I’m now part of a revolution.
It took awhile for me to concede, but I’ve joined the ranks of rebels participating in what some states define as illicit activity.
I’ve turned my back on some nutritionists, weight loss experts and certain legislative bodies. Now, I do the unthinkable, the unimaginable. I buy and consume raw milk and raw milk products.
My actions fly in face of weight loss wisdom.
For years, most health experts and nutritionists have been preaching about the benefits of consuming low fat dairy as part of a healthy and balanced diet. And some even go further, suggesting low-fat dairy intake—along with a calorie-restrictive diet and exercise—promotes weight loss.
Since childhood, I’ve been drinking pasteurized milk in one form or another. However, after years of reading news headline after news headline and sifting through conflicting research, I’ve spurned convention and switched to clean, raw, fat-filled, creamy, unpasteurized milk.
As fitness experts throw up their hands in utter horror, I must admit that less than a year ago, I too believed that dairy fat was the devil. You couldn’t catch me with a glass of whole milk in hand. Even the idea of 2 percent was, pardon the pun, hard to swallow.
My decision to switch from pasteurized to raw evolved from a shift in my food philosophy. Suddenly, it became important to know where my food came from. Did the cows, chickens and lambs I eat grow up roaming a pasture? Were they feed the diet of their ancestors or a diet manipulated by the farm conglomerates? My concern not only stems from ethical reasons, but because their living conditions undoubtedly affect my food.
Their diet and treatment affects the omega-3 and omega-6 ratios, fat content and the amount of hormones and antibiotics injected to keep them healthy. Dairy from grain-fed cows mimic the traditional Western diet. It is very high in omega-6 fats but deficient in omega-3s. Even though both fats are essential, an improper imbalance can lead to disease and obesity. Conversely, grass-fed dairy contains the perfect ratio of both.
I haven’t always seen the issue so clearly.
Before I began my food journey, fitness concerns controlled my diet. Even though I ate fairly balanced, when I splurged, I chose non-fat and artificially sweetened products because I was misinformed. I drank diet pop and used fat-free salad dressings. I dabbed my potatoes with fat-free sour cream and searched for ice cream made with Splenda.
Even though I avoided the calories, I lost contact with the source of my food. Instead of whole foods, I consumed processed junk—milk included.
The raw milk I drink hasn’t been homogenized, frozen, or altered with additives, chemicals and light. It comes from 100 percent grass fed cows that are able to roam a substantial pasture as part of our CSA’s sustainable farming initiative.
Yes, it comes with calories and fat, but it also possesses essential nutrients including calcium, protein, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B12, magnesium and niacin. It also includes good bacteria destroyed by the pasteurization process and cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
In fact, it’s nutrient profile makes it a complete food, meaning it has everything humans need to survive. It’s no wonder it earned the nickname as the “foster mother of civilization.”