Juliette Scarfe is a skincare expert and beauty therapist (and, as it happens, a solicitor) with her own range of beauty products, Bare Skin Beauty. She is also a very passionate raw milk enthusiast...
Why do I feel so passionate about raw milk? As a skincare expert I strive to solve and support even the most complex skin conditions, in both the young and the old. I have been using raw milk as part of my natural apothecary and nutrition practice for over a year and the results have been incredible.
Raw milk has skin beautifying qualities, packed with vitamins and minerals to nourish your skin from the inside out.
It tastes incredible, decadent, smooth, silky and delicately sweet. The taste and texture changes with the season, the weather, and the grass the cows are feeding upon – more importantly it a nutritional and therapeutic superfood.
History of raw milk
The practice of drinking cow's milk is ancient and is believed to date back as early as 6,000-8,000 B.C. Until the 19th century, it was entirely normal for the average person to drink only fermented, raw milk that was sourced either from a local farmer, or from his or her own livestock.
Raw milk is, as the name would suggest, milk that is pure and unprocessed. It has not been Pasteurised or Homogenised.
Pasteurisation is a mechanical process used to kill harmful microorganisms, using intense heat for short periods of time – intended to make milk safer to consume. The heat destroys all the bacteria in the milk, including beneficial lactobacillus strains as well as pathogenic E Coli and others – much like antibiotics destroy all bacteria; both good and bad in our gut. Pasteurisation also destroys enzymes and denatures amino acids, making the milk devoid of "living nutrients."
By contrast Homogenisation is a mechanical process used in the production of non-organic milk, where centrally collected milk from numerous different herds and dairies is passed through a valve under high pressure. This breaks apart fat molecules into much smaller droplets measuring between 0.2 to 2 microns in size. These high-pressure generated micro-droplets will stay dispersed, creating the "cohesive" texture we are used to in standard milk.
As milk has a tendency to separate - homogenization was created in response to consumer demand for smooth milk that was even in fat levels throughout. This process is particularly harmful because it creates a noxious enzyme called Xanthine Oxidase (XO). XO passes through the walls of the digestive system and goes directly into the bloodstream. XO is known to be highly reactive and to damage and inflame the arterial tissue, producing arterial plaque.
Nutritional benefits of raw milk
Raw milk from grass-fed cows has historically been utilised as medicine to treat and frequently cure numerous chronic diseases. From the time of Hippocrates to until just after World War II, this "white blood" nourished and healed millions. As a complete and properly balanced food you could live on it exclusively. What makes raw milk such a powerful superfood? Let's look at the ingredients:
Raw milk is “Live Food” meaning its packed full of living micronutrients - providing highly bioavailable protein, enzymes, beneficial lactobacillus probiotics (which are critical for gut and brain health), vitamin K2, and other vital nutrients. Bioavailable means the nutrients are in a form the body can easily use and assimilate.
Approximately 2/3 of the fat in milk is saturated. Contrary to popular belief, saturated fats play a critical role in our overall health. They are anti-ageing for the skin as they support the formation and cellular structure of collagen and elastin, leading to plump and radiant skin. Saturated fats work in synergy with our Thyroid, Adrenal glands and our metabolism – helping us to extract energy from the food we eat. Without them in our diet, we become dehydrated, lack energy and have a propensity to gain weight.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid:
CLA is a polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid found abundantly in milk with well-documented health benefits. CLA is known to raise your metabolic rate, help remove abdominal fat, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, strengthens the immune system and lowers food allergy reactions.
Recent research on CLA suggests that this beneficial fat may also help lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis and increase overall immune function, improving insulin action and reducing blood glucose levels.
Raw milk has both water and fat-soluble vitamins in a fully digestible form for your body to use. Naturally high in B vitamins: Riboflavin (B2) and Cobalamin (B12), both of which are necessary for cardiovascular health and energy production.
Our bodies are incredibly complex - for optimal health our body needs small amounts of each element contained in the periodic table. The delicate balance of minerals needs to be perpetually maintained. Intriguingly, nature codes into raw milk the entire array of minerals to be in perfect balance, therefore optimising their benefit to us.
Raw milk contains over 60 living enzymes – originating both from the milk and from the beneficial bacteria.
Digestive enzymes within the milk, remove a significant burden from our entire digestive, reliving pressure on our pancreas. This allows our pancreas to concentrate on producing metabolic enzymes and insulin to effectively process the influx of natural sugars and fats contained in the milk.
