In case you hadn’t noticed, the dairy industry is spending millions of dollars every year to convince you that you need to drink milk, like superman here.
When I was a kid their slogan was, “Milk, it does a body good,” and since 1993 they’ve paid hundreds of celebrities to pose with a “milk mustache” (made of ice cream) for the “Got Milk?” ads.
In fact, “Got Milk?” has been such a legendary and successful ad campaign, there are even books about it.
So while the milk industry is telling us that milk is good for us, scientific research has shown the opposite to be true. The media isn’t talking about it because there are too many advertising dollars at stake.
The problems with processed milk startat the commercial dairy operations. Although many of them are still called farms, I can assure you there are no milk maids sitting on wooden stools, milking the cows by hand each morning. These places are not farms, they are factories.
Depending on where you go, this is what you’ll see: A massive facility filled with hundreds to thousands of Holstein cows confined to small pens; hooked up to milking machines 10 months a year. They are fed unnatural diets of grain, soy, and scrap feed. They use Holstein cows because they produce the most milk.
These cows are injected with growth hormones and antibiotics. The most controversial one is rBGH aka recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone sold under the brand name Posilac. It’s a genetically-engineered hormone introduced by Monsanto in 1995 that increases milk production in cows by about 20%. rBGH also increases Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) in cow’s milk. Elevated levels of IGF-1 can promote cancer in humans, specifically prostate, breast, and colon cancer along with risk of sterility, infertility, birth defects, and immunological derangements.
rBGH has been banned in All 25 European Union Countries, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
A European Commission report stated that “Avoidance of rBGH dairy products in favor of natural products would be the most practical & immediate dietary intervention to… (achieve) the goal of preventing cancer.”
In addition, udder infections and mastitis are common in over-milked rBGH cows which adds pus and bacteria into the milk along with the antibiotics and hormones given to the cows.
Note: Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly bought the patent from Monsanto in 2008 and is now the sole manufacturer of rGBH.
Commercial dairy cows must be impregnated every year to keep them producing milk, but they are not allowed to nurse. The calves are taken away from their mothers immediately after birth.
These commercial dairy operations literally suck the life out of their cows in 3-4 years, compared that to a normal pasture fed cow that can live up to 25 years.
Seeing the horrible treatment of cows in a commercial dairy firsthand is enough for many people to stop drinking this kind of milk. But even if you don’t care about cows, you need to understand that unhealthy mistreated cows cannot produce healthy milk; and that affects you.
All this is definitely a problem, but it doesn’t stop there. Once extracted from the cow, the nutritional value of milk is hijacked by pasteurization and homogenization.
Pasteurization is the process where the milk is heated to “sanitize” it and increase shelf life. Standard pasteurization involves heating the milk a to 161 degrees fahrenheit. Ultra-Pasteurization (UHP) heats the milk to 275 degrees fahrenheit destroying 99.99 percent of living organisms in the milk, so it can be actually stored unrefrigerated for 6-9 months.
Both processes dramatically change the composition of milk. Even standard pasteurization decimates the immune supporting digestive enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and nutrients like vitamins C, B6, and B12. It makes the calcium and other minerals insoluble and very difficult for your body to absorb; alters the proteins, and makes lactose harder to digest.
Why do they do it?
The problem is not that the milk coming out of the cow is bad. Milk straight out of the cow is perfectly structured to nourish a growing calf. The problem is the bacteria and pathogens that breed in large milking operations. When these large operations began to spring up, there was no health regulation. They were disgusting, unsanitary, disease ridden places and they were unknowingly selling dirty milk. So it’s no surprise that people were getting sick and dying.
If you were to go milk a cow and then put that milk in the fridge, the next day you would see that the fat rises in fresh milk and a layer of cream forms at the top. That doesn’t happen anymore thanks to a process called homogenization, which began in the 1920′s.
Homogenization is forcing milk through a tiny filter at high pressure, between 2000-3000 lbs per square inch. This process breaks up the fat into tiny particles that remain suspended in the milk without rising to the top; something that would never happen in nature.
When these fat particles are broken up they are able to pass through your intestinal walls directly into your bloodstream along with proteins, hormones, and enzymes that would normally be broken down in digestion.
One noteworthy enzyme is Xanthine Oxidase (XO). XO attaches itself to the tiny fat particles and hitches a ride into your bloodstream. Once there, it attacks the interior walls of your arteries causing your body to produce cholesterol to protect itself. This is a recipe for hardened and blocked arteries down the road.
Finally processed milk is highly acidic, mucus forming, and has been linked to a host of health problems. The proteins alone in processed milk have been linked to over 60 different diseases including Allergies, Autism, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Arthritis, and SIDS.
So what’s the solution?
Raw Milk is one of nature’s perfect foods designed to nourish a calf, goat, or baby human when it comes out of their mother.
