Dairy Wars

Read a pretty appalling article today.  Apparently, this guy named James Stewart who founded Rawesome Foods was assaulted by a couple of hired thugs because somebody or some entity doesn’t like how he sells raw milk products. I think the author of the article explains the reason for this stupidity pretty well (bolding mine):

” James was wanted on $130,000 in bail by Ventura County, which had originally put him on $1 million bail — an amount usually reserved for murderers, rapists or serial killers. James, accused of selling “unpasteurized milk” through Rawesome Foods, was made the target of an FDA-funded and politically motivated attempt to destroy the raw milk industry in California. He has been charged with financial crimes by Ventura County even though there is literally no legitimate evidence whatsoever linking James to any such crimes, and the entire case is already in the process of being unraveled.

In the Ventura case, there is no crime, no evidence, and not even any justifiable reason to arrest James and put him on bail in the first place! The entire thing was utterly fabricated as a publicity stunt to attempt to intimidate would-be raw milk producers.

Obviously, some people out there aren’t too keen on the growing raw milk industry taking away from some of their milk sales.  Milk is big business here in America, land of the “Got milk?” advertisements, and because of this you get a situation where incredibly rich and powerful milk corporations get the opportunity to pull stunts like this in order to keep the conventionally-produced, pasteurized dairy rivers flowing smoothly.  Small, organic, raw milk producers are simply seen as competition for these giant, greedy milk companies which need to be stamped out.

The worst part is that roughly 75% of the world’s population is at least lactose intolerant, and that’s not even taking into consideration the percentage of folks who are intolerant to other components of dairy such as the protein casein. Genetically speaking, the only populations who developed any kind of tolerance to dairy were those whose ancestors came from northern Europe, where dairy was consumed for many generations and constituted a major portion of their caloric intake.  You can see how this gets problematic when you have government recommendations for regular milk consumption across a country as genetically diverse as America.

What’s worse is that when you heat the milk in order to kill the microbes living in it, which is called pasteurization, you also make it harder to digest, less nutritious, and just generally lower quality than the raw product.  I came across this neat chart a few weeks back which Robb Wolf tweeted about I think which clearly illustrates the drawbacks to pasteurization in my opinion: 

Essentially, all of the things on that list assist in our body’s digestion and absorption of the nutrients in milk, and when you heat and consequently deactivate them our bodies have to work harder to obtain less sustenance from the same quantity of raw milk.  Knowing this, it ought to be obvious that raw, unpasteurized dairy is really the only dairy that ought to be available for consumption.  But of course, being America, we have a tendency to do the exact opposite of what’s logical and have actually made it quite difficult to get raw dairy of any kind.  Not only is it scarce, but recently the federal government has been raiding raw dairy farms in addition to pulling stunts like the one described in the article.  There’s actually a new documentary called Farmageddon which is about just that, here’s the trailer:

Now, I know I claim to be all ‘paleo’ and whatnot but I do actually eat some dairy from time to time. I was actually eating some yogurt made from raw, pastured sheep’s milk earlier, which I found at Lois’ Natural Marketplace off Rt. 1 in Scarborough for anyone who may be interested.  It’s a great little health-food store.  But anyway, I’ve done a good amount of research and have concluded that grass-fed, raw, full-fat, fermented dairy is really not that bad, and in fact has a lot of good things going for it.  The fermentation process allows the beneficial microbes to break down a lot of the lactose and other potentially problematic things found in milk.  Fermented dairy, like other fermented foods also introduces beneficial microbes to your gut which is a very good thing because they not only help you digest your food, but also play a major role in immune system function.  I’ve personally noticed after regularly eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, etc. that I get sick a lot less than I used to, although it’s hard to say how much of that may have to do with ditching grains and legumes, too.

Anyway, that’s all for now; it’s Friday night and there’s adult beverages that won’t drink themselves.  Oh, and if you’ve never heard of Big Gigantic like I hadn’t until I saw them at Bisco, check them out:

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