Why choose unhomogenised milk?

What is homogenisation?
Homogenisation is carried out by squirting milk at very high pressure through a special machine; this breaks up the fat particles and makes them very small so they disperse evenly throughout the milk; it isn’t needed at all to make a food healthier but simply carried out to make milk look more appealing to consumers.
It’s thought that people don’t like to see the cream on top of milk, or clinging to the carton, as it would naturally. And apparently people don’t like seeing creamy coloured milk, they like it to look whiter (can’t think of anything nicer than creamy-looking milk).

People are actually scared of whole milk; when they start using our eatnaturally plans they’ll often email me and ask if I’m absolutely sure they can have it. Can they not have soya milk instead or some other milk-like liquid made of locusts, nuts, rice or ground-down amaranth flown all the way from Peru or something. I have the most hellish job persuading them to simply enjoy real milk. Like getting people to drink arsenic.
Take note
Before you read the rest of this please be aware that what I’m going to tell you about homogenised milk is not proven by a million peer reviewed studies, nor does it fit today's bill of being highly-evidence-based. But, I believe that foods we've eaten and drunk without issue for a very long time without them being homogenised are good foods. I’d rather drink whole unhomogenised milk, as nature intended, which tastes miles nicer anyway and doesn’t need squirting through a machine at a million miles an hour.

Our weekly healthy eating plans, from £20 a month, will get you drinking proper milk, whole and unhomogenised.
The story
A scientist called Kurt Ostler studied healthy and diseased arteries for twenty years and concluded that heart disease increased in the 1940s at the time of widespread milk homogenisation (incidentally consumption of vegetable oils increased around this point too). Although humans in many parts of the world have drunk milk for 10,000+ years heart disease markedly rose when this process was introduced.

Ostler looked closely at the action of a substance called plasmalogen, which forms part of the membranes surrounding heart muscle cells and artery walls as well as playing a role in the immune and nervous systems. Ostler looked at the relationship between plasmalogen and another substance, Xanthine Oxidase (XO). XO is made by the body but also found in milk; however, XO and Plasmalogen are not naturally found in the same place in the body – XO changes plasmalogen and appears to destroy it. Remember that plasmalogen helps make up the membranes of artery and heart tissue. Therefore destruction of plasmalogen damages these tissues and leaves the artery walls in such a state that plaque build-up is more likely.
Atherosclerosis
Ostler’s theory about homogenised milk and heart disease was that during homogenisation XO particles become so small that they bypass the digestive process and pass unnaturally from gut to blood vessels, thus introducing XO into the vessels, destroying the protective plasmalogen and paving the way for lesions and plaque build-up. Did you know that plaque build up more easily on damaged, roughened surfaces? Thats why you don’t really want stuff flowing through the vessels that’s not meant to be there.

So if Ostler was right, and there’s certainly a lot written about his theory, drinking homogenised milk is a very good way to damage to artery walls, allowing plaque to ‘cling’ more easily. Whether he was right or wrong there is no need to drink homogenised milk and take even an outside chance.
Related article
What is inflammation?
We’re always hearing that inflammation is bad for our health and that we should be eating more anti-inflammatory foods, but what IS inflammation, exactly?
So what should you do?
Just drink unhomogenised, preferably organic, milk. Milk from cow’s who eat grass. Problem is the law doesn’t force manufacturers to say on the packaging whether the milk is homogenised, so it’s hard to tell until you get your eye in. But most milks sold in supermarkets are homogenised, with a few exceptions listed below.
  • Waitrose in the UK – Duchy from Waitrose (not Waitrose organic, that’s homogenised). Neither their whole or semi skimmed has been homogenised.
  • Morrison’s own whole milk – but only in their Yorkshire stores, it’s called ‘Yorkshire Milk’.
  • Gold Top Channel Islands milk, such as Tesco Finest and Sainsbury Taste the Difference – but always check labels as a few Channel Islands milks are homogenised.
  • Abel & Cole
  • Daylesford Organic
  • Raw milk has neither been homogenised or pasteurised but is only available to buy direct from the farmer at farmer’s markets or other direct or online outlets such as Hook and Son.
We have lots of beautiful recipes using gorgeous whole milk, like this creamy rice pud that any Grandmother would approve of (you wouldn’t find many grandmas drinking milk made out of nuts you know, they know better!)
What about ‘full fat’ milk though, isn’t that bad?
No!

People think whole milk is high fat and somehow dangerous – it’s commonly referred to as ‘full fat milk’, but whole milk is nowhere near a high fat food. A high fat food is one which is more than 17.5g of fat per 100g, a low fat food is one that is less than 3g of fat per 100g. Whole milk is around 3.5g per 100g, virtually a low fat food! Whole milk contains more Vitamin A and Vitamin E than semi-skimmed and skimmed, which are just watery poor cousins of the real thing; skimmed has to be fortified with vitamins that are no longer in it because the fat has been removed – crazy. Channel Islands Milk comes in at around 4% fat because it retains the cream that would normally be skimmed off whole milk for other dairy products – and it is BEAUTIFUL.
Related article
Is it dangerous to eat full fat foods?
We’ve been brainwashed in the past few decades to think that butter, whole milk, cheese and so on are bad for us, yet humans have been eating these foods for thousands of years. It's only in recent times that many people have become obese.
What about the animals?
Now this I do have sympathy with. The dairy industry can be one of the cruellest. If people find it abhorrent then yes they are free to not drink milk, of course, fully support that. But if you have fewer qualms about that side of it the follow my advice in the rest of this article, but do seek out organic milk where animal welfare standards are higher.
But we weren’t designed to drink milk from other mammals!
Maybe not, but the success of the human species is down to our fantastic ability to adapt and evolve to use the foods that are available where we live. Thus, about 10,000 years ago humans from northern Europe (if you’re in the UK that’s you) underwent a genetic mutation that meant they produced lactase, the stuff that means we can digest milk. Hey presto, fabulous source of nutrition.

A tiny percentage of the population from this region are lactose intolerant, less than 5%. 95% can drink milk with no problems at all, and with huge benefits.
Hang on a minute, I am allergic to milk
If you have a medically diagnosed allergy to milk – lactose intolerance – then of course you should not drink milk, that would be silly. You can now benefit from the miles of supermarket aisles of nut, soya and rice milk – hurray! Every cloud.

If you don’t have a medical diagnosis, get one before you cut milk and dairy from your diet. TV and radio programmes, newspapers, mags, friends and social media are not reliable diagnostic tools. Read about food intolerances.
Conclusion
Forget messed-with milk and buy and drink the real thing. Cold, creamy and delicious.
Why drink unhomogenised milk
Sally with the best recovery drink ever!
Enjoy beautiful unhomogenised whole milk every day when you join our eatnaturally plans. They come in vegetarian versions too!
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