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Milk seems to be one of those items of consumption that carries all kinds of opinions. Some say that we shouldn’t even consume any milk while others (like myself) thrive on raw milk.
There are also those that will only buy pasteurized milk due to all of the “dangers” of drinking milk in its raw form. No matter which category you fall into, I want to help you understand the benefits of raw milk.
Raw milk can greatly impact your health, help with allergies, asthma, improve your immune system, help prevent weight gain, while also providing amazing nutrients you don’t want to deprive your body of.
I am going to just throw a little disclaimer out there before we get started. A lot of the things I will share about raw milk are my opinions, own personal experiences and extensive research that I have put into the topic. With that being said, you should only do what you feel comfortable with. Consuming raw milk is a personal decision that needs to feel right for you and your family. Plus doing your own research is vital to feeling like you can then make the best educated decision.
- What is raw milk?
- Why should you drink raw milk?
- Our raw milk journey
- What are pasteurization and homogenization?
- But what about the dangers of drinking raw milk?
- What are the benefits of drinking raw milk
- Here are 8 raw milk benefits you need to know!
- 1. It contains vital nutrients and vitamins
- 2. Raw milk can help with digestive issues and lactose intolerance
- 3. It is a source of real raw protein and calcium
- 4. Raw milk can help and even eliminate allergies and asthma
- 5. It can help prevent weight gain
- 6. Improves hair, skin, and nails
- 7. Raw milk sours instead of spoiling and is also very versatile
- 8. The flavor is rich and creamy
- That about wraps it up.
What is raw milk?
Raw milk is basically milk in its “rawest” form. Raw milk is straight from the cow with no interventions, heating or altering.
Obviously, raw milk needs to be properly handled and produced but the milk doesn’t undergo any kind of pasteurization process.
Plus, raw milk is delicious, creamy and is honestly the best milk you will ever taste. Personal opinion but also 100% true. Our family can’t be without it now.
Why should you drink raw milk?
Having some kind of logic in the things you do, I think, is really helpful in your decision making and lifestyle choices. So, it is important to learn and understand the benefits of raw milk and why you should be drinking it.
I am a strong believer in doing your own research and findings. That way you can then become better educated and make a choice that makes sense to you and fits you and your family’s needs.
Our raw milk journey
I will just give you a super brief lowdown on how and why we decided to make the switch to raw milk.
When my baby was nearing the age to start drinking some cow’s milk, I wanted to make sure I was giving him the best option I could.
My original plan was to buy the best milk option I could find at the grocery store. Organic, non- GMO, etc, etc. Well, my chiropractor had mentioned about raw milk and I also knew someone who consumed raw milk too!
So, I started asking questions and began investigating the whole raw milk debate and was shocked!
I quickly decided I did not want to give my child pasteurized milk and instead raw milk was going to be the best for him.
I know, you’re probably thinking …
“You are CRAZY, giving raw milk to your child could make him sick!”
I had those same thoughts cross my mind too. It wasn’t until I become informed and knowledgeable about raw milk that I feel completely safe (we will touch more on safety in a bit) about drinking it and giving it to my child.
Once you understand the small risks vs benefits, I think it will find you might be less scared of raw milk.
Ever since we have made the switch, we have seen the many raw milk benefits and wouldn’t go back!
We love it SO much that we actually purchased our own small family cow. She is a mini Jersey and in just a few months we will be able to breed her and have milk on our small homestead once she calves.
To say we are excited would be an understatement.
That is how much we LOVE raw milk!
What are pasteurization and homogenization?
Now that we know what raw milk is, let’s talk a little bit about what makes raw milk so different from store-bought milk.
When you purchase milk at the store, you will always see the word PASTEURIZED on it.
Pasteurization is a process in which the milk is heated to a high temperature (at least 161 degrees F) to kill off any bacteria that will make it “safe” to drink.
But have you wondered what else gets killed off in the process of pasteurization? I’ll answer that in a minute too.
Nearly all milk that is pasteurized, except for Kalona Products (that I know of) is homogenized too.
Homogenization is a process in which the fat molecules in the milk are broken down and oxidized. This is so that the milk and the cream do not separate from each other (raw milk has delicious cream on top).
This process is done by forcing the milk through very small openings under extremely high pressure, thus breaking up the fat globules.
The problem with this is that oxidization turns the good fat (found in raw milk) into bad fat (found in pasteurized). Basically, through homogenization, you are trading a real fat for a fake fat which is essentially hydrogenated fat.
You might as well just drink straight vegetable oil at this point.
Along with altering the fat in the milk, homogenization also alters the sugar turning the natural sugar lactose that is found in raw milk into beta lactose which can result in a much bigger effect on your blood sugar levels as well.
Now, that pasteurized label doesn’t seem all as good as it is made out to be, right?!
But what about the dangers of drinking raw milk?
Most people are probably quite skeptical of raw milk because it simply doesn’t have that “pasteurized” label on it.
But do you actually know and understand the risks?
