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Raw milk vs grass fed milk vs organic milk vs whatever other kind of milk...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I would like to have an idea of what people here think about milk... I used to drink "regular" milk that you buy from big grocery stores like lucky or safeways and it was just "milk", some with added vitamins or with fat taken out, but it was just milk... Now with "organic" milk, it seems there's a lot more to it: some advertise that they are grass-fed or raw, not pasteurized, no steroids or other chemicals added, not homogenized, etc... very confusing stuff. I just went to a local organic grocery store to get a half gallon of organic pastures for $8.50!!! It says the milk they get are from cows that are grass-fed, the milk isn't cooked or homogenized, nothing added to it, to me it sounded like the best one, but then I also saw the warning on it this time saying that there might be some disease causing microorganisms in there. I finished my last one and am still alive, so I dunno...

 

Anyway, how important are some of these advertised points to you? Is it important to you that the cows are grass fed? that the milk isn't homogenized? After reading about Dr. Price and part way through real food by Nina Planck I'm getting the idea that grass fed cow milk is pretty essential and I did feel a whole lot better when I was drinking the milk along with coconut oil and CLO, still I don't know if it was just "all in my head" or not. The milk is so expensive too, though I know there are tons of complaints on yelp about how expensive everything in this store I went to is, so it could have just been that... How much is everyone else paying for their milk and what brand do you stick with? I live in California if that matters...

post #2 of 27

In Canada we banned bovine growth hormone, so here even conventional milk doesn't have it. Organic milk simply means the cows have been fed organic feed. So it may be free of any pesticide contamination, and I believe organic also requires no hormones or antibiotics be given to the cows. I have never seen organic milk sold here in stores that isn't pasteurized, as it is technically illegal to sell raw milk here.

 

As for grass-fed, this is important for two reasons. First, cows were not designed to eat grains like corn and it really messes with their health. I don't think conventional milk is "bad for you" (compared to other cow milk) but grass-fed means the cows are in optimal health, and so their milk is better from that sense. The second thing is that cows fed grains have meat and milk that is high in Omega 3's but low in Omega 6's. Grass-fed cattle have much higher levels of Omega 6's in their meat and milk. Keep in mind, however, that cows can only graze on fresh pasture during the spring and summer months in some climates - in winter they are generally on hay only. Still much better than grain-fed, but not quite as full of spring-blooming plant nutrients. I'm making extra butter from our current batches of raw milk and freezing it b/c the cows are on fresh spring grass which has the highest Omega 6 content. 

 

As for raw milk, it contains the same "living cells" that breastmilk does, and other nutritious stuff that is killed by the process of pasteurization. Also, it contains all the cream which you can use to make butter or just include in the milk. I'm one of those people who is not afraid of "real fat", I think it's good for you, so I think drinking whole-fat milk (which you do by default when you buy raw) is good for you on that account as well. It's creamy and delicious! As for the potential dangers of raw milk, I blame that on the industrialization of milk production. Small farmers who take standard precautions with their raw milk are not, IMHO, providing any real risk to consumers. Millions of people have been raised on raw milk from small dairies with no problems. 

 

Here in Canada (BC) we pay about $3.50 for a gallon of conventional milk at a big-box grocery store. Organic is about twice that amount. I don't bother with organic because of the lack of BGH here. But our family also gets raw milk from a local farmer and we pay $12/gallon for that. We get about 2 - 4 gallons a month and supplement with conventional milk. 

post #3 of 27
Do you mean higher in omega 3's not 6's? I think you have the #'s mixed up.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

I read that pasteurizing actually gets rid of a whole bunch of those nutrients and enzymes and that the purpose of homogenizing is to spread the fat and the dead stuff around, to make the milk look nicer. After pasteurizing you are supposed to be able to see all the dead stuff sink to the bottom of the milk bottle and settle there. It makes me think that buying organic milk that as been pasteurized is a waste of money because many of the beneficial nutrients are gone which is pretty much the only reason to buy raw milk in the first place. I can't keep spending 8.50 for a half gallon on this though, thats just crazy...

post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jephtoothhurts View Post

I read that pasteurizing actually gets rid of a whole bunch of those nutrients and enzymes

**some, but most of the nutrients and enzymes are still there.  What you get rid of are disease-causing micro-organisms.  It's a trade off.

 

and that the purpose of homogenizing is to spread the fat and the dead stuff around,

**What dead stuff?  Homogonizing is to stop the fat from separating out so you don't get watery milk with cream on top.  

 

to make the milk look nicer.

