This interview was conducted by Joan Grinzi, RN, President of Elite Alternatives, Inc.
Q: Why is there such a controversy with dairy products?
Dairy products have always been a big issue because the traditional view by most physicians and dieticians on dairy products is that nobody gets enough and everybody should drink more milk and eat more dairy products because it prevents osteoporosis. The research studies do not seem to bear that out because the country that has the highest osteoporoses rate also happens to be the country that consumes more dairy products than any other country in the world, and that’s the United States.
When you look at the many research studies on the use of calcium for osteoporosis online at Medline, The National Academy of Sciences, and other sites, you’ll not only find that the supplements have not been able to reverse Osteoporosis, but in fact they are unable to stop it from progressing. The research shows that the extra calcium just slows it down.
Too much calcium or too much of anything (way more than the body needs) will generally cause a number of imbalances in the body which can, in turn, cause many other problems. I recently read an article that showed emotional problems were caused by too much calcium and we’ve got a tremendous amount of emotional problems in this country today. Many people are told to take 1,500 – 2,000 mg. of calcium when, according to a lot of the research, they don’t need it. Walter Willett, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School was asked by one of the doctors at a conference I attended how much calcium he thought people should be taking. He had looked at a lot of research on calcium, much of which he didn’t like at all. The best research he had seen was done in Europe . He believes that many people would benefit by taking an additional 500-600 mg. of calcium a day, which is way below what doctors are being told to prescribe. This is closer to what I believe people should be taking from what I’ve read. However, there are lots of other minerals that you must have or your body won’t be able to build bone with the calcium you are taking. Those include the correct amount (but not too much of): Silica, Boron, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Magnesium and possibly Strontium.
Q: Should everybody drink milk? Should everybody be drinking more milk? Should everybody be consuming more dairy?
A: We don’t really know. There certainly isn’t any reason to say “Absolutely, yes.” The next question is the argument between both traditional medicine and traditional dieticians who say that, in general, dairy is very good for you, and most holistic people who say dairy is very bad for you because it’s mucous producing. I’m a little bit tired of hearing the statement that dairy is mucous producing because if you take 1,000 people who, when they drink milk or eat dairy products, it stuffs them up, and if you take another 1,000 people who, when they’re exposed to either a cat or dog (or something else they’re allergic to) that also stuffs them up, nobody is going to say that cats and dogs are “mucous producing”. A lot of people are allergic to dairy, to cats, dogs or dust mites. The allergic reaction is called a histamine reaction in which case they get stuffed up, so a lot of people are allergic to milk! It’s not mucous producing any more than cats and dogs are mucous producing. A lot of people are simply allergic to it.
Q: Why are people allergic to milk?
A: That’s the big important piece of information that the public doesn’t know. In general, there isn’t anything in milk that a large percentage of the population is allergic to…until we start changing it and altering it, otherwise known as homogenization and pasteurization.
Raw milk shouldn’t be called raw milk , it should only be called milk. Nobody ever calls broccoli ” raw broccoli”, or cauliflower, “raw cauliflower”. They just call it ” broccoli” and “cauliflower”, and if you cook it, you say it’s “cooked” . We shouldn’t say “raw milk” , we should just call it “milk” if it’s raw, and “cooked milk” instead of “pasteurized” (because you are basically increasing the temperature to cook it). When you cook milk you destroy all the enzymes that are in the milk, and you also denature some of the proteins.
Pasteurization alters the milk. A lot of people are intolerant of some of the changes that have occurred in this food that otherwise wouldn’t have bothered them. From my own impromptu research with a couple of thousand students and patients over many years, approximately 8 out of every 10 people who have a problem with pasturized milk or dairy, do not have the problem when it is consumed RAW. Pasteurized dairy causes one of a variety of problems depending on the person. Many people do not realize that they do not have a problem with raw milk, they only have a problem after it’s been pasteurized and homogenized. So milk is not necessarily the issue. A lot of people know that they are lactose intolerant which is the sugar that occurs in milk. Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy. It doesn’t mean milk is not good for them. It simply means that the milk sugar, which is called lactose, can’t be properly assimilated by the body because the lactase enzyme is either not there or is in an insufficient amount and therefore causes a problem. Lo and behold Mother Nature knows that the human body generally doesn’t do well with lactose. So she put plenty of lactase into the milk so it wouldn’t cause a problem, but we kill it all by pasteurizing the milk. Most people who are lactose intolerant can handle raw milk (as long as they don’t use it to cook with). When you cook with raw milk, you are raising the temperature even higher than the heat of pasteurization, so obviously, it is no longer RAW.
