One person says milk and dairy products are good for you, others say to eat only raw dairy, and still others say to avoid dairy completely.
Who do you believe? Who do you follow?
You might already know that I'm in the middle camp (consume only raw dairy)…
However, I am 100% in favor of doing what's best for your body.
I'm not going to throw dairy under the bus with a blanket statement that it's all bad, yet I do think it's possible that some people should avoid it for health reasons.
Let's get into all that on today's #AskWardee!
The Question: Is Raw Dairy Good For You?
Stephanie L. asks:
I keep going back and forth on dairy, having read The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid a few years ago. I know that raw milk is good for you, but so many of the health summits I've listened to online the past couple years repeatedly state for optimal health, “get off sugar, gluten, dairy, etc…”
Can dairy truly benefit us? My husband is lactose intolerant which weighs in, too. Having read a little from the Fermentation purchase I made last year, maybe we could overcome that.
My Answer: Yes, Raw Dairy Is Good For You*!
Stephanie, here's the thing…
Those health researchers are mostly speaking to the general public who are consuming conventional dairy.
Unfortunately, they don't qualify their statements as whether they're referring to conventional or artisan dairy. So, I take their recommendations with a grain of salt.
Because… if they are talking about conventional dairy, they're absolutely right. 🙂
Conventional dairy should be avoided as much as possible. It's no longer a real food!
The animals are raised in abhorrent, sick conditions; the milk is often laced with pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones. Then, it's pasteurized and/or homogenized. This destroys enzymes, probiotics, and vitamins — it's totally denatured.
On the other hand, raw dairy — especially pasture-raised raw dairy — is abundant with probiotics and enzymes. The notable enzyme is lactase, which is essential for digesting the milk sugar (lactose).
Pasture-raised dairy, from animals that are healthfully feasting on rapidly growing green grass, is also rich with healthy saturated fats, Omega-3s, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2. (See 23 Ways To Eat Fat-Soluble Vitamins for more info.)
When Should Raw Dairy Be Avoided?
Although I'm not a doctor and can't give medical advice, I know of some situations where people are advised to avoid dairy (even raw) for good reasons.
Perhaps the individual is trying to heal the gut…
Lactose (milk sugar) feeds undesirable organisms and therefore should be avoided completely. Fermented raw dairy, however, with lactose reduced 100% — such as 24-hour yogurt or kefir — might be fine to introduce! Be sure to follow the recommendations of your natural physician or healing protocol.
Casein (milk protein) can be hard to digest for someone with compromised digestion. Therefore, to heal and reduce irritation, that person avoids milk and dairy.
Children with autism often do better when their parents eliminate food allergens in the diet such as milk protein and/or milk sugar.
People with health conditions that involve insulin sensitivity, like diabetes or PCOS, often need to scale back or eliminate the actual milk in favor of long-fermented dairy with lactose reduction.
Someone who is simply allergic to casein or lactose (or other components of milk) will feel better not eating dairy — raw or otherwise.
Finally, there is a genetic defect which affects the protein in the milk of conventional cows such as Holsteins. While heritage cows are not always free from this defect, many are. Holstein cows' milk protein is called A1, and heritage cows' milk protein is called A2. Some people, such as my friend Megan from Eat Beautiful, cannot consume A1 milk, but they can consume A2 milk. (There's more info here at Choosing The Best Milk.)
Again, the avoidance may be for a time or it may be for a lifetime.
Every person and every situation is unique. In general, raw dairy is a beautiful, God-given food, yet it also stands to reason that certain individuals may have good reasons for avoiding it.
What About Lactose Intolerance?
Often, lactose-intolerant individuals are able to consume raw dairy because it “comes with” lactase, the enzyme required to digest it. This lactase is destroyed during pasteurization, yet abundant in raw milk.
Or, if this person still has trouble with even raw milk, they could add these lactase drops to raw milk. (Stephanie, you might want to try this with your husband.)
Finally, keep in mind that lactose can be naturally reduced through culturing — especially by making raw milk yogurt that ferments for at least 24 hours. Here's my FREE Thick Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe.
- FREE Thick Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe
- FREE Traditional Food Video Series
- Cultured Dairy eCourse
- Cultured Dairy eBook & Video Package
- The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid
- 23 Ways To Eat Fat-Soluble Vitamins
- How To Make Milk Kefir
- Got Raw Milk? Questions To Ask Your Farmer
- Choosing The Best Milk
- 7 Things You Didn't Know About Raw Milk
- Raw Milk Q&A
- FREE Dairy-Free Milk Substitutes Guide & Recipes
- Lactase Drops
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Do you consume raw or fermented raw dairy? Why or why not?
Disclaimer: Healthcare begins and ends with you. As your needs for healthcare and healthcare information change, you must evaluate not only the source but also also what is provided. It is your right to be thoroughly informed; but as importantly, it is your responsibility to participate actively in your own care and to participate in the decision-making process. The information provided on this site is not intended to replace consultation, evaluation, services, or establishment of a licensed practitioner-patient relationship. Furthermore, it is not diagnostic and does not replace an in-person examination and agreed upon course of action. The material is meant for information and possible supplementation of what is provided by your specific healthcare provider and is not intended to replace medical care.
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