THE LIVING FOOD REVOLUTION: RAW MILK – The Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Organic Milk
Furthermore, our, committee believes that raw milk should be widely available as consumer demand dictates. In order to achieve this, the current legislative framework needs to be updated – this is currently under review by the Government. We would all welcome a position where the term “raw” is legally defined and raw milk production is suitably regulated and certified.
The current legal position is that distribution of raw milk is currently illegal in Scotland. While it is legal in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the producer (farmer) must sell direct to the consumer, without the use of a distributor (shop). The bottle must display the warning “this product has not been heat-treated and may contain organisms harmful to health“, and the dairy must conform to higher hygiene standards than dairies producing standard, pasteurised milk.
The rationale behind the legislation is due to two cases of people allegedly dying as a result of ingesting raw milk in the 1970’s. Leading to raw milk obtaining an unwarranted reputation as being dangerous. There is now, ample and consistent, historical and contemporary evidence in scientific and peer-reviewed literature worldwide, that raw milk is safe and a superior nutritional choice over standard and even organic milk.
Why do I feel so passionate about raw milk? Its milk, but not as we know it – Its much like first class, once you have experienced it, you will never want to return to economy. It tastes incredible, decadent, smooth, silky and delicately sweet. The taste and texture changes with the season, the weather, and the grass the cows are feeding upon – more importantly it is of huge benefit to me nutritionally and therapeutically.
Raw milk also possesses skin beautifying qualities, packed with vitamins and minerals to nourish your skin from the inside out – leaving you with healthy, radiant skin.
THE HISTORY OF MILK
The practice of drinking cow’s milk is ancient and is believed to date back as early as 6,000-8,000 B.C. Milk and other dairy products were so highly valued in ancient Egypt that only the very wealthy could afford to consume them. Beginning in the 5th century A.D., milk produced by cows and sheep began to be highly regarded in Europe. However, it was not until the 14th century that the demand for cow’s milk began to outweigh that of sheep’s milk.
Until the 19th century, it was entirely normal for the average person to drink only fermented, raw milk that was sourced either from a local farmer, or from his or her own livestock. In the early 19th century these patterns began to change, due to the development of large scale agricultural farming. Farmers saw the financial rewards of providing larger dairy yields that could be transported further distances, widening dramatically the potential customer base of the farmer.
The ever-expanding city populations led to an increase in demand for dairy products. This in turn, led farmers to begin to look for new methods that would produce larger cows that could produce more milk and continue to increase their profit margins. Specific breeding patterns and the involvement of grain-feeds began to be introduced to reduce the farmer’s operating costs. These methods greatly increased dairy yields however, they significantly compromised the quality and nutrient density of the milk.
WHY DO WE PASTEURISE MILK?
Pasteurisation is a mechanical process used to kill harmful microorganisms, using intense heat for short periods of time. The heat destroys all the bacteria in the milk, including beneficial lactobacillus strains as well as pathogenic E Coli and others – much like antibiotics destroy all bacteria; both good and bad in our gut. Pasteurisation also destroys enzymes and denatures amino acids, making the milk devoid of “living nutrients.”
Initially pasteurisation was believed to make raw milk from any animal source safer to consume. More recently, farm sanitation has greatly improved and effective testing has been developed for bovine tuberculosis and other diseases, making other approaches to ensuring the safety of milk more feasible; however, pasteurisation continues to be widely used to prevent infected milk from entering the food supply.
WHAT IS HOMOGENIZATION?
Homogenization is a mechanical process used in the production of non-organic milk, where centrally collected milk from numerous different herds and dairies is passed through a valve under high pressure. This breaks apart fat molecules into much smaller droplets measuring between 0.2 to 2 microns in size. These high-pressure generated micro-droplets will stay dispersed, creating the “cohesive” texture we are used to in standard milk. As milk has a tendency to separate – homogenization was created in response to consumer demand for smooth milk that was even in fat levels throughout. This process is particularly harmful because it creates a noxious enzyme called Xanthine Oxidase (XO). XO passes through the walls of the digestive system and goes directly into the bloodstream. XO is known to be highly reactive and to damage and inflame the arterial tissue, producing arterial plaque.
