Health Benefits of Raw Milk

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Recently I started drinking raw milk…and this is quite a drastic change since I haven’t drank cow’s milk in 10+ years. Well, kind of. I still have had heavy cream in my coffee for as long as I remember, but I’ve stayed away from normal skin, 1% or 2% milk. And that was because the paleo diet always talked about it as a no-no and since I’ve always struggled with skin issues, dairy is often one of the first things people recommend removing from your diet. But once I got pregnant and began reading more and more about prenatal nutrition, the more I saw that the pros outweighed the cons for the health of me and my little girl. Problem is, all the cow’s milk on store shelves in Colorado is pasteurized milk. And pasteurized milk just isn’t the same as raw milk. So I started doing my own research, reaching out to friends with the same dietary mindset as me, and found a local farmer to source raw milk from. Have I experienced digestive issues? No. Have I experienced acne? No. Do I sleep better at night whenever I consume an entire glass of raw milk before bed? Yes! And that’s saying something since I’ve had insomnia this ENTIRE pregnancy.

What is pasteurization and why do we pasteurize milk?

Pasteurization is a high heat process that kills pathogenic microorganisms that cause a threat to the body and could make a person ill, but this also kills off the good bacteria and digestive enzymes (cited). The FDA put pasteurization in place back in the 1930’s as mass production of milk began to grow. Not only does this kill these “bad bacteria” but it also increases the shelf life of milk. And both of these things are very important when you have factory farming with poor living conditions. If cow’s are in poor living conditions, they are more susceptible to illness, therefore the milk is tampered. Pasteurization keeps that milk more safe to drink for the mass population that continues to grow.

What are the nutritional and health benefits of raw milk?

Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk contain essential digestive enzymes, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein (cited). When you’re consuming a glass of raw milk vs pasteurized milk, not only are you getting all these essential nutrients, but they are more bioavailable to the body since the milk is in it’s natural form (cited). Studies have shown that people who drink raw milk show lower rates of all kinds of things such as asthma, allergies, infections (ear, urinary, yeast, etc.), fevers, and more (cited). Raw milk has 20 essential amino acids, calcium to help grow strong teeth and bones, phosphorous to help remove waste and repair damaged tissues, and bacteria to help aid in digestion and keep the gut the healthy. Healthy gut = a healthy body.

Where do I find raw milk?

Now getting your hands on raw milk is definitely a bit more challenging (and expensive), depending where you live. There are different rules state to state (cited). There are some amazing states out there in the US where you can buy raw milk at retail stores…JEALOUS. While other states do herdshares, some sell at pet food stores, and others make it so it cannot be legally obtained in any way. The most important thing is that you’re getting milk raised from animals that are in suitable living conditions on a natural farm that is free of chemical additives, herbicides, pesticides, and the animals are not raised on antibiotics or hormones. It’s also important that the farm tests for e-coli, salmonella, and listeria on a regular basis and has safety protocols put in place to keep not only the cows clean, but the facility and packaging, as well.

Not only is it more challenging to do your research, but it’s much more challenging than simply going to the store. And waaaay more expensive, at least where I live. I pay for a herdshare so I pay a monthly boarding fee for the farmer care and milk the cows, then I pay a monthly fee for the herdshare for the milk itself. It costs a sh*t ton more than going to the store and buying just any old milk, even an organic milk. But for the time of life I’m in, it makes sense for me and my family.

If you’re having a hard time with google and your area, the Weston A. Price Foundation has a website to search raw milk in your area. On that site, you can learn even more about the health benefits of raw milk. So much information there!

Do you feel safe drinking raw milk when pregnant?

