Is All Milk The Same? (Nope!)

The milk in the dairy aisle may look alike but appearances can be deceiving. From the nutritional value to the impact on the environment and the welfare of the dairy animals, there are many variations.

You may be choosing organic so you and your family are not subjected to the chemicals, antibiotics and synthetic hormones often used at traditional dairy farms. But did you know that most organic milk is ultra pasteurized so it will have an extended shelf life to be able to travel long distances? Ultra pasteurized or UHT (ultra-high temperature) milk has been heated to 280 degrees or more, approximately 120 degrees higher than the regular pasteurization method. On the Weston A. Price Foundation web site Linda Joyce Forristal writes the following, “According to Lee Dexter, microbiologist and owner of White Egret Farm goat dairy in Austin, Texas, ultra-pasteurization is an extremely harmful process to inflict on the fragile components of milk. Dexter explains that milk proteins are complex, three-dimensional molecules, like tinker toys. They are broken down and digested when special enzymes fit into the parts that stick out. Rapid heat treatments like pasteurization, and especially ultra-pasteurization, actually flatten the molecules so the enzymes cannot do their work. If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from ‘leaky gut,’ a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair.”

In the same article Ms. Forristal states, “While the processing of UHT milk creates palatability problems and possible health risks, so does it packaging.” She references a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that revealed measurable levels of endocrine disrupting substances that leaked from the plastic of the containers.

The non-organic milk in the dairy aisle may come from a factory farm where large numbers of animals are housed in unnatural conditions to maximize production. On the food and water watch web site I found the following, “Throughout the Midwest and West, there has been an explosion in large dairy operations over the last decade. They are associated with numerous environmental and health hazards, including air pollution. California state regulators have named dairy cows as the leading air pollution culprit in the San Joaquin Valley–home to 2.5 million dairy cows. As a result of having some of the worst air quality in the nation, 16 percent of children in the region have asthma, three times the national average. At many of these factory farms, in an attempt to increase the profitability, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is used to make the cow produce more milk. This hormone causes health problems in cows and increases antibiotic use on dairies. While the effect on humans consuming rBGH milk is not clear, studies suggest that rBGH is linked to increased cancer risk.”

For nutritious milk that is sustainably produced, choose local farms that have grass-fed cows. Cows raised on a natural diet of pasture have five times more cancer-fighting fat called Conjugated Linoeic Acid (CLA) than milk from confinement dairies. New studies are showing that CLA may be the most potent cancer fighter inour diet. Researchers aslo discovered that women with more CLA in their tissues had a 74% lower risk of breast cancer than women with the least CLA. Milk from grass-fed cows have higher levels of essential body fat or EFA’s that cannot bemade in your body – Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. They lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, autominnue disorders, allergies, diabetes, obesity, dementia and other mental disorders. Grass-fed milk has an increased level of Beta Carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. This vitamin bonus comes from fresh pasture that has more of these nutrients than grain or hay.

At Midas Touch you will find milk, raw-milk cheese, yogurt, and ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Their milk comes from local farmers who have grass-fed cows and we receive it directly from the creamery each Tuesday. The milk is pasteurized but not homogenized so the cream naturally rises to the top of the glass bottles.

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