Now, you might think I am a proponent of raw milk because I drink tons of it and think it’s awesome. I DO think it’s great, but I honestly am NOT a big milk drinker. We don’t go through a whole lot of milk at our house (although I see that changing with the addition of our newly adopted 8 year old son who drinks milk like it’s going out of style).
But when I do need to use milk – making homemade ice cream, the occasional glass of milk for my kids, putting on homemade soaked granola, in baking or creamy soups, I want to use milk that is free of additives, processing and still has it’s full range of nutrition intact.
Most everyone who chooses to drink raw milk rather than pasteurized milk does so due to the nutritional and health benefits. For me, that is only part of the reason I choose to only have raw, organic milk in our home.
These are the top 3 reasons I choose raw milk (in no particular order):
Knowing my farmer and being able to go visit the farm anytime is important to me. I know they are safe and that they are offering a service to local raw-milk drinking families.
2. I choose not to feed my family processed food.
At least most of the time - read more about why we follow the 80/20 rule. Pasteurized milk is a processed “food” and really doesn’t have much to offer nutritionally. That’s why, if I am going to feed my family milk at all, I’m going to use whole, organic, raw milk. In it’s natural state, milk is WHOLE (not skim, 1% or 2%). By the way, if you are still drinking skim milk, read theses Fat-Free Skim Milk Secrets and learn why that’s probably a waste of your money and food-consuming energy!
3. It’s more nutritious.
The nutritional value of milk is altered or depleted during pasteurization. One thing to keep in mind is that real milk is a LIVE food much like yogurt. Therefore, heating it to high temps is going to kill all of the good stuff.
Here are just a sample of the nutritional components that pasteurization messes up:
Calcium – pasteurization makes most of the calcium insoluable, meaning your body cannot absorb it. Raw milk contains calcium in a form your body can actually absorb.
Fat – as I mentioned in Part 2 of this series, homogenization damages the fat cells in the milk, bursting them and causing our body to not recognize what it is
Vitamin C – decreases by about 50%
Vitamin B’s – decreases by 38%
Iodine – destroys 20% of it
And a few other nutritional benefits of raw milk:
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – this is a natural cancer protector and immune booster. Grassfed, raw milk has up to 7 times the amount of CLA than non-grassfed, pasteurized milk. CLA also resides in the milk fat, so the higher-fat milk is going to naturally have more CLA. Another reason to kiss skim milk good-bye!
Catalase, Lysozyme, Lactoperoxidase – these enzymes protect raw milk from bacterial infections, among other things
Other Enzymes – I mentioned this in Part 2 as well, but there are tons (actually there are 60 total) enzymes present in raw milk. They are in their whole, natural state. Several of the enzymes in raw milk break down the sugar, fat and starches in the milk. It also has lactic acid that prevents bacteria from pathogenic activity. Basically, raw milk can naturally protect itself!
Protein/Amino Acids – raw milk has 8 of the essential amino acids that our bodies need, along with antibodies that can protect against viruses, bacteria and toxins.
Good Bacteria – these do all sorts of good things in our bodies. In fact, I cannot fully explain it as well as I found over at Real Milk Facts – please check out his section on the The Health Benefits of Raw Milk. He goes into more detail. What you read there will open your eyes to the super nutrition that raw milk can offer (did you know that if needed, a person could survive and even THRIVE on raw milk alone? Amazing!)
These are only a few of the nutritional components that are damaged, altered or destroyed during pasteurization. It’s important to remember that DIRTY milk from sick cows eating stuff they shouldn’t be eating is the milk that needs to be pasteurized (actually, I don’t think people should really be drinking that kind of milk anyway! It causes lots of health issues and has little nutritional value).
I’ll add another post or two in this series to cover what to look for in a raw milk farm as well as dispelling some myths that are out there about raw milk. In the meantime, if you aren’t convinced yet that real, raw milk is best for your body, here is a great visual from Natural News to solidify a lot of what I’ve said so far:
Infographic shared with permission from Natural News
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