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Monday, February 22, 2010

Desert Island Dish

Last week I posed the question: What one food would you bring to sustain life on a desert island?

It was interesting reading your ideas. If I had to choose one food to bring on a desert island, I'd bring raw milk. Here's why:

What is Raw Milk?

Raw Milk: The kind of milk you would drink if you had a cow. It's just milk, with nothing added or done to change it.
Store bought whole milk: homogenized and pasteurized. Homogenized means that they mix it really hard so that it won't separate. Every cup of milk is the same consistency. Pasteurized means that the milk is heated to kill bacteria.

At first glance, you may think that whole milk would be the better choice. I mean, every glass is consistently creamy, right? And we killed off bacteria, so we won't get sick. Sounds good, right? Not really...

Raw vs. Store Milk

Pasteurization kills off enzymes, vitamins and minerals. These are all found in abundance in raw milk. In fact, enzymes make raw milk so much easier to digest that it doesn't cause lactose intolerance in people who are prone to it.

Good Source of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates

Raw whole milk is a good source of healthy, saturated fat. We need saturated fat for energy, for reproduction, to protect our immune system, even for our cells to function! 
Raw milk contains proteins. We need to take protein to help our body replenish and repair muscles, cell walls, tissues, bones and nerves. 
Raw milk also contains carbohydrates, used for energy, and also for the nervous system to function.

What about safety?

I know some people are scared of drinking raw milk. I had similar concerns at first. I worried that we needed milk to be pasteurized to make it safe to drink. But if you think about it, people have been drinking milk for thousands of years, and routine pasteurization of milk only began in the U.S. in the mid 1900's.

A little history...
Cows natural diet is grass. But in the mid-1800's they had an idea. There were many thriving distilleries making whiskey, and that produces left over "swill"- hot, mashed up grain. Some unscrupulous distillery owners decided to feed it to the cows. The cows were packed in crowded, unsanitary pens, eating unnatural food. This milk was then sold and drunk raw. People got sick. Children and babies died. So the government stepped in and came up with a solution: make laws that the cows eat a healthy diet? No! Just heat the milk and kill any pathogens that might be in there.

Drinking milk from cows fed a healthy diet of grass is a lot different that eating "swill milk" (or corn milk for that matter).  Healthy cows produce healthy milk. If safety is still a big concern to you, I recommend reading the powerpoint "A Campaign for Real Milk."

Raw milk diet

In the early 1900s at the Mayo clinic, a raw milk diet was prescribed. Patients drank raw milk exclusively to cure and treat several diseases. The following was written in 1929 by J.R. Crewe, MD about his experiences treating patients with raw milk:

"The treatment is used in many chronic conditions but chiefly in tuberculosis, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular and renal conditions, hypertension, and in patients who are underweight, run-down, etc. Striking results are seen in diseases of the heart and kidneys and high blood pressure. In cases in which there is marked edema, the results obtained are surprisingly marked. This is especially striking because so-called dropsy has never been treated with large quantities of fluid. With all medication withdrawn, one case lost twenty-six pounds in six days, huge edema disappearing from the abdomen and legs, with great relief to the patient. No cathartics or diuretics were given. This property of milk in edema has been noted in both cardiac and renal cases.

Patients with cardiac disease respond splendidly without medication. In patients who have been taking digitalis and other stimulants, the drugs are withdrawn. High blood pressure patients respond splendidly and the results in most instances are quite lasting. The treatment has been used successfully in obesity without other alimentation. One patient reduced from 325 pounds to 284 in two weeks, on four quarts of milk a day, while her blood pressure was reduced from 220 to 170. Some extremely satisfying results have been obtained in a few cases of diabetics.

When sick people are limited to a diet containing an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance, which are available in milk, they recover rapidly without the use of drugs and without bringing to bear all the complicated weapons of modern medicine."

Not only would you survive on a desert island with only raw milk to drink, you would thrive.

I'll finish with a quote from "Raw milk from grass-fed cows is a complete and balanced food. You could literally live on it and nothing else for the rest of your life."


  1. Interesting. This may sound like a stupid question, but does raw milk taste different than store bought milk? And does it stay good in the fridge as long? Not that it matters in our house, I buy 4 gallons at a time and they never go bad. Thanks for the info!

  2. how much is a gallon on raw milk?

  3. I don't want to tell because it's soooooooooo expensive!
    But, okay, are you ready? $7.99. For a half gallon. And you have to drive to Riverside to get it.
    Although, the CSA where I get my produce is working on getting raw milk out here, delivered to HIghland Springs Resort for $6/ half gallon. Still crazy, but at least that's improvement!
    Anyone want to go in on a cow with me? :)

  4. My kids just tried raw milk for the first time and now they ask for it so much that I have to tell them no sometimes, they no longer ask for sugary drinks. Where I am it costs about $8 a gallon but you get $2 back when you return the glass bottle.

  5. I may have mentioned this before, but when we spend the summers with my mom and dad we all drink raw whole goats milk. I am not kidding that my allergies (to dust and grass and cats-things they have in abundance) completely disappear.