Milk 2: Life is About Choices

DSC_3525100% Grass-fed cows produce wonderful milk.  The only thing better is getting it in its raw, unrefined state.  “Raw?!” you exclaim,  “Isn’t that full of bacteria that can kill you?”  No, actually it isn’t, and recently, in an article published in The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130611-909875.html), milk was named as a low-risk food.

 

“Then what’s the difference?” you ask.

 

            In commercial milk production, the milk goes through two refining processes:  pasteurization and homogenization.  I realize that most people do not consider these processes refining, but what then would they be called?  And if refining flour reduces the nutritional value of the flour, wouldn’t refining the milk do the same thing?

 

            Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk to remove dangerous pathogens.  I believe that pasteurization had its time and place in history.  Prior to the advances that have been made in milking equipment and handling (like refrigeration), pasteurization was an amazing advance.  The process kills bacteria and sterilizes the milk.   Sterile is good, right?  Sterile is good if you are in a surgical operating theater, and not so good if you are trying to have a baby.

 

But the question closer to this discussion is, what does it mean for food to be sterile?  It means that along with the bad bacteria, the good bacteria are gone.   The heat destroys many essential elements, like amino acids that make the proteins more available to the body. The vitamins that are destroyed by heating the milk include as much as half of the vitamin C and all of the B12.  The mineral availability is also reduced.  How is this for a paradox:  drink milk for the calcium to develop healthy teeth and bones, but the only milk that is readily available to the American public has been pasteurized thus making the calcium less available for the body to use.  Heat also destroys enzymes, like lipase, which help with the digestion and utilization of the nutrients in the milk.  What happens once the milk is sterilized?  We fortify the milk by adding synthetic vitamins.  The milk is stripped of its nutrients and then synthetic fortification is added.  I see a pattern with our food, a pattern that is affecting every area of the American diet.

 

            Milk that comes out of a cow separates into layers: the lower, watery milk layer and the upper, butterfat-rich cream layer.  That watery layer is “skim milk,” which gets its name from people who back in the days before homogenization, skimmed that cream layer off of the milk to use for coffee or on their oatmeal.  Families who had their own cows wouldn’t drink that skimmed milk, they would feed it to their pigs because they didn’t think it fit for human consumption.  And yet, many Americans today drink skim milk because they think it is healthier due to the rampant “fatophobia” driving our food system.

 

            Most Americans don’t know that milk naturally separates because most Americans drink homogenized milk.  What is homogenization, exactly?  Milk passes through a filter at very high pressure.  The fat globules that form the cream layer are made smaller and become evenly dispersed within the liquid milk.  Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. The problem is that in this state, the fat molecules become “capsules” for substances that bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach or gut are not broken down.  Homogenized milk becomes a way of bypassing normal digestive processes and delivering steroid and protein hormones to the human body.  In theory, milk proteins are easily broken down by digestive processes.  In reality, homogenization insures their survival so that they enter the bloodstream without being broken down. Often, the body reacts to foreign proteins by producing histamines, then mucus (Cohen).  Did anyone ever tell you that you shouldn’t drink milk when you have a cold because it increases the amount of mucus?  Well…

 

We all have a choice, and I choose raw milk.  I can’t get it at the grocery store.  As a matter of fact, I can’t even get it in New Jersey because the sale of raw milk is illegal in NJ, which is a shame as it is something that could save the small dairy farmer.  Luckily at the time I am writing this, legislation is being considered in New Jersey to legalize the sale of raw milk.

 

One of the perks of drinking raw milk is that I have met some really wonderful farmers along the way.  Because I cannot get raw milk at the grocery store, my family’s dairy consumption has brought us into direct contact with our dairy farmer.  No middle man.  The money I pay for a gallon of milk goes directly to the farmer to continue making a high quality product, rather than 10% of what I pay going to the farmer.

 

 

Cohen, Robert. “Homogenized Milk: Rocket Fuel for Cancer.” Health101.org. Don Bennet, n.d. Web. 15 Jul 2010. <http://health101.org/art_milk_cancer_fuel.htm>.

One thought to “Milk 2: Life is About Choices”

  1. I grew up surrounded by farms and dairy cattle. at my friend’s farm we got milk: right from the cow to the cooler to our mouths. nothing tasted better than a texter was phenomenal. with store bought in the middle of winter or cold weather the cream would push the little paper tabs out the top of the bottles. today’s milk just is not the same does not taste the same and does not have the same texture. again minus nutrients that should be there and you still get the chemicals they induce into the cows for better production. every time I saw a petition to be able to purchase raw milk in New Jersey I signed it. they were mostly at town’s farmers markets. if they are still out there please sign them.I’ve actually tried to purchase raw milk directly from a farmer and they are not permitted to let it leave their farms unless it goes to a.dairy processing plant.

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