Health Benefits of Raw Milk
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!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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