For me, yes. The health benefits of raw milk drastically outweigh the chance of contracting listeria. Does this mean it is right for you? Absolutely not. This is simply my biased opinion for MYSELF. But I’m also still consuming raw fish, deli meat, and soft cheeses (from reputable sources) while pregnant. And I’m lifting 3x/week when an OBGYN told me to not lift over 35lbs. I’ve done my research, I’ve read multiple books, and I understand the risk of anything I do while pregnant. For example, I know that every time I get in a car, I’m putting me and our baby at risk because there is a chance I could get in a car accident. But the benefits outweigh the risks for me, so it’s a chance I’m willing to take. It’s the same thing with food and lifting. The FDA will absolutely tell you to not consume raw milk while pregnant because of the chance of listeria, but what it fails to mention is you have a higher chance of being infected with listeria from things like prepackaged salad and romaine lettuce. I am absolutely not here to tell you to not listen to the FDA in any capacity, but I strongly recommend you do your own research to find what is best for YOU. This world is not a one-size-fits-all for anything, especially for pregnant women.

I drink a glass or two of raw milk every day and I feel great. But I what I really love is that I take great pride in knowing that I’m helping our little girl build strong bones while she is in utero, all while supporting a healthy gut and digestive system for myself. And because of the research I’ve done, I feel quite comfortable and confident serving our daughter raw milk as she grows on the outside. I’ve even read articles about it being used for baby formula, if you cannot (or do not want to) breastfeed. Pretty cool! And if you’re wondering if raw milk tastes different then pasteurized milk, it’s hard for me to say since I haven’t had a glass of milk in a long ass time, but I don’t think so. I just think it tastes delicious! Hope this post gives you a little more insight into raw milk, but if you want to learn more, here are some great websites to check out!

Raw Milk InstituteWeston A Price FoundationGet Raw Milk | Raw Milk MapRaw Milk Hygiene & Safety

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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23 thoughts on “Health Benefits of Raw Milk”

  1. This is all very interesting! You have inspired me to look into raw milk for my family. Only my husband and daughter are milk drinkers, but I think it would be an easy way to pack more nutrition into their diet–and hopefully I can get the rest of us to try. I am in MN and raw milk can’t be sold in stores, but I did some research and there is a fairly local farm and it is only $5/gallon. Additionally they have sourdough starter, kombucha, poultry, kefir and cheese. We already get local beef and eggs, but they have those as well. So many cool resources that I never knew were so close! In the summer they also have a garden where you can pick what you want.

    Also, I agree that you need to find what works for YOU when pregnant when it comes to nutrition and exercise. I ran a marathon when I was 8 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and a half marathon at 36 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. My OBGYN said it was absolutely fine to do while pregnant since I have been a long distance runner for years. Her only caution was that I didn’t overheat, get dehydrated and stop if something hurts or is uncomfortable, which I thought was reasonable;-).

    Thanks for all they information!

  2. Could you share what books / articles you read that made you feel comfortable eating raw fish, cheese, etc etc during pregnancy? Everything online is pretty intense fear mongering!!

  3. Love this. My daughter is 7 years old now but I too consumed raw milk, raw butter, and raw cream (we live in California, raw dairy is everywhere) all throughout my pregnancy and several years postpartum. I am an intuitive eater and while I was walking by the refrigerated section earlier today, I wondered what it would be like to drink raw milk again as I’ve took a long break to support my sinuses/phlegm issues. Appreciate this share and am so stoked this is working for you and your bun in the oven!

  4. Hi Juli!

    I purchased a pair of your Four Athletic leggings a few months ago. Unfortunately they did not fit so I had to return them for a refund. I was in touch with someone at Four Athletics about the refund and they instructed me on what to do. Per the delivery confirmation, my return arrived at their warehouse the beginning of February. It has been a month and a half and I have not gotten my refund despite me sending them emails every single week asking for a status update; they have not responded to any of my emails about the status of my refund. Needless to say, I am very disappointed with their customer service. Can you please assist me in getting in contact with the right person? Thanks!

    1. This happened to me too. But after a couple of months they actually did come back to me and gave me my refund. I think they are running this apparel business along side their day jobs and simply have too much going on. Not cool. But I think you’ll get your money back.

  5. Hannah Schuessler

    Will you share which homeopathic doctor you went to? I live in Denver and would love to check one out.