Just like anything, there is always a risk. When you get into your car and drive to the store, that is essentially a risk.
I truly believe that the benefits associated with consuming raw milk, greatly outweigh the risks that seem to be a big concern for most people.
The biggest fear with raw milk is possible bacteria that could be in the milk and make you very sick or even cause death.
First things first, there hasn’t been a single death due to contaminated raw milk since the mid 1980’s even though millions of people consume raw milk daily.
So hopefully that puts that whole dying from raw milk into a little bit more perspective. You are actually more likely to get sick eating shellfish or raw oysters than you are raw milk.
I’m not claiming that there is zero, zilch, zippo risk in drinking raw milk, because I feel like I need to explain the risks so you can better decide for yourself. But I am saying it is NOT as bad as it is made out to be.
When milk is produced under sanitary, clean, and healthy conditions and the cows receive a correct diet, raw milk is completely safe to drink.
When buying raw milk, it is important to properly scout out your source and even ask the local farmer or dairy questions.
There is never shame in asking and learning about the process, how the cows are kept, what they eat and what precautions are put in place.
Things to consider
- What are the living conditions of the cows? Are they in a “feedlot” type setup or are they on pasture?
- Are the cows primarily grain-fed or grass-fed?
- What health and safety precautions are put in place to ensure clean, good quality milk?
- What is the handling process with the milk once the cow has been milked?
- Does the dairy or farmer ever test their milk for present bacteria and what are have the results shown in the past?
These are just a few things to consider when finding a local place to purchase raw milk from.
If you do feel really worried about bacteria such as E-Coli, salmonella or listeria, I would search for a dairy that does do regular testing on their milk.
It might provide you with a bit more peace of mind.
Here is an example of a raw milk dairy that tests each batch of milk and explains their findings. They answer this question in their frequently asked questions.
Although with that being said, the raw milk we currently buy doesn’t say they carry out any tests. However, they do meet all of the other requirements really well, so I feel more than comfortable drinking raw milk from them.
To find raw milk near you check out www.realmilk.com and you can search by state for raw milk options near you.
What are the benefits of drinking raw milk
Ok, now we are to the good stuff!
What are the benefits of drinking raw milk?
Why would my family and I decide to go against what the majority of the public believe and think raw milk is safe and very healthy to drink. Once I learned and understood all of the amazing raw milk benefits, I seriously couldn’t pass up a superfood like it.
Here are 8 raw milk benefits you need to know!
- It contains vital nutrients and vitamins
- Raw milk helps with digestive issues and lactose intolerance
- It is a source of REAL protein and calcium
- Raw milk can help with asthma and allergies
- It can help with prevent weight gain
- Improves hair, skin, and nails
- Raw milk sours instead of spoiling
- The flavor is rich and creamy
1. It contains vital nutrients and vitamins
During the pasteurization process, all of the good bacteria is killed along with the bad bacteria.
Pasteurization completely destroys bacteria, enzymes, immunoglobins, along with denaturing vitamins and degrading proteins and fats.
Milk is intended for raw consumption. I believe if we were meant to drink pasteurized milk, God would have put a pasteurizer straight on the cow.
Raw milk is in the form that our bodies can actually digest, utilize and receive so many health benefits from.
When all of those good vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and enzymes are destroyed, altered or practically unusable, your body doesn’t even recognize them.
You might often see commercial dairy products the words “fortified” or “enriched”.
I know both of those words make you feel like you are making a healthy choice. Or picking a product that will boost you with some extra goodies. BUT truth be told, it is completely the opposite.
When pasteurization occurs, the product is practically “dead” as some may say. Meaning every good thing has been killed off so that’s why they need to “enrich” it and “fortify” it.
Unfortunately, that means adding synthetic vitamins and minerals making the end product unusable, unhelpful, and unhealthy for your body.
Your body isn’t designed to know what to do with things that are not synthetic. Our bodies actually thrive off of raw products, raw dairy products included.
We are meant to have dairy as a prominent food group in our diet, but I strongly believe adding raw dairy is so much healthier (and yummier).
2. Raw milk can help with digestive issues and lactose intolerance
This is a huge component for so many people. I know of countless stories of people being lactose intolerant until they try raw milk.
If the evidence doesn’t lie in individual stories like that, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
Just like I said before, pasteurized milk is practically “dead” resulting in your body not even being able to recognize it and utilize it.
Well, when your body doesn’t recognize something and isn’t even designed to utilize it. You are going to experience some problems. This is where bloating, IBS, lactose intolerance, sensitives or even congestion come into play.
All of those things are just your body’s way of saying,
“Hey, I don’t recognize that and I’m having trouble processing it”
Think about it, if you put the wrong type of gas into your car, your car isn’t going to run well. It will probably exhibit some issues that will progressively get worse. Especially the more you pump into it.
It is as simple as that. The same goes for your body and pasteurized milk.
