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Whenever possible, we love to use unpasteurized and non homogenized raw dairy. Pasteurization is the process that extends dairy’s shelf life by quickly heating it to high temperatures, which as a by product, renders the beneficial bacteria and enzymes inactive. Most pasteurized dairy has essential nutrients such as vitamin D, added back to increase it’s benefits. Homogenization is the process that forces whole milk through tiny holes under extreme pressure. Homogenization breaks down the fat globules into much smaller particles and prevents the cream from rising to the top. Some European studies have found that this process may even contribute to heart disease and arterial plaque.

Many who find they are lactose intolerant can turn to raw milk as an option. During the pasteurization process, lactase—an enzyme necessary to digest the lactose in milk—is rendered inactive, which is why the lactose intolerant can easily consume raw milk with little to no ill effects. Some may better tolerate fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, naturally lower in lactose due to the actions of various lactobacillus and other lactic acid-producing bacteria.

Raw milk offered for sale is usually also organic because the cows producing the milk are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, fed on grass and have low levels of grain in their diet. The resulting raw milk is pathogen resistant, whereas 31% of conventional milk tanks tested positive for human pathogens.

If you decide to try raw milk, make sure you don’t have a compromised immune system and, if so, ask a raw-milk-friendly doctor for advice. When you make the purchase, raw milk must be stored at 36-38 degrees and can last from 7 to 10 days. Even once it begins to sour, you can still consume it, whereas you cannot consume pasteurized milk once it has taken a turn for the worse. You can culture soured raw milk by adding live culture (from a yogurt or store-bought kefir starter) and setting it out at 90 degrees for 24 hours. This will make clabbered milk, a product that is delicious and highly nutritious.

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