Since buying my bottled milk, fresh from the farm, I've been doing some research on the subject. Research for me is never very linear. Many times, I'll start focusing on one thing, only to come out with knowledge about something entirely different.
My thoughts tend to be rather chaotic, and therefore my research runs in a rather circular pattern. What this means is that even the most basic study tends to take much longer than it should.
See what I mean?
Well, my research began with trying to discover if there were any benefits to glass-bottled milk beyond the basic issues of recycling and storage. The next thing you know, I'm reading about the difference between homogenized and non-homogenized milk, followed by the debate between raw and pasteurized milk.
It was quite a lot to soak in. I'm not even halfway through reading all of the pros and cons associated with these issues.
I elected to push the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate onto the sidelines, for now. I didn't buy raw milk, so there was no point in spending time on the issue.
I do plan on looking into it later. In the meantime, I've simply decided that it warrants more research, and that the government really shouldn't be telling people what they can and can't eat (or drink). If you're curious about the debate, here are a couple of websites that talk about raw milk:
(Con) Real Raw Milk facts
What I noticed during my research on all of these fronts, however, was that homogenization kept showing up. That's what really caught my attention.
Homogenization is basically the process of shooting milk through an itty bitty hole at high pressure. This is done to create a more unified texture. It breaks up all of those lumps of milk fat in order to make our milk look prettier on the shelves.
But, aesthetics aside... is this really a good thing?
See, most milk has what is known as A1 beta casein. What happens when milk is homogenized is that the fat membrane surrounding it is broken. The result? New fat membranes form over the tinier fatty bits, but there isn't enough material remaining to fully cover them. The result is that lots of caseins and whey proteins attach themselves to this new membrane, causing us to absorb more of that mess than we usually would.
Why should we care?
Because A1 beta casein is associated with heart disease, as well as type 1 diabetes. By drinking homogenized milk, we're choosing to place a far higher than normal amount of A1 beta casein into our bodies than we otherwise would.
But are we really choosing to do this?
In many states, our oh-so-loving government diligently legislates against raw milk (even going so far as to force bottles of it to carry the words "not fit for human consumption" in some places), yet it requires no warnings about the dangers associated with homogenized milk, which, of course, is what lines the shelves of our grocery stores. Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a double standard.
As for me, I'll gladly pay more for my milk if it means giving my daughter a bit of added defense against type 1 diabetes. I've had T1D for over thirty years, and would do anything in my power to protect her from it! Besides... non-homogenized milk tastes better!
What are your thoughts on this?