Is raw milk presented the way nature intended it to be? Many of us would find milk as an essential part of our diet. Whether it be cow’s milk, goat’s milk or milk alternatives such as rice milk or soy milk.
Cow’s milk is one of the most commonly drunk milks. However this is decreasing as more and more people begin to suffer from milk allergy, or lactose intolerance, or are just looking for alternatives. This is when products such as soy milk and rice milk come about. Whether it be in baking, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, on our breakfast cereal or in milkshakes, milk is still a big part of peoples' diet today.
When talking about basic cow’s milk however, we are not just
talking about one product but rather a controversial debate between raw
milk and pasteurized milk or homogenized milk.
These days pasteurized milk is basically all that we can find in our supermarkets. Humans have consumed milk for centuries raw and fresh from the cow. With mass production pasteurized milk became the norm.
Have we now just discarded our natural raw milk?
Firstly it is important to know the difference between raw milk and pasteurized or homogenized milk. So that we ourselves can gain an idea of what we are consuming and why unpasteurized milk is so hard to find these days. Since cows were first domesticated some thousands of years ago humans have been consuming their milk for a healthy dose of daily nourishment including vital protein and the much advertised calcium for strong bones.
Cows where brought up on family farms, naturally with fresh green pasture and the only risk of contamination to the milk was due to the health of the cow and the hygiene practices used during and after milking. Refrigerators had not yet been invented either. Keeping milk for a longer period of time used to be and still is achieved by making cheese and sour milk products for example kefir made of raw milk.
Today the safety and quality of milk still depends on the conditions of the cow, its diet and how cows are kept. For these reasons mass production of raw cow’s milk has not been attempted and our supermarkets are crowded with pasteurized milk.
The milk is put through the process of pasteurization. Where the milk is heated to a high temperature and then cooled. This increases its shelf life and kills harmful pathogens which can cause illness that may have been present in the milk. Pasteurization though does not only kill the harmful bacteria but the good stuff as well. It takes beneficial bacteria, natural enzymes and even destroys the calcium which is the main reason people drink milk today.
How is this combated? By putting calcium back into the milk products, it is then given the name calcium enriched milk. It is not natural it is artificial and not compatible with the body. Why didn’t they just leave the milk alive with all the benefits still intact? This would save time and effort to recreate it, wouldn’t it?
To aid mass production before the milk is pasteurized the cows are kept in tight conditions and feed on growth hormones, genetically modified foods, or foods with traces of pesticides and antibiotics, just to keep them alive and producing the amount of milk required by the public. To say that traces of these chemicals would not enter the food chain and make their way into our body once we have consumed the milk would be a lie.
Homogenizing decreases the amount of fat visible in the milk. By using high pressure to bind the fat together with the liquid. This is done because when milk sits a visible layer of cream starts to separate from the liquid. This used to be how you could tell the quality of the milk. A thicker layer of cream on top was regarded as the higher quality of milk. The homogenizing process is usually done in conjunction with pasteurization. By doing this the composition of the milk is changed and made so small that the fat is absorbed into the bloodstream, clogging up arteries and causing heart disease. Trust me that is not where you want the milk to end up.
To meet the demands of today’s society milk like so many natural products today, has become mass produced. The price of a lower standard of milk is what we have to live with, unless we stand against the governments view on raw milk being dangerous and make up our own minds of what we feed ourselves.
To find raw milk it is best to get it straight from the farm or an organic food store or join a milk co-op. It can be hard to find raw milk especially since the government is making it so hard for us, making it illegal in some countries and in others putting restrictions in place. If it is not possible to find raw milk in your area remember it is better to go without and get the nutrients from another source than to put your body at risk.