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What's better: Kefir vs. raw milk vs. pasteurized milk?

by (3280)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 8:09 PM
Created May 15, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Pasteurized Kefir is 99% lactose free and has lots of probiotics , which of course are really good for you.

Raw milk is raw, not pasteurized and its proponents claim it way better for you than heat treated milk.

I'll be drinking at least 3 glasses a day, trying to get absorb able calcium, so I want to pick the best source: kefir or milk or raw milk.

Thanks,

Mike

PS: bonus points if you weigh in on cheese vs. kefir vs. milk vs. raw milk from a calcium absorb able perspective.

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509 · May 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

the store bought Kefir I have encountered at Whole Foods all has added sugar...

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2626 · May 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Store-bought kefir does not necessarily have any added sugar. It's basically like yogurt -- go for the "unflavored" variety and you'll get pure cultured milk.

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704 · May 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM

If you're warming raw milk to make yoghurt, you MUST use a candy thermometer (showing my age, they have digital, 'point at' devices now) and not go over a specific temp, which has left my noggin. We haven't made this for over 20 years (personally, I can't do dairy -- whey causes immediate breathing issues and tongue swelling, let alone my skin's reaction). As far as flavor goes, I only wish I could drink raw milk (was raised with free range cattle and goats -- their milk messed me up, too). If you love kefir, it's healthier.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 19, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Interesting - you should totally come back and give me a summary when you're done :-)

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3280 · May 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I just purchased this book on raw milk: http://www.amazon.com/Untold-Story-Revised-Updated-ebook/dp/B001YQEZ9G/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368982136&sr=1-2&keywords=raw+milk and am really enjoying the book. It's pretty compelling.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 17, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Making kefir is pretty foolproof. The milk will just get more sour the longer you leave it out turning from a buttermilk consistency to more of a sour milk. The average time would be 12-24 hours but I've read somewhere of leaving it out for even 48 hours but that would be pretty sour tasting. It depends on the room temperature. In summer, I notice it starts to "curdle" after 12 hours but in the cooler months it takes a whole 24 hrs to get the desired consistency. It beats yoghurt hands down! http://www.culturesforhealth.com/milk-kefir-grains-composition-bacteria-yeast

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3280 · May 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

As I said to: @coconutBliss : My biggest fear is accidentally culturing BAD bacteria by accident. I believe normal at home yogurt practice is to near boil the milk first, then add the probiotics. That of course would defeat the whole purpose of starting with raw milk. I'm simply not sure if my concerns are justified yet. –

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I'm halfway through the first article about the differences between raw & conventional milk. It's pretty compelling. Actually: REALLY COMPELLING! I think I do want to get up to speed on making my own kefir. My biggest fear is accidentally culturing BAD bacteria by accident. I believe normal at home yogurt practice is to near boil the milk first, then add the probiotics. That of course would defeat the whole purpose of starting with raw milk. I'm simply not sure if my concerns are justified yet.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 17, 2013 at 2:35 AM

haha... good stuff! Raw milk is freaking delish - So creamy! Totally worth the walk. If you can get your hands on some kefir grains, you can start making your own kefir at home. It's so simple and also works a treat in smoothies. You also get the added bonus of super power probiotics.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 17, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Thank you @coconutBliss : you inspired me to stop by Reading Terminal Market after work and buy some raw milk, then walk 1.7 miles home with it! I made a delicious green smoothie in my Vitamix.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Thanks @coconutBliss. I upvoted your answer because I was kinda hoping that calcium in raw milk would be more absorb able. However, I am a bit skeptical that fermenting pasteurized milk would "rejuvenate" already damaged protein. That seems a bit far fetched. I will read the links you provided. Thank you !!!

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4 Answers

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Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35
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509 · May 15, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Homemade Kefir made with raw milk is the best... Store bought kefir is loaded with sugar and only contains a few strains of probiotics where homemade kefir can close to 40 strains and it also has very minimal carbs and sugars. I got my kefir grains from kefirlady and they were active right away.

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35
509 · May 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

the store bought Kefir I have encountered at Whole Foods all has added sugar...

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea
2626 · May 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Store-bought kefir does not necessarily have any added sugar. It's basically like yogurt -- go for the "unflavored" variety and you'll get pure cultured milk.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

As I said to: @coconutBliss : My biggest fear is accidentally culturing BAD bacteria by accident. I believe normal at home yogurt practice is to near boil the milk first, then add the probiotics. That of course would defeat the whole purpose of starting with raw milk. I'm simply not sure if my concerns are justified yet. –

best answer

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
2
1920 · May 16, 2013 at 3:20 AM

Pasteurized milk is essentially 'dead', as the heating process kills off the live enzymes and denatures the proteins which can make it highly irritating to the intestinal tract and renders the minerals almost useless. Your body will have a tough time absorbing any calcium despite what these companies would have you believe. Futhermore, pasteurization and homogonisation make calcium far less bioavailable as to what you would see in raw milk (which is also brimming will live enzymes).

