Understanding Labels: Milk - Homogenized vs. Pasteurized vs. Raw Milk
About a year ago, on a flight from DC back home to Boston, I ended up chatting with a delightful woman that was sitting next to me on the plane. I told her what I did and we somehow ended up talking about dairy, and she half jokingly exclaimed that she was "done with cows". She swore off meat and dairy because, sadly, it seemed everywhere she turned there was a horror story either about how cows are treated in factory farms to how homogenized milk may be bad for your heart health to how naturally occurring hormones in cow milk may cause cancer (did you know that they milk pregnant cows - ridiculous, right?).
Today, I am sad to say that I am also very close to being "done with cows". I very rarely eat beef (once a month at most, and only if I make it at home with the highest quality organic, grass feed beef - never in a restaurant), and I have severely limited my dairy intake to a few drops of organic unhomogenized milk in my tea once a week or so). Even though according ayurveda milk is a thoroughly nourishing food, modern practices have completely denatured it to the extent that I do not trust what I am drinking.
Whether or not you choose to limit your dairy intake, it is important to know what the labels mean. To help you with this I have created the brief chart below explaining the difference between homogenized, pasteurized and raw milk (click on the image for a clearer PDF version).
Also, take a look at my resources page (a work in progress). There you will find additional resources to help you decipher what is in your food.