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Authors: Nina Planck

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In 1924, Macfadden published
The Miracle of Milk: How
to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home.
Having studied nineteenth-century European milk cures, he began to treat people with grass-fed, whole raw milk. He found it
useful for a range of conditions from neuralgia to bronchitis to heart disease, but he was particularly enthusiastic about
milk's ability to help the scrawny build muscle and the flabby lose fat. He gushes about the "plump cheeks," "firm and shapely
breasts," muscle tone, and symmetry of patients who took his milk cure, which involved drinking two to six quarts of raw milk

Raw milk has modern fans, too. A surprising number of commercial dairy farmers prefer it. According to a 1999 survey in
Hoard's Dairyman,
60 percent of dairy farmers drink raw milk at home. When Schmid, author of
The Untold Story of Milk,
asked dairy farmers why, they told him, it "tastes good" or "makes me feel better" or "I don't like store-bought food." Many
dairy farmers tell me the same. Barbara King, who raises Ayrshires in Cayuga County, New York, says, "Raw milk straight from
the bulk tank has the best flavor." Another dairyman, a former engineer, told me he's raising ten kids on raw milk. Perhaps
they're onto something.

It's no secret that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. Pasteurization destroys folic acid and vitamins A,
, and C. In 1941, the U.S. government issued a report stating that "the cows of this country produce as much vitamin C as
does the entire citrus crop, but most of it is lost as the result of pasteurization." Pasteurization inactivates the enzymes
required to absorb the nutrients in milk: lipase (to digest fats); lactase (to digest lactose); and phosphatase (to absorb
calcium). Phosphatase explains why raw milk contains more available calcium.
Pasteurization also creates oxidized cholesterol, alters milk proteins, and damages omega-3 fats.

Heat destroys or damages lactic acid bacteria in raw milk— the same beneficial bacteria in yogurt that aid digestion and immunity.
When left alone in raw milk, the good bacteria kill off harmful bacteria which may taint milk during handling, according to
Madeleine Vedel, an American expert on the traditional raw milk cheeses of Provence. When
is introduced to warm pasteurized milk, it proliferates quickly and dangerously, but when added to warm raw milk, it grows
much more slowly and may even be eliminated by good bacteria. "By pasteurizing milk we turn it into the ideal medium for dangerous
bacteria," concludes Vedel, who owns the Cuisine et Tradition School of Provencale Cuisine in Aries with her husband, Erick,
a French chef.

My friend Joann, the dairy farmer, keeps her arthritis at bay by drinking a cup of raw milk at each milking. The arthritis
cure is due to the anti-inflammatory Wulzen factor, identified by the researcher Rosalind Wulzen in raw cream and butter in
the 1941
American Journal of Physiology.
The Wulzen factor also prevents calcification of the joints, hardening of the arteries, and cataracts. Raw butter contains
myristoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that fights pancreatic cancer and arthritis.


• Raw milk contains heat-sensitive folic acid and vitamins A, B
, and C.

• Raw milk contains important heat-sensitive enzymes: lactase to digest lactose; lipase to digest milk fats; phosphatase to
absorb calcium, which, in turn, allows for the digestion of lactose.

• Raw milk has beneficial bacteria, including lactic acids, which live in the intestines, aid digestion, boost immunity, and
eliminate dangerous bacteria.

• Raw cream contains a cortisonelike agent (the Wulzen factor), which combats arthritis, arteriosclerosis, and cataracts.

• Raw butter contains myristoleic acid, which fights pancreatic cancer and arthritis.

Sources: Thomas Cowan, M.D.; Weston A. Price Foundation; Joann Grohman,
Keeping a Family Cow.

Dr. Thomas Cowan, a physician in San Francisco, treats many conditions with raw milk, including eczema, diabetes, and arthritis.
He is following a long and respectable medical tradition. In the 1920s, the Mayo Foundation, forerunner of the prestigious
Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, prescribed an all-milk diet known as "the Milk Cure." In a 1929 article, "Raw Milk Cures
Many Diseases," a Mayo doctor described milk as an easily digestible food, rich in enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, with a
perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Like Macfadden, the body builder, the Mayo doctors found raw milk effective
for weight loss and for many ailments, including poor digestion, inflammation, rheumatism, asthma, skin conditions, bronchitis,
high blood pressure, kidney disease, and even heart disease.

