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In most states, raw milk is hard to come by.
For example, in California you can find raw milk on market shelves. Other states, like Wyoming, outlaw raw milk entirely.
Most states fall somewhere in between. They allow herd shares or sale on the farm with a permit; the sale of raw milk as pet food is also permitted. As raw milk grows in popularity, more states are slowly gaining more rights to sell raw milk.
Raw milk is available on market shelves in California, but it is illegal in other states. If you're worried about the raw dairy controversy, you can enjoy raw milk safely at home by culturing it into kefir with the Kefir Starter.
Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized, a process that uses heat to kill bacteria and other microbes living in the milk. According to supporters of pasteurized milk, harmful bacteria can even show up in healthy animals when milk is contaminated with animal feces or unclean milking equipment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions against raw milk from cows, goats, and sheep. Infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are warned to stay away from raw milk.
The CDC claims that:
“Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you. Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Less commonly, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, and even death.”
Advocates of raw milk will argue otherwise.
For example, the Weston A. Price Foundation heads A Campaign for Real Milk, which promotes access to raw milk from pasture-fed animals.
The Campaign for Real Milk encourages pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies, and children to consume raw milk.
This is because raw milk from healthy animals contains compounds that can fight infection and support the immune system, similar to human milk. Raw milk is also filled with good microbes that may protect against the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
As Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. in California, explains:
“Raw milk isn’t going to go away, even though the federal government would like it to.” (1)
You see, even though McAfee is the owner of the largest raw-milk dairy in California, it hasn’t been easy meeting the demand for raw milk, cream, butter, and cheese. What was once a small movement has become a nationwide push for raw milk.
This is one of the reasons why McAfee founded the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI):
“People are searching for local raw milk. But when they go to the farm, or they go to the store, they really don't know what they're getting.”
Without national standards for the production of raw milk, it will continue to be seen as a health threat.
Working with scientists and health professionals, the RAWMI’s standards address the details of raw milk production—like the cleanliness of milk bottles and the distance between the well and the manure pile. (2) While this doesn’t mean that large agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are on board, it is a step in the right direction.
If all the risk associated with raw milk has you feeling leery, consider culturing raw milk into kefir.
A kefir starter culture contains beneficial bacteria and yeast that crowd out and even kill harmful microbes. The beneficial bacteria and yeast in kefir also consume the natural sugars in raw milk—making it easier to digest for those who cannot tolerate lactose.
While some consider raw milk kefir a true superfood, it isn’t for everyone and is not on the first stage of The Body Ecology Diet; the body can mount an immune response against dairy, especially when the gut is leaky and inflamed. Sore joints, eczema, and acne are just a few reactions that the body can have when there is intolerance to the proteins in milk.
For those on stage one of The Body Ecology Diet, we suggest coconut water kefir. Kefir made with the water of young coconuts is an important part of The Body Ecology Diet. It inoculates the gut with dairy-loving bacteria and yeast.
Unless you live in California, it may be hard to find raw milk in your state. Yet the raw milk movement continues to increase in popularity, and more states are gaining the rights to sell raw milk. Raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria and microbes living in milk. While the CDC discourages drinking raw milk from cows, goats, and sheep, the Weston A. Price Foundation encourages pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies, and children to consume raw milk.
Raw milk from healthy animals is rich in compounds that fight infection and support immunity, similar to human milk. Raw milk also contains beneficial microbes to protect against harmful bacterial overgrowth in the body.
If you want to enjoy raw milk safely, follow these important Body Ecology tips:
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