Raw... pasteurized vs. unpasterized.... homogenized vs. non-homogenized....
What's safe? What's not? ... and how do we know?
Do we want our milk to be homogenized and what does that do to our bodies?
All these questions can be quite confusing. And frankly until recent years I have never questioned them AT ALL. I just basically felt that what is on the supermarket shelves MUST BE what is BEST for us. I am quickly changing my opinion about that.
It all started with Savannah and what could have been pre-puberty systems at the age of EIGHT years old. Only according to her pediatrician they NO LONGER consider it pre-puberty unless it is before the age of SEVEN. Really? Like it is NOW normal for SEVEN year olds and up to go through puberty. Wow! Fortunately, Savannah's situation turned out to be a condition called adrenarchy that simply goes away... a mere adrenal rush of some sort that causes the breast to appear to be starting development. If it goes away like hers did they label it as adrenarchy. However, it got me curious. I started reading and talking to others and I have learned a lot.
First, let's talk about hormones in milk. I don't know much about it, but I know that it is a problem and in my opinion it should not be allowed. Cows should not be getting hormones at all in my opionion. If we are going to eat it or drink it, hormones should not be in there. And if you notice on your milk label it will often say their are no hormones. Watch for this. When Savannah had her issue that labelling was NOT on the Great Value milk at Wal-Mart, but it is now. I have also seen this change on their frozen boneless skinless chicken breast.
Next, pasteurized or unpasteurized... What is safe? Well, this is what I am learning that is soooo important to realize about the process of pasteurization. Yes, pasteurization will kill bacteria. That includes the HEALTHY bacteria that is in the milk. Just a thought from a breastfeeding momma.... Never would you even consider pumping your breastmilk and pasteurizing it before feeding it to your baby. Imagine all the healthy parts of that milk that would be destroyed in the process. You would not dare do that. Yet, we think it is normal to do that with cow milk. I think it would be best to make sure your cows are healthy. That being said... it probably is best for store bought milk to be pasteurized. I am no expert.
Lastly, homogenized vs. non-homogenized.... What it that all about? I guess a long time ago people started getting freaked out about the look of their milk seperating into layers or maybe they were just too lazy to shake up the milk. Who knows?! I can say that I remember vaguely my mother saying to get the "homogenized milk" when we would go to the store, so there must have been and option to get it the other way. I actually think I remember seeing the two side by side on the shelf. That was back before you had options like 1%, 2%, Whole, Fat Free, etc... I think when I was a kid the options were simpler... homogenized or non-homogenized. And I am pretty sure that I remember my mother saying she didn't want "that milk that seperates". As if the natural way would be a bad thing. I get that it probably looked strange on the store shelf... I guess. I personally think it would be an advantage. You would see the thicker layer of cream on the top of your milk and know the fat content, etc.. So, anyway... moving on. Apparently, (from what I am learning) when milk is homogenized all the fat particles are broken down into to tiny microscopic parts. This keeps it from seperating into layers in the container. The problem is those tiny microscopic particles embed in your intestines and stomach lining and cause huge problems.
I have a dear friend that was having an extreme eczema issue with her little girl. She did the extreme. She bought a milk cow and stopped using store bought dairy products. The eczema went away. That speaks volumes! That is so profound that even the most squimish of folks (yes, me!) had to pay attention. I had listened to people tell me this, but actually seeing it is so profound. My own children suffer from eczema and I have never been able to find a solution. I have the same problems and have dealt with it all my life. In fact, I was a formula fed baby and was allergic to cow milk. I had to have soy formula. I am guessing that I never fully outgrew that "allergy"... or perhaps it was not an allergy specifically to cows milk, but rather to the PROCESSES that milk goes through. I am not completely certain.
The only memory of ever tasting raw cow's milk that I have was of it being put on my cereal straight from the cow.... warm.... and I was a child..... and I had never had warm milk on my cereal... Bleech! But recently, our homeschool group set up a series of small field trips to visit a small operating dairy farm. By small I mean they have two cows currently milking. It was wonderful and I had the privilege of meeting the most hospitable people I have ever met. The owners fully opened their home to us. When we were calling our children down for wanting to explore the owners were quick to say that they could not hurt anything there and to go ahead and let them explore. The lady made the kids (and us) cookies and cold glasses of milk, as well, as let us sample her cheeses and yogurts, etc.. We spent over four hours with them as they showed us around their house and their various creations and creatures. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk.... Yes, pure fresh raw milk! And some people say they can tell a difference in flavor, but at our house we drink anything from skim to whole milk, so I think we are not as in tune to the flavor differences in different milk.
If you have not done so already, I want to encourage you to be open minded on this issue and seek out a location that sells raw milk. Even if you only do it it once... just try it.