Lately I’ve been reading up on the benefits of raw milk. This is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized, and therefore it is milk in its purest state. It is unprocessed milk straight from the cow, and the health benefits associated with it are striking. However, raw milk is essentially illegal and therefore hard to come by, especially away from rural areas. While I would love to try it, doing so involves either joining a herd share (buying part of a cow) or bringing my own containers to a farm and secretly asking for raw milk. Unfortunately, neither option works for my small, city-dwelling family right now.

I have been drinking organic milk for years, but I’ve noticed that almost all of it is ultra-pasteurized with an expiration date weeks – if not months – in the future. Eek! What in the heck are they doing to the lovely organic milk to make it last sooooo long?? All milk sold in grocery stores is pasteurized, a process that heats milk to a temperature of 145-150 degrees for half an hour, destroying certain disease-carrying germs and preventing the souring of milk. However, that process also kills off beneficial germs and destroys some of the natural nutrition found in milk.

In addition to pasteurization, most milk you find in the grocery store has also been homogenized, a process that exposes the milk to tremendous pressure in order to evenly disperse the milk’s fat globules so each sip tastes the same and you don’t have to shake a bottle of milk before pouring it into a glass. If milk is not homogenized, cream (aka fat) rises to the top. There is absolutely no danger in non-homogenized milk – it has simply become a matter of taste. Some studies suggest that homogenization may be a primary cause of heart disease and milk allergies — before 1932, heart disease was not prevalent in this country. After 1932 (when homogenized milk was introduced), cases of heart disease began to rise.

Since unpasteurized milk is not available, the next best thing for me is non-homogenized organic milk from grass-fed cows. Last week I stopped by a small local market called Green Grocer Chicago to check out the choices. There I found DELICIOUS milk from Castle Rock Farms in Wisconsin. At $8/gallon it certainly isn’t cheap, but its not much more expensive than the highly processed organic milk I’ve been buying for years. And the taste is well worth the price – I wouldn’t even compare it to regular milk because as far as I am concerned it is in a totally different league! Don’t believe me? Since I started serving it to little Evelyn she has been drinking twice as much milk as she used to! Another bonus: it is sold in returnable glass bottles, and since I am on a mission to eliminate plastic from my life this is a step in the right direction.

In my opinion, the less food is processed the healthier it is. I’m not afraid of the fat in butter or whole milk, but I am terrified of 100-calorie snack packs! Milk is nature’s way of nurturing and sustaining life, so why would we feel the need to mess around with it??? I am hopeful that, as a consumer, I am someday given the freedom to choose between raw and overly processed milk. Until then, I will continue to seek out healthy alternatives.

Did you like this? Share it:

Written by

More posts by:

13 Comments for this entry

  1. thegeekymarketer says:

    I can tell you I live in Ann Arbor MI and we used to be able to get raw milk and then the feds (literally the feds) came and made the lives of the farmers miserable. Took their trucks, computers etc all in the name of safety? Good Grief! You might want to check into goats milk.

    Some healthfood stores sell unhomegenized milk but that varies by states.

  2. Jessica says:

    I'm grateful to live in an area where I can get raw milk. In fact, I just went and picked up 3 gallons this morning. I love your quote about being afraid of 100 calorie packs! So right on. I'm adding your blog to my reader 🙂

  3. Renee says:

    Amen…you are doing the right thing…start where you are..we are blessed that a Menonite family about 30 mins away that come to our city and we buy 2 gallons of milk a week….Raw…we just purchase a herd share of 8 cows….we also in our neighborhood have 8 hens…so we get fresh eggs every day and we know what they are fed….we are truly blessed…continue to search…you will find someone that you can get raw milk and real pasture eggs…and we too don't use plastic…we use Ball jars…for everything.

  4. Granola Mom says:

    Raw milk is the best! Good luck. Love your blog.

  5. CoyoteRidge says:

    Thanks for the blog post.

    I think it is worth mentioning that most commercial milk processors do not use the less destructive, 145-150°F process (which does leave some beneficial microbes alone), but instead they heat the milk to 165-170°F for 15 seconds. The higher temp., shorter duration is cheaper to do (they can process more milk in a shorter period). Unfortunately, it also kills everything in the milk (the good and the 'bad').

  6. dailythread says:

    "I'm not afraid of the fat in butter or whole milk, but I am terrified of 100-calorie snack packs!"…AMEN to that! We have a dairy close by called Happy Cow dairy that pastures their cows and sells unhomogenized milk. It's pasteurized, but not ultra. It's great, just have to remember to shake it before we pour it!

    have I told you about my latest recipe? I've been making a butter and olive oil spread to replace smart balance and the other processed spreads. Whip 1 stick very soft butter with 1/4 C olive oil and 1/4 C water till white and whipped and smooth. Refrigerate in a covered glass dish and it's spreadable right out of the fridge. This for my husband, who hates hard, cold butter. 🙂

  7. HomemadeMother says:

    DailyThread, I LOVE that recipe idea!!!! Do you know how long it lasts in the fridge?

  8. dailythread says:

    I don't know, but we have been finishing it within 2 weeks and I'm sure that's fine. If it was just butter, it would last forever…you could make a half recipe and see how you liked it before committing a whole stick of butter to the experiment. 🙂 Also, I buy unsalted butter, so I add a few pinches of kosher salt to the water before whipping it all together. Let me know if you try it!

  9. crunchymama says:

    My friend buys raw milk from grass-fed cows through a co-op she found through the Weston A Price website (they have a section of local chapters) and it's only $7 a gallon.

  10. HomemadeMother says:

    Thanks so much, CrunchyMama! I also found a herd share program that delivers raw milk to the Chicago area. It is $7/gallon. I am going to sign up. I'll be sure to write all about my experience once we get started next month!

  11. Tiffany, Mike and Robert Rich says:

    Well said! We have been getting raw milk for a few years now. Working in a dr. office I was of course WARNED. I live on a farm and we used to have goats. I joined a milk circle Here in MICHIGAN.. but come to find out, they were skimming the cream and selling it PLUS selling the milk to us (skimmed) for $5.25 gallon + $125 year. Of course when I mentioned it I was kicked out. so I went searching for alternate milk source. We now get it from the amish in our area. I dont BUY it but donate $3.00 a gallon! Picked up 4 gallons today in fact! so now we make Keifer, icecream, whipped cream, butter, yogurt ALL from the raw milk we purchase. Again the government in where they dont belong.. I will continue to DONATE as long as I am physically able. Truth be known.. we also feed to the pigs to fatten, as well as feed bottle lambs on it.. THAT IS NOT illegal and we really DO do that.
    glad to see so many of you out there that still appreciate the good things in live.

  12. pjnoir says:

    This is not an "again the government", this is one of the oldest forms of government interference we have lived with but the same interference they saved farms in the past without any of them complaining about getting money or have artifical prices set their corn. Can't have it both ways. I just wish they would open their eyes and learn something.

  13. chaunceypants says:

    another raw "milk" option… almond milk: blend 1c soaked raw almonds (or any nut or seed) with 4c water and then strain through a mesh bag. It's like milking a cow squeezing it out. After all, cow milk is made for nourishing calves who have 4 stomachs and a totally different digestive system than us.

Leave a comment