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Raw Milk - a Real Food for Everyone

Updated on May 29, 2010

The pasteurization of milk has been around for a century, yet now more than ever many people seek out raw milk.  It is illegal to sell raw milk in Canada and about half of the United States, but there are ways around this.  In most states it is possible to obtain raw milk, but why would you want to?  Isn't pasteurization good for us?  The answer to that is both yes and no and as with many topics, it can get a bit complicated.

Back in the early 20th century many people got sick from drinking milk that was contaminated.  When pasteurization was invented by Louis Pasteur it was a very good thing.  The milk was heated to a certain temperature for fifteen seconds and it would kill the bad bacteria, making milk safer for humans.  It worked, as the instances of illness from drinking milk plummeted. 

Over the past century though, pasteurization has not proven to be all it was thought to be.  There are problems that have cropped up.  Some farms have become unsanitary, with the farmers thinking that they don't have to worry about cleanliness so much anymore because the pasteurization will take care of it.  Farmers just want their cows to produce more, more, more in an unnatural environment and the manure piles up around them.

On top of that, health problems have increased dramatically.  Pasteurized milk does not contain many of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that raw milk does.  This led to a serious calcium deficiency among American children until the USDA started requiring the addition of Vitamin D in milk and other products.  It turns out the process of heating the milk not only kills many of the bad bacteria, but also many of the good things about milk.

Raw milk is a real food that is beneficial to everyone.  The vast majority of farmers that sell raw milk are impeccably clean and have strict standards they adhere to to ensure that none of their customers get sick.  Almost all raw milk is safe to drink.  Of course you need to know all the pros and cons out there and check out the farm you purchase milk from to be sure. 

In the book Real Food by Nina Planck, she talks in great detail about raw milk.  Here are just some of the benefits she finds in raw milk on page 57 of her book.

  • Raw milk is a complete protein
  • An excellent source of vitamins A and D
  • Contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and zinc
  • Contains folic acid, a necessary nutrient for pregnant women especially as it prevents birth defects
  • Contains vitamin B6 and B12 - both essential to our bodies

Many people turn to raw milk to cure themselves or their family members of many diseases or illnesses.  There is even a raw milk diet.  While I think this is a bit extreme, I do think that if you can get your hands on raw milk your body will absolutely benefit from it.  If you would like to read more, I found a great site awhile back and quickly devoured lots of great information.  A Campaign for Real Milk goes into great detail on just about anything you want to know.  You can even find out the laws for your state and tips of where to find a supply of raw milk in your area.

I definitely think that if you can do one thing to improve your health you should drink raw milk.  It is one of the best switches you can make for your body.  Read more about the pros and cons and make an educated decision for your family.

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    • profile image

      martakelsay 

      8 years ago

      WE drink RAW milk & drive 25 miles each week, to get it. We KNOW raw milk is best! God made the cow and He did not make a mistake! Sometimes man cannot keep it together & keep the cow clean and feed her right. Mothers milk is RAW also! A child that has Mother's milk has a better start in life! Let's not try to reinvent the wheel by thinking we have a better idea than the Creator! Homogenization was created to cover up poor quality & pasteurization to excuse poor sanitation!

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Interesting hub I have never tried raw milk. I dont drink much milk except for cereal as I am lactose intolerant. Thanks for sharing this good information. Cheers.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 

      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Awesome hub! I've only recently heard about raw milk from a friend & it tastes SO good. Besides being much healthier. ;)

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 

      8 years ago from Australia

      You have to be careful when you recommend raw milk. I had a milkshake in Egypt which was raw milk and was sick for many days after. I agree that there are possibly dairy farms which lack in hygiene and rely on pasteurization but there are also governing health bodies to keep these traders in check. I would especially not recommend raw milk for infants or young children, but that said I do agree that milk is not as flavorsome when it is pasteurized.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 

      8 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      The only way I'm able to get raw milk is to buy a share of a cow at a nearby farm, and pay a monthly fee for the upkeep of my quarter (or whatever) of the cow. Then I can have a quarter of the milk that cow produces.

      The downside is that the expense of owning part of a cow and paying room and board for it, and the inconvenience of having to visit the farmers' market every weekend (and losing my milk share if I'm on vacation one weekend) makes it fairly prohibitive.

      Luckily, there's a dairy not far from home where I can get good (but not raw) milk made by happy cows.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 

      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      When I grew up, I had no idea there was anything but raw milk. We got ours from a neighbor who had a small dairy and all my brothers and I worked part time for him for the milk. My mother used to make cheese, yogurt, whipped cream, and with our help, butter. The butter we made was amazing, and my mother was a baker. From the old school. She had a wood fired stove and baked about ten loaves a week, rolls, and fried bread. Then with that butter, wow, was that ever good. Then we went through a period of time when we had goats and their milk was the milk we drank and made into other things. All this seemed to be healthy and good. With 8 brothers and sisters, we went through a gallon of milk a day. Luckily, we had a dairy next door and some of our own animals. That was a great way for a kid to grow up.

      But today I have a different view. Milk, by and large, is should be used in moderation and raw milk should not be given to children. There are too many risks involved especially with the possibility of ecoli. Recently a child became ill from ecoli at a local dairy which to all accounts is meticulously clean and has had a long history of providing raw milk safely to dozens of customers for years. The child survived but spent two weeks in the hospital with life threatening symptoms.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I have heard about this and found it very interesting, also the comments. I have learned a lot from your hub, thank you.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      I once lived next to a small farm and bought raw milk from the farmer. It took some getting used to because it's stronger tasting, I found, but when we moved away and went back to store-bought milk, that was like water.

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Isaiah Michael 

      8 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      I too rate this up, I love raw milk we can't get it in Ohio anymore unless you have it yourself. Plus the fat in raw milk is too hard for the stomach to break down and any excess is put back out, in other words it is actually less fattening than even 2% milk.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 

      8 years ago from USA

      It seems that as time goes ahead, it makes life more complicated. When I was a child, in my old country (Kazakhstan, part of Soviet Union) my mother used to buy raw milk from a farmer. She used to boil it, but I hated (just could not drink) boiled milk, and my mother was saving part of it raw for me. Raw milk is so delicious, that if you are used to drinking raw milk, you won't like the taste of pasteurized milk.

      Very nice hub, rated it up.

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