beneficial bacteria, vitamins, minerals, good fats/cholesterol and is complete with its own digestive enzymes which breaks down the lactose and its own antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic mechanisms conveniently built into a neat package. Wow.

Raw milk has been combined with honey, salt, lemon juice and rose water for use on skin as in natural cosmetics. It also is combined with turmeric for a tonic drink in some cultures.

It is chock-full of both fat and water-soluble vitamins, a wide range of minerals and trace minerals, all eight essential amino acids, more than 60 enzymes, and CLA—an omega-6 fatty acid with impressive effects on everything from insulin resistance to cancer to cardiovascular disease. Raw milk is delicious medicine.

CLA is an Omega-6 fatty acid that stimulates the body to increase metabolic rates, heighten the immune system, and sustain lean muscle mass. Our bodies do not make Omega-6 fatty acids, so we have to get them from food sources.

Proteins in Raw Milk

Our bodies use amino acids as building blocks for protein. Depending on who you ask, we need 20-22 of them for this task. Eight of them are considered essential, in that we have to get them from our food. The remaining 12-14 we can make from the first eight via complex metabolic pathways in our cells.

Raw cow’s milk has all 8 essential amino acids in varying amounts, depending on stage of lactation. Current research is now focusing on fragments of protein (peptide segments) hidden in casein molecules that exhibit anti-microbial activity.

Carbohydrates in Raw Milk

Question: I have lactose intolerance. Can I drink raw milk?

Maybe. When the Weston A. Price Foundation conducted an informal survey of over 700 families who changed to raw milk, they determined that over eighty percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance no longer suffered from symptoms after switching to raw milk.

Lactose, or milk sugar, is the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk. Raw milk, with its lactose-digesting Lactobacilli bacteria intact, may allow people who have avoided milk to be more tolerant of raw milk, but you can’t just take raw milk and heat it to make other things—you would destroy the enzymes which break down the lactose to lactic acid. This natural lactic acid increases the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and has been shown to make milk proteins more digestible.

Raw Milk Contains its Own Protective Enzymes:

Enzymes in Raw Milk

There are 60 plus (known) fully intact and functional enzymes in raw milk, each one of them essential in facilitating the body to function optimally. Some of these enzymes are native to milk, and others come from beneficial bacteria growing in the milk.

When we eat a food that contains enzymes devoted to its own digestion, it’s that much less work for body. Given the simplest choice, I’d rather let the body have that energy that it would use processing more refined foods to use towards optimal body functioning and healing.

Early researchers recognized enzymatic factors responsible for the germicidal property of raw milk which is probably why people interested in cosmetics and natural products use raw milk for acne, oily skin, eczema and for facial masks (mixed with raw local honey). Two of these enzymes they called inhibins in 1939 are now known as Lactoferrin and Lactoperoxidase.

Lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein which is important for tuberculosis and in balancing Candida albicans in the body. It has numerous beneficial properties including (as you might guess) improved absorption and assimilation of iron (which is probably why my mom always told me to drink milk with my chocolate). Lactoferrin exhibits fungistatic, bacteriostatic, bactericidal and antiviral properties and inhibits the growth of parasites.

Lactoferrin is effective against E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staph aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Candida albicans, Candida crusei, tinea pedis, Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, Herpes simples, Hepatitis C virus, Human Papillomavirus and more! (Reference Page 266 of The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND © 2009).

Lactoferrin is also effective as an anti-microbial against several species of bacteria responsible for dental cavities.

Immune properties of raw milk contain lysozyme  and lactoperoxidase which breaks apart cell walls of certain undesirable bacteria and viral contaminants.

Lactoperoxidase is found in all mammalian secretions including tears and saliva. Levels tend to be higher in animal milk. Goat milk contains ten times more lactoperoxidase than human milk.

Milk Contains All the Basics and is Perfect Food:

Fats in Raw Milk

Raw milk naturally contains 3-4% milk fat. Guernsey, Jersey and some breeds of milk goats produce the higher amounts of milk fat due to their genetics.

Approximately two thirds of the fat in milk is saturated. All fats cause our stomach lining to secrete a hormone (cholecystokinin or CCK) which signals our brain to know when it has eaten enough and lets us know when satiety has been reached. If we don’t have this, we overeat.

Milk from grass-fed cows contains 3-5 times more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) than feed lot dairy cattle. CLA is a polyunsaturated Omega-6 Fatty acid responsible for increasing metabolic rate, dissolving abdominal fat, increasing muscle mass, decreasing insulin resistance, countering allergic reactions and strengthening the immune system.

Raw milk contains components not present in pasteurized milk like the Activator X and the Wulzen Factors.

Activator X Factor:

Real milk contains a factor called the Activator X factor (a fat-soluble catalyst, found in Vitamin K2) which promotes optimal mineral assimilation in the body and the. . .

The Wulzen anti-stiffness factor.

This Wulzen or “anti-stiffness” factor is a nutrient unique to butter and raw milk cream. Dutch researcher Wulzen found that it protects against calcification of the joints, degenerative arthritis, hardening of the arteries, the development of cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland.

Unfortunately, this vital substance is destroyed during pasteurization. Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint stiffness and do not thrive. Their symptoms are reversed when raw butterfat is added back into the diet.

Raw milk contains butterfat and lots of it—about 8 grams/cup of milk. The butterfat of raw milk contains vitamins A and D—real vitamins, not added synthetic vitamins but vitamins needed for the assimilation of calcium and protein in the body. The butterfat helps in stimulating the body’s immune system, is good for the gut, the brain and is a cancer preventative.

Real butter made from real milk from real cows eating real grass is bright yellow in color with no food coloring added.

Cholesterol in Raw Milk

Cholesterol is a protective waxy plant steroid used as a building block for several key hormones.

Milk contains about 3mg of cholesterol per gram. As we ingest more cholesterol, the liver produces less cholesterol.

Cholesterol is natural, normal and essential for our brain, liver, nerves, blood, bile and is found in every cell membrane. You can read more about cholesterol in my egg handout.

Alarming additives and procedures in the processing of milk:

It’s interesting to note that powdered skim milk contains dangerous oxidized cholesterol and neurotoxic amino acids, that mucopolysaccharides slime is added to yogurt and sour cream to give it body and that bioengineered enzymes and vegetable oils are added to cheese.

I found it interesting when I made butter for the first time, that the butter was actually harder at room temperature than butter purchased by the cube at the grocery store. I wonder what they add to it to make it easier to slice?

Vitamins in Raw Milk

Raw whole milk contains both water- and fat-soluble vitamins all completely available for your body to use.

Minerals in Raw Milk

Raw milk contains a broad selection of completely available minerals ranging from the familiar calcium and phosphorus on down to trace elements. Minerals require other minerals, which act as cofactors and co-enzymes, to function properly.

For instance, calcium needs a proper ratio of two other macronutrients, phosphorus and magnesium, to be properly utilized by our bodies. Guess what? Just as eggs are balanced when eating both the yolk and the white, nature also has provided the proper balance of calcium/magnesium/phosphorus in raw milk.

Beneficial Bacteria in Raw Milk

Through the process of fermentation, several strains of bacteria naturally present or added later (e.g., Lactobacillus spp., Leuconostoc and Pediococcus) can transform milk into an even more digestible food.

The high levels of lactic acid in fermented/soured products like yogurt and kefir are way more effective and cheaper than any probiotic you can purchase in a capsule.

  • Some of these probiotics make enzymes which help break proteins apart. This benefits those with weak digestive systems caused from drugs, illness, or age.
  • Other strains get to work on fats by making lipases that chop triglycerides into useable chunks.
  • Still others break down milk sugar (lactose).

Does Raw Milk Spoil? How Long Does Raw Milk Stay Fresh?

As raw milk ages, it increases in enzymes, vitamins, mineral availability, and overall digestibility. Not bad for old age!

Our weekly raw milk pickup stay fresh for 7-10 days. After that, I use the leftover milk to feed to our chickens. They love raw cold milk on a hot summer day and love it even more when it has soured and curdled. There is very little waste at our house.

Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized vs. Homogenized Milk:

Processed homogenized/pasteurized milk contains on the average: 21% less calcium, 70% less zinc, 66% less iron, up to 77% less vitamin c, 35% less vitamin A, 14% less vitamin E, all enzymes have been destroyed, the immunoglobulins have been damaged and whey proteins have been denatured. Reference: Dr. Axe chart from Food is Medicine and his YouTube video on Raw Milk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkSDm710vx0 )

So why does raw milk have such a bad rap?

Well, mostly it’s politics and bias.

“It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it”.  Upton Sinclair

According to statistics used by the FDA, raw milk has been linked to 1,837 cases of illness between 1998 and 2009 which led to 195 hospitalizations and two deaths. While the feds feel justified engaging in armed raids on farms, is this where we want our SWAT teams? (Note: This information is not updated on a regular basis—I checked before publishing this article on 8/2/22.)

Raw milk advocates are upset that the government is denying their right to choose unpasteurized milk from healthy cows because of the problems associated with conventionally produced milk.

Numerous studies document the benefits of raw milk, including the “milk cure” used by the Mayo Clinic in the 1900s for diseases ranging from cancer to weight loss to chronic fatigue. A comment in a report prepared by the Weston A. Price Foundation helps explain the contradictory stances on this ancient food:

The literature implicating raw milk in food borne illness exhibits a systematic bias against this food. In many cases, this bias is not intentional, but is a product of sloppy scientific principles.

The report concludes, “It appears that most investigators are thoroughly convinced that raw milk poses a major threat to public health, and thus they often rush to judgment to implicate raw milk even when the science is not fully supportive.” Now there’s food for thought. It doesn’t help when false information goes viral on the internet.

When investigators have preconceived ideas as to what they are looking for, they can:

  • Stop pursuing a question as soon as they get the answer they want
  • Keep trying until they get the answer they want
  • Fail to admit to possible misinterpretation if they get the answer they want
  • Say nothing if they don’t get the answer they want

I think people will always be attracted to the group of people who agree with them.

Is Raw Milk Safe?

Raw milk is the ONLY food that has extensive built-in safety mechanisms and numerous components to create a healthy immune system.

Milk in general is particularly safe when talking about food contamination with harmful bacteria. In 1997, milk and milk products accounted for only 2-tenths of ONE percent of all reported cases of food-borne illness (Reference: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Mar 2, 2000:49 (SS01); 1-51.

More people get sick from pasteurized milk than those who drink raw milk. In an article that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Dec. 11, 1987 over 16,000 culture-confirmed cases of Salmonella typhimurium were traced back to two brands of PASTEURIZED 2% milk produced by a single dairy plant. The number of people who were actually affected was estimated as close to 200,000! Three thousand people were hospitalized and 18 people died.

In 1976 a Yersinia enterocolitica outbreak caused from pasteurized chocolate milk sickened 36 children, sixteen of which needed an appendectomy. In 1982 the same organism sickened 17,000 pasteurized milk consumers in several states.

Contaminated ice cream made with pasteurized cream caused over 2000 Salmonella enteritidis illnesses in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

I could go on and on with this line of incidences but let’s talk about the dangers of other foods compared to milk products.

Based on data in a 2003 USDA/FDA report: Compared to raw milk there are 515 times more illnesses from L-monocytogenes due to deli meats and 29 times more illness from L-monocytogenes due to pasteurized milk. On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely than raw milk to cause illness (Reference: Interpretive Summary – Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Sept. 2003, page 17).

Emerging pathogens really have surfaced within the last 30 years or so. According to a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) report. Between 1990-2004 the following outbreaks occurred:

  • 31,496 illnesses, 639 outbreaks from produce
  • 16,280 illnesses, 541 outbreaks from poultry
  • 13,220 illnesses, 467 outbreaks from beef
  • 11,027 illnesses, 341 outbreaks from eggs
  • 9,969 illnesses, 984 outbreaks from seafood

While dairy foods (both pasteurized and raw) contribute to less than one percent (.002% actually) of all reported food-borne illnesses, the risk from other foods is much greater!

Robert Tauxe, CDC Chief of the Food-borne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, reported that thirteen fairly recently emerged pathogens are responsible for the majority of the 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses 300,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths annually. A Norwalk-like virus (norovirus) accounted for over 9 million cases per year. Noroviruses are resistant to freezing and high temperatures but the CDC currently does not conduct active surveillance to monitor outbreaks of gastroenteritis cause by said virus, yet they are on TOP of the poor small raw-milk dairies. Crazy. (Reference: Page 276 the Untold Story of Milk)

Milk Contaminated with Antibiotics:

Because commercial dairies have a high incidence of mastitis, laminitis and other diseases in their cows who are kept in confinement, they use antibiotics. Lots of antibiotics. In 1992 there were over 60 different animal drugs approved for use. Most of those, when used, means that the milk cannot be sold or mixed with non-contaminated milk for a period of time (each drug is different—we have to look up withdrawal times all the time in veterinary medicine). At the same time, 52 non-FDA approved, residue producing drugs are used off-label and/or illegally in the industry as discovered through laboratory testing.

Contaminated milk is comingled with other milk. What does that mean? What’s one cow’s milk in the midst of an entire very large herd? Well, the milk from one cow treated with penicillin drugs in her system can contaminate the milk from 70,000 cows when pooled together! No wonder people get allergic dermatitis from tainted milk! Ten percent of our population is allergic to penicillin.

So, let’s put things into perspective here. How many families can a small raw milk dairy serve? Their milk doesn’t go into huge batches of milk! The raw milk dairies that I know of are concerned about the use of antibiotics, what goes into the feed and using chemical free products. They don’t want their income taken away. They have a vested interest in what they produce. Thanks, I’ll take my chances with raw milk. I know my raw milk dairy farmer!

The need for pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s when people began to move to the cities taking their milk cows with them. These cows never saw grass and were kept in very filthy barns. Poor things. The physical environment was disgusting, so the milk was often contaminated which made people sick.

Pasteurization was originally developed for the beer industry to preserve beer. It was modified to be used on the disgustingly filthy milk which was making people sick. In recent times, the milking process and facilities are much, much cleaner and milk is rarely contaminated enough to make people sick.

Add in that raw milk contains its own natural antibiotics and th need for pasteurization dims in the raw milk industry.

Don’t get me started on the extra rules for having a small dairy, but they must have much cleaner milk than the larger Grade A dairies. It’s difficult for them to only milk 6 cows maximum at a time. Trying to navigate heat cycles, calving and all the rest so that you don’t get caught milking more cows is quite a trick. There are big fines and shutdowns if you mess up! And you can’t sell the extra milk, you must dump it onto the ground! What a waste.

How long does it take before milk spoils?

Real milk turns sour as it ages. Pasteurized/homogenized milk turns putrid and ultra pasteurized milk doesn’t do anything! Heck, you don’t even have to refrigerated that! It’s unnatural!

Frequently Asked Questions About Raw Milk:

The Weston A Price foundation has an excellent handout on the frequently asked questions about raw milk at http://www.westonaprice.org/health-toics/faq-dairy/ One of the interesting questions I read was asking if one should be drinking skim milk. Their response was that drinking the skimmed milk would lead to nutrient deficiencies and possible weight gain, but that if you ate the butter created from skimming the cream off the milk you would be fine. Ahh—the complete product reunited!

I think this all comes down to man ‘making things better. God already made a whole product, so why would you want to separate it? It’s like people wanting to eat egg whites only. An egg is a full meal deal. The yolk is good cholesterol and the brain needs this whole and pure source of fat.

Where Do I Buy Raw Milk?

As of 2022, raw milk is legal to purchase in all states but there may be some specific hoops to jump through to get it. It is well worth the higher cost. Sometimes you can buy it at retail stores, sometimes you’ll have to purchase it directly from the farm, sometimes they can deliver it and sometimes you must purchase a cow-share so that you can use milk from your ‘own animal’. In past years people have purchased milk for to use as pet food and it was legal that way (but not for humans to drink said milk). It looks like we’re making some progress. Good. Reference: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/states-where-raw-milk-is-legal

If milk is part of your family’s diet, make a resolution to purchase raw milk. Please do your part to help more small-scale raw dairies grow and survive as more folks choose raw. Every small-scale dairy that goes into business is a nail in the coffin of the factory farm dairy industry. Your shopping choices make a difference. Stop buying factory-farmed food.

Raw dairy cheeses can now be purchased in health food stores and raw milk is legal in many states. To check availability in your state or region go to www.realmilk.com Support a local farm!

What is a Cow Share?

A cow share, also known as a farm share, herd share, goat share, etc., is where people buy shares of a milking animal or herd, and pay the farmer to care for the animals and milk them. As owners, the shareholders are entitled to the milk from their animals.

A Word About Diet in General

  • Use common sense
  • Stick with whole, unprocessed GMO-free foods
  • Cook your foods minimally
  • Sprout and ferment
  • Know your farm. Ask questions. Do they use chemicals? Which ones?
  • Explore what worked for countless generations before You can achieve great health by diet alone.

Helpful links and References for Raw Milk: