to some frequently asked questions about raw milk:
Q: Is all raw milk the same?
A: No! There is a lot of
variation due to the many factors that go into its formation. What
the cow is fed, how and where it's raised, how the milk is collected
all play important roles in its safety and quality. Cows pastured on
organic green grass produce milk with amazing health benefits.
Q: Won't raw milk make me sick?
A: Not if it is properly collected from cows fed
organic grass (and a minimum of grain). Heavy grain diets change the
composition of the milk and hinder its ability to protect itself.
Grass-fed milk has natural antibiotic properties that help protect
it (and those lucky enough to drink it) from pathogenic bacteria.
Q: What is
A: Adapted to sterilize raw foods (from a technique
originally invented by French scientist Louis Pasteur for use on
beer and wine), pasteurization is a heating process designed to
destroy all bacteria and enzyme activity. Along with sterility, the
pasteurized product then has a much longer shelf life. UHT
pasteurized milk can last for months without refrigeration. Just to
be clear, milk that has been pasteurized can no longer be considered
Q: What is
A: Homogenization is the process of forcing whole milk
through small orifices under very high pressure. This breaks the fat
globules into much smaller particles and prevents the cream from
rising to the top. The intense pressure also subjects the milk to
high heat for a second time, alters color, flavor and, very likely,
nutritional value of the end product.
intolerant. Can I drink raw milk?
A: Chances are good that you may, even if you're of
African or Asian descent, assuming you can find a reliable source
near your home. Unheated milk contains its full complement of
enzymes and lactase-producing bacteria needed by our bodies to break
down and assimilate the milk sugar lactose. These helpful bacteria
are killed in the pasteurization/homogenization process. Fermented
milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, naturally lower in lactose
due to the actions of various Lactobacillus and other lactic
acid-producing bacteria, may be better tolerated by some.
Q: What if I'm allergic to milk?
A: While a valuable food, dairy products, raw or
otherwise, are not everyone's cup of tea. Milk allergies are very
real and serious threats today- just ask any pediatrician. Barring
the small percentage of folks allergic to all forms of the milk
protein casein, you might be able to tolerate raw milk with
it's self-digesting food enzymes intact. Again, fermented dairy
products may be better tolerated by some individuals.
Q: What about the saturated
cholesterol in milk?
A: These two very controversial but extremely
essential substances are found in every cell wall in our bodies.
Without them, we'd soon die. There's far too much to discuss in a
few sentences, so click on the two links above to learn more about
why these two important ingredients of whole, raw milk are so
crucial to your health.
Q: Can anybody drink raw milk?
A: Yes, with a nod to those folks whom it just doesn't
suit, but there are a few important exceptions. For infants, there's
absolutely no substitute for mother's milk, however, should that be
unavailable for some unfortunate reason,
formula with raw milk as a base can fill in nicely. Individuals
with a compromised immune system, whether due to illness,
medication, chemo-therapy or genetic malfunction, may
be able to drink it, but should consult with a raw milk-friendly
medical professional before attempting it.
Q: Doesn't raw milk contain
A: Yes, it has trace amounts of naturally occurring
hormones and growth factors- key bioactive ingredients that make it
such a valuable, healing food. Raw milk, especially that from cows
fed organic green grass, isn't just a great tasting food, it's
powerful medicine. That's likely one of the major reasons it's
unavailable in so many states. After all, we can't have people
healing themselves, now can we?
Q: What about raw skim milk?
A: Raw milk from grass-fed cows is a complete and
balanced food. You could literally live on it and nothing else for
the rest of your life. Not so with skim milk. By removing important
fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the skimming process, this once
excellent food actually becomes a burden on the body, causing the
liver to give up stored nutrients in its digestion. The loss of
pathogen-busting medium-chain triglycerides and vitamin A alone
constitutes an unforgivable crime against nature's perfect food.
Rather than avoiding fat, take the time to learn why its presence is
essential to your health (see fat link above). My advice? Skip the
skim. Your body will thank you.
