As a rule of thumb, I don’t drink anything that comes out of a cow. But for the last several thousand years, a large percentage of the human population has consumed cow’s milk — a substance that admittedly contains quite an impressive collection of nutrients. The problem today is that those nutrients are artificially modified through pasteurization (cooking) and homogenization (breaking down fat molecules) to create a ready-made, highly processed cow’s milk beverage with a long shelf life that can be sold to consumers as “milk.”
In the history of food, pasteurized, homogenized cow’s milk is a relatively new thing. For most of recent history, milk has been consumed as a fresh, raw beverage, just hours out of the cow. Each day’s milk was usually harvested that very morning from the local cow, and most farms had at least one milk cow. (For many families, it was what kept them alive through the harsh winters…)
During all these centuries, fresh cow’s milk was considered a nourishing, even lifesaving beverage that provided people with hard-to-find proteins and fats in times when calories were hard to come by.