He Says… Drink it Raw

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First nipple shot of This Place is Now a Home!

A few weeks ago Kate wrote about changing her (our) diet from non/low-fat dairy to include more full-fat dairy. The studies she had read about a possible link between low-fat dairy and infertility surprised me. Certainly this would be more well-known if it is true! I grew up with a low-fat diet, as did most people I know. Who in their right mind would drink full fat dairy? All that excess fat and calories are just unnecessary, right?

As most of you know, I am a videographer. Last month I started work as director of photography on a documentary about small farmers and food legislation with two local film producers. One of the big focuses of our documentary is the production and distribution of raw milk. I had never really heard of raw milk prior to this project (which, in case you haven’t heard of it either, is unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk… basically milk straight from the cow). Apparently the USDA and FDA try their hardest to keep this milk out of the hands of consumers. There are a few states where raw milk is legal to sell, but in most states it is illegal, or at least highly regulated, making it very difficult to obtain. Apparently in NYC there are Speakeasy-type establishments where people are illegally obtaining raw milk!

What I am finding, though, through working on this project are the HUGE health benefits of raw milk. Many milk drinkers who had digestion problems or lactose-intolerance switched to raw milk and were cured, drug-free (yes, apparently what most people think of as lactose-intolerance can often be more of pasteurization intolerance, but since no one can get their hands on raw milk, many don’t realize that). People have had serious allergies to all kinds of different things that have been cured by a diet of raw milk. We heard about an Amish community, too, that was experiencing widespread infertility problems, and were advised to switch to unpasteurized dairy. Lo and behold, many of the women became fertile as a result of the switch! So, is this some miracle drug? I don’t know… maybe. I have been drinking some as we have gone from farm to farm, and I have not turned into Superman yet, but there are some pretty remarkable findings. And what I am also finding is how important dairy fat is to us humans, especially women. WE NEED FAT. And it doesn’t mean we’ll be fat; quite the opposite, in fact. So Kate and I are slowly and reluctantly working our way UP the milk-fat chain. It feels strange and completely counter-intuitive… but it tastes so good!

(I DID bring Kate (illegally, actually) a ½ gallon of raw milk last week. A couple glasses and bowls of cereal did not immediately jump start her baby-maker, but it can’t hurt, right?)

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6 responses to “He Says… Drink it Raw

  1. a bowl of strawberries covered in whole milk with a little bit of sugar is possibly the best non-chocolate dessert ever.

  2. Yes! This full-fat milk thing is so delish that I have been eating cereal for dessert almost every night (I know, I know, I’m SO crazy!). Even the tastes-like-cardboard, healthy kinds are creamy and yummy with fatty milk.

  3. No more raw milk once you’re pregnant, ok you two? There is a bacteria called Listeria that LOVES dairy products and will make you miscarry. If you want some good guilty-pleasure reading that uses this fact as a story-line, read “In Plain Sight” (I think) by Jodi Piccoult…

  4. You know, several months ago I would have agreed with you entirely. After all, almost everyone knows that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat soft cheeses or eat deli meats for that very same reason — listeria. However, I’ve been reading some pretty powerful stuff recently about the benefits of raw milk (thanks to Benjamin’s work on the documentary). Apparently milk that is intended for pasteurization should not be ingested raw, but milk that is intended for raw consumption is at least as safe, or safer, than pasteurized milk. You can read more here: http://www.realmilk.com/

    It’s kind of a non-issue in the end, though, because since raw milk is illegal, I can’t really get my hands on it. But the Weston Price Foundation does have some interesting research behind its nutritional recommendations, which advocate eating and drinking lots of animal fats (like humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years).

    I don’t have enough information to make up my mind about it all quite yet, but I do support the idea of eating whole, natural foods to supply your body with necessary nutrients, including fat!

  5. I just found your blog and am catching up – so I know this information is coming to you very late, but I thought I’d include it for anyone else who might be reading down the road. If you’re interested in raw milk but live in a state where it’s illegal, check into a herd share. It’s a system where you “rent” a cow from a farmer (via paperwork only – the farmer does the work!) That makes it legal to get the milk, because in the law’s eyes, it’s “your” cow. Your local farmers’ market is probably the best place to inquire about this.

  6. I’ve just found your blog also quite late on in the piece and thought I would add my 2 cents as a dairy scientist and a dairy farmers daughter.
    Pasteurisation is a heat treatment that is sufficient to kill bugs such as listeria. It is a very light heat treatment, similar to scaulding milk at home but without the cooked flavours because the machines heat the milk up quickly (using steam) and cool it down quickly (using icy cold water).
    Homogenisation is when the fat globules/droplets are broken up into small regular sized droplets by forcing the milk through a really small hole. This stops the fat from separating from the water part of milk and rising to the top.
    I agree raw milk/or at least unhomogenised milk is way nicer and makes much better rice pudding than regular milk, however unless you are going to drink the milk very soon after it comes out of the cow (with 1 day and it has been stored chilled the whole time) I would not advise pregnant women consume it, as the risk of it having listeria or other bugs is quite high. Please consider this when looking at dairy options.

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