Why You Should Be Drinking Raw Milk

Why You Should Be Drinking Raw Milk

Written By: Kristi Caruana

In a modern era defined by processed foods and industrial manufacturing, the renewed fascination with quality raw milk serves as a testament to the enduring wisdom of embracing nature's nourishment! 

In the not-so-distant past, raw milk was the undisputed standard for dairy in the US. However, a shift occurred just over a century ago that changed the way we approach and produce dairy. The transition from raw milk to pasteurized was more than just a scientific discovery—it was a response to the changing landscape of the industrial age in the United States. As society advanced, the need to transport dairy over longer distances became a nationwide demand. 

Louis Pasteur, a renowned French chemist and microbiologist who’s experiments focused on the spoilage of beverages like beer and wine, discovered that harmful bacteria were responsible for the deterioration of these liquids, and that this revelation extended to milk as well. In a pivotal moment, Pasteur introduced a revolutionary process known as pasteurization, a technique that involved heating and cooling milk to eliminate bacteria while attempting to preserve its nutrients.

Come to find out, by subjecting milk to high temperatures you inherently destroy the natural nutritional content so much so that synthetic vitamins need to be added back in after. 

Growing research is also showing that the synthetic calcium added to pasteurized milk does not have the same effects on the body as naturally occurring calcium found in raw milk. Synthetic calcium is typically derived from sources like limestone or oyster shells and is less bioavailable compared to the calcium naturally present in raw milk, meaning the body can’t efficiently absorb it. 

Furthermore,  there's a concern that this type of calcium is prone to contributing to the formation of kidney stones, gallstones, and even calcification in arteries and veins, known as phleboliths. The tendency of synthetic calcium to form these hard deposits in the body raises questions about its use in something as common as dairy!

In contrast, the calcium in raw milk is accompanied by other nutrients, fatty acids, and enzymes that naturally enhance its absorption and utilization in the body. 

Because raw milk remains entirely unprocessed, as a result it retains all of its natural vitamins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria that contribute to optimal digestion and health. Digestive enzymes and probiotics naturally found in raw milk assist the body in breaking down nutrients efficiently, supporting gut health, balancing healthy bacteria, and enhancing nutrient absorption. 

During pasteurization the protein structures in milk become altered and can trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body, thus resulting in exacerbated gastrointestinal issues for sensitive individuals. 

However, studies have shown that enzymes naturally found in raw milk can provide gastrointestinal relief for those struggling with lactose intolerance symptoms! Interesting, considering that it’s just PURE dairy! 

One commonly raised concern is the alleged safety superiority of pasteurized milk over raw milk. However, a closer examination of history reveals a different side of the story. Institutions often warn against raw milk due to the “potential risks of bacterial contamination”, but just remember that the largest salmonella outbreak in U.S. history, affecting nearly 200,000 people, was traced back to pasteurized milk. Not raw milk.

When analyzing historical outbreaks, it's important to distinguish between raw milk intended for pasteurization and raw milk intended for human consumption. In the world of raw milk, a crucial distinction exists between the two. The safety of any dairy product, whether raw or pasteurized, hinges on various primary factors, including the conditions under which milk is produced and the health of the animals providing it. 

Sadly, raw milk is often blamed for outbreaks with inadequate evidence. Currently the CDC outbreak and illness data used to determine that “raw milk is unsafe” neglects to distinguish between raw milk intended for pasteurization and raw milk with the intent for direct consumption.
An analysis conducted by Johns Hopkins further concluded this notion, finding that out of the 70 studies that attributed outbreaks to raw milk, 96% of them lacked either a statistical correlation with raw milk consumption or evidence of contaminated milk, with 50% of them lacking both.

Raw milk intended for pasteurization is required to undergo treatment for reasons akin to concerns associated with pasteurized milk. These concerns stem from the often compromised living conditions of animals and as a result, the potential contaminants that can taint the raw milk. 

In crowded commercial dairy farms, where raw milk for pasteurization is often produced, animals are more susceptible to diseases due to close proximity. This requires the heavy-handed use of antibiotics in order to prevent and treat illnesses, which have been shown to reside in milk.

Furthermore, cross-contamination of manure due to unclean living conditions also introduces harmful pathogens into raw milk. Animals experiencing stress, overcrowding, and unsanitary conditions are statistically more prone to severe health issues, one of the most common being mastitis—or inflammation of the mammary gland.

Mastitis is the most costly medical conditions for dairy farmers to treat and has been shown to lead to immune cells being present in milk. Unfortunately, the prevalence of cruelty in the dairy industry is most evident when dairy farmers persist in using animals for milk production even when they are affected by mastitis. 

To address these concerns and ensure that the raw milk is safe for human consumption, it’s required to undergo pasteurization. However, the need for the pasteurization process in dairy inherently disappears when animals are treated the way they should be. 

It’s important to note that contaminants found in the raw milk which requires pasteurization before consumption are only present because farmers are treating their animals identically to how commercial farms do. Raw milk intended for human consumption is produced on farms that prioritize strict hygiene, animal welfare, and quality control practices. 

Farmers producing raw milk for human consumption are required to follow stringent hygiene practices and regular testing for harmful bacteria in order to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination and maintain nutritional integrity. By choosing dairy products that come from farms committed to ethical treatment and humane conditions, we contribute to a shift away from the need for heavy-handed pasteurization. 

Consider for a moment a scenario where animals receive the care they deserve, free from overcrowding and unnecessary stress. Consuming milk produced by content and healthy animals is the key. In such an environment, the need for pasteurization diminishes.

Fear-mongering tactics skew an individual’s perception of risk and benefit. While it's crucial to acknowledge the potential risks related to unclean raw milk, it’s dishonest to paint a picture to consumers that it holds more danger than the stuff lining grocery store shelves. In a world where misinformation clouds judgment, seeking clarity and unbiased information empowers us to make choices that prioritize our well-being without succumbing to fear tactics. 

Data indicates that from 1980-2005 there were nearly 11x more illnesses from to pasteurized milk than from raw milk

A study of over 900 European children concluded that the “Continuous consumption of raw milk in childhood protects against asthma at school age”

A study of over 14,800 European children concluded that there is a "significant inverse association between farm (raw) milk consumption and childhood asthma, rhino conjunctivitis , sensitization to pollen, a mix of food allergens, and horse dander"

A study of over 3,000 USA adults concluded that, Raw milk consumed through childhood, was associated with reduced risk of allergies and eczema and consuming raw milk through adulthood intensified this effect

A study of over 8,000 European children confirmed that consumption of raw milk was associated with a strong protective effect against developing allergies and eczema

A study of over 3,000 US adults concluded that "raw milk consumption, particularly early in life, is associated with better pulmonary function in adulthood.”

A study of over 900 European children concluded that, "Early life consumption of raw cow's milk reduced the risk of manifest respiratory infections and fever by about 30%"

By acknowledging the biases in raw milk reporting and promoting open discussions, we foster a more balanced and accurate understanding of raw milk's rightful place in the realm of nutrition and health.

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