Cash Cow: The Milking of America

Amanda Gillies | Waking Up Wisconsin

Media has influenced the public opinion on many health topics and concerns. The most influential campaign “Got Milk?” has professional athletes and celebrities with the infamous milk mustache on billboards, TV commercials and in magazines glamorizing the health benefits of milk. The Dairy Council has been touting milk as the most beneficial food for our bones. The U.S.A. advertises milk more than other country. The dairy industry has milked money from the government subsidies to continue to sell us dairy at a rate that is economical to us. We are promised to have healthy bones and teeth. If you drink a glass of milk a day you can grow up to be big and strong, right? So then, why do Americans have the highest rate of osteoporosis?
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Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) invented pasteurization. This is a process of applying heat to extend the shelf life of milk and prevent spoilage. When milk has been pasteurized it becomes void of the essential enzymes and probiotics that help us absorb and assimilate the nutrients therein. Louis Pasteur on his death bed expressed remorse in his last words “It’s the terrain, not the germ.” This means it is the unstable environment of the pathogen that will allow the microbe to become toxic. Putrefaction (spoiling) is the death of an organism. Fermenting occurs as sugars break down allowing the beneficial organisms to thrive. Pasteur described this as “respiration without air” Yogurt, as you well know is an example of a fermented food from dairy; as are cheese and kefir. These are somewhat easier to assimilate than milk, and this works a natural preservation method to sustain the life of the product.

Louis Pasteur Bio

Enzymes are molecules that help us break down compounds and allow our cells to use them as fuel. The enzymes, lactoperoxidase and lactoferrin are destroyed in the heating process of pasteurization. These, when found in raw milk, can inhibit the proliferation of the harmful organisms such as listeria. The enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose (milk sugar), is compromised as the heat converts it into beta-lactose which breaks down too quickly, disrupting the proper absorption of carbohydrates.

Probiotics are the beneficial micro-organisms our bodies share a symbiotic relationship with. Present in raw milk, Lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria provide protective benefits to the digestive lining and help us manufacture B12. These also produce lactic acid which can inhibit the growth of unfavorable microbes. Vitamin C, which is also present, enhances these properties as well. C also serves as a strong immune system protectant and aids in the formation of collagen in the body. Immunoglobulins, most abundant in the colostrum (first milking), are also a part of the myriad of advantageous qualities of raw dairy.


Casein and whey are the proteins present in all dairy. The ratio in human milk is predominately whey; casein which has a more dense structure, in a lesser amount. Whey to Casein in human milk is between 40% to 60 % and 30% to 70%. Cow’s milk is the opposite and has a higher amount of casein to whey ratio; 80% to 20%. Cows have four chambers in their stomachs and are better able to digest this dense protein. Goat milk on the other hand has a profile similar to human milk, making it a more digestible source for us humans.

Raw-vs-pasteurized-300x180In a “Tale of Two Calves”, Michael Schmidt, who has been a bio-dynamic farmer for over 33 years, did an experiment on the effects of pasteurized milk on cows. One calf that had been given pasteurized milk, the other raw milk. The results concluded that the health of the cow given only raw milk was far superior to that of the cow that was only fed pasteurized milk. These findings mirrored the study Francis Pottenger did with cats published as Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition from 1932 and 1942 showing that heat destroyed properties in the food causing malnourishment and stunted growth.

whatsinyourmilkTo top it off, conventional dairy cattle are fed a mixture typically of genetically modified corn, soy and wheat. Also, they are given antibiotics to ward off disease and steroids such as rBGH and rBST to stimulate milk production. This transfers into the milk, contributing to a vast array of health hazards including nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain, food allergies, hormonal imbalances and potential carcinogenic effects.

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, author of The Paleo Diet, claims that a growth factor in milk called betacellulin, may contribute to cancer. Cows solely grazing on grass produce milk that is five times higher in Conjugated linoleic acid. (CLA) is a middle chain triglyceride that prevents the cancer causing effects of betacellulin. Grass fed cattle produce milk rich in vitamin K2; this allows calcium to be absorbed into the bone where it is needed.

Commercial milk is fortified with synthetic vitamin D, D2 (ergocalciferol). D2 does the exact opposite of vitamin K2 and pulls calcium out of the bone and into the blood which can accumulate in the soft tissues. This action is called hypercalcemia, which causes calcification to the organs such as the kidneys and accumulates in the arteries leading to kidney stones and increased risk of heart attacks.

The calcium in pasture raised, raw milk is more bio-available compared to conventional pasteurized milk. Raw milk is however not commercially available legally. The sale of un-pasteurized milk is banned in the U.S. and farms or coops caught are penalized. Find yourself a local, grass-fed dairy farmer inquire about cow or goat shares if available. The cows that are pasture raised are also happily grazing with plenty of D3 (cholecalciferol) in them from the sunshine!


(Go to a Weston A. Price foundation, seek the works of Dr. Mercola and the book The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid to learn more).

This article first appeared in Waking Up Wisconsin Magazine, Issue 2.1 and is the official magazine of TheRundownLive.