 

**I guess it does that

 

After pasteurizing you are supposed to be able to see all the dead stuff sink to the bottom of the milk bottle and settle there.

**Where are you reading this?

 

It makes me think that buying organic milk that as been pasteurized is a waste of money because many of the beneficial nutrients are gone which is pretty much the only reason to buy raw milk in the first place. I can't keep spending 8.50 for a half gallon on this though, thats just crazy...

**Yup.  The trade off is milk that is pastureized and safer to drink and has a small amount of fewer nutrients, or raw milk that may be contaminated (but in all likelihood is not), has a bit more nutrients, and costs a crap load more.

 

Where we ended up - we get rBST free milk where they only use antibiotics when the cows are sick.  Stores like Trader Joes sell this - cheaper than organic.  

 

It's a compromize, and I can't pay $15 per gallong



 

post #6 of 27
Can you find a farm that has raw milk so it is cheaper? If I couldn't get unhomoginized milk, I wouldn't drink milk at all, and I would just eat unhomoginized yogurt even if it was pasteurized as some of the beneficial enzymes/cultures are restored.
post #7 of 27

in addition to my reply to piglet68's post (the reply box only gave so much room), i wanted to mention a couple big differences i've noticed between raw and conventional milk. first, i can actually have raw milk without experiencing any digestive problems (it can get pretty unpleasant for me if i have conventional milk), as raw milk is a *whole food* versus a pasteurized and stripped version of its original self, and therefore contains all of the proper enzymes it came with - most importantly for me, the one the human body needs to properly digest milk, which is lactase.

the second thing i've noticed may not be as big a deal as the first, but still counts for something. i've noticed that i don't get that horrible rotten-milk breath when i drink raw milk. i'm not sure why this is the case, but it most definitely is. 

it's nice that raw milk doesn't give me that rotten-milk breath and it's really nice not to have to stay close to the bathroom after having raw milk!

 

i also don't bother with the organic stuff, when it comes to milk, as cows receiving organic feed may most likely still be receiving improper feed (grains v. grass) and may also be kept in a factory-farm-like setting v. being pastured. it's important for me that the animals from which i get my nutrition, whether it be via milk or meat, were treated decently.

 

oh, and to answer one of the original questions by jephtoothhurts, there are two brands of raw milk that are available here in san francisco, ca and i buy them both: claravale dairy farm (www.claravaledairy.com) and organic pastures (www.organicpastures.com). you may find this site helpful for raw milk resources http://www.realmilk.com/where.html.

 

all this talk about raw milk is seriously whetting my appetite. time for a glass! cheers :D

 

post #8 of 27

I must say I also find that raw milk leaves me feeling way more satisfied. It's almost "meaty" because of the high cream content (and that's even after I try to pour off as much cream as I can to make butter). Mind you, I have always had skim milk (2% max) so full milk would probably seem that way anyway. But yeah, raw milk has such a better taste (IMO), more complex. 

 

Of course, at $12/gallon we simply had to cut down on our milk intake otherwise it gets too expensive (and as I said I do supplement with conventional milk b/c my kids drink a lot of it). But since I've started eating a grain-free diet I'm not baking and that has meant a big reduction in our milk use. We did a trial with getting our milk every other week (a 1/2 share) but are considering going to a full share (every week) as we are so enjoying the milk.

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post

Do you mean higher in omega 3's not 6's? I think you have the #'s mixed up.


Yes, I did mix them up! Thanks for spotting that. :D

post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post

Do you mean higher in omega 3's not 6's? I think you have the #'s mixed up.


Yes, grain fed milk is high is 6 and low in 3. The ratio should be 1-1 and in grain fed it is very skewed with the 6 being WAY to high which is not healthy.

post #11 of 27

If you live in Canada (as one of the posters does), there is a brand called Harmony that sells an unhomogonized version of their grass fed organic whole milk. It is pastuerized, but only at the lowest temp and time that is legal. I live in Ontario and I'm not sure how widely available this brand is...

