A couple of weeks ago I had my first delivery of raw organic milk!
You might be wondering what the heck raw milk is, how it differs from regular milk and why I’m so interested in it, so I thought I’d give you a bit of a run down!
Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised or homogenised. It comes out of the cow (or goat or sheep), is chilled and bottled, then you drink it.
The milk is in its ‘raw’ state because it has not been heated through pasteurisation – this is a process in which a substance is heated to kill off bacteria (good and bad). Raw milk has also not been homogenised – this is a process which alters the particles of the milk so that the fat or cream does not rise to the top and is instead suspended throughout the milk. This is done because it is believed that the consumer does not like to see a ‘cream line’ in their milk.
What’s the problem with pasteurisation and homogenisation then?
Pasteurisation and homogenisation are both forms of processing that alters the natural form of the milk, killing off beneficial bacteria and enzymes that would ordinarily make milk more digestible (this is why many people with milk allergies report that they can tolerate raw milk). The process of homogenisation which alters the particle size of the milk means that some of the molecules can pass through into your blood stream causing damage. Heat treating the milk has also been shown to reduce levels of certain vitamins and minerals and affects their bio availability.
How raw milk could be healthier
Raw milk will tend to come from cows that have been raised more humanely, without use of hormones etc and eating their natural diets of grass. It is also full fat. Much of the nutrient benefits of milk, raw or otherwise, is found in the fat. Grass fed, raw milk may be higher in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as higher in omega 3 fatty acids and CLA – conjugated linoleic acid. The Weston A Price Foundation who advocate a traditional diet for health, really promote the benefits of raw milk too.
There is still a lot of argument that milk is unhealthy full stop. We are the only species that drink the milk of another species and milk has been reported to contain something that acts like morphine in the brain making it mildly addictive (I’m reciting just some of the vegan arguments that I remember here) as well as many people having an intolerance or sensitivity to it.
Is raw milk dangerous?
In the UK raw milk can only be sold directly from the farmer (kind of why Selfridges selling raw milk from a vending machine made the news) and is subject to rigorous hygiene standards. All milk sold has to be labelled with a disclaimer stating that it could contain bacteria harmful to human health. It is definitely a highly personal decision to drink raw milk, after reading and researching and finding a source I am comfortable with I have no reservations.
For more information on raw milk, check out these links…
Raw milk for me
I really wanted to try raw milk given some of the health challenges I have as I was interested to see what impact it might make. After what I have researched, and taking everything into consideration, I believe that full fat dairy could be very good for me right now. It is certainly delicious! It’s actually hard to describe how good it is, I just find it very creamy and full flavoured. I can’t believe I used to drink regular skimmed milk – in comparison to this it tastes like a chemical! (I actually did a taste test just so I could appreciate the difference!) I ordered my milk from Hook and Son (the farm involved in the Selfridges news story!), their website is very helpful and the delivery was excellent. According to the website the cows are milk on the Monday and you get your milk the very next day. I froze two of the bottles and decanted the other bottle into some glass jars which I stored at the back of the fridge. I’ve been enjoying it in various ways:
I would like to try my hand at making yoghurt and maybe proper ice cream with it as well! The milk is not cheap, but I think for an occasional nutrient dense, utterly delicious treat I will be ordering it again.
Do you drink regular milk? After a few years of blogging I’ve tried all the non dairy milks under the sun, so its quite a difference to be drinking creamy full fat raw milk! What are your thoughts on raw milk, would you try it?