Check out this beautifully crafted letter written by Natural Chef Lisa Virtue discussing the nourishing qualities of raw milk and the legal issues involved.
My name is Lisa, I’m a Bauman alumni, having graduated from the Natural Chef program in 2010. I am living in Vancouver Canada, and have discovered an amazing cow share where I get raw dairy products. Sadly our government is charging the farmer and threatening to close down all operations, as raw milk is currently illegal in Canada.
I have written a letter, inspired by the knowledge I learned at Bauman. I would love to invite people to take action in order to one day achieve food freedom across North America…the continent most in need of natural food.
Minister Michael de Jong October 16 2011
My name is Lisa Virtue. I am a McMaster University graduate of Humanities, and a certified Natural Chef, having attended Bauman College, a Holistic Nutrition School in Berkeley California. I currently work as a personal chef in Vancouver. I was introduced to the literature by Weston A. Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and Sally Fallon’s, Nourishing Traditions, while at culinary school from 2009-2010. Weston A. Price was a dentist in the mid 20th century, from Ontario Canada. He was curious as to why so many of his patients suffered from physical degeneration, as was evident in the state of such rampant poor oral health. He noticed dental caries (cavities) in an exorbitant number of his patients. These observations motivated Price to examine the mouths of a variety of traditional societies, untouched by modern civilization. He travelled to Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Northern Canada, Ontario, Florida, Melanesia, Polynesia, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Peru, documenting nutritional patterns as well as physical and emotional health.
Price discovered that all people following their traditional diet including whole, unrefined foods, especially animal products, enjoyed pristine health and little to zero dental degeneration. I have cited the work of Price and Fallon below, thus I will not go into extreme detail about their findings (though if you have a family you love and wish to see succeed in life, it may be worth studying up on the nutritional patterns of our strong bodied ancestors). Here, I will discuss the importance of one food type in the diets of certain traditional groups: dairy.
In 1931 Price visited the people of the Loetschental Valley in the Swiss Alps. Their diet consisted of rye bread, milk, cheese and butter, including meat once a week (Price, 25). The milk was collected from pastured cows, and was consumed raw: unpasteurized, unhomogenized (Schmid, 9).
Price described these people as having “stalwart physical development and high moral character…superior types of manhood, womanhood and childhood that Nature has been able to produce from a suitable diet and…environment” (Price, 29). At this time, Tuberculosis had taken more lives in Switzerland than any other disease. The Swiss government ordered an inspection of the valley, revealing not a single case. No deaths had been recorded from Tuberculosis in the history of the Loetschental people (Shmid, 8). Upon return home, Price had dairy samples from the valley sent to him throughout the year. These samples were higher in minerals and vitamins than samples from commercial (thus pasteurized) dairy products in America and the rest of Europe. The Loetschental milk was particularly high in fat soluble vitamin D (Schmid, 9).
The daily intake of calcium and phosphorous, as well as fat soluble vitamins would have been higher than average North American children. These children were strong and sturdy, playing barefoot in the glacial waters into the late chilly evenings. Of all the children in the valley eating primitive foods, cavities were detected at an average of 0.3 per child (Price, 25). This without visiting a dentist or physician, for the valley had none, seeing as there was no need (Price, 23). To offer some perspective, the rate of cavities per child between the ages of 6-19 in the United States has been recorded to be 3.25, over 10 times the rate seen in Loetschental (Nagel).
Price offers some perspective on a society subsisting mainly on raw dairy products: “One immediately wonders if there is not something in the life-giving vitamins and minerals of the food that builds not only great physical structures within which their souls reside, but builds minds and hearts capable of a higher type of manhood…” (Price, 26).
All throughout Switzerland and along the Italian border, in the village of Ayer, Price found traditional societies surviving on rye bread and dairy. The people were displays of superior manhood, with beautiful children, immune to dental degeneration (Price, 30). Other traditional groups studied by Price, including tribes in Africa, also utilized raw, whole milk, cheese and butter in quantity (Schmid, 9). The milk was from healthy, well-exercised animals, unpasteurized and unhomogenized (Schmid, 9).
