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should we eat dairy

Theres a hell of a lot of debate and controversy surrounding dairy. People become emotional about it and have very black and white views. They take sides. I have a more relaxed and balanced stance. The main question in the debate is Should We Eat Dairy? My answer to that is YES…BUT…

  1. Only if you want to!!! If you hate it, don’t eat it. Your bones won’t crumble if you don’t take dairy. There are plenty other food sources for the nutrition it offers.
  2. You MUST choose high quality dairy if you’re going to eat it.

Today I’m mostly looking at number 2. Choosing High Quality Dairy and the amazing health benefits that offers. I’m not arguing the case for or against eating dairy, that decision is entirely yours…

Like I said, if you don’t like it don’t eat it but don’t be scared to eat it either, you just need to find the right dairy.

You definitely don’t need to eat it from a nutritional point of view.

You can get the same nutrition from other sources if you eat a healthy, balanced diet. There are many cultures across the world with zero dairy in their diets and they do perfectly well thank you.

Its about a 6 minute read, Here’s a brief outline:

  • Is it ‘unnatural’ to drink milk
  • About Dairy
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • The Fat Question
  • Mainstream Milk and Dairy
  • Organic Milk and Dairy
  • Grass Fed Milk and Dairy
  • Raw Milk and Dairy
  • Benefits of Raw Dairy
  • Dangers of Eating Raw Dary
  • My Personal Relationship with Dairy

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Is It Unnatural to Drink Milk?

A common argument used against dairy is that its unnatural for us as human adults to be consuming cows milk and its products. They argue that milk is indeed a perfect food…for cows not humans. I do also take onboard the argument that we are the only species to consume milk after infancy.  Milk is for babies not adults, that’s true.

But 

As a species we do a lot of things that aren’t all that ‘natural but are still deemed pretty healthy:- Running long distances for no reason other than personal fitness, lifting heavy weights in order to look good, cooking our food , dressing our raw vegetables, we’re the only species that makes green smoothies, we’re the only species to take vitamins and nutrients in little plastic capsules…

We’re the only species to eat processed food…(well apart from seagulls, rats…😂

Is it more ‘natural’ to eat a highly processed tofu burger than it is to drink milk?

Well that depends on the milk you choose…

About Dairy

By Dairy I mean cows milk and the products derived or made from it such as milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, ice cream, kefir milk…

Just How Nutritious is Milk?

Quality Milk is truly brimming full of easily absorbed nutrition.  

Its a complete meal in itself.

Nutrition in Quality Milk

Lactose Intolerance

On the downside a whopping 75% of the worlds population cannot digest milk properly (they are actually intolerant to lactose the naturally occurring sugar found in milk).

However, please note:  It’s generally Asians, Africans and South Americans that are lactose intolerant.  People of European descent can normally tolerate lactose just fine. 

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:

  • Sinus problems
  • postnasal drip
  • Headache
  • Nausea ,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Bloating

Lactose Intolerance and other Dairy Products

Just because you are lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you can’t eat dairy although it probably means you shouldn’t drink milk. 

If you suffer when eating or drinking anything of course you should stop eating it.

 But 

You may still be able to eat butter, hard, high fat cheese and cream which are all very high in fat. Its not the dairy fat that holds the lactose so any these may still be tolerated.  In cultured products like yoghurt and milk kefir, some of the lactose is consumed by the live beneficial bacteria so again you may be able to tolerate these. Click for more on Dairy and Lactose Intolerance.

Always eat full fat dairy of the very highest quality for the best digestibility.

The Fat Question

One of the best things about milks’ nutrition is its essential fatty acids.  For this reason…

Always consume full fat milk to benefit fully from the healthy fats it contains.

All cows milk contains different levels of fat and is completely dependant on the individual cow and what it has eaten. Skimmed and semi skimmed milks have a set amount of fat % and in order to maintain this standardisation fat is removed from the milk and then reintroduced at the correct amounts

It’s just more unnecessary processing.

In case you don’t already know this, we need healthy fats in our diet.  Skimmed and semi skimmed milk are not the ‘healthy’ choices they are marketed as.  Quite the reverse.  But even if low fat was the healthy choice, which it’s not, the difference in percentage between full fat milk and skimmed is 3%, !!!  Yes 3% , sounds like a marketing trick to me!!! (Actually the fat standardisation varies from country to country, but this is fairly typical)

Mainstream Milk and Dairy

By mainstream milk I mean the regular stuff that you can buy in the shops and supermarkets.

I wouldn’t touch that with a bargepole!!!…

Why?

  • It’s highly processed.
  • The animals it comes from are unhealthy and don’t have a good life
  • The milk may contain chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones (via the unhealthy animals)
  • Missing nutrients -The pasteurisation process destroys many of the nutrients.
  • Homogenisation – another additional process which changes the nature of the natural fats. I like my foods natural not denatured, this may cause digestability problems. 

Organic Milk and Dairy

Organic milk from the supermarkets is still missing lots of valuable nutrients because of the pasteurisation process. It may also be homogenised.  However…at least you don’t need to worry about added nasties like growth hormones, chemicals and antibiotics.  Organic cows also eat more grass and it’s an undisputed fact that the more grass eaten the higher the nutritional profile.

100% Grass fed Milk and Dairy

Grass fed cows milk has a superior nutritional profile than mainstream.  The more grass the cows eat the higher the nutrition so 100% is the definitely the ‘creme de la creme” 😀 It is particularly higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and protein.

Raw Milk and Dairy

Controversial but has by far the  superior nutritional profile.

 Raw milk is minimally processed and controversial because it is not pasteurised.  Milk is pasteurised to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.  The problem with this is that it also destroys all the beneficial bacteria plus many of the fantastic nutrients as well.

