Milk is a staple within the United States. It has been integrated into every meal of the day. We even have modified versions for those that are lactose intolerant. Drinking milk has become so customary that we have forgot how strange and it really is.
No other creature goes out of its way to consume the dairy of another species. It is almost unheard of in the wild to see anything, human or otherwise, drinking milk after infancy.
What makes this even more unnatural is that we take a living, nutritious food and pasteurize it, leaving us with a dead product, pumped full of synthetic vitamins. Companies go one step further to remove the naturally occurring fats. This reduces the absorption of nutrients and leaves the consumer with a watery drink that is high in sugar and easy to over consume.
Pasteurization of milk was originally heralded as an amazing thing. However, it was actually a poor bandage, addressing a symptom of our nations worsening food industry.
Companies started warehousing thousands of cows in enclosed areas, miles from cities. To reduce costs and increase profits, no thought was given to sanitation, proper treatment of animals, or storage and shipment of the final product.
This culminated in an outbreak of typhoid and tuberculosis in the late 1800’s, leading to a major increase in infant mortality throughout the U.S. and England.
Fortunately, hundreds of years later, there exist farmers that raise animals in a safe and natural manner, providing the public with healthy raw milk.
After accounting for frequency of consumption, an individual is more likely to become ill from beef, eggs, poultry, produce, and seafood than raw dairy.
The last death from raw milk was in 1980, while approximately 5,000 people die in the U.S., every year from these other foods.
To put the risk into other terms, there is a 1 in 94,000 chance of becoming sick from raw dairy but a 1 in 8,000 risk of dying from a motor vehicle accident.
Consuming raw dairy is a risk, but the risk is rather small when put into perspective.
Dairy is not a necessary food. It provides no novel or special nutrients.
Vegetables and fish provide plenty of calcium. Eggs, fish, and meat provide more vitamin A, D, K, and E than dairy. Just one bite of organ meat (liver for example) provides more copper, iron, and manganese than a gallon of milk.
However, I love a strong cheddar cheese, the versatility of yogurt, and the growth benefits of milk post-workout…and I have no allergies or intolerances! So, I occasionally indulge in local, raw cheeses, I have Greek yogurt almost everyday, and drink a cup of raw, grass-fed milk after every workout.
If you tolerate dairy well, and it fits in with your goals, there is no need to avoid it. But I would still stay away from the man-made, processed versions available in most markets and gas stations.
As always – consume whole, living food, the way nature intended, to optimize the health and function of your body!