The Real McCoy

Exclusive to STR

November 3, 2006

Several years ago a friend invited me to have a drink. It was wonderful, like nothing I had ever tasted. I wanted more. I needed more. That one taste started me on a journey of research and wellness. Where could I get some of my own?!

That drink was raw milk, unpastuerized and non-homogenized. I have to admit, at first I was hesitant. So conditioned was I, that pre-sip, I had a flashing image in my mind's eye of going to the emergency room with food poisoning, having to explain to my loved ones why I had willingly done something so stupid. But my friend had been drinking it, had even given it to her children, and they were all still standing. Such was the deception I, like most fellow civilized people, had fallen prey to: conventional wisdom. The unquestioned need for the strong arm of government and the money behind big business, to unite in an unholy union to 'keep me safe.'

I am ashamed to admit this, but it was true. In my defense, this brainwashing began before I was of sufficient age to realize what was happening to me. In fact, the machinery was in place well before I was conceived, but I'll limit this discussion to milk.

When I was first introduced to raw milk, it was dangerous here in Michigan to refer to it as such. I received updates from my milk group addressed to 'dear real (milk) drinker' with the dangerous word 'milk' redacted. I'm sure I raised more than one eyebrow with my mail addressed to 'real drinker!'

At that time one could be arrested for purchasing raw milk from a farmer, much like the other failed experiment in alcohol prohibition. Only a few years ago a farmer could have found himself on the wrong side of bars for supplying my 'milk fix' too. It is still not a right guaranteed by law in Michigan or in many other states.

The reason I am able to obtain raw milk today and still sleep nights is because of an ingenious program in use in several states. Here in Michigan , it was originally implemented by a natural farmer named Chuck Oliver. He is a local hero of the Real Milk movement in Michigan and a personal hero of mine.

While farmers in other states were busy working for their rights to peacefully conduct business supplying customers with products they wished to buy, Chuck Oliver, too tried to work with the state legislature here for a long time. Up until then, only the farmer was able to drink real milk without danger of being prosecuted. The wheels of justice turn slowly, if at all, (sometimes so slowly that they go distinctly in reverse) and Chuck finally gave up trying to obtain the state's sanction. One day he simply informed the Michigan legislature that he would be selling 'shares' of cows to anyone who wanted one. This would allow people to legally obtain raw milk because with a purchase of a cow share they technically become part owners of the cow.

What is Milk?

What is commonly known today as 'milk,' is a highly processed, bastardized, unrecognizable fluid only remotely related to a cow as its source of origin. It is absolutely unfit for human consumption. It comes from cows that are drugged with hormones to increase production. Those hormones pass into the milk supply, causing premature sexual development in children who consume it. The hormones have an unknown effect on adults who consume it, but government and big business don't want to talk about that.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a charity founded on the human health studies of Dr. Weston Price, who has studied diet, agriculture and medicinal traditions throughout the world. The foundation is a fountain of useful information about what they refer to as 'real milk:'

'The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein , bred to produce huge quantities of milk three times as much as the old-fashioned cow. Her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland, even when she is spared the indignities of genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to push her to the udder limits of milk production.

'Vitamins A and D are greatly diminished 'when milk cows are fed commercial feed. Soy meal has the wrong protein profile for the dairy cow, resulting in a short burst of high milk production followed by premature death. Most milk (even most milk labeled "organic") comes from dairy cows that are kept in confinement their entire lives and never see green grass!'

Those cows become ill much more often than humanely treated animals, and so are often fed a steady diet of antibiotics, which also cross over into the milk supply. Imagine the impact on your overall health and ability to fight infection that ingesting a steady supply of medicine unbeknownst to you could do? Suffice it to say that there is no mad scramble for research grants into the study of it, nor does it make headline news in medical journals or mainstream media.

Debunking Pasteurization

Dr. Joseph Mercola, in an article on raw milk at Mercola.com says,

'While it is certainly possible to become sick from drinking contaminated raw milk, it is also possible to become sick from almost any food source. But it seems that raw milk has been unfairly singled out as a risk, when only a very small risk exists.' (emphasis mine)

The recent hysteria of E. coli found in spinach is a perfect example. The FDA was quick to jump on the hype bandwagon. Doug Hornig, writing for Casey Research, is not impressed. He makes several key points.

'Our regular readers will be aware . . . that we are eternally skeptical when the government says it is doing something for our own good, and so we decided to take a closer look at the spinach fear that has suddenly gripped the land. Was it justified, or was it an overreaction engineered, once again, by those zealous guardians of our welfare down in D.C.?'

