Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Dietary Laws, Restrictions, and Overall Disasters

    June 16, 2007 by Brandy Vencel
    Do you ever get depressed reading Dr. Mercola’s website? I got an email update yesterday and went to check out some of the articles, and I feel like I am going to either totally mess up my kids for life or be left eating nothing but air. I think my friends had the right idea moving to [third-world country]. There are so many of the issues addressed by Dr. Mercola and his kind that would be totally non-issues over there because of the more agrarian-type, not overly industrialized way other countries function. It is so sad that our blessings have kind of become our curses here in the States.


    I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Dr. Mercola. How do you cope with the knowledge that he provides? Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    The above is an excerpt from an email I recently received. I told this friend of mine that I would answer her in a post because Si and I have been thinking about food and diet for a while, and discussing it from a more philosophical angle than a health angle.

    The fact is, unless a family is going to remove themselves to the countryside and run their own self-sustaining community {a.k.a. “farm”}, then that family has to make daily food choices. And like all choices, choosing one thing inevitably means not choosing another thing.

    Let’s take the milk issue. We have gone over and over the milk issue around here. Generally speaking, pasteurized/homogenized milk is bad for you. Pasteurization of milk “destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, alters vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.” Click on pasteurization if you really want to know more about that! Meanwhile, homogenization is “is a mechanical process that breaks down butterfat globules so they do not rise to the top.” “According to some studies, the process makes the milkfat particles small enough that they pass, undigested, into the bloodstream, leading to heart disease. Interestingly, consumption of dairy fats has actually decreased since the 1930s and the advent of homogenization, while heart disease and heart attack deaths have increased dramatically” {source}.

    When the Promised Land was described as flowing with milk and honey, I can guarantee the milk being referred to was unpasteurized, non homogenized, organic milk. And it might have been from a goat. {And the honey was raw, but I digress.}

    But perhaps my child is intolerant/allergic to dairy. We head to soy, only to learn that soy is an estrogen and, for instance, a child on soy formula might have as much as 22,000 times the normal amount of estrogen in his/her blood when compared with a normal, breastfed baby.

    Eventually, we try goat’s milk. But raw goat’s milk is illegal to sell in California. So we drink it powdered, bought as cheaply as possible on, and we quit worrying. We are doing the best we can with the options we have.

    Do you see how complicated it gets? As my friend says, the blessings of our post-Industrial culture are also its curse. And as a parent wading through these matters, it can feel like a huge burden to carry. My goal over the next few days {or however long it takes} is to try to wade through the issue of food from a distance and gain a few principles to ease the decision-making process. This is written as much for myself as it is for anyone else.

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Brandy June 21, 2007 at 3:29 am

    Nanny Y.,

    I really need to research the powdered milk a bit more to know if it is actually superior to homogenized in some way. I grew up drinking powdered milk, also, and I know that the biggest benefit was that there was no worry about it going bad since it was “made” on demand. We make exactly what we need for two or three days and have never had any come close to spoiling.

    As far as I know, pasteurized, homogenized, powdered…it is all pretty much the same as far as bioavailability and nutrition.

    Of course, I did say as far as I know. 🙂

  • Reply Nanny Y. June 21, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Hi! I have a question I hope you might know or know how to find the answer 🙂 Reading about your choice to drink powdered goat milk reminded me of how my grandmother always used powdered whole milk (cow’s milk). This was in Puerto Rico but I recently saw the same brand she used in a Hispanic market. Is powdered safer than homogenized? It tasted like regular whole milk once mixed without that terrible taste the non-fat powdered milk has and I’d be willing to make the switch. Take care and thank you for this series!

  • Reply Rahime June 20, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Great. No problem. I love the cream too. Mmmm.

    I’ve been meaning to try goat’s milk too, ’cause I’ve heard it’s easier for humans to digest, but haven’t gotten around to it.

  • Reply Brandy June 19, 2007 at 3:38 pm


    Thank you SO much! Turns out the cost you are quoting me is very close to what we pay for goat’s milk, so the impact on our budget, should we be able to switch, would be nominal…plus all the uses for the cream if we buy the whole and skim the top…Yummm…

    Thanks. I mean it. 🙂

  • Reply Rahime June 19, 2007 at 8:32 am

    From what I’ve heard the shipping does work ok…just have to be home when it’s delivered and get it in the fridge fast.

  • Reply Rahime June 19, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Sure. So far everywhere I’ve found it is about $8/ half-gallon. Whole Foods carries it. I had a place where it was $7.50/half-gal., but they just raised their prices. From what I’ve found around here, Organic Pastures ( is the most commonly available. If you can get it though Claravale Farm has Jersey cows…I think the milk tastes a little better, but it only comes in quart-size glass bottles ($4/quart here) and you have to pay a bottle deposit.

  • Reply Brandy June 18, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    This makes me want to try it. I will try and see where it is sold locally. May I ask what a good price on it would be? I know a place a couple hours away that will ship it, but I hesitate to have it shipped in such hot weather.

    I like this idea. If it works, it opens so many doors! Not just in the milk area, but in being able to make yogurt or ice cream that my son might be able to eat without stomach aches!

  • Reply Rahime June 18, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Evidently some of the problems that have come with pasteurized and/or homogenized milk are because those processes break down (or render inert, I’m not sure which) some of the enzymes and proteins which help the body digest milk.

    I did meet a girl this week who is allergic to milk in all forms (and also beef, for that matter). It’s a true allergic reaction, she passes out and has ended up in the hospital several times before regaining consciousness, to even slight exposure to milk proteins (i.e. a classmate touching her who had cheese puff residue on his fingers). Her reactions have been increasingly worse, and doctors think there’s a potential for it to be severe enough to result in death. Raw milk would definitely not work for her.

    But if it’s an intolerance rather than a true allergy (immune system response, body has antibodies against the milk proteins), it might be ok. It would possibly be worth trying.

    Plus CA is the only state in which raw milk can be sold in a store for human consumption. For me, that was enough to give it a try…I get really frustrated when the government tries to control things like that. People drank unpasteurized milk for thousands of years (and still do in many places). Ok, rant over. Let me know if you try it.

  • Reply Brandy June 17, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Really? Now I will have to rethink this! I never actually tried the raw with my kids because I assumed that since they were allergic/intolerant of the regular, grocery-store milk, that would carry over. Hmm…

  • Reply Rahime June 17, 2007 at 5:44 am

    I’ve gone to whole raw milk, but it’s expensive. I’ve heard that even some people who are allergic to milk can drink it without problems. ‘Chung tends to be lactose intolerant, but he’s even been able to drink it straight without any trouble.

  • Leave a Reply