Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

What am I eating: Part 1

Posted by Press on December 22, 2011

We as Human Beings need to be more conscious of not only how we spend our money in terms of who we spend with, but also what we are buying. In the past sixty years, less than a century, we have gone from a relatively healthy eating lifestyle to one of lethargy. Obesity is up, depression is up, heart disease, and the list goes on and on and on. We all know the benefits to eating a healthy diet are huge, but there are so many ways the big food industries still try to cover up harmful food practices so they can make more money.
Raw, Pasteurized, or ultra-pasturized?
I do want to make sure people realize, I am not against pasteurization.  I think it was a brilliant invention that has saved a lot of lives.  I also think it has been taken advantage of, like most brilliant ideas.

For years we have been told not to drink unpasteurized animal or plant products. We have become so conditioned that we don’t really understand what we are eating anymore. For starters, what exactly IS pasteurization? Pasteurization is a process of heating a food, usually liquid, to a specific temperature for a definite length of time, and then cooling it immediately. This process slows microbial growth in food. It has been used in China since the 1100’s as a way of preserving wine, but the modern version was created by Louis Pasteur in 1862 (1). There are two reasons for pasteurization 1) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present and 2) to lengthen the shelf life of the products, up to 16 days longer than raw (2). In fact it would have saved 2 lives, and 191 hospitalizations in the past ten years (6), but we still need to educate ourselves.
What are the disadvantages to pasteurization? Not only does it kill the bad bacteria, but it also kills the good bacteria. “Raw milk does contain antimicrobial properties which are destroyed with the heat of pasteurization, along with many of the vitamins within the milk itself. Raw milk has also been shown to have a protective effect for those who have asthma, hay fever, and atopic sensitization.” (1). As those of you who have experience with breast feeding know, and if human milk is any indication of how milk in general takes care of it’s purpose, milk is an amazing super food meant for nourishing young through it’s most delicate stages. Not only does it provide nourishment, but it can also cure just about anything. Ear infection? Put milk in it. Rash? Put milk on it. You get the picture. Somewhere along the way of all this processing, the milk we consume has lost all properties except for nourishment.
How about ultra-pasteurization? To put it lightly it’s an unneeded process which yields tasteless food that can stay on your shelf for months, and they can run large quantities very quickly. In the process it kills pretty much everything in the product, but also gives it a “cooked” taste to it, and destroys the elements that give the product its flavor and texture. To compensate the companies add products to it, in the cause of milk they add guar gum and carrageenan for texture. The worst part? It doesn’t even make the product any safer for consumption, it’s purely for the profit of the company. (3) Ultra-pasteurization also means that once a food is packaged it doesn’t have to be refrigerated until opened (4), which explains why some milk products are not in the refrigerated isles. Gross right? One has to wonder what this does to your body, and at this point, is it even food?
I can only infer from my background in biology and various research that we are creating a world of people who are no longer immune to things we used to be immune too. We are causing ourselves to be sick. The way the immune system works is that we get antibodies from our mothers, our food, and our exposure to the environment. Our immune systems take in this information and create antibodies, so even if we don’t get sick from something, as long as we were exposed to it through one of those ways we have antibodies to defend ourselves. We also have good bacteria that live in our bodies that we usually get from our food sources. If we kill every bacteria we could possibly come in contact with and surround ourselves with antibacterial everything we leave our bodies defenseless when there is an outbreak of something we could have protected ourselves against. Also, to put this into perspective, from 1998-2008 (a ten year period), there were 449 deaths from lightening strikes in the US (5). You are 224% MORE likely to die from a lightening strike than you are from drinking raw milk. It’s a scare tactic to get consumers to purchase goods that they wouldn’t otherwise produce themselves.
When we purchase from our local dairy farmers most of the time you are getting pasteurized milk, which is still very much ok, but sometimes you can get raw milk, and fresh cheeses that haven’t been overly processed. You will get more good bacteria and antimicrobial properties and you may actually feel a little better. Try it, you may actually like it!  If you are concerned about the bacteria, pasteurize at home by bringing the milk to a temp of 161 in a double boiler for 15 seconds, then place on a bed of ice to cool quickly. It’s that easy!
Here’s a thought for you to take with you, do you know we used to have to shake milk? Most people don’t even know that NORMAL milk separates.
Next up: Fruit, why it’s better to buy local.
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasteurization
(2) http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/dairyedu/pasteurization.html
(3) http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/food-science/food-science-whats-the-deal-with-ultrapasteurization-082428
(4) http://www.befoodsmart.com/blog/dairy-dairy-quite-contrary-how-does-your-bacteria-grow/#more-491
(5) http://www.infoplease.com/science/weather/lightning-deaths.html

(6)http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html

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