(Our 'help' didn't do much for the Branch Davidians, the Vietnamese, the Afghans or the Iraqis, but the federal government kept chugging along, didn't it? In fact it grew itself exponentially. And this list is only partial, recent history. Now they're destroying the Bill of Rights for our benefit too.) Hornig continues:

'First of all, hundreds of strains of E. coli bacteria already reside in your gut. In fact, you wouldn't have intestinal health without them. They're the good guys. Unfortunately, they have a handful of cousins that can cause food borne illnesses, and one . . . is particularly toxic, and is responsible for most of the serious medical conditions associated with the bacterium. Even if you do ingest (it) you won't automatically get sick.'

Hornig quotes nutritional consultant Jon Barron here: 'Those with healthy populations of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tracts are virtually immune to problems. There is simply no room for ingested E. coli to take root, colonize, and multiply'not to mention the fact that the beneficial bacteria gobble up any stray E. coli they encounter. In other words, the outbreak has less to do with contaminated food than it does with the epidemic of compromised immune systems and intestinal tracts.''

Foundational to the philosophy of the Weston A. Price Foundation is the encouragement of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. It is the main argument for the promotion of raw milk.

Dr. Mercola goes on to cite a study outlined here by the Weston A. Price Foundation that documents the high number of cases of food borne illnesses that are due strictly to processed foods, and not one that is due to raw milk. The government does not require those foods, which have wreaked havoc on humans, even killing children, to carry any kind of warning label. Does something smell fishy to you? As the queen of soul might ask, 'Who's zoomin' who?'

The Weston A. Price Foundation tells us:

'Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection. And pasteurization does not always kill the bacteria for Johne's disease suspected of causing Crohn's disease in humans with which most confinement cows are infected . . . . Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk.'

The Weston A. Price Foundation also tells us, 'Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy Real Milk, these diseases were rare.'

It is the processing of milk that makes it dangerous to ingest. During processing, the fat in milk is contorted so as to no longer be absorbable or useful to the body, so it is stored as cholesterol in the bloodstream. The enzymes, which naturally occur in milk, are also destroyed, rendering it no longer a 'living' food and decreasing the body's ability to absorb and utilize nutrients and feed the 'good' bacteria in the digestive tract.

'Pasteurization'diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification.'

Bovine Growth Hormone

BGH is a naturally occurring protein hormone, which controls milk production in dairy cows. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a dangerous, synthetically engineered version which causes increased susceptibility to infection and disease and stimulation to cancer-accelerating hormones. It is widely used in dairy cows in the U.S. , and its effects pass into the milk supply and into products in dairy cases near you.

Mike Ewall, a writer for ActionPA.org, has plenty to say of producers of bovine growth hormone. He writes as if he is an opponent of milk, when actually his written opposition is one against processed milk. He has this to say about producers of BGH, and remember, none of this would be possible without the strong arm of government backing.

'Monsanto, Eli Lilly, Upjohn, and American Cyanamid are the four corporations that stood to profit from the $500 Million to be made from worldwide marketing of rBGH. While they all competed to develop rBGH, only Monsanto has continued to develop and market it. The first 3 of these four companies are convicted corporate felons. All 4 of them have a history of chemical plants that explode, toxic waste spills, deadly toxic gas cloud releases, consumer pharmaceutical products that kill people and produce birth defects, conspiracy to fix prices, antitrust violations, predatory and monopolistic practices, and/or failure to inform Federal officials of testing results indicating fatalities connected to their products.

'Monsanto, one of the top 10 polluters in the U.S. , is the same corporation which brought us Agent Orange and PCBs (a chemical so toxic that congress banned it in 1976). They have exposed many workers to toxic chemicals such as benzenes, PCBs and dioxins, often covering up such practices. They've been found guilty of conspiracy and anti-trust in marketing of herbicides and have violated federal law (despite government warnings) by promoting rBGH before its FDA approval. They've blatantly attempted to bribe Canadian officials (who admitted it) in order to hasten their approval of rBGH. They also have an apparent conflict of interest with their regulators (FDA) in that they share the same lawyer (Michael R. Taylor of Washington , D.C. law firm, King & Spalding). Monsanto and FDA have ganged up on any markets which try to label their milk and dairy products "rBGH-free" by threatening to sue (and actually suing some). The FDA and Monsanto have both lied about the existence of a test for rBGH in milk (stating that there is none). Monsanto has tried to block publication of research from British scientists on rBGH showing the hormone's link to increased somatic cell (pus and bacteria) counts in milk as a result of mastitis.'

