Real Milk is Raw

August 27, 2009

We bought our first gallon of raw cow’s milk just over two weeks ago.  I had been calling around the city to find a place to buy it, but most of the farms I called didn’t deliver, so it would have involved driving at least 40 minutes to pick it up (Missouri law allows raw milk sales only when it is either purchased directly from the farm or delivered).  While at the Brookside Farmer’s Market, though, I happened to talk to a woman from whom I had been purchasing peppers, okra, and pecans.  She said her husband delivered raw cow’s and goat’s milk, so I scheduled to pick some up the following Saturday.

Raw milk has multiple benefits over pasteurized milk, so I’d like to outline a few of those benefits.

1.  Raw milk contains beneficial enzymes that are destroyed in the pasteurization process (by the way, you might ask, “but I thought pasteurization was necessary to prevent diseases.  Wasn’t that the genius of Louis Pasteur’s discovery?”  Well, yes, it was.  We know far more about the spread of diseases than we did previously, and contamination with such diseases is preventable through clean practices).  These enzymes assist the body in digesting the milk, so for those who are lactose intolerant, raw milk could be an alternative.

2.  Raw milk contains healthy bacteria that are destroyed in the pasteurization process.  These healthy bacteria populate the human digestive system, so that we have a balance of good and bad bacteria.  A common problem in an age of antibiotics is that our bodies are relatively low in good bacteria, because antibiotics kill all bacteria (not just the bad), so it is essential to our health and ability to fight illness that we have a balance of these bacteria.  Also, as an added bonus, since raw milk still possesses these good bacteria, the milk doesn’t go bad in the way pasteurized milk does.  Sure, it does sour, but it just becomes sour cream, buttermilk, and cream cheese.  Once raw milk goes sour, you could argue that it’s actually better for you, since it contains even more beneficial bacteria.  And you don’t have to throw it out.

3.  Raw milk that comes from pastured, not to be confused with pasteurized, cows is much higher in healthy fats, since the cows are consuming what they are meant to consume–grass.  Cows stomachs do not tolerate the corn that CAFOs have forced them to consume (or the cow lard, or the chicken droppings).  They are animals destined for grazing fields of grass, and when they are able to do this, their flesh and milk (and in turn, butter, cheese, etc.) are actually better for us.  Even full fat milk is more healthful when it comes from pastured cows.  On top of the healthy fats, the milk is also higher in many essential nutrients when the cows are allowed to graze the fields.

4.  Raw milk is just so creamy.  And tasty.

I am making cream cheese with raw milk right now, and I intend to make butter with the next gallon.  Court and I also plan to try the raw goat’s milk, which is another alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.  I encourage you to try it (they also sell half gallons).  If you’d like more information, comment, and I’d be happy to discuss with you.

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