It's not a lie ~ We Are What We Eat! - Cliffnotes for your HEALTH!
RAW Milk

The debate over milk is ardent and both sides are backed by convincing evidence.
 
Against Milk:

Animal activists tout ethical objections to humans drinking milk- the severe mistreatment of animals, and they are right! Commercial milking enterprises have misused and abused our beautiful brown-eyed cows. Their filthy conditions, hormone injections (for example: Bovine Growth Hormone- BGH- is used widely in the U.S. but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns over human health and animal welfare) and GM crops in their diet have created a white liquid filled with puss, blood and feces. A cow's natural lifespan is about 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk.

Others believe there are severe health implications from drinking milk. Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their young. Calves stop drinking cow’s milk between the ages of six to eight months. Humans are the only species that drink the milk of another animal and long after the nursing stage. You will never see a kitten drink milk from a goat, or a doe drink milk from a bear. Cow’s milk is meant to turn a 200-pound calf in to a 2,000-pound cow. Calves have fours stomachs and double their body weight in 47 days. Human babies have only one stomach and a much slower rate of growth. It takes human babies 180 days or so to double their weight, so they don't need nearly as much protein as calves. Cows' milk is 15% protein (it has 15% of its calories as protein); human breast milk is 5 % protein. Much of the rationale for believing that cows' milk is an ideal food for human babies was based on research done with rats early in this century. The milk of mother rats is 49% protein and baby rats double their weight in just 4 days. This is yet another example of the difficulties we create for ourselves by trying to imitate rats.

It has been argued that people cannot digest the main sugar —lactose— found in milk. In most humans, the enzyme that does so (lactase) stops being produced when the person is between two and five years old. The undigested sugars end up in the colon, where they begin to ferment, producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence , diarrhea and eventually disease.
 
“The amazingly successful and expensive advertising campaigns of the dairy industry not only got our mothers to feed us formula instead of breast milk, but seem to have convinced us that it is "natural" for people to drink cows' milk. Nothing could be less natural. No species drinks milk beyond infancy and none consumes the milk of other species.”~ Neal Barnard, M.D.
 
For Raw Milk:

Back in the 20s, Americans could buy fresh raw whole milk, real clabber and buttermilk, luscious naturally yellow butter, fresh farm cheeses and cream in various colors and thicknesses. Few people are aware that clean, raw milk from grass-fed cows was actually used as a medicine in the early part of the last century. Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy raw, organic milk, these diseases were rare. Clean raw milk from pastured cows is a complete and properly balanced food. These are the ingredients that make it such a powerful food.
 
Proteins
Our bodies use amino acids as building blocks for protein. We need approximately 20-22 of them for this task. Eight of them are considered essential, in that we have to get them from our food. The remaining 12-14 we can make from the first eight via complex metabolic pathways in our cells.
 
Raw cow's milk has all 8 essential amino acids in varying amounts, depending on stage of lactation. About 80% of the proteins in milk are caseins- reasonably heat stable and, for most, easy to digest. The remaining 20% or so are classed as whey proteins, many of which have important physiological effects. Also easy to digest, but very heat-sensitive, these include key enzymes (specialized proteins) and enzyme inhibitors, immunoglobulins, metal-binding proteins, vitamin binding proteins and several growth factors.Studies have shown significant loss of these important disease fighters when milk is heated to normal processing temperatures (pasteurization).
 
Carbohydrates
Lactose, or milk sugar, is the primary carbohydrate in cow's milk. Made from one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose and galactose, it's known as a disaccharide. People with lactose intolerance for one reason or another (age, genetics, etc.), no longer make the enzyme lactase and so can't digest milk sugar. This leads to some unsavory symptoms, which, needless to say, the victims find rather unpleasant at best. Raw milk, with its lactose-digesting Lactobacilli bacteria intact, may allow people who traditionally have avoided milk to give it another try.
 
Fats
Approximately two thirds of the fat in milk is saturated. Before you believe everything you hear about saturated fats- do some research. They play a number of key roles in our bodies: from construction of cell membranes and key hormones to providing energy storage and padding for delicate organs, to serving as a vehicle for important fat-soluble vitamins.
 
Vitamins
Volumes have been written about the two groups of vitamins, water and fat soluble, and their contribution to health. Whole raw milk has them all, and they're completely available for your body to use. Whether regulating your metabolism or helping the biochemical reactions that free energy from the food you eat, they're all present and ready to go to work for you.
 
Minerals
Raw milk contains a broad selection of completely available minerals ranging from the familiar calcium and phosphorus on down to trace elements. An interesting feature of minerals as nutrients is the delicate balance they require with other minerals to function properly. For instance, calcium needs a proper ratio of two other macronutrients, phosphorus and magnesium, to be properly utilized by our bodies. Nature codes for the entire array of minerals in raw milk (from cows on properly maintained pasture) to be in proper balance to one another thus optimizing their benefit to us.
 
Enzymes
The 60 plus fully intact and functional enzymes in raw milk have an amazing array of tasks to perform, each one of them essential in facilitating one key reaction or another. Some of them are native to milk, and others come from beneficial bacteria growing in the milk.

When we eat a food that contains enzymes devoted to its own digestion, it's that much less work for our pancreas. Organs would rather occupy itself with making metabolic enzymes and insulin, letting food digest itself.
 
Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a protective/repair substance. A waxy plant steroid, our body uses it as a form of water-proofing, and as a building block for a number of key hormones. It's natural, normal and essential to find it in our brain, liver, nerves, blood, bile, indeed, every cell membrane.

Milk contains about 3mg of cholesterol per gram (54) - a decent amount. Our bodies make most of what we need, that amount fluctuating by what we get from our food. Eat more, make less.
 
Beneficial Bacteria
Through the process of fermentation, several strains of bacteria naturally present or added later (Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Pediococcus, to name a few) can transform milk into an even more digestible food.
 
With high levels of lactic acid, numerous enzymes and increased vitamin content, 'soured' or fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir provide a plethora of health benefits for the savvy people who eat them. Being acid lovers, these helpful little critters make it safely through the stomach's acid environment to reach the intestines where they really begin to work their magic.
 
Unfermented and pasteurized dairy is mucus forming and the milk sugar (lactose) feeds bad bacteria in the stomach. Yogurt and kefir have very little milk sugar, and because their protein is pre-digested they will stay in your stomach for a shorter time- making it more tolerant for those with dairy allergies. Raw Kefir, especially goat kefir, has a special toning affect on the colon and it does not feed yeast.
 
The Body Ecology Diet book gives a terrific example of why we need some mucus in our intestines (pg. 100). Through helpful bacterial fermentation, you can increase in enzymes, vitamins, mineral availability and overall digestibility.
 
You have to decide for yourself what is right for you and what is right for your heart. Question everything before letting it past your lips. I ask that you follow your beliefs but be open minded. Explore what worked for countless generations before ours, do your own research and be driven by results.
 
Resources:
 
The Dairy Industry (PETA website)
 
Sustainable Table
 
Milk Sucks, or Bossie's Revenge
 
Campaign for Real Milk
 
Raw Milk Facts
http://www.raw-milk-facts.com


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