Other people have a problem with denaturing of the protein in the milk, which, of course, does not occur until it is heated. This is another reason why people who otherwise could handle raw milk have a problem with pasteurized milk.
Raw milk, in general, is much higher in quality than pasteurized milk because the cows are much healthier. What the public also doesn’t realize is that the bacteria is still in the pasteurized milk, it’s just dead bacteria, and, of course, that’s not good for us either. It’s toxic. Killing something (bacteria) doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it dead.
I interviewed the owners of 3 dairies that have their milk pasturized. They agree that raw milk is much healthier and that is what they feed their own families!
The two raw milk dairies that I know of in California , Organic Pastures and Claravale, predominantly grass feed their animals, which mean that the animals are feeding on more of what nature wanted them to eat. They’re not being given grain, such as corn or other grains. Dairies feed their animals grain because it makes the cows produce more milk and it’s far too expensive to have sufficient land to enable the cows to be herded around to new pastures every few weeks for new grass. It also costs a great deal of money to be irrigating enough to grow adequate grass in dry areas like California . When the cows eat up all the grass in one pasture, you have to move them to another pasture and keep rotating them. It’s simply very expensive. It’s much easier to keep them in one place and feed them corn or some other grain twice a day. That’s not what cows were meant to eat so they’re not as healthy. A good quality, raw dairy will have them eating mostly grass and will supplement the grass with maybe some alfalfa hay, but not grains. Grass fed cows don’t have many health problems. Generally, if you have a good quality, raw milk, I believe it is a very healthy food (unless somebody truly has a milk allergy and it causes a problem). I don’t want anybody to eat a food that they think is causing them a problem no matter what it is…even if it is the best food in the world.
I do recommend raw dairy products to my patients and to my students, unless they tell me even the raw milk causes them a problem, which is not too often. So the big issue with milk is not whether milk is good for us or milk is bad for us, but the public doesn’t understand milk is not milk is not milk. There are all sorts of different types of milk and a lot of varieties of cows out there. Almost all of them in the dairy farms that are not organic are given B.S.T. hormones to make them produce milk for a longer period of time than they’re naturally supposed to.
In general, I think most people would probably benefit by adding some good quality, raw dairy to their diet. A lot of people don’t get enough protein, but I don’t require it.
The other big argument that I often hear is somebody will say that cow’s milk was meant for little cows just like human milk was meant for humans . We’ve decided all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and meats are good for us. Some people selectively pull milk out and say it is obvious that milk was made for baby calves because it comes out of cows and it’s not meant for humans. I could just as easily say it’s obvious that we are not supposed to fly or we would have been given wings and we’re not supposed to use electricity or it would have been put on this planet long before we would have figured it out, so it’s a very poor argument that milk from cows was meant only for calves. Maybe fruits and vegetables are really meant for birds and insects but not for humans?
Q: I heard that the molecules in cow’s milk are too large and therefore it’s hard to break down in the human body.
A: There are millions of people on earth that have been consuming raw cows milk and raw goats milk for thousands of years and have not only NOT been harmed by it but instead have benefited from it. There’s a book called The Untold Story of Milk, where the author, Dr. Ron Schmid, did an exceptional job of telling the entire story of milk: how milk used to me farmed and what happened to destroy these healthy practices in favor of the almighty dollar. In addition, The Milk Book, by Dr Douglas, also tells of using raw milk to help his patients get well. Possibly the use of raw milk was helpful because it was the only raw animal protein and the only raw animal fat these people had eaten, and the milk was an easy way to get that in his patients. A lot of people won’t eat raw beef or raw chicken but they’ll sip the raw milk and say, “Oh, this tastes like regular milk. OK, I can drink it to get my raw protein and raw fat.” I do not believe there’s any problem with the consumption of raw milk unless an individual is allergic to it, just like you could be allergic to bee stings or anything else.
Q: What’s the difference between pasteurization and homogenization?
A: When you pasteurize the milk, which is a word that was developed by Louis Pasteur, you are heating it up to a temperature that is sufficient to kill specific types of bacteria. Of course, it also kills all the good bacteria, all the acidophilus/bifidus. They basically did this because tuberculosis might be in the milk and so they began heating it up to a temperature that would kill the tuberculosis bacteria. That’s what pasteurization is. It is heating the milk up to a specific temperature or higher. In the last 10 yrs. or so in order to kill even more bacteria and make the milk last even longer on the shelf, they now have ultra-pasteurization . They also have some things that are heated even higher than that so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated but can be kept on the shelf. I always like people to understand that preservation is the opposite of digestion and assimilation. So anything that we do to a food to preserve it or make it last longer is diametrically opposite to what we need in our body, which is to be able to break it down easily and assimilate it. To promote health, I don’t want to consume foods that are better preserved. I want things that are going to rot quickly. I just want to eat them before they do!