Today, in the age of pasteurization, old literature on the benefits of raw milk makes interesting reading. In 1916 and 1917,
American Journal of Diseases of Children
reported that raw milk prevents scurvy in babies, probably because heat destroys vitamin C. In 1933, the
Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin
reported that raw milk promotes growth and calcium absorption. In 1937, the
said that children on raw milk had greater resistance to tooth decay and tuberculosis. The Drug and Cosmetic Industry reported
in 1938 that certain pathogens do not grow in raw milk but proliferate in pasteurized milk. The good bacteria in raw milk—
natural antiseptics
by the authors— killed the dangerous ones. Sadly, this science is neglected today.


Recent studies show that people who consume more milk, yogurt, and cheese lose fat (especially belly fat) and gain lean muscle.
It's not clear why. The CLA and omega-3 fats from the milk of grass-fed cows prevent obesity and build lean muscle, but it's
likely the subjects in these studies ate industrial dairy foods. In
Calcium Key,
Professor Michael Zemel, director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, argues that calcium is the secret.
Zemel explains how low calcium elevates the hormone calcitriol, which causes the body to hoard calcium and send it to fat
cells, where it signals cells to store fat. A calcium-rich diet lowers calcitriol and stimulates weight loss. Zemel found
that calcium from dairy foods is strikingly more effective than calcium from fortified foods or supplements.
Whole raw milk is the best source of calcium; the body needs the enzyme phosphatase (destroyed by heat) and vitamins D (in
the fat) to absorb calcium.

Is raw milk safe? Like vegetables or meat, milk can be contaminated with pathogens, but raw milk is not inherently more susceptible
than pasteurized milk or any other food. Clean raw milk from a healthy cow, carefully handled by a conscientious farmer, is
safe. Hygiene starts in the dairy. Crowded, poorly fed, and weak herds are more susceptible to disease. As we've seen, the
cow's ideal habitat is outdoors and her best diet is grass. During milking and handling, the careful farmer avoids contamination
from pathogens by using clean buckets, strainers, and other equipment. Milk must be rapidly chilled after milking and kept

I grew up on raw milk, neglected it for years, and now go to some trouble to get it. If you fancy raw milk, find a sparkling
clean dairy— ideally one you can visit— with healthy, grass-fed cows and a farmer who drinks raw milk. The best choice is
a certified dairy, where the cows are regularly tested for tuberculosis and brucel­losis. State law on raw milk sales varies
widely, but in about two thirds of the states it is possible to buy raw milk legally in some fashion. California, Connecticut,
and New Mexico permit certified raw milk in shops. In many states, including New York, raw milk may be sold at certified farms.
Others allow raw milk to be sold as pet food (nod, wink). Some dairy farmers sell a "cow share," which entitles you to a few
gallons of milk each week.

One caution: some traditional foods, like sauerkraut and wine, keep well and improve with age. Raw milk is not one of them.
Fresh milk must be consumed— or made into yogurt or cheese— in a week or so. Aseptic UHT milk and other foods engineered to
last forever have clear commercial advantages, but they come at the price of lost flavor and nutrients. Remember this rule
of thumb:
eat foods that

hut eat them before they do.

Fortunately, shepherds long before us spent many hours perfecting a way
preserve perishable raw milk for a rainy day— or more precisely, for a long, cold winter. From fresh spring milk, they made
cheese. Traditional pressed cheeses can mature for as long as ten years. The dense, butterscotch flavor of an aged Gouda,
the crunch of a two-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano, the melting saltiness of a cave-aged Gruyere— these are the treasures of
raw milk transformed. "Cheese," said the editor and critic Clifton Fadiman, is "milk's leap toward immortality."