Raw milk from a reputable dairy farmer would win hands down. This article delves into the raw vs pasteurized milk debate in more depth.

Regarding Fermentation:

Fermentation breaks down lactose, and so you don???t need that enzyme as long as you only eat fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, kefir and matured cheese. This explains why those with lactose intolerance can often eat these foods. kresser has a great article about Kefir and its benefits. It's more complete and complex nutritional profile aids in the absorption of calcuim.

If you ferment pasteurized milk, (i.e. make kefir or yoghurt from store brought milk), you are essentially helping to rejuvenate the damaged proteins which helps to make the minerals more bioavailable. So it would be better than drinking the pasteurized milk.

From this, it's clear that Kefir made from raw milk would be the most effective way to get calcium. I would say the case would be similar for cheese. This study is interesting and notes that 'fortified' calcium cheeses do not provide any extra calcium that the same fresh cheese. I would say the same goes for 'fortified' milks.

Remember that in order for the body to absorb calcium effectively, you also need to have sufficient levels of vitamin D (they do not need to be taken together though).

67871ef2326f29da48f1522827fc0f80
704 · May 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM

If you're warming raw milk to make yoghurt, you MUST use a candy thermometer (showing my age, they have digital, 'point at' devices now) and not go over a specific temp, which has left my noggin. We haven't made this for over 20 years (personally, I can't do dairy -- whey causes immediate breathing issues and tongue swelling, let alone my skin's reaction). As far as flavor goes, I only wish I could drink raw milk (was raised with free range cattle and goats -- their milk messed me up, too). If you love kefir, it's healthier.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 19, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Interesting - you should totally come back and give me a summary when you're done :-)

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I just purchased this book on raw milk: http://www.amazon.com/Untold-Story-Revised-Updated-ebook/dp/B001YQEZ9G/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368982136&sr=1-2&keywords=raw+milk and am really enjoying the book. It's pretty compelling.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 17, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Making kefir is pretty foolproof. The milk will just get more sour the longer you leave it out turning from a buttermilk consistency to more of a sour milk. The average time would be 12-24 hours but I've read somewhere of leaving it out for even 48 hours but that would be pretty sour tasting. It depends on the room temperature. In summer, I notice it starts to "curdle" after 12 hours but in the cooler months it takes a whole 24 hrs to get the desired consistency. It beats yoghurt hands down! http://www.culturesforhealth.com/milk-kefir-grains-composition-bacteria-yeast

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I'm halfway through the first article about the differences between raw & conventional milk. It's pretty compelling. Actually: REALLY COMPELLING! I think I do want to get up to speed on making my own kefir. My biggest fear is accidentally culturing BAD bacteria by accident. I believe normal at home yogurt practice is to near boil the milk first, then add the probiotics. That of course would defeat the whole purpose of starting with raw milk. I'm simply not sure if my concerns are justified yet.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a
1920 · May 17, 2013 at 2:35 AM

haha... good stuff! Raw milk is freaking delish - So creamy! Totally worth the walk. If you can get your hands on some kefir grains, you can start making your own kefir at home. It's so simple and also works a treat in smoothies. You also get the added bonus of super power probiotics.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 17, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Thank you @coconutBliss : you inspired me to stop by Reading Terminal Market after work and buy some raw milk, then walk 1.7 miles home with it! I made a delicious green smoothie in my Vitamix.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Thanks @coconutBliss. I upvoted your answer because I was kinda hoping that calcium in raw milk would be more absorb able. However, I am a bit skeptical that fermenting pasteurized milk would "rejuvenate" already damaged protein. That seems a bit far fetched. I will read the links you provided. Thank you !!!

D9ac0fc62e418f909696d835f60f6c7c
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0 · August 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

We've been drinking raw milk from grass fed cows for years now..... from cooperative supplied by local michigan dairy.

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95 · May 23, 2013 at 8:24 PM

I'm going to go with Kefir made from organic grass-fed milk, such as Organic Valley grass-milk. I still don't trust raw milk. The downside of potentially contaminated milk could be bad news. Also, to get the full bang out of the probiotics make sure to take a prebiotic supplement.

http://kefirprobiotic.org/

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