For 50 cents more, you can get soymilk in your latte today. If you live in a particularly progressive place, make that almond or oat milk. Ever tried hemp milk? The alternatives to cow milk seem infinite, but that doesn’t mean we should forgo the good old cookie accompaniment. It’s just time to think about cow milk in a different way.
The raw milk movement has found new strength thanks, in part, to an FDA ruling that declares raw milk transported across state lines okay for personal consumption. This matters because in some states, like Maryland, sale of raw milk is illegal. Raw milk drinkers are forced to import their liquid dairy from Pennsylvania instead.
Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, debunks the misinformation surrounding raw milk: “FDA continues to insist that raw milk is dangerous, when even the agency’s own exaggerated list of outbreaks shows that raw milk is safer than other foods.”
The FDA states that, “Research shows no meaningful difference in the nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.” However the number of lactose intolerant consumers grows each year, affecting the vast majority of people who drink pasteurized milk. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 30 million Americans have some degree of lactose intolerance by age 20. Pasteurized milk makes the top eight of the most allergenic foods in America.
In the midst of these problems, raw milk emerges as a healthy solution. In a recent article, Dr. Mercola writes that, “Raw grass-fed milk can even be tolerated by most that are lactose intolerant.” He then cites Mark McAfee, founder of Organic Pastures Dairy and a leader in the raw milk movement:
"… [T]wo huge studies were done in Europe – the PARSIFAL study done in 2006, studying 15,000 kids, and the GABRIELA study, which was just completed this year, done in Basel, Switzerland. Peer reviewed, internationally published, wonderful documentation showing that whey protein in raw milk stabilizes mast cells and actually makes asthma get a lot better, and in some cases, completely gone,"
"What we have is this polarity, these polar opposites between pasteurized milk, which has lots of dead bacteria… which actually trigger inflammation in your body because your body doesn't recognize these waste products… Your body then reacts by mast cells breaking open, histamines being released, and things like asthma and inflammation flaring like crazy; mucus being laid down, which causes ear infections. Raw milk does exactly the opposite… [T]he milk is alive [with beneficial] bacteria and your body recognizes it… [These beneficial bacteria] colonize and become part of your immune system."
When raw milk is produced in clean facilities with organic, grass-fed cows (i.e. no confined animal feeding operations—CAFO’s—allowed), it can be a nourishing alternative to pasteurized milk. If you’ve been turned off of “normal” milk due to allergies or lactose intolerance, don’t pay the extra 50 cents for soy. Find a raw milk farmer and see what a natural resource can do for your immune system, local farming community, and general well being.
If you live too far away from the farmers listed on the Real Milk site, you can still get many of the same benefits through a nutritional supplement program. DrDeborahMD's store will carry similar enzyme and probiotic supplements, as well as tablets that will help your body absorb the calcium you’ll get from drinking raw milk. But whether you take your supplements in conjunction with or as a substitute for raw milk, remember that nutrient-rich, informed dietary choices are always the way to go.