Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Milk of Running Beasts

Raw milk is a hot button topic here in California. The CDFA is doing it's best to shut down the raw milk dairies and consumers are doing their best to have access to a healthy food in the original form. More can be said about how pasteurized milk was developed because some people in NYC got sick from drinking milk with bad bacteria in it. Milk that was produced by cows who were not being fed their normal diet. Likewise one can go one about the good bacteria in raw milk and about how pasteurization  denatures the protein in the milk and really that's what causes people to have allergies to milk. Many people who have a dairy intolerance can drink raw milk. I guess it's really a pasteurization intolerance. And, of course you can read about the attributes of grass fed milk until you go crazy with desire for the stuff.

 As an acupuncturist many people assume I am anti-dairy because they had an acupuncturist who  proclaimed that "You shouldn't drink milk unless you are a baby cow." This attitude about dairy is actually not health oriented but political. Up until the time that the Mongols took over the rule of China there was plenty  of dairy being consumed from cheese to fresh milks of different sorts. The "Barbarians" of the new government were very, very dairy oriented and as an anti-Mongol move conquered  people, the Hans, stopped consuming dairy. In a classic Taoist text, "Ten Questions", which is over two thousand years old, it is advised that one drink "the milk of running beasts" to fend off old age, restore health and glow with vitality. Whether grass fed cows ambling though a sun splashed pasture are the running beasts of the Daoists is up to interpretation. On examining the Chinese character for beast one finds it relates to claws, tail, head, and even dragon. The character for run relates not only to that action but to escape and "strategic pass". It would be just like the Taoists to proscribe the milk of a cleverly escaping dragon. Worthy of note is that the Chinese dragon traditionally has the ears of a cow and, of all the animals that make up a dragon, is the most likely to be milked. Certainly in this day and age grass fed raw milk is as close to the milk of running beasts as most of us are going to get! 

Dusty tomes and mythology aside here are some addresses (I can't seem to do links, yet, hey I got the photo in!).

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