THE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF RAW MILK
Raw milk from grass-fed cows has historically been utilised as medicine to treat and frequently cure numerous chronic diseases. From the time of Hippocrates to until just after World War II, this “white blood” nourished and healed millions.
Raw milk from cows fed grass and not grain, is a complete and properly balanced food. Indeed you could live on it exclusively. What makes raw milk such a powerful superfood? Let’s look at the ingredients:
BACTERIA: Raw milk is “Live Food” meaning its inherent micronutrients are preserved and enter into the body via ingestion. This fermented is milk is nutritionally special as it provide highly bioavailable protein, enzymes, beneficial lactobacillus probiotics (which are critical for gut health), vitamin K2, and other vital nutrients for optimum health and vitality.
FATS: Approximately two thirds of the fat in milk is saturated. Is this saturated fat good or bad for you? Saturated fats play a critical role in our biochemistry and overall health: from construction of cell membranes and key hormones, to providing energy storage and padding for delicate organs, and serving as a vehicle for important fat-soluble vitamins.
All fats cause our stomach lining to secrete a hormone known as Cholecystokinin (CCK) which, aside from boosting production and secretion of digestive enzymes, facilitates our brain to send messages to tell us we are full. Foods with the fat removed do not satiate us, therefore triggering the potential to overeat.
CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID (CLA) is a polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid found abundantly in milk with well-documented health benefits. CLA is known to raise your metabolic rate, help remove abdominal fat, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, strengthens the immune system and lowers food allergy reactions.
Recent research utilising mice discovered that CLA inhibits several types of cancer. Moreover, in vitro (test tube) studies indicate that CLA kills human skin cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer cells. Other research on CLA suggests that this beneficial fat may also help lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis and increase overall immune function, improving insulin action and reducing blood glucose levels.
VITAMINS: Raw milk has both water and fat-soluble vitamins in a fully digestible form for your body to use. Nautrally high in B vitamins: Riboflavin (B2) and Cobalamin (B12), both of which are necessary for cardiovascular health and energy production.
The vitamins present in the milk work to regulate your metabolism and assist the body’s biochemical reactions to release the energy present in the food you consume – elevating your energy levels and your overall immunity.
MINERALS: Our bodies are incredibly complex – our biochemistry is as unique as our fingerprints. For optimal health our body needs small amounts of each element contained in the periodic table.
The body requires the delicate balance of minerals to be maintained. For example, calcium needs a proper ratio of two other macronutrients, phosphorus and magnesium, to be properly assimilated by our cells. Intriguingly, nature codes into raw milk the entire array of minerals to be in perfect balance, therefore optimising their benefit to us.
Cow’s milk is an excellent source of iodine, which as a component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) – both are essential to human life. These thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in every cell of the body and play a role in virtually all physiological functions, an iodine deficiency can have a devastating impact on your health and well-being.
Calcium is found in high quantities, known for its ability to strengthen and regenerate our skeleton, however this is not all that calcium supports. In recent studies, this important mineral has been shown to:
- Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
- Help prevent the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Help prevent migraine headaches in those who suffer from them
- Reduce PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the second half) of the menstrual cycle
- Help prevent childhood obesity
- Help overweight adults lose weight, especially around the midsection
- Assists blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, cell membrane function and blood pressure regulation.
Because these activities are essential to life, the body utilises complex regulatory systems to tightly control the amount of calcium in the blood, so that sufficient calcium is always available. As a result, when dietary intake of calcium is too low to maintain adequate blood levels of calcium, calcium stores are drawn out of the bones to maintain normal blood concentrations
ENZYMES: Raw milk contains over 60 living enzymes – originating both from the milk and from the beneficial bacteria.
