If you purchase organic milk from the store: be aware that the milk you buy may be sourced from animals that spend time in confinement, and other than being free of antibiotics, hormone, and GMOs, may not be much better quality than non-organic brands. Take a look at this informative video featured on the Washington Post discussing where a majority of organic milk brands originate. The dairy featured in this video is Aurora Organic Dairy which produces milk sold in environments such as Costco, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and other businesses.
What standards are required for milk to be labeled "organic"?
Animal foods sold under the "organic" label must not be administered antibiotics or hormones or genetically-modified feed. That doesn't, however, guarantee that animals aren't housed in confinement environments. According to the USDA Standards:
"Organic ruminant livestock—such as cattle, sheep, and goats—must have free access to certified organic pasture for the entire grazing season. This period is specific to the farm’s geographic climate, but must be at least 120 days. Due to weather, season, or climate, the grazing season may or may not be continuous."
Even with these USDA regulations, the video clearly shows that some operations like the one featured in the video, are failing to comply!
How is milk from confinement operations compromised?
As reviewed in tests from the video above, fatty acid composition - Omega 3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is typically higher in animals raised on pasture or range, is still very close to what conventional animals fed grain, corn, soy, and other unnatural feeds consume on industrial feedlots in these "organic" environments where the animals spend a majority of their time on a feedlot.
How is pasteurization harmful?
Pasteurized milk, which includes most of what you will find in the retail environment, is a highly processed food. High heat during pasteurization denatures fragile proteins and fats, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, and destroys friendly bacteria (probiotics) necessary for digestion and immune function. The intent of pasteurization is to eliminate harmful viruses and other organisms in the milk. Unfortunately, the net result of pasteurization eliminates all components, even those that are beneficial and keep milk from becoming pathogenic. What's more, pasteurization doesn't kill all harmful microorganisms.
If you choose to consume dairy: real raw milk from healthy animals raised on pasture is optimal
Our family has consumed raw milk from healthy cows on pasture for nearly 11 years. Raw milk is delicious and nutritious, containing important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2, Omega 3s, conjugated linoleic acid and minerals. Prior to consuming raw milk, both my husband and son had dairy intolerances. Since discovering raw milk, we've not experienced problems and our health has been better for it. Unlike processed foods that typically include synthetic nutrients and industrialized ingredients that are harmful, real, living foods provide beneficial enzymes and nutrients to our bodies, imparting energy and can effectively heal our bodies from disease.
Some who are "intolerant" or "allergic" to dairy find they can consume raw milk from animals on pasture
That's because the milk isn't pasteurized or homogenized, which compromises nutrients and digestibility of the food. Raw milk from healthy animals on pasture is also not subject to antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified feeds such as grain, corn, or soy which can also affect milk quality and how our bodies absorb and tolerate it. If you have tried raw dairy foods and still find that you experience challenges, your body may need digestive healing and gentle detox to enable you to consume healthy foods that have important nutrients needed for health. See Detoxification 101 for more information on healing your body.
Know your farmer, know your food! For more information on nutritional differences between commercial and real, raw milk and how to locate this life-giving food in your local area, visit Real Milk.