Sunday, January 01, 2006

Raw Dairy

Lactose-intolerance was one of the reasons I was vegan for six years. Even before I went vegan, I avoided most dairy products, except for the occasional scoop of ice cream and frozen yogurt. It wasn't until I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian that I read that most cheese and yogurt was okay, since the mold in the former and the bacteria in the latter break down lactose. But straight milk was something I knew I had to avoid. Nowadays, Lactaid is an option. But even though I'm no longer vegan, I quite like soy milk so I purchase that instead.

Fellow food blogger, Melissa the Cooking Diva, had an entry about raw milk that piqued my interest. One of the claims of raw milk enthusiasts is that many lactose intolerant individuals can consume raw milk without incident. Call me a skeptic, but if this were true, why is this information not widely known? Well, more on that later.

Coincidentally, the FAQ Melissa posted was from Organic Pastures, a Fresno, California-based organic dairy, and one of two raw milk suppliers for San Francisco's Rainbow Cooperative. So I decided to experiment and bought a half-gallon of the stuff from the cooperative.

Rainbow Cooperative is well-known for it's huge assortment of organic cheese, including varieties made with raw milk. So on a whim I also purchased some locally-made raw blue cheese.

I had the glass of milk about 24 hours ago. The last time I had non-fermented dairy was paneer at an Indian restaurant. It took less than 5 hours for me to experience terrible cramps and bloating. To my surprise, I had no stomach problems at all with the raw milk. The people at Organic Pastures were right! Another pleasant surprise was how GOOD the cheese was. I've had organic cheese before, but never one made from raw milk. The taste was so intense, I had to eat it in tiny nibbles.

When I was a vegan, I really bought into the whole "Milk is Poison" rhetoric. It certainly made sense to me at the time. But reality does not conform to dogma. Not all dairy products are the same. There is a huge difference between pasteurized milk made from cows pumped full of antibiotics and raw milk made from grass-fed cows.

Check out these links to find out more about Raw Milk, it's availability, it's health benefits, and the motivations of big agribusiness to make it illegal:

Organic Pastures

Illegal Cheese


Indira said...

That is so neat. I didn't know that before about milk. I know kids of my friends who are LI, I am going to pass this tip to my friends. Thanks for sharing this, I missed it in Cooking Divas blog.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Great post. I am so happy for you Verdant! Happy New Year :)

k. chipman said...

I'm so glad you tried Organic Pastures milk - all raw milk is not created equally - the reason why this one is so incredible is because it is from grass fed happy cows treated with utmost respect. Go to "health benefits" on the Organic Pastures website and you'll see a "click on" for The Raw Truth documentary. It's time to spread the word so everyone can have a chance for optimal health!

sailu said...

Good for you,Verdant.Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!

Verdant said...

It's been several days now and I've discovered that while I can tolerate raw milk in small quantities, having too much in one sitting isn't such a good idea. My limit is a glass in the morning and a glass at night. Two glasses in one sitting just doesn't work for me. I'm thinking of making my own clabbered milk.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Verdant,I heard the same comment from the owner of the dairy where I get my raw milk from every other day. But, let me tell you...this is my second week following a raw milk diet and I drink approx. 8-10 tall glasses of raw milk per day and I couldn´t feel better. I am getting over my respiratory allergies and have so much energy, I feel great! :)
Hugs from Panama :)

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