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Is a Raw Food Diet Healthy and Safe?

pitcher of milk

If you’ve read Jordan Rubin’s Live Beyond Organics, you know the dramatic health turnaround he realized by drinking raw unpasteurized milk and cultured dairy products. Jordan was pretty well knocking on the undertaker’s door when he learned a probiotic nutritional regimen that worked where conventional medicine had failed completely. It took a change in diet to reshape the course of his life.

Jordan’s claims, however, and the assertion of thousands like him, point to a dilemma: the foods he used to regain health are illegal in many states. How can that be?

So what about raw dairy products? Are they safe, or are they dangerous?

Do you remember Benjamin Franklin’s method for decision-making? His ledger system is still the most popular means of reaching consensus. In one column you list all the reasons in favor of a certain course of action, and in the second column you list all the reasons why not. You strike, by comparative weight, items from each column, until you are able to determine which column provides the most benefit. Based on techniques from ancient philosophers, this is an entirely logical method of arriving at a conclusion.

Applied to the raw milk controversy, your pros and cons list could read like this:

Arguments in favor of raw milk include:

  • Raw milk contains probiotics and is health-promoting
  • Raw milk tastes better than pasteurized milk
  • Raw milk is taken from healthier cows that are treated humanely
  • Raw milk farmers are careful to maintain a clean product
  • Raw milk is a product of family farmers, and they should be supported

Arguments against raw milk include:

  • Unpasteurized milk may contain harmful bacteria
  • The FDA advises against raw milk consumption
  • Raw milk is more expensive than pasteurized milk
  • Raw milk is difficult to obtain
  • Pasteurized milk has a consistent taste and texture

Depending on how you value each item in each list, you could end up going either way.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who say decisions are best made at gut level. Proponents of this simplified and more direct approach say we instinctively know what is best, and we need only to listen to the inner voice of wisdom.

One consideration with this approach, however, is that we are likely to “hear” only those messages in line with our core beliefs.

Hall of CongressFor example, do you consider the government worthy of your trust? Are federal agencies always looking out for your best interests, or are they more concerned about protecting big business and justifying their own existence? Those who are suspicious of the FDA, for instance, say pasteurizing milk is simply a means to allow corporate farms to get by with unsanitary and unhealthy practices – like keeping their cows in deplorable conditions, dosing them with drugs, and caring more about the volume of milk produced than the quality of milk produced.

Given current regulations concerning raw milk, chances are you won’t even come across unpasteurized milk, unless you purposely seek it out. If you do choose to consume the raw product, you should definitely be careful about the source. While it is sometimes pointed out that U.S. government figures show that the annual count of deaths due to prescription drugs (20,000 or more) far outnumber the annual deaths by raw milk (typically zero), any food handled incorrectly has the potential to cause serious physical problems.

Raw versus cultured

Proponents of raw foods claim that cooking, especially at high temperatures, destroys the essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in food. Others say that cooking makes foods easier to digest, assuring more of the available calories go to the body, and often delivers more nutrition than raw foods. Both camps point to scientific research to back their claims (and both camps say the other side’s research is skewed). Most agree that an abundance of raw foods in the diet makes good sense.

One thing is for certain, though, pasteurization destroys bacteria – for that is exactly what the high and extended temperatures employed in the pasteurizing process are meant to do. If the bacterial body count was composed of harmful microorganisms only, then pasteurization might be the godsend it is often presented as. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The high, prolonged temperatures kill every strain of bacteria present – and there are typically many more beneficial microorganisms present than unruly ones. It’s a textbook case of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

Take Aloe, for instance. Read the label of almost any container of Aloe gel and you will find the contents have been both pasteurized and preserved. That means the product will have a much longer shelf life and is fairly devoid of living organisms. But is that a good thing? We don’t think so.

Stockton Aloe gel is 100% pure, no preservatives added, raw and unpasteurized inner leaf gel from the barbadensis miller-stockton variety of Aloe vera. We not only use the most potent and health-promoting variety of Aloe yet identified, but we do not subject the gel to high temperatures – not because we like “bad” bacteria, but because we know heat changes things and we don’t want you to miss any of the potential benefits from drinking Aloe vera gel in it’s live form. It’s that simple.

Like the responsible farmer who takes excellent care of his herd and makes sure his processes are conducive to a high quality, healthy product – we choose to keep the contaminants out on the front end, rather than degrade our gel to destroy them on the back end. And just as many people enthusiastically seek trusted sources of raw, unpasteurized milk in order to reap what they believe are exceptional health benefits, our loyal customers choose to source their Aloe from us for the very same reasons. All Aloe products are not created equally: most are pasteurized and chemically preserved.

pasteurized productsThe same thing holds true for cultured (fermented) products – foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles. You can find these items in many grocery stores, but it is extremely difficult to find them unpasteurized. That means you can get the taste of fermentation, but the probiotic value of the products is basically nil — although yogurt makers often reintroduce live probiotics (just make sure you see “live” on the carton).

Many nutritionally-savvy health seekers turn to preparing their own cultured foods. That is one reason why Jordan Rubin founded Garden of Life and Beyond Organic. He wanted others to have access to the benefits he realized from a change in diet, but he knew how difficult it was (and still is) to access exceptional foods. That is the same catalyst that prompted Dr. Haley to take over the legacy of Rodney Stockton’s pioneering work with Aloe. To let this knowledge die, and to allow huge corporate farms and food suppliers to chase “real foods” out of the marketplace, would be a disservice to humanity.

The necessary disclaimer

Here at Stockton Aloe 1, we are not in the business of making your decisions for you, and we certainly aren’t here to persuade you to take a course of action that could cause harm. Our interest is in offering natural means for you to improve your health. We seek to help you gain awareness of Aloe’s potential as an herbal, naturopathic food and remedy.

We do not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. What we can do is tell you of our own experiences, share the results others have realized, and provide access, what we believe to be, the purest and most effective Aloe vera products available anywhere, at any price.

Never allow anyone else to dictate what you eat or how you eat. Listen to your own body. Do the necessary research. And choose the better portion: choose health.

(All photographs are courtesy of — no attribution required)

7 thoughts on “Is a Raw Food Diet Healthy and Safe?

    I’ve just started to use Aloe Vera (fresh inner leaf) due to some health problems. I buy it in produce store.
    Anyway I saw your Aloe and it seems to be the best ready-to-use.
    In both the cases (fresh leaf or your juice) I can’t find, all over internet, someone who says how much Aloe (fresh inner leaf) is possible/need to eat every day.

    Any idea please?

        Right…. : )


    I have been slowly going over to eating raw ad organic foods. It’s not something you can do overnight.

    Speaking from a young adult in my early twenties. Raw milk was a horrible experience after being raised off pasteurized milk. I really don’t see a generation crossing over to raw milk.

    My daughter and son in law have started to use raw milk. They are also using it to make thier own cheese and both of them say like it makes them feel better. If they did not live in rural eastern Colorado they would not be able to buy it, and perhaps this is part of the reason that farmers tend to be healthier than the rest of us.

    I am glad to have come across this article. Although I am trying to eat healthier by reading labels, eating organic, and avoiding the mainstream grocery items, I never really considered drinking unpasteurized milk. Wow. Thank you for sharing this very valuable information.

    Kim Raya

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