Milk, Milk, Baby!

I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for nearly a month. 

Let me start by saying that I love milk… really love it.  However, I’ve heard that it can cause mucous in the body.  I’ve also heard that it’s not really that great for people to drink it.  I own (and read) the book, Don’t Drink Your Milk, by Frank A. Oski, M.D.  and have followed the theory that the Chinese (and other Asians) have less health problems than westerners because they avoid dairy. 

Dairy Cows.

I’ve eliminated milk and milk products from my diet for months at a time and felt a noticeable improvement in my well-being.  However, in my world, this dietary sacrifice never lasted and I welcomed the milk back… with a smile.  I missed it too much, no matter how terrible the former Physician-in-Chief of John Hopkins Children’s Center says it is for me.

A cow udder.

A recent phone call from a friend rocked my world.  She said that retail cow’s milk from the grocery store can give a baby goat Johnes disease (pronounced ‘yo-nees’).  My reply was, “That’s ridiculous.  Retail cow’s milk is ultra-pasteurized and ultra-dead, everybody knows that”.  Oh… I was so wrong.

I researched Johne’s disease which opened a can of worms.  Pasteurization does not kill everything, nor does ultra-pasteurization.   

There is a common bacteria called mycobacterium paratuberculosis that can survive pasteurization.  It is believed to cause Crohn’s disease in people, especially young people.  The scientists and public health authorities know that the bacteria is associated with Crohn’s disease, but don’t have  evidence that it directly causes Crohn’s.  There are theories that genetic and/or environmental factors may also contribute to the development of Crohn’s, but it is unknown.  There are millions of people suffering worldwide from this disease and the number is growing exponentially.  I wonder why there is little effort to find out if the bacteria (mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that is present in our food supply is causing people to develop Crohn’s disease? It seems obvious that the bacteria is causing life-threatening illnesses in people and animals.  If it isn’t… then it should be ruled out. In fact, more research is desperately needed.  Fifty percent of Crohn’s disease patients are children and there is no cure.

The bacteria (mycobacterium paratuberculosis) is also found in meat, cheese and water that is being sold to the general public for consumption in the U.S. and Europe. Are we at risk from the bacteria?  That remains to be seen.

Most of my research implies that many dairies are unaware of Johne’s disease in their herds.  It is almost impossible to detect in young livestock and probably too late when they show the deadly symptoms.  There are ways to manage the disease, but none of them are easy.  It is a 1.5 billion a year problem for the cattle industry.  A  survey conducted in 2007 showed that 68% of U.S. dairy herds were infected with mycobacterium paratuberculosis.  I wonder what it has grown to now?

Delicious milk. This is goat milk, which is white. Cow milk has a slight yellow tinge.

It seems that Johne’s disease is becoming more common in goats in Florida.  I recently tested our milking doe and was relieved by the negative results, although I have babies that are still too young to test.

... till the cows come home.

Are you concerned?  Good.  We need to know these things and we cannot ever stop asking questions.  Do you think it’s a conspiracy theory? I’m okay with that. Check out this report from the American Academy of Microbiology.  They believe that if MAP is associated with human disease and is in the U.S. food supply, this will be a public health concern to rival that of TB in the early part of the 20th Century.

Are you wondering if I buy cow’s milk for my family?  The answer is no, not anymore. Our children are in 4-H and goats are their project. We feel blessed and the goats are  part of our family (must be why they call them “kids”).  Hmmm… so you can’t keep a goat on your patio… what to do, what to do? You do have options: rice milk, almond milk, soy milk (choose non-GMO), oat milk or coconut milk. 

Grayson milking a Nigerian dwarf goat.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is hosting a webcast called, “Pediatric Crohn’s: Finding the Right Path to Care” on May 19th at 8:00 p.m.

Come grow with us!

7 Responses to “Milk, Milk, Baby!”

  1. Hi!

    I’ve been wondering when I’d see this blog… Thank you so much for doing the research. I’ll be checking out the links when it’s NOT 2 hours past my bedtime. LOL

    I really enjoyed meeting you during the quail drop off and would love to see you again. I know Xavier would love to hang out with Grayson again, too. Please keep in touch!

    :o) Kris (Rachell’s friend)

  2. goat milk i’ve read is also NON mucus forming. 🙂 not sure how scientific this is. or reports i’ve read….though i am allergic to cow milk. not a problem with me and goats milk.

    YES Johnes is scary. I test for it every year. How foolish those that sell milk and don’t. And there are plenty!


  3. I personally believe that raw milk is the way to go. I wonder if this bacteria is coming in through factory farms? Have you seen “the meatrix”? A lot of the scare tactics out there are attempts to turn people away from doing things naturally. Check this article out, it’s insane! Armed Raid of Raw Food Co-op. I’ve been drinking raw milk for years and never had a problem with it. If I want to drink it, I should have a right to. They sell raw dairy all over Europe, why the insane law enforcement in the US?

    The pdf you posted isn’t a medical journal — but definitely makes me wonder. Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies – Public Library of Science

    Ok my last link, lol! Fresh, Unprocessed (Raw) Whole Milk:
    Safety, Health and Economic Issues


    • Thank you for the links! I tend to question everything these days because I like to make my own informed choices for myself and family.

      I was so surprised to learn about MAP in pasteurized milk because I thought nothing could survive.

  4. I would love for you to add your blog at http://www.BlogCatalog/com and tap me on the shoulder (my profile wall) once you have done.

  5. I had no idea that Johne’s could cause Crohn’s. Nor that some bacteria could survive pasteurization. We don’t pasteurize the milk from our goats. We’ve been drinking it for several years; hopefully we’ll be okay if we don’t add any new animals to our little herd.

    It was about a year after we got goats that I started reading about how bad dairy might be for us. Still, there is an ethnic group of herders in China that consumes lots of milk, and their health is comperable to that of their neighbors who don’t. It’s a confusing subject.

    I came across your blog while googling Treehouse Nursery. Very nice blog.

    Venus, FL

    • Thank you for stopping by and leaving feedback.

      As for the milk, I agree that it is a confusing subject. Healthy or not healthy? My opinion is that milk is healthy for my family, but we are not lactose intolerant and seem to thrive with milk. I read recently that many Asians are lactose intolerant but will eat milk products when they can get them (Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, page 33). I love raw milk and would probably freak if someone told me it was outlawed to consume milk from our own animals.

      I’ve been reading everything I can find on the subject of raw milk because I’d like to write a post on it… the good and the bad. Check back soon.

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