These are the folks that the FDA puts in charge of your health, America .

Decriminalizing Fat

Conventional wisdom is like a drum being beaten. Often, a trend promoted long enough stops being questioned, takes on respectability and is eventually accepted as truth. For instance, not long ago women were convinced that breastfeeding was backward, unnecessary and no better than bottle-feeding mass produced formula. Now we know differently. If natural is better for babies, why wouldn't it be for adults?

'Diet dictocrats' as Sally Fallon calls them, tell us that fat causes heart disease. Actually, the FDA-approved processed fat, called trans fat, is the culprit. The FDA gave trans fats the seal of approval to the detriment of America 's well-being. The question must be asked: who, aside from the FDA, benefited from that FDA action and how much?

It suits the powers that be to discredit fat in general, so now that is the current accepted version of truth. Dr. Price's research reveals this about saturated fat:

'Average butterfat content from old-fashioned cows at the turn of the century was over 4% (or more than 50% of calories). Today butterfat comprises less than 3% (or less than 35% of calories). Worse, consumers have been duped into believing that low-fat and skim milk products are good for them. Only by marketing low-fat and skim milk as a health food can the modern dairy industry get rid of its excess poor-quality, low-fat milk from modern high-production herds. Butterfat contains vitamins A and D needed for assimilation of calcium and protein in the water fraction of the milk. Without them protein and calcium are more difficult to utilize and possibly toxic.

'Butterfat is rich in short- and medium chain fatty acids which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system. It contains glyco-spingolipids which prevent intestinal distress and conjugated linoleic acid which has strong anticancer properties.'

Real Feed, Real Milk

Today, most Americans get their food from 'superstores' which contain rows and rows of products in boxes, which hardly qualify as 'food.' Extensive studies have been conducted on the disastrous effects of processed foods on human health. Such 'foods' are laden with preservatives, toxins and pesticides, which leave one starved for nutrients and a craving for more of the same, leading inevitably to obesity and poor health.

Here, the Weston A. Price foundation paints a very different, refreshing picture:

'Real feed for cows is green grass in Spring, Summer and Fall; green feed, silage, hay and root vegetables in Winter. It is not soy meal, cottonseed meal or other commercial feeds, nor is it bakery waste, chicken manure or citrus peel cake, laced with pesticides. Vital nutrients like vitamins A and D, and the "Price Factor" (a fat-soluble catalyst that promotes optimum mineral assimilation) are greatest in milk from cows eating green grass, especially rapidly growing green grass in the spring and fall.'

Nothing good comes easy. This is a brief glimpse into the time and care invested in the health of cows that will in turn generate health for the farmer, his family and his customers. There is a quiet movement afoot, promoting a return to small, independent farmers and their locally grown and produced foods, especially raw milk. Special emphasis is placed on a return to a direct relationship between farmer and consumer, promoting responsibility for both parties, and healing the disconnection between people and real food, not only for ourselves, but for our children too.

'What's needed today is a return to humane, non-toxic, pasture-based dairying and small-scale traditional processing,' says the Price Foundation. There is a growing demand; sadly but predictably, the only thing standing in the way is government.

George W. Bush is quoted as saying, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, and those are the ones you should concentrate on.' The continued bureaucratization of real milk is just another travesty of an out of control government sticking its snout where it doesn't belong. It blinds itself to dangers when it benefits them and goes about exerting strong-arm enforcement against people who are quietly, peacefully going about their own pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Government benefits directly from the inappropriate affections of the large agricultural lobbies. It creates an artificial need for more of itself, and more funding, even if its actions are toxic to us. Americans can no longer afford government protection, which slaughters the sheep and protects the wolves. As long as bureaucracy stands to gain power and money from our ignorance, it will continue destroying our health.

More and more Americans are waking up to the fact that no bureaucrat, no matter how well meaning if such exists, can keep them safe or well. Au contrer, mon ami. Like any good thing worth having, health does not happen by accident. Like it or not, it has always been about taking personal responsibility, and it always will be.

The good news doesn't stop at raw milk. There is raw butter and cheese, unprocessed, raw honey and homemade, raw kefir ' a beverage which is a veritable spring of living nourishment for the digestive system. Cheers!

Where can you get some of your own real milk? Local sources are listed at: www.realmilk.com.

The Weston A. Price Foundation's 'Campaign for Real Milk,' can be accessed in whole here. Its information has been used here with permission.

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Retta Fontana's picture
Columns on STR: 53

Retta Fontana is an atheist, anarchist, baker, potter and parenting teacher.  Children are her favorite people.