Thursday, June 16, 2011

raw milk debate

We recently did a switch. raw, unpasteurized organic milk.....from pasture cows that are grass-fed.

And though I know people who are on both sides of the fence, all for good thought-out reasons, after doing a lot of more own investigating and discoveries, we've decided that the switch was not only reasonable, but obvious to us that the evidence to support raw milk was far more substantial than the reasons for pasteurized milk.

The big problem with pasteurized milk is that its nearly impossible to kill "bad" bacteria without killing the good. Pasteurization (heating the milk to 180 degrees) and ultra-pasteurization (heating milk up to 270 degrees) literally strips almost all nutrition from our milk. Now you have fortified, fat less milk on our shelves that are literally making us sick and we have no idea why. In fact, I've read several testimonies of people who thought they were allergic to milk until they switched to raw.

But I understand the reasoning for the BIG debate. Unfortunately raw milk is not an option for corporate factory farmers, the cows are milked way too often and far sicker than we think. Most times they have infections on the breasts, oozing puss, with many different infections and other sorts of pathogens, so with that case....raw milk is very deathly! so i would neverconsume industrial raw milk...not an option! But this is where a lot of the scare comes from. Its of highest importance that the farm you receive raw milk from be local and visited before purchase (or at least visited by someone you trust). In many states we cannot purchase the milk without knowing a friend, or legally buying a cow share or buying for "pet" use. Thankfully in NY State, we do have the availability to purchase raw milk from a farm who is licensed to do so :-) If the farm is working as a proper ecosystem of sorts (many people's definition of this is different) than it is my opinion that raw milk is a much safer alternative to pasteurized milk....and the health benefits are incredibly super! I would almost say...miraculous that God gave us such an amazing probiotic. And because raw milk has beneficial, lactic-acid friendly bacteria that help ward off pathogens, its amazing how safe it really is. Milk is one of the biggest recommendations for calcium, biggest recommendations for toddlers and pregnant women, and even WIC (state aid) goes to the BIG guys for what they produce. They don't want to lose that so better tell everyone too stay away from the unpasteurized...its unsafe.

i know its hard to search the internet to find the truth. It seems there is advocates on both sides of the fence and they both are pretty extreme from one another. Raw milk safety standards often exceed those of pasteurized milk. And when you "sterilize" anything you have a greater chance of things growing in it once oxidized.

Kate, in her blog Modern Alternative Mama, puts it this way: "Unfortunately, when milk is sterile, anything can then grow in it if it becomes contaminated. In raw milk, the good bacteria can often keep the bad bacteria in check, should it become contaminated. Each year, there are 76 million cases of food-borne illness, and about 5000 deaths. In the last 10 years, despite raw milk consumption increasing, there have been only a thousand or so reported cases of illness and two deaths (however, there is no official data which proves these records at all, so numbers may be lower). It is clear that even if these numbers ARE correct, that raw milk is hardly a threat. No food is 100% safe, but raw milk is a tiny, tiny portion of the problem. The problem can be avoided entirely by approaching dairies that are obviously clean and have high safety standards (most of the time).

Beyond the issue of raw milk actually being safe, it is highly beneficial. Many people who are lactose-intolerant or even dairy-allergic can safely consume raw milk with no ill effects. Others have claimed it has helped or cured allergies, asthma, eczema, and more. Raw milk is a living food, consumed in its natural form. Vitamins and minerals are also more well-absorbed from raw milk. Pasteurized milk is a denatured food, from which vitamins are not well absorbed."

I have still personally been consuming pasteurized milk but am gracefully moving to raw, and plan to make butter and use its cream for all sorts. (Recipes to follow on this blog as I learn how to do it). Its health benefits are too good not too take advantage. At this point, if I know the farm and it's doing things right by allowing their cows to free range, eating and grazing grass, without antibiotics or growth hormones and they are treated humanly and the farmers are honest themselves (meaning they're not going to sell milk from a sick cow) than I plan to consume while pregnant, and the girls will be joining me after they turn a year old. Some will call me crazy and stupid, while there will be others who couldn't possible imagine any other way. my hope is that you too would explore this and join the raw milk discussion. For more good insight on raw milk click here.

Also I am very aware of the opposing sides and the many reasons for pasteurized milk. I know raw milk is not for everyone and there is still risk involved. Real raw milk facts posts several reasons, all very well thought-out with testimonials, why they believe raw milk is not safe. I don't just want to post things that are supporting what I think or believe and at the same time I think it is beneficial to observe what the opposition is saying - it is valid.

so, what do you think?
are you a raw milk drinker already?
what are your thoughts?

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