The Amazing Benefits of Raw Milk

From an earlier post of mine, published August 9, 2012

With that he stood up, filled the bowl with milk, and placing it on the chair, pushed it in front of Heidi on her little three-legged stool, so that she now had a table to herself. Then he brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden cheese, and told her to eat. After which he went and sat down on the corner of the table and began his own meal. Heidi lifted the bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty, for the thirst of all her long hot journey had returned upon her. Then she drew a deep breath–in the eagerness of her thirst she had not stopped to breathe–and put down the bowl.
“Was the milk nice?” asked her grandfather.
“I never drank any so good before,” answered Heidi.
“Then you must have some more,” and the old man filled her bowl again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further draughts of milk.
From Johanna Spyri’s classic novel, “Heidi”
I’ve always loved the story of Heidi, the little Swiss orphan girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the mountains. And, as I have been researching and testing out raw dairy products to restore my own health, this particular passage from Johanna Spyri’s book kept coming to mind.
I now have a lot I can share concerning raw milk, but most of the information is from my research (mainly from Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation, as usual.) As for my own personal experience, I will share my own stories as I continue to put my raw dairy diet into practice. First of all, I have to find raw milk to drink (easier said than done, since it is considered “illegal” in Oregon and California and 39 other states). However, I have been able to find other raw dairy products, such as raw, unpasteurized cheddar cheese from Oregon and France.
A lot of the following information is copied and pasted from a Heba’s website at

 

Here’s a condensed version of her article, along with a few of my own findings:

1. Raw milk contains enzymes.
“Pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk— in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium. That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer, nevertheless, from osteoporosis.” — Sally Fallon-Morell, RealMilk.com

2. Raw milk contains probiotics.
“Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.” — Harvard Medical School, “Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics”
Because pasteurization destroys probiotics (good bacteria), any harmful bacteria present in the milk after pasteurization can and will flourish. On the other hand, published research shows that good bacteria and many other components in raw milk actually destroy pathogens added to the milk.” – Sally Fallon-Morell, WAPF
3. Vitamins, bacteria and enzymes in raw milk are preserved.
According to this post from Nourished Kitchen, raw milk is a living food:
“Several of milk’s natural components including beneficial bacteria, food enzymes, natural vitamins and immunoglobulins are heat-sensitive.  These health-promoting components of natural, raw milk are destroyed by heating and therefore not present in pasteurized or UHT milk. Indeed, many foods – milk included – provide best nutrition when consumed in a raw or minimally cooked state. While heating milk doesn’t change the mineral composition to any great degree, it does, however, change its bioavailability rendering all that lovely calcium less absorbable”.
Here’s a more specific fact for you: raw grass-fed milk has five times more cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than regular milk; it contains more omega-3 fats, as well as more beta-carotene.
4. Raw milk provides protection from asthma and other health disorders.
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to show that many have been healed by consuming raw milk. Improvements in autism, asthma, metabolic syndrome, mood disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, etc. The GABRIELA study in Europe has shown that children who drink raw milk are 40% less likely to develop allergies and asthma than children who drink pasteurized milk.
5. Clean, nutritious milk comes from healthy cows that eat grass, not sick cows eating grain.
Most cows, even at the “organic” dairies, are fed grain — corn and soy. Cows were never meant to eat grain. They are meant to eat grass, and to graze on pasture. When cows are fed grain, even organic grain, it makes them sick.
From Michael Pollan’s The Vegetable-Industrial Complex, October 15, 2006 in the New York Times: The lethal strain of E. coli known as 0157:H7, responsible for this latest outbreak of food poisoning, was unknown before 1982; it is believed to have evolved in the gut of feedlot cattle. These are animals that stand around in their manure all day long, eating a diet of grain that happens to turn a cow’s rumen into an ideal habitat for E. coli 0157:H7. (The bug can’t survive long in cattle living on grass.)
From Nina Planck’s Leafy Green Sewage, September 21, 2006 in the New York Times:
In 2003, The Journal of Dairy Science noted that up to 80 percent of dairy cattle carry O157. (Fortunately, food safety measures prevent contaminated fecal matter from getting into most of our food most of the time.) Happily, the journal also provided a remedy based on a simple experiment. When cows were switched from a grain diet to hay for only five days, O157 declined 1,000-fold.
6. Raw milk doesn’t go “bad” like pasteurized milk does.
If you leave a gallon of pasteurized milk on the counter overnight, what happens to it? It goes bad! But if you leave a gallon of raw milk out, you can do all kinds of things with it. You can separate the cream. You can make cultured butter, buttermilk, and whey, yogurt, cheese, kefir, etc.
7. Raw milk tastes better! 
My loving mother always made sure we had raw, unpasteurized milk while growing up, but I can’t remember the flavor, so I will take others people’s word for now until I try it for myself!
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