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Raw Milk - History, Health Benefits and Distortions
by Ron Schmid, ND

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Milk, Civilization and the Ancient World

“And the Lord said, I am come down to deliver my people out of the hand of the Egyptians and unto a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”  - Exodus 3:8[i]

            Human consumption of animal milk is usually linked to the beginnings of grain farming some 10,000 years ago.[ii]  Most treatises on the history of the human diet assume that animal husbandry began with the dawn of agriculture, making dairy products a relatively recent human food. But archeological evidence indicates that 30,000 years ago people in the High Sinai Peninsula at the north end of the Red Sea used fences to aid in confining and breeding antelope for their milk.[iii]  They likely were one of many cultures that used milk long before the beginnings of agriculture.

           Physically, civilization rests on the soil, because the soil produces the nutrients for the grasses that feed the animals that feed the people. Fertile soil ultimately provided the milk upon which civilization was quite literally built.

            In the whole range of organic matter, milk is the only thing purposely designed and prepared by nature as food. Early humans did not hesitate to appropriate this gift of nature for their own use. No state of civilization has ever been attained without the subjugation of animals and the subsequent use of their milk; from the infancy of human society, distinction has been assigned to the bovine species in history. Those species include the bison, buffalo, yak and domestic animals of the genus Bos, like cows and bulls. Where people have gone, the ox and his kind have followed. In every country, bovines are either indigenous or naturalized. In most, their milk has at one time or another been used as an essential article of human sustenance - in many, as the chief.[iv]

            The earliest Hebrew scriptures contain abundant evidence of the widespread use of milk from very early times. The Old Testament refers to a “land which floweth with milk and honey” some twenty times. The phrase describes Palestine as a land of extraordinary fertility, providing all the comforts and necessities of life. In all, there are some fifty references in the Bible to milk and milk products.[v] Milk is often used metaphorically to signify privileges and spiritual blessings.

 

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