So here is one of the biggest topics for debate surrounding whole foods. Enough to where we must break this into a 2-part blog post. Most of what we have been told or assume at this point in our evolution has been driven by misguided propaganda & fear as opposed to science, facts, or even LOGIC. My first question for you to consider is, "Why would Raw milk be legal to drink in some states, but not in others, if it was so ""life threatening?" In short, it’s all politics.
So let’s start with the most notorious question:
Is Raw Milk safe?
Yes, it is safe. It is only unsafe, as is any other whole food we consume, if it is improperly produced and or handled with negligence. Food is our best nourisher but can also get us sick no matter the food type we are discussing. This is yet another case why it is so important to know your farmers, handlers, & their practices.
Many, but not all dairy cow operations are handled with the utmost integrity. What does this mean? Well, the farmers are in control of raising your cows and when done correctly, as nature intended, can produce very healthy cows. If the cows are healthy then so is their bi product (milk / beef / etc...) Farmers must also test their milk regularly. There are plenty of tests that farmers should do to their milk to test for any bacteria that may be hazardous to our and their animal's health. Keep in mind that almost every dairy farmer also feeds raw milk to themselves and their loved ones. As everything in this world is derived from bacteria, even cases where certain "bad bacteria" are present in foods can still be a product that is beneficial to consume and digestible by most.
Are there benefits to Raw Milk?
Raw milk is not only safe to consume but it is full of nutritional density. Milk is the only form of liquid food and why babies of all species can survive off this for their first years of their development. There are so many essential vitamins, fats, and enzymes which aid in digestion and help support regular blood levels. They also aid in development of cellular structure which produces healthy skin, joints, and bones.
Why do some have an intolerance to milk?
There are two answers to this question. We do not need to consume milk after a certain age of development as we can get all the nutritional benefits from solid food choices instead. When we turn to solid foods as an infant, our bodies begin to decrease the number of enzymes we produce which help breakdown and convert liquid food into nourishment. The lactase enzyme being one of them. Lactase production helps break down the lactose sugars present in milk. When we continue to consume milk after this transition to solid food, some peoples bodies can develop what are called mutated genes. These mutated genes help to continue producing these lactase enzymes we need to break down the lactose present in milk. Unfortunately, for some people they do not, and this can all depend on a families’ genetics and lineage over generations.
Another reason there is an intolerance is because of the processes in which we put milk through to declare them "safer for consumption". Pasteurization and homogenization are two process which hit milk with excessive heat and pressure killing off any "threatening bacteria".... sometimes. People around the world still get sick from pasteurized and homogenized dairy products every day. This processing also kills off a lot of the nutritional elements like minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and good bacteria that are present in raw milk. This is called denaturing. Denaturing a product inhibits the absorption of nutritional elements and when they are not absorbed can instead become toxic to our systems causing inflammation and disruption.
Do we NEED milk to be healthy?
Raw milk from our mothers is most essential in our early development when we do not have the digestive enzymes or ability to breakdown solid foods. After our transition to solid foods we begin to lose the enzymes capable of breaking down dairy (liquid food) for nutrition. Lactase being one of these enzymes. But some people can mutate this genome and handle milk as well as they did in their early years. AND this goes the same with every animal species that lives off raw milk in its first stages of development. Eliminating milk is fine into your years after development but only as long as you are eating a nutrient rich whole food diet.
Do any other species consume other animals milk?
Yes. Almost all predator and non-predator animals consume milk from other species. In fact, they would choose this over other whole foods at times because of raw milks richness and ability for the milk to fully satiate their nutritional desires.
When an animal is breeding, they are releasing hormones just like humans. Predators can sense this and are actually attracted to them more so because of the nourishment they desire. Pigs on farms will drink raw or sour milk, even whey, if put in their trough and go crazy over it. They LOVE it.
Where is the misguided propaganda surrounding Raw milk coming from?
In short, it's simply politics and biased agendas. Money... Money... Money.
On one side, there is the vegetarian and vegan population that wants to be heard so that they can continue to sell their products and help grow these same markets through “empathy & morality”. With the Agriculture Revolution commencing 12,000 years ago, it wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that big agriculture coincidentally decided to use the same selling points to grow their markets. You know...the same markets that have and continue to destroy our lands and water without solving the food hunger crisis they originally sought out. I’m going off topic here, but trust me when I tell you, it’s ALL about the Benjamins.
We have been consuming dairy for tens of thousands of years. As mentioned, we would love to come across a "moral influencer" that does not have some financial agenda of their own and /or has studied agriculture, nutrition, AND the history of Sapiens in all their aspects. Most will only discuss commodity dairy farming practices, which I agree that everyone should most certainly ridicule. But to put down each and every dairy farmer is just asinine and invalid. Having read all sides to this complex story, and even studied most, their side never adds up. Until they begin to demonize only large dairy farming practices and leave the small pasture raised dairy farmers alone, their objectives will only be subjective and nothing more.
On the other side, our government has a strangle hold on the dairy farming industry in this country and every dairy farmer will tell you this. First, most of the dairy producers feed their cows commodity grains. These are commodity grains which the government owns through subsidized agriculture. The government doubles down and makes more money on these pesticide ridden crops when the large-scale dairy farmers are forced to purchase them in order to feed their animals affordably. Commodity grain is not digestible, especially for cows, and add lots of fat and added proteins to create an abundance of fowl milk. All of these dairy farmers are then required to transport their milk to USDA facilities to process and bottle before being brought back to the farm or retail for sale. There are only a few of these per state, if any, and the USDA can track how much milk production is occurring from each farmer. Their argument is safety, but the truth is simply a lack of trust in people and their integrity, while also making a profit.
A pasture raised dairy farmer offering single source raw dairy means they are doing it right on the farm. If this same farmer is grass feeding their cattle as they should, then the government doesn’t benefit at all from this operation. Instead, they will enforce a no Raw Milk policy, making it illegal for farmers in certain states to sell their milk. The states that are not permitted to sell raw milk are usually the more densely populated (like NJ) as they have more of an influence on the dairy farming economy. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with safety and concern for people getting sick. Which brings me to the Next Question.
Why do news sources constantly report that people get sick and die from raw milk?
Well, in 2017, people got sick and even died from Romaine lettuce. We have beef e-coli recalls from big processors. In the late 1800, a bad bacterium destroyed and killed hundreds of thousands of people by killing off a crop being over produced. What we know as the potato famine. It happens with ALL food. Now a days though it usually occurs with mishandling. People use to get sick from raw milk years ago when we didn’t have the resources to refrigerate, transport cold, and manage the milk properly. This is all achievable in small dairy farming operations, if the farmer is simply working with integrity.
Also, people with severely compromised immune systems are a little more intolerant to bacteria strands that exist today because they have destroyed their gut flora with poor eating habits. These people are also more than likely to get sick from bacteria containing foods like raw milk, tainted lettuce, or even fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi.
Speaking of which, almost all of the existing foodborne illnesses (250) and deaths in this country are derived from bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which more often than not, come as the result of negligence and the mishandling of food. In coincidence, they are also usually coming from health inspected operations.