- Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 19:26
- Written by Judd Handler
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The following article is a blog I wrote for Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. Copyright is owned by PPNF. Visit their blog here.
“Milk: it does the body good.”
Remember this popular advertising tagline from the American Dairy Council from a couple decades ago?
Truth in advertising is often a slippery slope, and nowhere is this more apparent than in food marketing. Yes, milk can do the body good, but only if it has the same beneficial bacteria that you likely drank when you were breast-fed as an infant. In other words, milk does the body good–if it’s raw (unpasteurized).
Mark McAfee, the CEO of Organic Pastures, one of the largest organic, raw dairy producers, is pre-med trained, an educator for various health departments, and has lectured at Stanford Medical School, Rutgers and several other institutions. He educates farmers, consumers, legislators and government officials about the safety and nutritional benefits of raw dairy products.
McAfee recently spoke at Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation’s San Diego headquarters about the health benefits of raw milk and the politics behind its production. The 90-minute lecture is the latest lecture in PPNF’s educational videos. Access it here on YouTube. Read on to learn some of McAfee’s key points and why you may want to consider drinking raw milk in your pursuit of optimal health.
Raw Dairy Controversy
Because much of the public equates raw dairy with playing Russian Roulette with their health, risking bacterial illness or worse, unpasteurized milk is a controversial subject, often caught up in the political machinations of Washington, D.C., pitting the likes of McAfee and other raw dairy producers and raw milk consumers against conventional dairy (read: pasteurized) lobbyists and regulators from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Currently, only eight states in the U.S. allow the sale of raw milk. Even in the states that allow the sale of it, however, SWAT teams have raided purveyors of raw milk at gun-point, such as this Amish dairy farmer in Pennsylvania or this food co-op in Los Angeles. There have been dozens of other raids coordinated at the behest of the FDA, with agents sweeping in as if these farmer’s market merchants were selling weapon’s grade uranium or anthrax.
On the FDA’s website, it states that 1500 people from 1993 to 2006 became sick as a result of raw milk. That comes out to 115 people a year during that time frame. Over 40,000 people a year die in traffic accidents, yet there is no ban on cars. Almost 450,000 a year die from smoking in the U.S. and obviously there is still no federal ban on cigarettes.
By far, more people die every year from getting struck by lightning than consuming raw milk. In fact, according to McAfee, nobody in the U.S., in the modern era, has died from drinking grass-fed only raw-milk. By further comparison, McAfee states that one thousand people EACH DAY, in California, are stricken with campylobacter (bacteria) from eating tainted chicken.
A bio-diverse, living, whole, delicious food
Raw milk offers beneficial enzymes and healthy bacteria. It’s a natural, whole, real food, contrary to the irradiated, sterilized, boxed and preserved foods common in the American diet. Although the FDA prohibits McAfee’s Organic Pastures dairy from posting any testimonials on its website, plenty of testimonials about raw milk exist on websites such as the Raw Milk Institute documenting how people have turned their health around from consuming raw milk.
Why is raw milk so beneficial?
It’s only been in the last decade that researchers are discovering the mind-boggling intricacies of the immune system. And what/where is the immune system? It’s the billions of bacteria in the gut. We now know that approximately 80 percent of our immune system is located in the gut. It is very difficult to maintain optimal health when the gut is not properly populated with good bacteria.
McAfee, in his lecture at PPNF, discusses how researchers recently learned that bacteria seems to act democratically, that is, majority rules. If there’s a prevalence of healthy bacteria, the bacteria will “decide” to fight against harmful pathogens. It’s only when we colonize our guts with enough beneficial bacteria that our immune system activates, acting like a benevolent army, protecting us from foreign invaders.
Raw milk, since it is unpasteurized, contains a diverse portfolio of beneficial bacteria.
It’s important to consume raw milk from healthy cows, eating the grass that nature intended. Why? Eating grains and other unnatural foods causes the milk from cows to be nutritionally deficient in the vitamins and minerals needed to sustain life. A cow consuming grains is deficient in nutrients and will produce a nutritionally deficient milk. Furthermore, cows eating grains are loaded with antibiotics as they are usually kept in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and are not obtaining the nutrition they need from their food to keep healthy. Ideally, your dairy (and beef) consumption will come from cows that are 100% grass fed.
There’s a misconception that certain races, specifically African-Americans and Asians, are lactose intolerant, meaning these groups lack the enzyme, lactase, that breaks down milk sugar, lactose.
In reality, these groups, and the majority of the 30 percent of the U.S. lactose-intolerant population, are pasteurization-intolerant, not lactose-intolerant. Pasteurized milk is one of the most allergenic foods. Raw milk, according to McAfee, stabilizes cells and prevents allergies from forming; pasteurized milk kills bacteria at high heat and triggers, in McAfee’s words, an intracellular mass- cell degradation, which leads to allergies and their unpleasant symptoms such as phlegm and mucous.
The destruction of the cells creates a foodstuff that's not recognized by the body. What you then get is a degradation of the milk-sugar enzyme, lactase, hence the lactose intolerance. And allergies. And autoimmune disorders. In other words, pasteurized milk creates unpleasant immune responses to dead bacteria.
If you’d like to learn more about the latest raw milk news and its standing with federal health officials as well as the latest research on immunology and raw milk’s role in boosting immunity, watch McAfee’s lecture.