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Milk in History and Evolution


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An analysis in my laboratory of the dairy products obtained from the Loetschental Valley in Switzerland through a series of years has shown the vitamin content to be much higher than the average throughout the world for similar foods during the same seasons. The milk in these high valleys is produced from green pasturage and stored green hay of exceptionally high chlorophyll content. The milk and the rye bread provided minerals abundantly.
From Nutrition and Physical Degeneration .

Speaking for myself—I personally have prescribed raw milk from grass-fed animals to my patients for nearly fifteen years. Time and again I have seen allergies clear up and dramatically improved health. Particularly in children, middle ear infections usually disappear and do not recur on raw milk. Both children and adults unable to drink pasteurized milk without problems have thrived on raw milk. In hundreds-perhaps thousands- of my patients using raw milk, not one has ever developed a Salmonella, Campylobacter, or other raw milk related infection.
Dr Ron Schmid

by Ron Schmid, N.D.

Not everyone agrees that milk should be part of the human diet after infancy. The argument is made that just as all other species drink no milk after weaning, neither should we, especially that of another species. Many adults have difficulty digesting pasteurized milk, and allergies to pasteurized milk products are common. While this lends credence to arguments against milk, such reactions are usually due to pasteurization itself and the poor quality of conventionally produced milk and milk products. While for some individuals genetic influences play a role, for most the body's reaction to milk depends largely upon the quality and state of the particular milk used.

The Swiss of the Loetschental Valley were one of the few native groups Weston Price studied that used milk (the others were certain African tribes, including the Masai). The Valley people used raw, whole milk, both fresh and cultured, cheese, and butter, all in substantial quantities. The milk was from healthy, grass-fed animals and was used unpasteurized and unhomogenized. Such foods clearly can play a major role in a health-building program for the individual genetically enabled to utilize these foods well. They are a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins A and D and other crucial nutrients in short supply in diets lacking in high quality animal fats. (Contrary to popular opinion, liberal amounts of animal fats, particularly from grass-fed animals, are essential for good health and resistance to disease.)

Yet we could attain optimal health without dairy foods. Price discovered groups with complete resistance to dental decay and chronic disease using no dairy foods; their diets invariably included other rich sources of animal fats, calcium, and other minerals. The soft ends of long bones were commonly chewed, and the shafts and other bones were used in soups.

Modern medicine has discovered the importance of a substantial intake of calcium. Several recent studies have linked high blood pressure and other problems with chronic subclinical calcium deficiency, including increased incidence of colon and prostate cancers in men and osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in both men and women. Paradoxically, other problems are associated with high consumption of dairy foods; this has not gone unnoticed by researchers, nutritionists, and nutrition minded physicians. The importance of the quality and freshness of milk products lies behind the paradox. This concept has not been considered in attempts by today's medical community to explain the health effects of dairy foods.

Domesticated animals were first used for milk eight to ten thousand years ago, as a genetic change effecting mostly people in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa enabled them to digest milk as adults. Milk from domesticated animals then began to become important as a human food. With domestication and settlement, fewer wild animals were available; as groups of people roamed less, they hunted less, eating more grains and vegetables. In some cultures, milk replaced animal bones as the chief source of calcium and some other minerals.
In indigenous cultures where adults used milk, often it was used as cultured or clabbered milk. This is similar to homemade raw yogurt, and it is partially predigested-much of the lactose (milk sugar) has been broken down by bacterial action. This process must be accomplished over a period of several hours in the stomach when one drinks fresh milk; yogurt or clabbered milk is much more easily digested than fresh milk.

Adaptations in evolution are always the effects of particular causes. Humans developing the ability to digest milk into adulthood possessed a survival advantage; such change is the basis of evolution. Put simply, many human beings evolved the ability to easily digest raw milk because raw milk from healthy, grass-fed animals gave them an adaptive advantage; it made them stronger and more able to reproduce. Such milk remains a wonderful food that provides us with fat-soluble nutrients, calcium, and other minerals that are by and large in short supply in the modern diet.

Read the full article "The Health Benefits of Raw Milk from Grass Fed Animals" by Dr Ron Schmid on his web site: http://www.drrons.com/


Used with permission from Dr Ron Schmid

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, a publication of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Dr. Ron Schmid has practiced as a licensed naturopathic physician in Connecticut since graduating from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1981. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well, he has taught courses and seminars in nutrition at all four of the accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States. He served for a year as the first Clinic Director and Chief Medical Officer at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Connecticut Society of Naturopathic Physicians, and is on the Honorary Board of the Weston A. Price Foundation. He is also the manufacturer of 100% pure, additive free nutritional supplements. Dr. Schmid is the author of Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine, first published in 1986.