Q: How long will raw milk keep?
A: When kept at the optimal temperature of 36-38° F.
(2.2-3.3°C.) you can expect fresh raw milk to last from 7-10 days.
Higher temperatures allow the normally occurring lactobacilli to get
busy making lactic acid, which gives soured milk its
characteristically tangy taste and reduces its shelf life. Bring a
cooler bag and ice or gel packs with you when buying milk on hot
summer days or if you have a long drive home - it'll stay fresher
Q: Can raw milk be used in cooking?
A: Ideally, no. The whole idea behind not
pasteurizing milk straight from the cow is to preserve the delicate
bioactive factors it contains. When heated to cooking temperatures
or poured into coffee or tea close to the boiling point, you're
effectively pasteurizing it and thus depriving yourself of the
beneficial enzymes, immunoglobulins and other factors it contains,
as well as increasing its allergenicity. Hi-speed blending can
physically damage raw milk as well, so if you like smoothies, puree
the other ingredients first, then stir in the raw milk.
Q: Is it okay to freeze raw milk (i.e. is there any
A: Depending on who you ask (or who funded the study)
freezing raw milk has either 'no appreciable effect' on nutritive
value, or it substantially impacts flavor, texture and consistency.
I can vouch for the off-taste and altered mouth-feel. To me, frozen
is a poor substitute for fresh.
One study found vitamins B-6 and C levels reduced by freezing,
another noted disruption of fat globules (probably the reason taste
is altered), hydrolysis of triglycerides and decreased linoleic and
linolenic fatty acid levels. There is fairly general agreement that
the longer it remains frozen, the greater the loss of bacterial
inhibiting ability. But whether all that adds up to detrimental?
Freezing is tantamount to processing because the thawed product
differs significantly from that straight out of the cow. I don't
think it'll hurt you, assuming it came from clean, grass-fed
animals, but for us, fresh is much more preferable than frozen, if
only from an enjoyment standpoint.
and dairy products from pastured animals are ideal for your health.
Compared with commercial products, they offer you more "good" fats,
and fewer "bad" fats. They are richer in antioxidants; including
vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Furthermore, they do not
contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs."
"There are two reasons why
grass-fed dairy a greater vitamin content. First, the cows have
access to vitamins that occur naturally in grass. Because of this,
grass-fed dairy products are full of vitamins A, E, and
beta-carotene. But the supply of other beneficial nutrients is
increased as well, because grass-fed dairy cows produce less milk
than grain-fed cows. That means less supply for us, but more
nutrition for you. A cow transfers a certain set amount of vitamins
into her milk, and a smaller yield of milk produces more vitamins
"Cows were meant to eat grass,
not grain. But nearly all milk producers, including those that sell
100% Certified Organic, exclusively feed their cows grain.
Studies are currently underway on the health benefits of dairy
products produced from the milk of grass fed cows. But this much
is known: grass fed dairy products contain an increased amount of
(conjugated linoleic acid). Nearly six times as much.
CLA is a naturally occurring "good" fatty acid produced in cows and
found in their milk. According to
Positive Health studies
have also shown CLA to promote muscle growth and fat burning in the
body. This means CLA, found in increased quantity in milk from grass
fed cows, may help you lose unwanted fat and build a leaner body.
Consider this: since cows manufacture CLA from grass in their
stomachs, commercially-raised cows that only eat soybeans or corn
meal produce little, if any, CLA. It may all be organic, but only
grass fed takes you closer to milk the way it's supposed to be
"Pasteurization destroys the
enzymes needed to digest the milk. Milk is a living food, teaming
with beneficial microbials which help prevent infections. By cooking
the milk, these microbes are destroyed as well as many of the
nutrients in the milk. Problems from drinking pasteurized milk
include lactose intolerance, food allergies, childhood ear
infections, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Pasteurization destroys enzymes,
diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, alters
vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes
pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay,
colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis,
arthritis, heart disease and cancer."