June is national dairy month. So it is appropriate to consider this amazing food source, it’s health benefits, and the controversies and misunderstandings surrounding this food.

Milk is a unique food source produced by the female of some species for the initial food of the newborn. This liquid food contains protein, fats, minerals and vitamins specific to the species and specific to the age of the baby. This liquid also contains active enzymes and immune support to help the newborn baby become an active participant of life.

These unique features of milk have been used by man for centuries to sustain the human population and provide a consistent food source in diverse environments. Dairy was a primary focus of farmers across the Midwest as the nation grew with many creameries located across each county collecting the daily contributions from the local herds. Wisconsin and California lead the nation in milk production. In the United States, more than 72 million gallons of milk are produced each day. From this source, all the additional products of butter, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, Kiefer, and various treats are produced. No wonder we celebrate dairy as it is involved in so many significant food items we enjoy.

Some individuals are not able to enjoy diary because of severe reactions caused by a lack of digestive enzymes or caused by an allergic reaction. Lactase is the specific enzyme required in your intestines to break down the lactose sugar in milk. If a person does not make this enzyme, an uncomfortable reaction typically results in diarrhea. A person who experiences this reaction can simply avoid drinking milk, or they can obtain lactase enzyme as a supplement to consume with the milk. Some products like Lactaid are available to help aid digestion of milk products. An allergic reaction to milk will not be eliminated by using lactase enzyme. An allergic reaction is an immune response to the protein in milk in whatever form of milk product may be. Typically, an allergic reaction to a milk product may be avoided by selecting a different source of milk like goat, sheep, or donkey. There are also many non-dairy sourced products that have become available in recent years.

A primary controversy regarding milk production has been the availability of raw milk to the general consumer. Raw milk contains all the active enzymes and is the most easily digested form of the food. Raw milk has been the primary way man has consumed milk for centuries, and in recent history the Mayo hospital had a raw milk therapy that was used successfully for clients having digestive challenges. This all changed with the promotion of pasteurized milk.

The history of pasteurized milk provides an important observation on the influence of business over health. In the 1950s, most milk was delivered in glass bottles, and you could observe a layer of cream at the top of the bottle. Some competition developed as the consumer could see how much cream was available in each bottle. Creameries tried to “fix” this challenge with the process of homogenization, which forces the milk through a fine mesh to break up the fat molecules into pieces that are so small the fat stays suspended in the fluid and does not rise to the top. Unfortunately, once milk is homogenized the live enzymes in the raw milk activate a reaction that causes the milk to spoil within 24 hours. The solution to this problem was pasteurization. Pasteurization kills the enzyme activity improving the shelf life of the homogenized milk.

Pasteurization has progressed over the years to the level of ultra pasteurization (UHT). Ultra pasteurized milk has been additionally heated to the point that the milk can sit on the shelf without refrigeration for long periods of time. However, you cannot make your own yogurt or cheese from this milk. The healthy bacteria used to make yogurt, cheese, or Kiefer is not able to use UHT milk. This milk has been cooked too much and is undigestible to natural fermentation processes. This makes you wonder if the UHT milk has any health benefit to mankind as well.

More than 100 years ago, Dr. Weston Price researched the effects of the modern food preparations that were beginning to advance through the western culture of Europe and the United States. He documented his research in the book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” In cultures all around the world, he discovered the importance of quality fat to sustain a society. When the culture moved toward more processed foods, more “low fat” foods, and more convenient foods, the result was increased cavities, increased need for braces on teeth, and decreased fertility. These are all the symptoms we see in today’s modern living. You can find out more about Dr. Price’s work and the thriving community that is applying the principles he discovered at https://www.westonaprice.org/

Make your health a priority in 2024. Quality dairy options include raw milk, whole fat milk, and naturally fermented products like yogurt, fresh cheese, and Kiefer. Adding quality fat sources can be one of those little changes that can make a big difference in your health. If you would like to pursue a healthy lifestyle and increase longevity, I can help you start a plan.

Contact me to discuss your health goals for 2024. I can help you reach those health goals with whole food plans customized to your specific needs. You can contact me at nutritionproportion@gmail.com, or check out my website at www.nutritionproportion.net Start this year with a new plan. Foundation to Thrive is a 16 week lifestyle transformation to help you reach your health goals in 2024.