We’ll look at the dangers shortly but first let’s talk about the benefits. 

When we talk about drinking/eating raw dairy it’s a different ball game.  

It has to be Raw, Organic and 100% grass fed. This stuff is nutritional gold.  

Benefits of raw Dairy

  • Full of beneficial Enzymes. Heating (pasteurisation) destroys them.
  • Proteins are 100% available. Heat destroys many.
  • Full of Essential Fatty acids which are all fully available to your body in raw milk. Many essential fatty acids are destroyed in pasteurisation.
  • All vitamins in raw milk 100% available.  Water soluble vitamins are lost in pasteurisation as are some fat soluble ones. Vitamin K2 which is very important for calcium metabolism and heart/bone health is not found in pasteurised milk.
  • 100% of milks minerals are available.  Pasteurisation can reduce minerals by up to 50%.
  • Raw contains more CLA (conjugated Linoleic acid) than pasteurised and is only found in grass fed. Please click here for more of the health benefits of CLAs
  • Raw milk actually lasts longer because of the ‘good’ bacteria it contains
  • Buying from a quality, trusted source makes danger from bacterial infection minimal.
  • Claims have been made that consuming raw dairy can clear up asthma, eczema, hay fever and other allergies. These are made from individuals, not scientific research…

‘Dangers’ of Eating Raw Dairy

Let me start by saying that YES there would be a huge danger in consuming raw milk FROM CONVENTIONAL COWS.  Of course there is you would be eating the milk of an animal kept in cramped conditions ripe for passing on bacterial infection, that’s why they pump them full of antibiotics all the time.

Of course they have to pasteurise the milk of already unhealthy, diseased animals.  They couldn’t possibly sell that for human consumption.  I wouldn’t touch it pasteurised never mind raw.

But

If you are buying raw milk from a quality source that look after their cows and the whole process meticulously then, in my personal opinion, the danger is minimal and the benefits outweigh it. If you do want to consume raw dairy just make sure it is organic and grass fed and from a quality, trusted source. I will give some hints on sources later.

These are my personal opinions after doing the research to decide whether I personally will go ahead and eat raw dairy. YOU MUST do you own research before making a decision. There are a lot of articles from leading bodies warning against it…

Below are some articles discussing this subject. One from the Uk and one from USA.

Click here for a very balanced article by The Guardian

click here for an article from the world famous Weston Price Organisation 

Personally , Ive been using it for around 6 years now without one incident.

If like me you’re not much of a milk drinker but want to enjoy the amazing health benefits of raw milk you can eat raw  cream for example with strawberries or you can eat raw butter.  Yummy!!!

Churning my raw cream butter.

Sourcing Raw Milk, Cream and Butter

Due to strict regulations, you will not find raw milk, cream or butter in UK supermarkets. You will find raw milk cheeses though, particularly in Waitrose.

 In England and Wales you can buy raw milk, cream and butter direct from the farmer.  This is great news.   Many of these farmers sell online so if you don’t happen to live near one you can still get some.

In some countries such as Australia there is a total ban. In Scotland also but you can buy your raw milk online from England and have it delivered. If you live somewhere like this and want access to raw milk don’t despair, there are lots of raw milk campaign movements going on around the world. They seem to be winning their battles. Just google raw, organic grass fed milk, and you will find them.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed by an Australian resident that you can now buy raw dairy direct from the farmer. I’d love some more confirmation of this from Australians out there.

I currently buy from Gazegill farm in the north of England.

There are several farmers supplying quality raw milk in England , just google raw milk, you may find a farmer nearby that you can go and visit for yourself.

If you’re in the USA please use the link below to help you find a trusted supplier.

https://secure.westonaprice.org/cvweb_weston/cgi-bin/utilities.dll/openpage?wrp=chapter_dir.htm

Milk -Many farmers are online and  do a milk delivery service. 

Cream  – The best cream is in the spring, around May when the grass is freshly grown.  This is when the nutritional value is at premium  and, luckily, when there is plenty cream around to buy.  I buy around 6 litres of spring cream and freeze it for future butter making to last me the year.  Freezing the cream does not harm any of the nutrients. 

Butter – You may be able to find a farmer that makes and sells raw butter but it will be much cheaper, easier and more fun to make it yourself from the raw cream.

You can freeze your raw milk and cream without any destruction of nutrients.

My Personal Relationship With Dairy

I’m not a milk drinker and never really have been. . I don’t really like the taste.  When I need milk in my day to day life for example in chia seed breakfast, oats , hot drinks etc, I use plant based milks, mostly coconut or almond milk, which I make myself. The cover photo of me is in fact my home made coconut milk. You can find out how I do it in this blog post.

  I don’t  use shop bought processed plant based milks. 

I do however, 100% believe in the amazing  nutritional benefits of raw dairy and for that reason I do make my own absolutely delicious homemade butter out of 100% grass fed raw organic cream.  I also eat the cream with fresh fruit sometimes as a dessert.  

The butter means that I have a constant source of this valuable food stuff at my finger tips at all times, all year round. I also slightly culture the butter which adds a whole new dimension of health benefits but that’s another story for a future post.

Once per week I will have organic cheddar cheese  in an omelette.  

As a general rule that’s it.  So really I don’t eat very much dairy but I do eat it and when I do I’m generally eating the very best.

Associated reading

Amazingly Healthy Food

How to Eat Healthy 3 Simple Rules

Why Eat Organic

Healthy Glowing Skin, Some of the best benefits of Eating Raw (produce)

healthy and loving it online course
click picture to go to Healthy and Loving It course information page.

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