Digestive enzymes within the milk, remove a significant burden from our entire digestive, reliving pressure on our pancreas. This allows our pancreas to concentrate on producing metabolic enzymes and insulin to effectively process the influx of natural sugars and fats contained in the milk.
Amylase, bacterially-produced lactase, lipases and phosphatases contained in raw milk, break down starch, lactose (milk sugar), fat (triglycerides) and phosphate compounds respectively, making milk more digestible and freeing up key minerals for use throughout the body – reaching even our skin. Furthermore, enzymes known as catalase, lysozyme and lactoperoxidase act as a natural defense, protecting milk from unwanted bacterial invasion.
CHOLESTEROL: Cholesterol is a porridge like substance found in animal fats and of course milk. There are two types of cholesterol found in human blood, one of which is beneficial, the other harmful if consumed to excess. Beneficial cholesterol is known as High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and is necessary for maintenance of the brain and glandular system, the production of bile salts and certain hormones. Our bodies need cholesterol and they produce most of what we need, the rest needs to be supplemented from natural sources.
Cholesterol is both a protective and repairing substance, our body uses it as a form of water-proofing, and as a building block for a number of key hormones to regulate our metabolism, our sleep patterns, digestive health and our emotional health. Cholesterol is located within the brain, liver, nerves, blood, bile and every cell membrane.
PROTEIN: Cow’s milk is an excellent source of low-cost high-quality protein. The very structure of both humans and animals is built upon protein. We rely on animal and vegetable protein for our supply of amino acids – our bodies rearrange the nitrogen to create the pattern of amino acids we require.
OMEGA 3, (Alpha Linolenic Acid): Essential Fatty acids are a group of unsaturated fatty acids essential for growth and body function – they transport fats, support metabolism and maintain cell membranes.
The results of a new research project conducted at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, confirmed that raw milk is an excellent source of Omega 3 fats. When compared to conventional, pasteurised milk, raw milk was found to contain up to 71% more Omega 3 fatty acids.
WHAT ABOUT THE COWS?
Where does the welfare of cows fit into the picture? Cows are meant to eat natural grass (rather than genetically modified grains, in order for them to lay down additional fat cells, to boost meat production and profits) where they benefit nutritionally from ingesting the chlorophyll, dense array of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and living microorganisms found within the grass.
Removing the roughage, in the form of grass, from the cow’s diet kills off numerous beneficial probiotic species while encouraging bad strains of bacteria to grow in rampant amounts – with potentially catastrophic effects for us once ingested. Feeding these animals grains produces an increase in milk production but it also creates a very acidic environment in the cow’s digestive system. They then produce acidic milk that creates an inflammatory response in our bodies, potentially leading to weight gain, allergies, asthma, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. The inflammation also manifests as wind, bloating, and digestive discomfort. Cows fed with grains have lowered immunity due to the destruction of internal beneficial bacterial, this leads to sickness, which is treated with commercial antibiotics – these leach into the milk along with the originating infection. The milk produced could contain up to 52 different synthetic antibiotics, blood, pesticides and hormones used to increase milk yield and increase profits.
It is clear that in the 21st century we have lost touch with the nutritional benefits, knowledge and fermentation techniques of raw milk from grass-fed cows. Cow’s milk plays a vital role in providing our body with bioavailable nutrition. The evidence is clear that raw milk from grass fed cows is nutritionally superior and kinder to cows from a welfare perspective. To locate a local raw milk supplier search on www.bigbarn.co.uk by entering your postcode or if you live in London, visit your local farmers market.
TOP REASONS TO DRINK RAW MILK
- Raw milk is a living food
- raw milk is rich in beneficial bacteria.
- raw milk is rich in food enzymes.
- raw milk is rich in natural vitamins.
- raw milk is rich in conjugated linoleic acid
- Raw milk supports small farmers to diversify and earn up to 200% more more per litre of milk.
- Raw milk is not homogenized
- Raw milk is easier to digest
- Raw milk supports skin health and can heal inflammatory skin conditions
- Raw milk supports your local economy.
Founder, Esthetician, Writer
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