  6. We have consumed raw milk for years and I can tell you right off the bat, I drank it through both pregnancies, and now my kids drink it. They have no allergies, no illnesses, and they haven’t even been sick more than 1-2x each with colds or whatnot. Raw milk cured my lactose intolerance and has drastically improved my bone density test results.

  7. I love how open you are being about your pregnancy and diet. I think it’s so important. I am 35 and only in recent years did I learn that those “off limit” foods during pregnancy are noted as such because the risk of listeria and whatever else is ALWAYS there; it’s not that the food is bad for the baby. Of course the disease is worse, but there’s the idea that the food is suddenly bad. There’s just so much mystery about pregnancy because women are told not to talk about the negative side of it. We should just be happy for the miracle of life when in reality pregnancy is TOUGH. So I love any women out there being blatantly honest. It’s what we need.

  8. FYI, it’s cited not sited. The English language is so weird! Appreciate you taking this time to share the links to this info.

  9. This blog post is killer, thank you for sharing! I was blown away by the prenatal + postpartum episode of The Freely Rooted podcast you shared, and it led me to re-read this post and then go for a hunt for raw milk in my area. Looking forward to seeing how it benefits me in my postpartum and BF journey.. I’m 33 weeks and feeling as confident and excited about this holistic approach. Thanks Juli!

    1. so happy to hear that!! that episode blew me away too. i freaking love how much we can learn from podcasts! and congratulations!! you’re almost there!

  10. I’m so curious about this! I’m moderately lactose intolerant, but I’m curious if raw milk would be different considering the digestive enzymes!

    1. i’d be curious, too! here’s a quote from the raw milk institute – “raw milk facilitates production of lactase enzyme in the intestinal tract, allowing many people who are lactose intolerant to digest raw milk with no problems”

      1. I just got my hands on some raw whole milk this week. I’ve had it three separate times with no digestive issues at all!

  11. I took the time to read the studies cited by the Raw Milk Institute, and I found the level of evidence to be low. For example, they cite Loss et al when stating that raw milk is associated with lower rates of asthma. And that’s true, that association was found in that study. However, results of observational cross-sectional studies in a small number of children in rural areas of Bavaria are not generalizable to the general population of adults (or children) in the US. In addition, causal relationships cannot be established from observational studies, only correlation. The studies themselves state that consumption of raw milk cannot be recommended, which makes sense because the study design is not appropriate for recommending an intervention, so why is the Raw Milk Institute? Why does Loss et al show protection from asthma but Perkin et al doesn’t? And conversely why does Perkin et al show protection from eczema but Loss et al doesn’t? Do we only count the result valid if it demonstrates protection? The RMI website also describes “first-hand accounts” and surveys as “a large body of evidence” in regards to raw milk improving lactose intolerance symptoms. That is not a large body of evidence, that is the lowest possible level of evidence that exists and I don’t understand why that is good enough for them. They should be pushing for prospective RCTs to prove their claims.

  12. If you choose to purchase and consume raw milk, seriously consider having it tested for bad bacteria. I’ve been purchasing raw milk now for about 14 months. Over this time period, both of my toddlers have gotten MRSA Staph infections twice and I had a miscarriage. My 4 y.o. kept having reoccurring nasal and throat infections. Ended up getting her tonsils and adenoids removed. Doctor swabbed her and found MRSA! Milk lady got milk tested and it was contaminated with MRSA and listeria. She’s a friend of mine. She has a small farm and is clean. You just never know. I’m still an advocate for raw milk, but it needs to be tested.

  13. Hi Juli,

    I live in Denver and am very interested in doing raw milk for my family. Would you share the farm you use? I’ve heard that raw goats milk isn’t as good as raw cows milk, so I’m curious if you’re doing goats milk or cows? I see most of the locations locally are for goats milk. Would you share who you use? I’d just love a point in the direction. Thanks so very much!

  14. Hi Juli! Loved this post and learned some new info. I definitely have been caught up in the dairy free milk craze – even though I aggressively check labels on everything else! (Why are we like this?) I also live in Denver, could you share what local farm you’re using? Thank you!!

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