Regarding homogenization, milk is not homogeneous. Milk is supposed to separate where the butter fat or cream comes up to the top. The poor American public should never have to do something like shake their milk. Maybe that will make them hurt their arm or cause them to get a muscle strain, so we, therefore, have to make everything more convenient so that it doesn’t have to be shaken. This is the same thing they do with peanut butter. They put in partially hydrogenated (artery clogging, cancer causing) fats so it won’t separate and the oils won’t come up to the top anymore. That’s what they did with homogenization. They break the molecules up into smaller particles to make them so small that they will no longer separate. They’ve again changed the milk . There are some people that believe that this releases a chemical called Xanthine Oxidase or XO which makes the homogenized milk more cancer causing and that’s very possible. There is an entire report written about that by Frank Oski. It’s all for convenience so we don’t have to worry about milk separating anymore. I drink raw milk every day. I have for the last 10-15 years and it’s not like some things where you have to shake it and shake it. You just shake it one quick time and it instantly goes back into solution. To treat the milk with things that may cause us problems just so the poor American public won’t have to shake it once I think is totally ludicrous. I don’t think there’s really been any good research to show how many detrimental health affects may be caused by taking a natural product such as milk and homogenizing it.
Then there’s organic, pasteurized milk . It’s organic, not raw, and it is also homogenized. All the problems are still there except that it was not given hormones and antibiotics. They’ve removed one of the processes that are done to it (no hormones or antibiotics) which, of course, makes it better, but it’s very important for people to understand that raw and organic have nothing to do with one another. Those are two very separate words. Raw means raw. Raw means it’s never been cooked. Raw means it came out of the cow that way, whereas organic means that it meets whatever the local and state organic standards are as far as the cow not being fed things that have pesticides or herbicides in them and not being given injections of different chemicals and hormones. But you can take that organic milk and still pasteurize it. It’s still organic. It’s just organic pasteurized. A lot of people ask, if they can’t get raw milk, “Is organic, pasteurized milk as good?” The answer is absolutely NO. The easiest way for anybody with a dairy to prove this themselves is to take 20 calves that have been recently born from cows who were raised on organic food, take half of them away from their mother and feed them raw milk from some other mother’s udders. Then take the other half and feed them milk from another mother’s udders (sound’s like a tongue twister) except you pasteurize it first before you feed it to them. Within a few months, many of the calves on the pasteurized, organic milk will start becoming ill. Some may die because it’s no longer a wholesome food for the calf after you have pasteurized it, even though it was organic . Organic just has to do with what is not in it (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc) and raw means it hasn’t been cooked.
Q: What happens to the protein in the milk that has been cooked?
A: It is denatured and the enzymes are destroyed. The same thing happens with other protein foods. For example, steak has some protease in it which is a protein digesting enzyme. All foods that are fresh and ripe (as opposed to heated or cooked) have enzymes, and in general, the enzymes that Nature put in the food will help you to better digest that food unless we destroy them by cooking.
Milk protein is called whey which is denatured when cooked. Whenever we cook something, we slowly begin to break it down (depending on the length of cooking time and the temperature it reaches) or we denature some of the amino acids (the building blocks of the protein). Some amino acids are more heat stable than others.
Q: If the proteins are destroyed then you aren’t getting the benefits of milk like you think you are?
A: Well, you are certainly getting some of the benefits, but you’re not getting all of them. Every time we cook a protein, the amino acids that are the least heat stable start becoming harmed more quickly. There’s an entire book written on the gross destruction of one very important amino acid, L-Glutamine. It is one of the more unstable (or less stable) amino acids. It’s a very important amino acid for gut/intestinal function. Since it’s one of the more unstable amino acids and because people eat most all of their proteins cooked, the book claims that a lot of people are deficient in L-Glutamine, which is one of the reasons for all of the leaky gut syndromes. It’s very possible.
Q: You mentioned earlier that people need 500-600 mg. of calcium per day. Is that over and above what they get in their food?
A: Yes, as an extra supplement over and above what they get in their food if they are eating a decent diet. Any good multiple vitamin should already have that amount of calcium in it, so many people, if they take a really good multi-vitamin, do not need a separate calcium supplement.
Q: How much more calcium is in a glass of whole RAW milk?
