Why Raw Milk?
In an effort to eat a diet as nutrient dense and unprocessed as possible our family has switched to raw milk. The benefits of raw milk are numerous with some experts even calling it a super food! According to Raw Milk Institute founder, Mark McAfee, “raw milk is a living food with healing properties that help us avoid chronic illnesses and can build our immune systems.”
It’s truly the way God intended milk to be!
Raw Milk Benefits
Raw milk is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids in the correct proportion to build protein in the body. Read about these essential amino acids and their important roles for optimal health below.
Vitamins & Minerals:
Raw milk contains a higher level of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin D3, A and K2. Fat soluble vitamin deficiencies are common among children and raw milk could be a solution to this. According to the Real Milk website raw milk contains all twenty-two essential minerals such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, zinc, iodine and other trace minerals. Furthermore raw milk provides a special enzyme for each of the minerals making them 100 percent absorbed.
The two most significant beneficial bacterias found in raw milk are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These bacteria can not only restore gut health but can protect against dangerous pathogens such as salmonella and e-coli.
According to this study milk components such as lactoferrin, milk fat globule membrane, and colostrum IgG have been shown to reduce respiratory infections. Whey protein in raw milk has also been shown to protect against allergies, asthma and inflammation. Pasteurized milk can increase inflammation but raw milk can actually reduce it. This is a huge benefit of raw milk!
One of the first reasons I started exploring raw milk for my family was because my youngest child could not tolerate pasteurized milk. Thankfully I was able to breastfeed him until he was 3 1/2 years old but once he was weaned I wanted to give him the next best source of milk possible. He immediately tolerated raw dairy to all of our amazement and gratitude! The data on why someone who is lactose intolerant can tolerate raw dairy is unfortunately not available yet but there are many firsthand experiences like ours that make it worth exploring further.
How To Get Started
The first place to check for raw milk is your local farmers market. Ask some of the insiders there if they know any raw milk dairy farmers. Many of these farmers are found through word of mouth.
Here in Tennessee I found our farmer through a recommendation from a friend but I had to wait several months until I was able to join their herd share. You’ll also likely find that the demand is greater than the supply so be patient. Sadly many states have banned raw milk altogether.
What If You Don’t Have Access To Raw Milk?
- Look into going across the state line if possible and sharing the effort through a co-op. I have heard of co-ops where they alternate weeks of driving to pick up milk for the group.
- Consider raw goats milk.
- Culture your pasteurized milk into kefir with kefir grains so it can gain back beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
- Eat raw cheeses. Check out Azure Standard for this.
- Lastly buy a cow and get raw milk the old fashioned way. Keeping A Family Cow can help walk you through that process.
According to Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions and president of the Weston A Price Foundation, “all outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades have occurred in pasteurized milk.” Why is this? Because raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protects against pathogens and pasteurization destroys those helpful organisms.
With that said know your farmer and make sure they are observing clean practices. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or visit their farm first. You are creating a relationship here vs grabbing a gallon of milk made by a stranger at your nearest super market. That’s another beautiful reason to drink raw milk!