So am I an advocate of adults drinking human breast milk?
No. Come on, that’s beyond icky.
If you haven’t figured it out already, pasteurization and homogenization do not make milk better, they make it worse. These processes destroy its nutritional value.
And because raw milk producers don’t pasteurize, the standard of cleanliness for them is much higher than conventional milk producers. So yes raw milk from a conscientious producer is safe. We buy and drink raw milk and have never gotten sick from it.
Did you just say something about a goat?
Yes! Goat’s milk is the healthiest milk you can drink because its composition is very similar to human breast milk. And compared to cows milk it has more vitamin A and easier to digest. Still seem weird? You may surprised to know that over two-thirds of milk consumed on planet earth comes from goats.
There’s even a goat’s milk protein powder I buy called Goatein!
In his book Pottenger’s Cats, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. chronicled his research on more than 900 cats over a 10 year period and found that diets containing raw milk and raw meat produced optimal health: good bone structure, straight teeth, shiny fur, no parasites or disease, reproductive ease, and gentle temperament. Conversely, a diet of cooked meat and pasteurized milk resulted in severe physical degeneration. The cats on the cooked food diet died out completely by the fourth generation while the raw food cats continued to thrive.
The changes Pottenger observed in cats on cooked diets paralleled the human degeneration that Dr. Weston Price found in his groundbreaking study on the deteriorating health of indigenous tribes that had abandoned their traditional diets for modern processed food.
This is why I stopped drinking processed milk in 2004.
Vegan opponents of milk love to cite “The China Study” which claims that milk is harmful to health and that casein (milk protein) has been linked to cancer. What they fail to mention is that every negative study on milk is using processed milk, not raw milk. And studies showing that casein causes cancer in lab rats are using isolated casein, not raw milk. Isolated casein is completely unnatural! Feed a living organism enough of something unnatural and it will eventually get sick. It’s no wonder the rats are getting cancer.
The Biblical Perspective
You may recall that in the Old Testament book of Exodus, God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and led them to “The Promised Land”, which was a fertile land described by God five times as “a land flowing with milk and honey”. That’s because milk and honey were good things! And I think it’s pretty safe to assume they were drinking raw milk. (References: Exodus chapters 3 and 33, Ezekiel 20). Incidentally, “the land of milk and honey” is mentioned another 14 times in the Bible by people describing the promised land.
Here’s a quick recap: (P&H= Pasteurized and Homogenized)
Commercial Dairy P&H Cow’s Milk = Terrible
Organic Hormone-Free P&H Cow’s Milk = Less bad, still not good.
Organic Pasteurized, Non-Homogenized Cow’s Milk = slightly better, some grocery stores have this.
Pasture-fed Organic Raw Cow’s Milk = Great for calves, great for you.
Pasture-fed Organic Raw Goat’s Milk = Argueably the healthiest milk you can drink, but hardest to find.
The best sources of raw milk from are local dairy farms with pasture fed cows and goats that are happy and live long lives. Most local dairies will give you a tour of their farm and facilities if you ask. I even know folks that have bought their own goats just for the milk.
Note: The sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in some states like Tennessee. BOOOO!
However, many farms have a “herd share” program, which allows you to buy a tiny share of ownership in the livestock, usually for a very small fee. As an owner, you have the right to purchase raw milk from the dairy.
Your local farmers market is another place to check if you don’t find a local raw dairy listed on those sites.
For my Memphis area friends there is a local raw milk dairy you should definitely check out called Evergreen Farm. They have Jersey and Guernsey cows on their farm. Jersey and Guernsey cows produce less milk than Holsteins, but the flavor is incredible.
That’s one of their bottles on my kitchen table. They bring fresh raw milk, butter, eggs, and kefir to the Memphis Farmers Market Downtown and Botanic Garden Farmers Markets every week in the spring summer, and fall. In the winter I meet them at one of several delivery drop points around town.
Super Sad Addendum 1: Evergreen Farm closed April 9th 2011 due to pressure from the TN Agriculture Dept. Here’s their statement:
“The TN Ag Dept has tried in every way possible, including threatening local farmers markets that they will pull their funding if we sell our products there.
We believe we have been targeted by the TN Ag Department because our raw milk and raw milk products were handled in a manner that exceeded Grade A Dairy standards. Our threat was that we could produce a better, healthier, unadulterated, fresher product in a healthier container than our local pasteurized dairy providers.
We will still have raw milk for ourselves, but you NEED to fight for your right to eat anything you choose. Don’t let your state and federal governments make decisions about your food choices. The decisions they make are NOT in your best interest.”
Happy/Sad Addendum 2: After a few months we found another raw milk source!
But for my Memphis friends I should note that this is a woman with three cows. She supplies milk to a dozen families or so and she barely had enough extra for us. So it’s not someone I can refer you to. But trust me if you ask around you’ll find some.