Now for the science part…
Raw milk contains lactase which is an enzyme that digests the lactose (the sugar found in milk). When milk is pasteurized the enzyme lactase denatures and isn’t able to digest the lactose in the milk, which then leads to lactose intolerance.
Since raw milk has all of the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals left how they are supposed to be, lactase is unaffected therefore the body is able to use it to properly digest the lactose.
3. It is a source of real raw protein and calcium
Raw milk is a “complete protein” because it has all of the 9 essential amino acids needed to function properly.
You may have heard of the protein’s whey and casein. Both of these high-quality proteins are found in raw milk and contribute to many different health benefits.
Not only does raw milk contain raw protein but it also contains high amounts of calcium that is needed for adequate bone health and growth.
Sometimes calves are fed pasteurized milk, due to the inability to get milk from their mother.
Sadly, those cows do very poorly on pasteurized milk and can even die before maturity due to a lack of nutrition and growth. So that shows you how unnutritious pasteurized milk is!
Raw milk holds all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and plenty of rich calcium needed for strong bone health and growth.
4. Raw milk can help and even eliminate allergies and asthma
Since all of the nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D and immunoglobins (antibodies) remain in raw milk, these things just naturally boost the immune system, while reducing the risk of allergies and asthma.
You can check out these multiple different studies in regard to the healthy benefits of raw milk in children, including growth and development along with fighting infections, skeletal growth, and dental health.
5. It can help prevent weight gain
I know this one doesn’t really make sense right off the bat. But trust me, it will make total sense in just a second.
First things first, when you think you are winning with your diet by grabbing the low-fat milk in the store, whether it be skimmed, 1% or 2%, I hate to break it to you, but you are not.
That is actually way worse for your dieting efforts.
Even though those low-fat options seem like a good choice, well because that is how they are publicized, as we learned earlier, pasteurized milk turns all the good fat into very bad fat along with the sugar too.
It is pretty much an all-around loose, loose situation.
Drinking raw whole fat milk is 5 million times better for you. Not only that it will actually help you with those dieting goals and lend you a hand in losing weight. It will also help prevent any extra weight gain as well.
Ok, now you are probably actually wondering how it will help you from gaining weight.
It is quite simple really.
Because raw milk is so high in protein, that in of itself helps you feel fuller and not as hungry. Therefore, preventing you from overeating.
Here is the other cool part of the story.
Raw milk contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is a fatty acid that tells your brain when to burn body fat. CLA is naturally found in grass-fed animals, whether it is their meat or milk. Raw milk contains 300-500% more CLA than pasteurized store-bought milk.
If you are wanting to burn fat, lose weight or prevent excess weight gain, you need CLA to do that.
6. Improves hair, skin, and nails
Dairy often seems to get a bad rap when it comes to skin breakouts and inflammation but thankfully that is not hte case when it comes to consuming raw dairy.
With raw milk containing good healthy fats, our skin greatly benefits from the best kind of hydration. Not to mention the natural probiotic that raw milk has to offer that can kill off bad bacteria in your gut.
Researchers show that often bad gut flora and inflammation in your gut can affect the health of your skin.
Not only does consuming raw dairy have a positive effect on your skin, but you could even make your own DIY raw dairy face cream with other simple ingredients such as honey and lemon.
When it comes to healthy hair and nails, all of that raw protein and calcium that is in raw milk will do wonders for both your hair and nails.
Raw milk doesn’t only work wonders on the inside of your body but also enhances your outwards appearance too!
7. Raw milk sours instead of spoiling and is also very versatile
Have you ever found a long lost sippy cup that fell between the seats of your car? You probably don’t want to be reminded, right?
If pasteurized milk sits out for days, you definitely want to throw it away. It spoils and is not a pleasant experience for your nose or eyes.
Whereas, raw milk does the complete opposite.
Raw milk naturally sours leaving the possibilities endless for you. Sour milk isn’t going to hurt you it just may taste a little off or sour.
Drinking raw milk that has taken a little trip to the sour end of the spectrum is completely fine. Unlike consuming spoiled pasteurized milk.
Throw that stuff right out.
Raw milk is versatile in many ways. You can make many other dairy products with it such as cheese, yogurt, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, and the list is endless.
8. The flavor is rich and creamy
Last but not least, the flavor of raw milk is like none other. I can promise you, once you give it a try there is no turning back.
The flavor of raw unpasteurized milk is rich and creamy and whether you are drinking a glass of milk, adding some to your oatmeal or alfredo sauce, you will notice the big flavor improvement.
Don’t miss out on the best milk you will ever have!
That about wraps it up.
In a nutshell, raw milk is a superfood that has endless benefits.
Whether you already drink raw milk, are thinking about it or have never even considered it, I hope I helped answer some of your questions. I also hope that I have been able to erase any fear associated with the words “raw milk”.
Along with the many, many benefits raw milk offers, its taste is beyond any other milk you can buy at the store. If you are anything like my family once you get hooked there is no turning back.
Have you considered switching over to raw milk? What benefits were most surprising to you?