Friday, January 22, 2010

The Cow -- Part 2

Remember what I alluded to yesterday?  That you could buy "what appeared" to be milk at the grocery store.  First of all, may I be so bold as to declare: it's not real milk. What appears to be milk is really water and reconsituted non-fat dry milk solids.  Fortified with vitamin D.  Take a look at the label next time you buy it.  You'll be amazed as I was when I first discovered the "ingredients" (ingredients?) in milk!

Over the last decade we've all been admonished against drinking anything but store-bought low fat milk.  Scare tactics have discouraged us from even touching anything remotely resembling "raw" milk.  Even the term "raw milk" has a rather odious cast to it.  How about "fresh" milk? The implication nowadays is that consuming dairy products --"raw" and otherwise--is dangerous and threatens good health. We have a sort of Big Pharma sponsored cholesterol mania in this country as television ads pour over us nightly with dire threats of imminent heart attacks interspersed with loss of libido!

For years, margarine has been the recommended "spread" over butter; and a more recent wrinkle, ultra-pasteurization--is sold to us as the ultimate in bacterial elimination, but instead, has managed to kill most of the essential vitamins and minerals in natural milk.  UP accomplishes shelf-life extension; it is not for benefit of ensuring a safe drink.  As the number of dairies has shrunk (and their size grown), their locations are scattered more sparsely across the country than ever before; shelf life becomes a critical element in shipping "milk" to the Krogers, Walmarts, etc. and industry has addressed this issue by compromising nutritional value.

If you'd like to learn more about REAL milk and why it's good for you, the Weston A. Price Foundation   offers a wonderfully thorough commentary on what they term "nutrient-dense" foods.  Visiting their website, one pretty quickly gets a picture of the true benefits of eating unadulterated foods of all kind, including milk. I've taken the liberty here of lifting a paragraph from their rich website:

"Back in the 20's, Americans could buy fresh raw whole milk, real clabber and buttermilk, luscious naturally yellow butter, fresh farm cheeses and cream in various colors and thicknesses.  Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy real milk, these diseases were rare.  In fact, a supply of high-quality dairy products was considered vital to American security and the economic well being of the nation."

If someone wants to launch a deeper exploration of milk and what modern agricutlure has done with/to it, check out The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid.  It's available both used and new at Amazon.

Sub-titled Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Foods the book is a compendium of useful information including discussions about Vitamin D deficiency, which is widespread in this country.  Yes, "store-bought" milk is "fortified" with vitamin D (another ingredient), but according to Schmid, there is strong evidence to suggest that "imitation" vitamin D that is re-introduced to food, is not as well absorbed by the body as is that which is resident in natural, unadulterated foods.  According to the book, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and adults aged 50-79 who are not getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D in their diets suffer up to four times the incidence of hip fractures than those consuming adequate amounts.  Guess what?  Natural milk from cows and other milk-giving ruminants, contains oodles of vitamin D.  I've sprinkled a few pictures throughout, just to tempt you with the goodies; the photos of strawberry ice cream, a 5-pound round of cheddar, and sunset here on the farm simply gives a small idea of our bounty.  Monday, a little on attitude adjustment. (That should keep you awake all weekend wondering just what I mean!) See you Monday.


  1. Uh-oh. I think Monday's post will be directed at me! Heh.

    I love learning from you. You've convinced me, without a doubt, that fresh milk is the way to go. I don't know if we'll ever turn back the clock and allow sales of raw milk nationwide, but if we don't start asking for it, it'll never happen.

  2. That's shocking about reconstituted milk. Here in the UK our milk, while available as whole, skimmed or semi-skimmed (low fat)is pure milk that has been pasturised. In my local supermarket we can buy milk that comes from this county and recently they've started selling milk from one farm where I took my class last year. My neighbours who run a riding stables, had a show Jersey cow for a while and too much milk to use. My boys would go over each day and collect several litres of thick creamy milk and as it is absolutetly illegal to sell unpasturised milk we would leave a 'contribution' towards the feed bill.

  3. Me again. I've had to wait until the weekend so that I could read your posts from the start. You seem to be living the kind of life many of us dream of. I was brought up in the country, spent most of my life in the city following country pursuits, veg growing, working on a city farm and looking after peoples'horses. When we had the opportunity to move to the country I knew enough to know that you cannot make a living at farming in this country but we continued our careers and just enjoy living 7 miles out of town in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK.