Raw Milk: Should I Drink It?

In the quest for good health, the question of whether or not to drink milk often arises.  Is it good for us?  Are humans meant to consume milk?  Should we buy pasteurized or raw milk?  Whole-fat or low-fat? It is important to understand the different dairy options available in order to make healthy, wise choices.

Safe Milk
Photo Credit: Daria-Yakovleva  

Should Humans Drink Milk?

Milk in its proper form has an abundance of benefits.  Many people however, simply aren’t able to digest milk because they don’t have lactase, the enzyme responsible for lactose digestion.  There are others who can’t handle casein, the protein found in milk.

Even those who can tolerate dairy probably shouldn’t be drinking the milk that is usually found in stores.  Most milk is pasteurized before being sold and likely comes from cows that have not received ideal care.  Such practices diminish the nutritional value of milk.  If you want all the benefits of dairy, it must be the right kind.

Just a note before moving on: If you experience discomfort from fresh milk, don’t give up yet. You might be able to enjoy fermented dairy products because the lactose and casein (the trouble makers!) get partially broken down during the fermentation process.

Whole Milk
Thanks to niro.t.donato for the template

Healthy Milk

When looking for a quality source of milk, keep these 3 things in mind:

Raw milk is best-Don’t be afraid, raw milk that comes from a responsible farmer is safe. It also retains all nutrients that would otherwise be lost to pasteurization.

Whole milk is healthy-No matter what you may hear from mainstream nutrition, full-fat dairy is not something to fear! Fat is required for vitamin and mineral absorption, and has antiviral, antiplaque and antifungal properties.

Milk is only as healthy as the cows-The care and keeping of the animals who give us our food affects our health. Cows should have plenty of space, a clean environment, a diet of green grass, and should not receive antibiotics and growth hormones.

Be mindful of who you buy your milk from.  It is only safe as long as the cows have been cared for correctly and are living in sanitary conditions.  I would never recommend drinking anything that comes from an unsanitary farm.

Benefits of Raw Milk

Quality dairy is worth the extra effort it takes to find safe and healthy products.  Raw milk from grass fed cows is packed with nutritional benefits, including:

Vitamins and minerals-Such as A, D, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

All 8 essential amino acids-Meaning raw milk is a complete protein!

Enzymes-Raw milk does all the work of digestion, resulting in energy gains rather than energy loss.

Activator X- We know it as vitamin K2. It contributes greatly to bone and heart health and is only available when cows are eating grass.

CLA-This fatty acid is incredibly valuable with its potential to fight cancer, promote weight loss and maintain muscle, but its formation also depends on the cow’s diet.

Wulzen factor-Also known as the anti-stiffness factor, this nutrient plays a role in keeping arthritis and cataracts away, while also preventing the hardening of arteries.

Probiotics-Good bacteria are what make raw milk safe and keep it from spoiling. They also aid in gut health.  Cultured dairy products have even more probiotics than fresh milk.

So if your body can tolerate it and you are able to find a trustworthy source, drink raw milk.  It is loaded with all kinds of good stuff.

Raw Milk Nutrition
Photo of Cow: Kdsphotos
Christmas Milk Carton: Marketplace Designers

A Little Encouragement

Safe, raw milk from grass fed cows can be hard to find, and I certainly don’t want you to become discouraged.  I recently ran across a blog post about homogenization and skim milk that was interesting.  You might want to take a look at it and consider what the author, Katie Kimball, has to say. I don’t know if I agree that homogenized and skim milk isn’t as bad as we thought, but I want you to have a chance to decide for yourself.

There is no question that raw, whole milk is best. However, I totally agree with what Katie Kimball says in the comments section:

“I’m not a huge fan, really, but I do want people to have less fear of supermarket milk IF it’s not warranted. As you’ll see this week, we choose raw milk from the farm, but I do need to supplement sometimes. Everyone does the best they can with the resources they have been given, and I think it’s dangerous to expect perfection in anything, especially where and how people buy their food.”

So just do your best and don’t beat yourself up when you are not perfect!

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