I Learn to Appreciate Proper Cheese

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, the only thing I knew about cheese was that we didn't approve of the rubbery, individually wrapped slices
I spied in the lunch boxes of other kids— that was not real cheese. We did buy undyed cheddar for grilled cheese sandwiches,
but other than that, my ignorance was total. When I was about ten, we visited our friends Alan and Karen Furst on Bainbridge
Island, and I was riveted when Karen grated a hunk of Parmesan over pasta. I had only seen it already grated, in jars.

Today I do grate Parmigiano Reggiano, but a cheese course after dinner is usually beyond my appetite. Most of my friends are
more experienced eaters than I am— with all foods, except, perhaps, tomatoes— and some, like Robin, who has a place in Provence—
really know cheese. You can't be interested in raw milk or the butterfat in Jersey milk, as I am, without getting to know
cheese lovers. Turophiles— from the Greek
for cheese— are genial types, and some of their enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. I can almost find my way around a cheese
counter, and now and then I'll even do my own little tastings, comparing, say, a couple of salty pecorinos on Robin's zucchini

If there is one obsession in the cheese world, it is— rightly I think— with the milk itself, from which all good cheese is
born. The cheese is only as good as the milk, and if there is one mark of distinction for cheese, it is being made from raw
milk. Like wine drinkers, cheese lovers do make other distinctions— about history, method,
They're notably respectful of tradition ("Charlemagne's favorite cheese"). They talk dreamily of cows all but hand-fed a particular
mix of herbs and grasses on a certain slope in a certain Swiss village at a certain time of the year. They swoon over the
inspired cheese maker who gently bathes washed-rind cheese in the local apple brandy.

But raw milk is the hottest topic, and with good reason. Raw milk is important to cheese. The enzymes and beneficial bacteria
in raw milk aid fermentation. Pasteurized milk limits the action of rennet and retards ripening. Though many good cheeses
are made from pasteurized milk, cheeses made from raw milk often contain more complex, subtle flavors— sometimes richer, sometimes
mellower. People also swear by raw milk cheese for its beneficial enzymes and bacteria, which are tonics for digestion and

Many of the best American farmstead cheeses— cheeses made from the milk of the farm's own herd— are made with raw milk, and
in the better cheese shops, more than half the cheese for sale are, too. "Pasteurization destroys the natural enzymes essential
to the production of aromatic compounds and kills the bacteria responsible for complexity," says Rob Kaufelt, the proprietor
of Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City. "Flavor in cheese is related to complexity, and those with a passion for cheese
love complexity."


The diversity in well-managed pasture brings a vast array of aroma and flavor to milk and cheese. According to the cheese
aromatic elements in milk called
— the organic compounds in essential oils— can be traced to particular plants. For example, an increase from 11 to 35 percent
of sweet woodruff in a cow's diet produces from 32 to 42 percent increase of a specific terpene in milk. Dovefoot geranium
and orchard grass have a similar effect. Aromas vary by season, too. In the winter, grasses dominate and the aromas are less
varied and intense. Come summer, weeds and herbs such as yellow bedstraw, common chicory, thyme, mint, and yarrow add measurably
to aromas. In southern Italy— as on good pasture anywhere— meadows can contain more than seventy species. Says the writer
Italo Calvino, "Behind every cheese there is a different pasture of a different green under a different sky."

For about four thousand years, all cheese was made with raw milk, the only milk there was. But in the age of industrial milk
and cheese, raw milk cheese has come under the same cloud of suspicion as raw milk itself. In the United States, the law concerning
raw milk cheese hasn't changed since 1949. Cheese makers must either use pasteurized milk or age their cheese for at least
sixty days, beyond which time, presumably, all the deadly pathogens have given up. Young— or fresh— cheeses such as chevre,
mozzarella, and ricotta must be made with pasteurized milk. The French, naturally, think that's foolish, and eat young raw
milk chevre and Brie with impunity.

In the United States, the sixty-day rule applies to American as well as imported cheeses. That means that if you see a wheel
of young raw milk Brie in an American shop, it is contraband. Fans of raw milk cheese love contraband. They are in the habit
of bringing young raw milk cheeses home from Europe, palms sweaty as they try to conceal the aroma emanating from their suitcases
at customs. Now and then cheesemongers succumb to the same impulse. In the cheekier shops, you might see a sign along these

BOOK: Real Food
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