Thursday, December 03, 2009

Raw Milk, Part I

I have almost finished reading Ron Schmid's book The Untold Story of Milk: The History, Politics and Scienceof Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk From Pasture-Fed Cows. The story is much bigger and much more important than I'd anticipated. The foundations of the modern raw milk movement have their beginning in the dawn of the industrialization of agriculture. This is an important concept, as I will come back to frequently. The health benefits found in raw milk are not exclusive to raw milk, but are vital to the health and wellness of peoples around the globe that do not consume dairy products. Again, this is an important concept that is the thrust of the raw milk movement.

Schmid goes to great length to document the countless cultures around the world that consume, or once consumed native, non-western diets. One of the most interesting case studies are the Eskimos. The Eskimos were studied by Weston Price in the 1930s, a dentist studying the dietary effects upon teeth and facial structure. Price found the Eskimos to have "virtually no decayed teeth, and no evidence of chronic disease." (Schmid, p. 111) Schmid also writes that "the physician for the Macmillan Arctic Expedition reported… that the carnivorous Greenland Eskimos showed no tendency toward heart or kidney disease, scurvy or rickets." (Schmid, p. 111) This same physician documented the Eskimo diet consisting of "meat of whale, caribou, musk ox, Arctic hare, fox, ptarmigan, walrus, seal, polar bear, sea gulls, geese, duck, auks and fish, all often (but not always) eaten raw and fermented." (Schmid, p. 111) The typical Eskimo diet consists of twenty-percent of calories coming from protein and the other eighty-percent from fat. (Schmid, p. 115) He adds, "But he found that the Labrador Eskimos had adopted the white man's ways, overcooking their meat and eating various prepared, dried, and canned foods; they were very much subject to the aforementioned problems."

Dr. Rabinowitch, a Canadian doctor, also studied the Eskimos and their diet. He found, "There were no signs of any heart disease except an apical murmur in one case. All of the tonsils had healthy pink surfaces and no pus was found upon pressure. No case of cancer or diabetes was seen." (Schmid, P. 115)

Schmid believes the Eskimo diet demonstrates the necessity of including foods rich in enzymes from raw and fermented foods for living a long, healthy life, free from chronic disease. He argues that those cultures that do not eat dairy find the same type of enzymes and nutrients in other sources, such as the Eskimos and their raw diet. Schmid writes, "the primitive Eskimo diet of meat and fish, rich in fat-soluble vitamins and enzymes, much of it eaten in raw and fermented state, produces splendidly healthy people. These reports prove the vital nature of enzymes and fat-soluble vitamins supplied in the traditional western diet by raw whole milk, butter, cream, and cheese. Most westerners would prefer to consume their raw animal food as raw milk and raw milk products rather than raw meat and fish, and obtain their fat-soluble vitamins from butter rather than organ meats. This western food preference makes access to raw, unprocessed dairy products a necessity if we are to reverse the tide of chronic disease that has engulfed our culture." (Schmid, p. 115)

More to come…

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