I’ve played around with raw cow milk and kefir before and I’ve been using goat yogurt and kefir for a while. I’ve REALLY wanted to switch to raw cow kefir though. I’ve wanted to make the switch not so much because I think cow milk is better than goat milk – I’m not so sure it is – but because I can easily get raw cow milk locally and raw goat milk is a bit harder to get around here.
So, yesterday I substituted raw cow kefir for my usual pasteurized goat yogurt in my shakes. Everything else remained exactly the same for the day. The results? Quiet stomach all day, no gas or bloat and I felt good all day. This morning I’m doing fine as well and all was good in the poop department. Overall, a very successful introduction of a food that is SUPPOSED to be very healthy for me.
Now, the question remains – Is raw cow milk or kefir Paleo? I think the strict Paleo answer is NO! But let’s take a few steps beyond that…
Advantages of incorporating raw milk and kefir into a Paleo diet:
- Raw cow milk has high levels of digestible protein and LIVE enzymes
- Raw grassfed cow milk has high levels of CLA
- Kefir made with raw milk incorporates not only the probiotics from the kefir but also the good bacteria that remains in the milk because it isn’t pasteurized
- Raw kefir is a lot more digestible than milk
- Raw cow dairy contains a good amount of saturated animal fats and a ton of other great stuff
- Raw cow milk from healthy animals contains a high level of Vitamin D
If you move away from the “Paleo” paradigm for a second and just think “primitive” I think you can see that cultured raw milk from grass fed cows on a local farm is about as “early” as you can get in the agricultural time-line. We’re basically talking Paleo plus a few hundred years or so. This is still very primitive and there’s a fair amount of evidence that primitive and hunter gatherer cultures have used raw dairy to good effect.
Another thing I find really cool about making my own kefir is the absolutely HEAVENLY butterfat thing that happens at the top of the jar when the cultures do their thing. That stuff is SO sweet and creamy and full of CLA and who knows what other good stuff!
The “making it” process is a little involved and can go wrong sometimes, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Currently, I’m getting my kefir starter from Body Ecology.
Really the only thing I have left to do here as far as testing is to keep using the kefir and make sure there isn’t any kind of delayed immune reaction. If I continue to do well on it, I’m going to keep eating it and see how I do. My hope is that the big doses of probiotics I get from the kefir daily will really help out my health and digestion. We’ll see what happens!
[Note: I was ORIGINALLY planning to include a bunch of references here to back up my points in this article. I haven’t found the really good stuff I’m looking for so I’ll update this post as I find better info.]
One tip. Want an even healthier raw milk kefir. Quit using the kefir powder from Body Ecology and acquire/purchase milk kefir grains. The Body Ecology has a very limited number of types of beneificial organisms (around 4). Kefir grains are the home to 40 or more beneficial bacteria and yeast. The flavor is significantly stronger and will take some getting used to, but there is nothing more healthy!
Great tip, Tina! Any sources you can recommend to get them?
Adam – Try the Kefir grains from this site http://www.kefirlady.com/ . She has the real deal. I have no affiliation to her, just passing along a great find. Good Luck!
Thanks for the info, Wayne!
I have a pint of raw milk kefir made with the grains on a daily basis. Full fat raw milk kefir…the best in the good, better, best view. It would be full fat raw milk, full fat raw milk yogurt, and then full fat raw milk kefir…YUM YUM and soooooo good for you.
I love my raw goat milk kefir! I got some grains from a friend who had too many. I put them in a jar, pour in milk and leave in in a cupboard for at least 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm the room is. I am rewarded with a wonderful, creamy kefir, very tangy, effervescent, and refreshing! I used to leave it to ferment longer, which results in a cheesy, yeasty, alcoholic strong taste/odor– not for the faint-hearted! But I find I really like the milder, shorter version better. The grains seem happy and healthy and reproduce quickly, especially in warm weather.
Thank you for this article. Glad to know how healthy kefir is for us.
Glad you liked the post, Robin! You’re lucky you can get raw goat milk where you are. It’s hard to come by in my area, although the raw cow milk is pretty easy to find..
If anyone is looking for raw goat’s milk in my area, I raise goats, and have a state inspected goat dairy. I offer herd shares so that you can enjoy fresh raw milk. My website is http://www.abetterwayfarms.com. Located in Augusta County, Waynesboro, Virginia. 🙂