It makes perfect sense why the above traditional groups fared so well on a diet of raw dairy. Unpasteurized milk retains powerful enzymes, important for assimilation of body-building-factors, including calcium. Therefore, those who drink pasteurized milk, often suffer from osteoporosis: the calcium in the milk isn’t absorbed because the enzymes are no longer present (Fallon, 35). Furthermore, pasteurized milk is rendered more acidic, causing the body to extract minerals from the bones in an attempt to sustain a healthy pH balance. Lipase is one of the enzymes in raw milk that helps the body digest nutrients. This enzyme is destroyed upon cooking (Fallon, 137). Pasteurization destroys the availability of milk’s nutrients including protein, vitamin C, B12, other water-soluble vitamins, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as trace minerals, plus it promotes the rancidity of fatty acids (Fallon, 34). Of course raw milk will contain all of the aforementioned nutrients lacking in pasteurized milk.
Pasteurization is utilized in order to protect the public from disease. However all outbreaks of salmonella in recent decades have been due to pasteurized milk consumption. There was a 1985 outbreak in Illinois, striking over 14,000 and killing one. The salmonella in that batch was resistant to penicillin and tetracycline. Raw milk, instead, contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens (Fallon, 34).
Price and Sally Fallon speak of the protective effects of the inclusion of raw dairy products in the human diet. If our ancestors fared so well on these natural foods, I believe it is our right to continue their traditions. Our present day world is so sick, I don’t even feel it necessary to rhyme off the many diseases afflicting millions of North Americans. Clearly, we have not discovered health through modern day foods. Our only alternative is to look to our past, and learn from those who came before us. Shouldn’t we at least be given the right to decide for ourselves? People who drink raw milk are educated. We love our bodies, and our families, and we know that raw milk with all its nutrients will improve our lives. We deserve to develop bodies as strong and vibrant as the Loetschental Swiss. How terrible would it be to have such a privilege removed by our government. Our government, a body whose purpose is to protect us, one would assume also, to ensure we are nutritionally supported to an optimal degree. Well maybe that has been precisely the problem. Our government doesn’t know. Or didn’t know. I am telling you, as are so many others: people are thriving on the beautiful, nourishing milk from healthy, happy, free range cows. We are telling you, informing you, of the benefits of this divine food stuff. Please do your duty and consider all aspects of this issue. Please research the benefits of including raw milk in a daily diet. For the sake of our future generations – not only for that of my tastebuds (though they will be so very sad to have such delicacies relinquished). For the fat soluble vitamins and life supportive minerals that may nourish the children of tomorrow – please hear this message.
I want to add that I understand why factory farms may find it safer to pasteurize their milk. Often times their herds are under such extreme stress, being forced to milk when their udders are sore, causing them to bleed and ooze bodily fluids into the milk. The cows may suffer extreme crowding and harbour disease. These circumstances provide justification for heating the milk to high temperatures. But does any of this really sound appealing? Wouldn’t we be better off purchasing high quality dairy products from local family operated farms? Farms run with love and care. Businesses such as Our Cow’s.
For anyone who has a family, who cares about others, and wants them to be nourished, the matter of raw dairy should be considered. The health implications of these products are vast. At culinary school in Berkeley California, we drank raw milk and used raw cheese and butter in many of our recipes. My school was nutrition focused, thus we knew the value of the expensive raw dairy we were privileged to have. Aside from health reasons, the pure joy experienced from drinking creamy, luscious raw milk is highly motivational. How could our government threaten to take away such a pleasure – an innocent, nourishing pleasure. I feel horrified, and ashamed by such action. I suppose this law has been created due to a lack of education around nutrition. The fact that the government would delegalize raw milk signifies that they have no idea how nourishing such products are. With the state of the health of North America, one would think we should be supporting healthy natural foods. Do you see, this is precisely why we are suffering. Because we are so confused about what we put in our mouths. We are creating new traditions in our country, and if we don’t turn it around soon, in a few generations the only culinary skill perfected will be that of placing an order at a drive through, or setting the microwave. I wonder what the national health bill will look like then? Surely higher than any cost accrued due to raw milk issues. What types of foods are we supporting? Fast food chains? Processed foods? Foods that have undergone extreme heat such to destroy viable nutrients? Please see how backwards we have turned.
Those in support of underground food operations are clinging to the most important thing around – their health. Perhaps we could help put our nation ahead of the game, if we stopped castigating our citizens for being kind to their bodies. Please let us take care of ourselves. Let us be nourished by nature. Let us drink milk, like our ancestors.
Thank you for your time.
BA, Natural Chef
Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. New Trends: Washington. 2001.
Nagel, Ramiel. Copyright 2010. Accessed October 12th 2010.
Price, Weston A., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation: La Mesa. 2008.
Schmid, Ronald. Traditional Foods are your Best Medicine. Ocean View Publications: Stratford. 1987.