I drank raw goat’s milk when I was little without even realizing it. Well, I knew it was goat’s milk, that’s for sure, I just didn’t know it was raw. Some friends of ours used to drive out to a farm to pick up milk and eggs, and they always let me have a glass of the good stuff when I came over.
Fifteen years later, there’s nothing I like better for a snack than a glass of creamy, raw cow’s milk. Early in our marriage when Eric and I started developing our approach to eating, we decided that raw milk from grass-fed cows was one of the first and most important things we’d add to our diets. Three main reasons drove our decision:
1. Health benefits of raw milk
Raw milk is a living food. It’s swimming with enzymes and beneficial bacteria that help the body’s digestive and immune systems. Rather than the synthetic vitamin A added to pasteurized milk, raw milk contains every single vitamin–both water-soluble and fat-soluble–in the exact proportions necessary for your body to assimilate them!
The mineral content of raw milk is impressive too, and again–they are in the optimal balance for assimilation. Raw milk is also high in saturated fat, a misunderstood fat that is in fact crucial to our bodies. With its high nutritional content, it’s no surprise that milk was used as medicine in the past, and that you could live off of it. Many of the health concerns associated with pasteurized milk can be improved when the sufferer turns to raw milk instead.
2. Health deficits of pasteurized milk
In contrast to the life-giving properties of clean, raw milk, pasteurized milk actually depletes our bodies. The heating process necessary to pasteurize milk kills the beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Among the enzymes destroyed is lactase, which helps the body to digest lactose. Sometimes people who are lactose-intolerant find that they can handle raw milk. Even many people without lactose intolerance find that pasteurized milk causes mucus buildup and congestion. I used to notice that myself, but with raw milk I’ve had no congestion.
Another enzyme that pasteurization destroys, phosphatase, is necessary for the body’s absorption of calcium. Without it, pasteurized milk actually contributes to loss of bone density, rather than combating it. For more on the types of enzymes present in raw milk, read here.
When the good bacteria in raw milk are destroyed, the milk contains no “defence” system against pathogens that may enter the milk after processing. Thus, if you drink rotten pasteurized milk you’ll get sick, whereas soured raw milk can be consumed safely.
3. Easiest “grass-fed” product to invest in
Among grass-fed animal products, raw milk is a good starter option. The best prices on grass-fed meat are usually for bulk portions of an animal, so there’s a large up-front cost. In addition, you need an extra freezer to store your meat in. On the other hand, milk is easier to obtain and comes ready-to-eat, with all the vitamin and healthy fat content one desires from grass-fed products.
I formulated these reasons to drink raw milk after plenty of research and fact-finding. During my digging, I discovered loads of controversy about raw milk as well. Later this week I’m writing on safety concerns surrounding raw milk, and how you can drink responsibly(: