Food/ Green Living

Does Milk Make You Congested?

Have you ever been told by a health practitioner to cut out milk? Maybe you have cut out milk and felt better. Some people have a hard time drinking milk as it can give them a runny nose or make them congested because milk can increase mucus in your body.

Most people feel better after they cut out milk, because they were drinking pasteurized milk. The process of pasteurization kills all the nutrients and denatures the proteins not only making it hard to digest, but the body reacts to it as if it was an allergy, and then you experience all kinds of auto immune issues.

So I would recommend switching to raw milk. Oftentimes, people who have a hard digesting pasteurized milk and are labeled lacto-intolerant do fine on raw milk. Pasteurization kills all the digestive enzymes (not to mention other nutrients), so milk becomes harder to digest. But in its raw form, all those enzymes help you break down and digest the milk.

Does Milk Make You Congested?

My second tip comes from the science of Ayurveda: simply add a dash of  cinnamon and cardamom to your glass of milk and it will help you from getting congested. Plus it tastes good! Penelope loves cinnamon and cardamom in her milk. And even on her pickiest days I feel good knowing that at least she got several glasses of raw milk and I don’t worry about overdoing her digestion system because I added the spices.

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  • Stacie
    August 28, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    I have been reading a lot about how conventional milk is not very nutritious. However, I can’t afford to switch to raw milk right now. We embrace many of the real food principles in our house. We eat mostly organic, local produce and quality meat fom our local Farmer’s market. We’ve mostly cut out grains except oatmeal, which we soak. I do still buy the organic whole milk from the grocery store. Do you think I’d be better off switching us to almond milk? Or should I continue to buy the regular milk? I would just love your opinion on which you think is more nutritious for those who can’t afford the raw. Thanks!!

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      Honestly, if you can’t afford raw milk, I just wouldn’t drink anything else and stick the highest quality cheese and yogurt. Raw milk freezes well, so I would put paying for raw milk as my top priority and only drink a small amount of it.

      • ~Kate F.
        August 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

        How do you freeze your raw milk? When I got a bunch extra (for free!!! someone didn’t pick up their share once and said I could just have it) I froze it in gallon size Ziploc bags. When thawed, it was all separated and not drinkable. I used it for other things, but I was very disappointed. Did I do something wrong?

        • Stephanie
          August 29, 2012 at 1:55 AM

          I always just freeze it in the jug it came in. I do have to mix it up. Maybe I don’t notice with the spice flavoring??

          • Laurie
            August 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM

            Stephanie, note that freezing raw milk changes the nutritional properties of it. I don’t have the info that I was provided on this but learned it in a semimar recently so we stopped freezing it.

            BTW, love your site! Thanks for sharing all that you do!

          • Stephanie
            August 29, 2012 at 2:21 PM

            Freezing anything changes it, fresh is always the absolute, perfect/best thing to do, but don’t you think that freezing raw milk is better than no milk or pasteurized milk?

      • Stacie
        August 29, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        Thanks! Maybe I will try freezing and then supplementing. I just know that right now the way my husband and kids guzzle milk I just can’t afford to buy it all the time, but hopefully in the future we can fully switch. Your blog is a wonderful resource for me so thanks 🙂

  • Christine
    August 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    I have been reading more and more about how we shouldn’t be drinking milk at all (not cow’s milk). What’s your opinion on this research?

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      That research is referring to pasteurized milk.

    • Cassandra
      August 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      It depends on what research you’re talking about. A lot of the people who come out against raw milk are vegan or vegetarian, and it is also driven by the anti-fat people. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are not in those camps who still believe milk is bad for you. Pasteurized and homogenized milk will always be bad for you, in any form. If you have specific arguments against raw milk in particular, I could answer that better.

  • Elizabeth
    August 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Wow, I hardly hear of people giving raw milk to their children! I have been giving my twins raw milk for a few months now (they have never had pasteurized milk) and they do wonderfully with it. I find that raw milk makes people nervous but I explain to them that I would never drink the kind of milk that is sold at the grocery store raw because that milk comes from many different cows all over. I get my raw milk from a farm close by so I know where it is coming from and am comfortable with it. Thank you for this post and bringing awareness to something that is rarely talked about!

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      Well, welcome!! I am huge fan of raw milk!

  • Dawn
    August 29, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    How do you find out where to buy raw milk? I am slowly changing our family’s eating practices and habits – but feel so restricted by what is available locally, living in the hot, humid Central Florida climate…. BTW – I love your blog, and the fact that your daughter and my older daughter are almost the same age.

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 1:57 AM

      I am super lucky here and can buy it from a local co-op grocery store. The farmers drop it off there and then I buy it like a regular jug of milk. It has a “for pet consumption only” label on it for the stupid FDA. Check out Weston A Price Foundation and find a chapter leader in your area, they always know where to buy it. My parents live in Central Florida and there is a ton of farms that sell raw milk.

  • Carmen
    August 29, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    How can you find where to buy it? I live in Sayreville, NJ.

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 1:57 AM

      Check out the Weston A Price Foundation and look for a chapter leader in your area, they will know.

  • mb
    August 29, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    when can babies start having raw milk?

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      I started giving her raw milk at about 20 months. She was exclusively on breast milk until then, she continued to have breast milk until a little after 24 months (she still nurses but only gets about a tablespoon a day). Some women make formula at home with raw cows milk and give their newborns it because they can’t nurse or find donor milk. Or raw goats milk.

  • Janna
    August 29, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    There are risks associated with raw milk consumption that should be considered as well

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Yes, of course. And the links I provided in the post have more info as well. But bottom line, know your farmer.

  • Mel
    August 29, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    Google casein or milk protein. It is not good for you. its not the pasteurization that is bad, it’s the protein, raw or pasteurized. it
    will always cause these problems. Drink almond milk, problem solved and you wont have to pay for raw cows milk.

    • Cassandra
      August 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      I can google a lot of different things and find all sorts of harms, it doesn’t mean all of the information is true or complete. People need to understand their individual circumstances and how their own bodies react to foods. Some people can not have any gluten whatsoever, but other people do fine on it and even thrive. There is no evidence that casein is in and of itself harmful to human health as a whole. If you’re referring to the studies done for The China Study, please research those studies a lot more because I’m sure you’ll realize that they were beyond flawed.

  • abbie
    August 29, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I loved reading this! I’m a bit torn on the issue. Our organic dairy farm is a part of Organic Valley’s cooperative and for us as a business it has saved us. Plus, OV makes the most delicious raw milk cheddar and their pasture butter is to die for…and honestly we couldn’t sustain ourselves as a raw milk cooperative and therefore wouldn’t be farming. But we cannot sell raw milk and I always feel terrible when folks ask us for it and we can’t offer it. I believe in raw milk on a personal level completely.
    I’ve consumed raw milk nearly my entire life growing up here. Pasteurized milk actually made me sick when I first went to school and had it. To this day I can drink it, but for me it’s not milk you know? It’s “milk.”
    Stephanie, this tip is fantastic! I put cardamom and cinnamon into my coffee for the same reason (to increase digestion) but had never thought to do it for milk. We maintain very high quality milk and nobody’s ever had a problem, but I bet it’s delicious regardless. I had been answering some questions from moms on instagram a few weeks back about introducing raw milk to their children who were accustomed to pasteurized and I wondered if you split the ration on it (3/4 pasteurized to 1/4 raw) and then gradually shifted the ration if that would help the transition. I also love that you’re suggesting that everyone find their farm through WAPF…there are real concerns about raw milk, unfortunately those don’t come from nowhere, but if the farm is registered through them then their cleanliness and quality levels, etc will be great. Thank you for sharing this and for putting information out there for people to search out raw milk safely!!

    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Hi Abbie! Thanks for your comment. I love following you on Instagram, your farm is beautiful. That must have been such a hard decision to go with OV. It makes me so mad that they don’t allow their farmers to sell raw milk on the side. Hopefully this will change in the coming years as more and more people wake up and demand that the FDA stop being such idiots.

      • abbie
        August 29, 2012 at 8:29 PM

        Honestly, it was an easy decision to go with OV. We looked at Horizon’s standards and OV’s right next to each other and there were HUGE differences!! Also, depending on your state legally you cannot have over a certain amount leave your farm. The amount is small enough in VT we could never sustain ourselves. OV hadn’t made that decision at the point we joined, it was still allowed. George, OV’s CEO, put in a clause that there can be “neighborly exchange” because I believe on a personal level he didn’t agree with the decision. Just so that you know, the decision was the closest ones they’d seen. When posed to the Dairy Executive Committee which encompasses farmers representing the 1600 or so from around that nation, it was I believe a matter of 5 votes. The board decision was 4-3 in favor of not permitting it. So at least I can rest easy knowing that about half of our membership and our board didn’t think it was the way to go. It is something they’ve stated they would revisit in a few years and I believe there are enough of us in favor of it to push them to do so. I’m so glad you enjoy the photos, I love that medium to be able to communicate with visuals what we’re doing. I so hope the FDA wakes up. I don’t have much faith in it, but maybe if responsible bloggers like you continue to educate people appropriately!!

        • Stephanie
          August 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

          Well, that is good to know. Hopefully there will be a tipping point in a few years. Keep up the good work!

    • Cassandra
      August 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      My parents buy milk from a farm that sells to a company that doesn’t allow raw milk sells, but they still sell it on the side as pet food. They don’t go around advertising it, but they still do it.

  • Angela
    August 29, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Can anyone view the westonaprice foundation website? It says my computer will get a virus if I proceed. I wrote on MBL’s facebook wall, but with this new facebook timeline format, I don’t see my question anywhere.


    • Stephanie
      August 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      I checked the WAP website the other day, it looks like it is down and they are doing some updates to it. I am sure it will be back up soon. 🙂

      • Angela
        August 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        I was thinking maybe the FDA got a hold of it….LOL!

        • Stephanie
          August 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM

          I wouldn’t be surprised.

  • Sonia G Medeiros
    August 29, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    We’ve been weighing the idea of switching to raw milk. It is very expensive and we like milk a lot. That has put me off. Still, I worry about all the issues surrounding the pasteurization and homogenization.

    We can get unhomogenized milk easily. It’s still relatively expensive but not as much as raw. I wonder if that would be a good compromise for now. Do know if it’s worth it to go with unhomogenized but pasteurized? I know it wouldn’t be as good as raw but it would at least not have the issues of homogenization.

    • Cassandra
      August 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM

      Yes, it would be a good compromise. Homogenization is what oxidizes the fat which is very, very bad. Pasteurization does remove a good chunk of the benefit of raw, including naturally occurring lactase which aids in digestion, but if the milk is good quality, it’s not as big of a deal. Part of the problem with what we commonly think of as pasteurized/homogenized milk is that milk is basically slop with pus and all kind of disgusting chemicals leaked into it. So make sure you’re still getting a good quality milk if it is pasteurized.

      • Sonia G Medeiros
        August 30, 2012 at 2:03 AM

        Thanks! It’s horrible to think of pasteurization allowing for crappy handling ahead of time but it makes sense.

  • Karen
    September 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    I’m writing to mention that lactose intolerance/digestion problems are different from the problem of allergic reactions (food allergies). Lactose intolerance is the problem of not being able to digest the sugar lactose (due to an individual’s inability to produce any or enough of the enzyme lactase), and affects the digestive tract. Respiratory tract symptoms of extra mucous production would not be related to lactose intolerance, and is more likely related to processes involved in a systemic allergic response. It seems to me that you are intermingling these concepts as if they are the part of the same process, but they are separate.

    • Cassandra
      September 8, 2012 at 3:40 AM

      Hi Karen, you’re correct that it wasn’t very clear what Stephanie is talking about when she mentions “lacto-intolerant” (not lactose) and digestive enzymes, but what she is saying is still true. Digestive enzymes as well as healthy bacterias that are present in raw milk do ease or even alleviate allergies to milk that manifest as respiratory symptoms. Thanks for bringing it up though!