The debate over milk is ardent and both sides are backed
by convincing evidence.
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
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
“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
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The Dairy Industry (PETA website)
Milk Sucks, or Bossie's Revenge
Campaign for Real Milk
Raw Milk Factshttp://www.raw-milk-facts.com