A: The amount of calcium in raw milk and the amount of calcium in a glass of pasteurized milk is not going to change because pasteurization (or heating) does not destroy minerals. They remain the same. That’s one of the good things about cooking vegetables. We don’t cook the minerals out of them. However, we destroy many of the vitamins depending on how heat stable they are. We also kill all of the enzymes, but we don’t kill the minerals. A mineral can’t be killed just by heat.
As far as how much calcium is in milk, 8 fluid ounces of whole milk with 3.7% butterfat has 227 mg. of calcium. If somebody drank two 8 ounces of whole milk a day, they’d be getting close to 500 mg.
Q: If a person is getting more calcium than they need due to drinking a lot of milk, can it be harmful?
A. No there shouldn’t be enough of anything in there to hurt them unless they’re allergic to milk.
Q: I understand they have different standards and allow different bacteria counts on pasteurized milk verses raw milk. Is this true?
A. Milk standards are set by the milk or dairy commission in each individual state so there could be 40 – 50 different standards around the country, or they could be similar.
Q: But I heard that they were more strict with the raw milk and therefore, because of that, there is less bacteria in the raw milk.
A: There’s one place that I am aware of that had a stricter standard for raw milk. When the Medical Milk Commission was in Los Angeles , CA. (they disbanded awhile ago, although they may be starting up again), they had a stricter set of standards for raw milk verses pasteurized milk.
Q: How bad is the dead bacteria in pasteurized milk?
A: Dead bacteria in pasteurized milk is not healthy but it will not kill you. It is just one more toxin to add to the thousands we are exposed to every day. Any substance which is not a food, that we consume when we eat, may cause some type of harmful effect. When we take in chemicals that are in our environment or when we’re exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals, our body has to detoxify them. Any of those are going to cause a problem. What people simply need to understand is why we are pasteurizing milk. The purpose of pasteurizing milk is to kill any undesirable bacteria and organisms that are in the milk. Now, if there weren’t any undesirable organisms in the milk (clean milk from grass fed, disease free cows) but you decide to pasteurize it anyway, you will kill all the enzymes, denature many of the proteins, and cause some damage to the milk. On the other hand, if you’re pasteurizing the milk because of the overcrowding of the animals that are being fed unnatural grains and you want to get rid of undesirable organisms in your milk, now you’ve killed the bacteria and are drinking milk with dead, undesirable organisms (in addition to denaturing the protein and killing the enzymes). A lot of the toxic nature of these undesirable organisms is still there, they simply aren’t alive or infectious. I have to say that if I had to (I’m glad that I don’t) consume this milk with bacteria, even I would rather the bacteria be dead.
Q: Why did we start pasteurizing milk?
A: There’s a fabulous book with all the information and details that I mentioned earlier: The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, Naturopath. It explains that it all started with commercial farming, with the overcrowding of the cows, feeding them grains, etc. People started getting sick from their milk, so rather than going back to the more natural way which would cost too much, they found that you could just pasteurize the milk and kill all the bad bacteria. Of course, it made it a very unhealthy milk, but at least it’s not going to make people sick from live disease producing organisms. It’s all in the book. It’s a fabulous book. They are very specific as to what went on. It’s a big book with over 400 pages.
Q: People will ask me, “How do I know that the raw milk that I get from the store is safe and that my kids won’t die from it?”
A: The first thing I would want them to do (which most people won’t do because they don’t want to take the time to find the research or make a phone call) is to call up the Center for Disease Control and find out the statistics and the number of cases per year there are of people getting sick from drinking pasteurized milk versus raw milk from a commercial dairy.
The other thing I have people do just as an experiment (because it’s very simple to do) is to buy a container of grass fed raw milk and a container of the best quality pasteurized milk you can find, which of course will be an organic brand. DO NOT OPEN EITHER CONTAINER. Put them in the back of your refrigerator and leave them there for 4 weeks. At the end of the 4 weeks, open up the raw milk. Because the acidophilus/bifidus are in there, it has lacto fermented. In other words, it has done the same thing that yogurt does, but it didn’t have the exact same kind of bacteria in it and it didn’t have the same starter culture so it hasn’t jelled up. It has soured the way yogurt sours and it won’t get anybody sick. Sour milk isn’t going to hurt you, it just has a whole bunch of the lacto fermenting bacteria in it, which are actually beneficial for you. It will just taste sour. Some people actually do let their raw milk go sour because they like the taste of soured milk.
Now open up the pasteurized, organic milk. You will find that it has not gone sour because it didn’t have any live lactobacillus in it. They were all killed by pasteurization, but pasteurization doesn’t actually kill all the bad bacteria, so the milk has (sort of) been rotting as the bad bacteria break it down. Instead of souring, it has turned rancid. The bacteria that are in there can make you sick. You’ll be able to smell the difference.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.