Ode to the Cow

Okay. Here’s a controversial one. . . what happened to our milk? A larger and more salient question concerning our diet, nutrition, and physical health may be what happened to our food supply? Let’s look at dairy products.

Dairy, glistening milk, savory butter, thick cream, and satiating cheese. How about the cultured variety, yogurt and keifer? Then, there are fermented curds and whey and don’t forget cottage cheese. I eat dairy raw as much as possible with the exception of the occasional heavy whipping cream dosed for my Starbuck’s coffee. Did you know that you can leave raw milk out on the counter for three days, consume it, and gain health benefits? I didn’t until a few months ago when I learned how to make homemade cottage cheese. The separated whey can be used for fermenting vegetables like sauerkraut.

Why do the vast majority of us avoid raw dairy? Is it because milk has undergone demonization by the dairy industry, FDA, and other authoritative entities under the premise of public health? Is it really that dangerous? Maybe we should ask the Masai tribe. There is plenty of research on these people consuming large amounts raw milk and meat “with little or no evidence of atherosclerosis or heart disease“. However one chooses to view this controversy, changing the way humans have consumed dairy for tens of thousands of years has a causal relationship wtih our health.

Milk consumption has undergone dramatic changes in composition and production in the last 200 years. We have moved from milking our own cows and goats to strict oversight of production from the feeding of cattle to dispensing at the store front. Current mechanisms of dairy mass-production may very well be antiquated and more hazardous to our health than consuming raw and unprocessed dairy from small family farms. Yes, one can drink contaminated milk (raw or processed) and get acutely ill. The media coverage is enough to scare anyone into thinking raw milk is akin to poison. Just review the recent news about FDA approved monitored food products 1, 2, 3 and see the inherent dangers associated with governmental regulation of food products in general. A lot of this is new to me and may require revision in the future. In the mean time, I hope to describe some of the basics I’ve discovered and attribute my newly found health.

How does raw dairy differ from processed dairy (pasteurized, homogenized, or ultra-homogenized)? Here are some of the differences.

1. Pharmaceutical and genetic influences: Coming from pasture raised cows, diary is absent of contaminants from low-grade antibiotic therapy given to feed-lot cows. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and its cumulative effects, in addition to genetically modified feed is also absent. The hormone rBGH stimulates insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is associated with breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

2. Nutritional Attributes: Pasteurization destroys vital enzymes. Many people complain of being lactose intolerance. Milk contains a disaccharide (milk sugar) called lactose. There is an inherent inability in some people breakdown lactose as we age. This may be due to our decreased dependence on milk in early development or there may be other explanations such as a genetic predisposition. What ever the cause, with lactose intolerance our intestinal villi do not secrete enough lactase (an enzyme) to breakdown lactose into monosaccharides, glucose and galactose. Once broken down, glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream and galactose continues to break down further into glucose for transport, again to the blood.

3. Raw milk also contains bacteria-friendly lactobacilli to that breaks down lactose. Pasteurization destroys this bacteria altering milk composition. So, people who are lactose intolerant are in reality pasteurization intolerant. They can often consume raw dairy products without difficulty, especially fermented dairy since the bacteria digests lactose during fermentation.

4. Phosphatase, an essential enzyme utilized in calcium absorption in conjunction with vitamin D (found in raw cream) is destroyed during pasteurization contributing to decreased mineralization processes needed for continued osteogenesis.

5. Catalase, an anti-oxidizing enzyme is also destroyed in pasteurization. Catalase is used to deactivate hydrogen peroxide and toxins including phenols and alcohols. Combine this with the increased bioavailability resulting from the the activating process (from fractured lipid globules) of Xanthine oxidase (XO), a reactive oxygen species (ROS) synergized in the presence of testosterone has been shown to be atherosclerotic especially for men and the soup for heart disease is beginning to be prepared. During homogenization, fractioning lipid globules can trigger a free-radical cascade potentially stimulating allergic responses, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.

6. Perhaps the least known and most profound benefits come from application of its anti-oncogenic properties. Dr. Burzinski, a physician and scientist, currently doing multiple FDA phase II clinical trials extracted four antineoplaston (ANP) ingredients from whey, milk, feta and farmer’s cheese that have been shown to deactivate oncogenes and activate tumor suppressor genes. They are 3-phenylactylamino-2, 6-piperidinedione, phenylacetylglutamine, and phenylacetylisoglutamine. If you want to learn about his research of treating cancer a documentary can be found here. This anti-cancer therapy is generally considered more effective and less toxic than both chemotherapy and radiation treatment.