Amylase, bacterially-produced lactase, lipases and phosphatases contained in raw milk, break down starch, lactose (milk sugar), fat (triglycerides) and phosphate compounds respectively, making milk more digestible and freeing up key minerals for use throughout the body – reaching even our skin. Furthermore, enzymes known as catalase, lysozyme and lactoperoxidase act as a natural defense, protecting milk from unwanted bacterial invasion.
Cow’s milk is an excellent source of low-cost high-quality protein. The very structure of both humans and animals is built upon protein. We rely on animal and vegetable protein for our supply of amino acids - our bodies rearrange the nitrogen to create the pattern of amino acids we require.
Alpha Linolenic Acid: Essential Fatty acids are a group of unsaturated fatty acids essential for growth and body function – they transport fats, support metabolism and maintain cell membranes.
The results of a new research project conducted at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, confirmed that raw milk is an excellent source of Omega 3 fats. When compared to conventional, pasteurised milk, raw milk was found to contain up to 71% more Omega 3 fatty acids.
What about allergies and dairy intolerances?
This paragraph is not applicable to anyone that has a life-threatening allergy to dairy products – I do not recommend you try raw milk.
However, those who are intolerant to milk and dairy often find, in my experience that they can tolerate raw milk beautifully. I believe that those who have been diagnosed as dairy intolerant are in fact, intolerant to the natural sugar, lactose found in milk.
Nature is perfection and in raw milk you find lactose and the enzyme lactase, which breaks down and metabolises the sugar in perfect harmony. The high temperatures used in the pasteurisation process destroys lactase. Without this digestive enzyme, and help from the beneficial bacteria, the body is incapable of breaking down the lactase and therefore it leads to inflammation in the gut – which produces the symptoms of intolerance. Approximately 70% of the world population is lactose intolerant and would benefit from consuming raw milk.
Others are intolerant/sensitive to the proteins found in milk (caseins and whey proteins) resulting in inflammatory symptoms involving the skin, respiratory system and the gastrointestinal tract. Proteins are also disrupted and their structure altered by pasteurisation and homogenization. Again, raw milk can be tried for tolerance as the proteins remain intact.
Can I combat my sensitivities with raw milk?
There are a number of recent studies that suggest that raw milk is beneficial for the reduction in symptoms and severity of sensitivities, including food intolerances, hayfever and asthma.
We are made up of more bacterial cells than human cells and it makes sense to me, that in my case, drinking raw milk with its plethora of beneficial bacteria was instrumental in helping me to cure my own asthma and yay fever – both of which had made English Spring and Summers miserable for me.
Raw milk is a complete, perfectly balanced food “live” food that if stored correctly and consumed within 3 days, will remineralise your cells and flood the body with bioavailable probiotic bacteria, vitamins, essential fatty acids and enzymes.
It is worth remembering that raw milk is synonymous with respect for the environment and supporting biodiversity, promoting the tireless work of small scale farmers, herders and artisans. Supporting raw milk production means moving value from distribution to production, helping to diversify supply and protecting food freedom and the right to choose.
CLEOPATRA SPA BATH RECIPE:
We all need to take some time out to nourish and pamper our bodies and there is no better way than soaking in a decadent bath. If you suffer with eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis this bath will heal and regenerate your skin.
Take your favourite mug and fill it ¾ with raw cream and then ¼ with ideally raw or wild crafted honey – mix well. Pour directly into the water flow, turn off your phone and relax for a minimum of 30 minutes. This bath is perfect for babies and infants and has a very calming effect – ideal as a bedtime bath.
A European study (PARSIFAL), conducted in 2007 by a team from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine in Basel, looked at 14,893 children aged between 5 and 13 living in rural areas of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, comparing the consumption of farm milk (raw or boiled) versus pasteurized shop milk. It showed that farm milk consumption was associated with a reduction in asthma (-26%), hay fever (-33%) and food allergies (-58%).
A more recent study published in 2011 (GABRIEL) investigated whether raw milk could make a difference versus boiled milk in the frequency of asthma and allergies. Selecting and analysing of 800 farm children the study shows that there is an additional protecting effect within the group of farm children who have been given raw milk. The strongest reduction was found in the risk of hay fever and asthma among the 'exclusive raw milk drinkers' (any unboiled milk). Just the boiling of the milk leads to a loss of theprotective effect found in the exclusive raw milk drinkers.
First published May 2013
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