 

I would LOVE to find a raw source here, but it is illegal. I know that there are still those that sell it, but I really don't know how to find them. I did contact the local WAPF leader and she mentioned raw milk, but when I asked her source, I have not gotten a reply. Any Canadians know how to go about finding raw milk???

post #12 of 27

We decided to go with a local dairy that grass feeds almost 100% of the time (supplemented during milking & winter on handmade ration), doesn't spray their grass, doesn't use growth hormones and only gives antibiotics if an animal is ill.  If an animal is ill they are milked away from the herd and their milk is dumped.  He does low vat pasteurize but does not homogenize his milk.  It travels less than 40ft from milking to bottling... but it costs us only $4.50 a gallon.  He isn't certified organic yet but is working towards it since he was an established dairy prior to switching to grass fed.  Grass fed raw milk is about $8/half gallon here in SC.  Conventional is $3.xx (not really sure but around there) and Organic is $3-$5 for 1/2 gallon depending on brand,for questionable organic milk.  For us it was a factor of cost but also wanting to support a local business.. of course we will be moving soon and loosing our milk we've grown to love mecry.gif

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeggieLovinMama View Post

Any Canadians know how to go about finding raw milk???


I live in New Brunswick and our family buys raw milk from a local farmer. Do you have a local farmer's market? You might try asking around there. Our milk farmer actually is a vendor at the market but we have to drive to the farm for milk. He's not allowed to sell his milk at the market itself. Try asking farmers that sell cheese, butter, yogurt, beef, etc if they know where one might be able to get raw milk.
post #14 of 27

In New Brunswick... close to Moncton?

post #15 of 27

We feel that raw milk is so important that we have invested in our own cows.  We have an organic farm- and I am obviously pro organic since that is where our income comes from- but most Horizon and OV milk is ultra pasteurized and I just won't buy that.  That is why it is ok to use for a month or more.  Our cows get a little grain.  I am cool with that and I will tell you why.  It gets cold here and it is hard to keep our ladies in good shape with enough calories in the winter.  I feel like they get just too skinny in the winter otherwise.  So the pound or so they get a day is really not a big deal to me.  Plus it makes them very easy to train as they will do anything for a bit or corn or oats.  But as a general rule- they need grass/alfalfa.  The winter is the only time they get a little grain and the rest of the year they are grazing.  They have a good life and provide us with awesome milk.  

post #16 of 27

Actually, $8.50/half gallon is a pretty competitive price for OP milk.  I think the lowest I've seen it is $7/half and that's buying it direct.  Claravale is pretty much the same price, and Claravale feeds (some) grain.  The benefit to Claravale is the glass bottle. 

 

If you want a compromise, you can look at Strauss, which is pasteurized but not homogenized, and is mostly pastured and organic (and in glass).  They do get some grain.  You can also look for Kalona, which is vat pasteurized and grass fed, non homogenized. 

 

I get milk from a cow share from a local farmer and I'm paying $10 per half gallon.  But we only go through about a gallon a month, so that's doable for us. 

 

The big thing for me with buying milk has been the keeping time.  Because with our cow share it's kept COLD (it's ice cold, not fridge cold, when I pick it up), and it's not processed in any way, I can keep that milk for a month or so without it going bad.  With OP milk or Kalona, about a week and a half is all I get out of it before it turns.  Strauss lasts longer (still not a month though), but I'm not as fond of their milk - I always have trouble getting the fat to combine.  I love Strauss eggnog, cream and half/half though. 

 

Those are the widely available brands in CA, although I don't know how widespread Kalona is. 

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayrayandjho View Post

In New Brunswick... close to Moncton?



Yes. I live in Riverview.

post #18 of 27

We live in Canada too. I would like to find raw milk, but since I can't, I still think organic is better. But we use mostly milk products like kefir, yougurt, cream  and cheese rather than milk.  I usually buy from one of these brands:

 http://organicmeadow.com/

http://harmonyorganic.on.ca/page/who_we_are


Edited by raksmama - 2/4/12 at 11:17am
post #19 of 27

This is for my fellow Canadians!  I'm only joining so I can post and give you this info.  I was google searching for something and this link came up :)  If you go to http://thebovine.wordpress.com/ there's a link on the right hand side that says "Join Cowshare Canada".  It might be a good option for you.  For those in Ontario, if you can't get raw, Harmony is the best choice for Organic.  Their cows are grass fed, and that alone makes all the difference in the health of the final product. I buy their butter.  I found raw milk farmers on my own, and within a very short period of time.  Go buy some grass fed beef from a local farmer, and just ask them if they know of any cowshares in the the area.  Most of them are huge advocates of this, so they're happy to help.

post #20 of 27

Thanks! I've never been able to find Harmony butter. We do buy our beef from a local farm in Alymer, so I will ask about milk.

Does anyone know about Goats Milk? I personally tollerate it better but I have never been able to find it organic or raw.


Edited by raksmama - 2/27/12 at 5:41pm
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