This is Part 2 of a three-part series on raw milk.
Last week I attended a meeting given by the Santa Barbara chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) on raw milk. The guest speaker was Mark McAfee, CEO of Organic Pastures. If you are following this series on raw milk, you’ve already learned a bit about the differences between factory farmed milk and raw milk produced for direct consumption (click here for Part 1). This is Part 2 of the series.
We we are all bacteriosapiens. 80% of the human immune system is made from protective gut bacteria colonies. Once you discover what you are microbiologically, killing bacteria become “suicidal.”
- text from one of Mark McAfee’s slides
When Mark wanted his audience to understand the importance of good bacteria in the body, did he just tell us? No, instead he gave us the gift of fecal transplants. Curious? Ya, I was too. Mark used a story from the New York Times about a woman who suffered from a vicious gut infection, Clostridium difficile. Doctors tried an assortment of antibiotics, but nothing worked. She lost 60 pounds, wore diapers for her constant diarrhea, was wheelchair bound, and on her way to certain death. Dr. Alexander Khoruts tested the bacteria in her intestines and found that there was no healthy bacteria present. He decided to do something drastic and performed a little-known procedure called fecal transplantation. Yes, it’s what you think. He took the poop from her husband, mixed it with some saline, and put it in her colon. Within hours, her husband’s bacteria began doing its magic and her diarrhea vanished. Within 2 weeks it cured her disease! I find this article utterly fascinating as it so interestingly highlights the incredible importance of healthy intestinal flora. Touche Mark. Touche.
Good bacteria is essential in the body and this is one of the reasons why foods and supplements with probiotics are becoming so mainstream. You can find yogurt, keifer, and probiotic smoothies at any grocery store (beware of all the extra sweeteners and colors – go for the plain and organic versions and add your own maple syrup and/or fruit…sorry, couldn’t help interjecting). So where does raw milk play a role in all this? Here is where Mark’s passion really shines as he explained that raw milk contains good bacteria, enzymes and probiotics that the pasteurization process would have otherwise killed off. When you are drinking raw milk, it is raw and alive. Here is a slide from Mark’s presentation (I apologize for the poor image quality) explaining the nutritional differences:
Dairy allergies and sensitivities are extremely common, especially in children. Most raw milk activists, Mark included, believe this is due to drinking pasteurized milk which lacks all the naturally found beneficial elements of raw milk. “94% of people who self-diagnose a milk allergy, can drink raw milk,” says Mark. He was highly animated when talking about all his customers who thought themselves lactose intolerant, but found they had absolutely no problems consuming his raw diary products. Here are a few health-related statements found on the Organic Pastures handout, Our Raw Milk Facts:
- Not commonly associated with Lactose Intolerance like pasteurized milk and dairy products
- Not associated with “milk allergies”
- Easily digestible by nearly everyone!
- SUPER immune system rebuilding
If you read the FDA’s The Dangers of Raw Milk brochure,they claim that, “Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value…Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.” Hmmm, notice how they don’t’ say anything about the helpful bacteria? Next up: “Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.” Tell that to the hundreds of Mark’s Organic Pastures’ customers who say otherwise. By this point in the presentation, I could feel my previous hesitation and squeamishness surrounding raw milk dissipating. Everything Mark was saying just made sense to me.
Join us tomorrow for the third and final installment of this series on raw milk. Part 3 will investigate the negative sides of dairy pasteurization, my overview of Mark’s presentation, and how you can find raw milk in your state. Have I piqued your interest?
Resources & Other Reading:
Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund
(battle over access to raw milk & state-by-state raw milk laws)
How Microbes Defend and Define Us
(NYT article mentioned above)