Back in 1929, Dr. J. R. Crewe MD of the Mayo Foundation, a forerunner of today’s Mayo Clinic, wrote an extensive article for Certified Milk Magazine about the curative effects of a raw milk fast. The only milk available in those days was, of course, raw milk rich in butterfat from old fashioned cows grazing on unsprayed pastures – nothing like the highly processed store milk of today full of synthetic fortification, allergenic proteins and antibiotic and hormone residues.
The Milk Cure, as it was known, was an established, conventional therapy in the early part of the 20th century. Due to its simplicity, however, many doctors had little interest in the Milk Cure. Consequently, initiation of a raw milk fast typically came from patients themselves!
The Milk Cure is also the subject of at least 2 books. In Principles and Practices of Medicine, by Dr. William Osler MD, pastured raw milk is referred to as “white blood”. The reason is the close resemblance of milk to human blood and the stimulation milk consumption has on the body to make new and better blood.
Milk Cure Protocol
The protocol for the Milk Cure is extremely simple. Dr. Crewe writes:
The patients are put at rest in bed and are given at half-hour intervals small quantities of milk, totaling from five to ten quarts of milk a day. Most patients are started on three or four quarts of milk a day and this is usually increased by a pint a day.
The treatment is used in many chronic conditions but chiefly in tuberculosis, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular and renal conditions, hypertension, and in patients who are underweight, run-down, etc.
Patients with cardiac disease respond splendidly without medication. In patients who have been taking digitalis and other stimulants, the drugs are withdrawn. High blood pressure patients respond splendidly and the results in most instances are quite lasting. The treatment has been used successfully in obesity without other alimentation. One patient reduced from 325 pounds to 284 in two weeks, on four quarts of milk a day, while her blood pressure was reduced from 220 to 170. Some extremely satisfying results have been obtained in a few cases of diabetics.
The Milk Cure has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity as people increasingly seek nontoxic, noninvasive alternatives to the drugs and surgery approach of conventional medicine today.
15 Day Milk Cure in Action
My friend, Paula Jager CSCS, a certified trainer, Crossfit gym owner and author of dozens of fitness articles for this site, decided to try The Milk Cure for herself.
Paula’s curiosity in the Milk Cure was piqued after receiving a copy of The Untold Story of Milk by Dr. Ron Schmid as a gift. Paula writes:
Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and I quickly dove in. I was especially intrigued by the chapter on the healing benefits of the “raw milk cure” which had its roots with one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic. Best time to do this was spring. I put that on hold in the back of mind.
Uncovering my winter body and its feeding frenzy of “good” foods but a few too many and far more than the occasional indulgence of homemade ice cream made me decide to join the yearly Swimsuit Challenge with my clients at my CrossFit facility. I was ready to start, it was time to shed the 11 pounds of fat I had managed to put on from about September until now. I also felt like I needed to cleanse or detox a little. Now I love my food and I am not going to go without sustenance no matter how good the purported benefits of fasting. I had been reading and becoming a bit of a believer in Intermittent Fasting on the Paleo and Primal websites but the milk fast seemed the perfect answer–I could fast yet still get nutrients and preserve lean mass. The idea of just broth and water was not enough for me and juices provided far too many simple carbohydrates. Milk is the perfect food. At 146 calories per 8 oz., 7.9 g of fat, 11g carb and 7.9 g of protein that put its macronutrient ratios at 49% fat, 21% protein and 30% carbs. A little higher in the carb content than I am used to but very close to an ideal or perfect food.
Paula initially planned to do a 5 day fast, but ended up doing a full 12 days.
Paula has been sending me daily updates on her progress with the fast and I asked her if she would mind if I posted them in case others were interested in the process for themselves.
She agreed, so here are all of her observational journal entries for the full 12 day fast plus the 3 days following her reintroduction of solid food. Hopefully, you find this helpful to read, analyze and perhaps apply to your own situation.
The purpose of my raw milk fast is more of a cleansing or detox intent although I did take a starting weight of 123.4 on 3/15. Started off with 2 cups for breakfast at 7:30 am. Felt fine all morning, hungry at 10:30 am so had 1 cup. I was hungry at noon and was time for a workout. Energy was good though and did a light workout consisting of easy cardio and bodyweight exercises. Drank 3 cups for “lunch” around 2:00. 3 pm and feeling fine, pleasantly full, no hunger pangs, no real feeling of deprivation from not chewing. Drank every couple of hours and finished off the 3 quarts with about 2 ½ cups for dinner at 8:45 pm. I went to bed at around 10 and slept as usual.
Woke up feeling a little hungry but not too bad. I was concerned about elimination but everything went smoothly this morning. Looked a little different, cream-colored swirls in the usual brown color? TMI but thought I would include it. Rationed more appropriately today by consuming more for breakfast and early morning.
Energy levels have been good all day and I am honestly not hungry and thus far do not miss chewing. I really do not feel any different at all today. I have been very busy with work, all good and it has been nice to not have to cook and take time to eat. So far, it seems really easy and I am not craving anything whatsoever. Sarah was right; the milk has a pale beige color to it. It seems extra creamy and delicious and 3 quarts seems to be a good amount for me so far.
Not hungry at all this am, weight holding consistent. Slept very well last night but too soon to tell if related. TMI again but “waste material” was more cream-colored this morning, not sure what this means but went smoothly. Energy levels were consistently good throughout the day and workout. Zero cravings or desire for additional food. It’s like my body is craving this.
Did not sleep well last night; do not know if it is related as that usually happens around the time of a full moon. Still not hungry, energy level still good in the am but was a little fatigued midday and early afternoon. No desire to exercise and that is highly unusual for me or could be related to not such a good nights sleep and the fact that I have been working non stop all day. Have decided to continue this as it has been easy and satisfying. One thing that does seem improved slightly is mental clarity. I seem to have a slightly better focus and concentration.
Slept a little better. Elimination has been fine, color is different since drinking only milk (a light tan) but otherwise normal. Been periodically checking blood pressure (which is usually normal 110/70 ish) and it has not changed, temperature (runs low– high 96 to high 97) and it has not changed and pulse rate (usually mid 60’s) and it has not changed. Energy remains good. No cravings, no real desire for food. Feel somewhat more satisfied than when I am eating.
One thing I have noticed and it seemed to gradually come on a few days after starting this is that I am more “calm”. Circumstances and daily issues that arise in my life are the same yet I am responding to them much better, more calmly so to speak. I am better able to focus and finish one task before moving on to the next and it does not bother me as much that “everything is not done.” I have no idea why this is although it must involve a nutrient(s). The only thing I miss is the social aspect of dinner with my husband and cooking together this weekend.
Slept great. Must have been the moon. Always sleep well day of. Feeling really good. Had not felt like much exercise this last week? But went to a yoga class this morning and it felt great and just what I needed today. Actually, more focused and somewhat “looser”. I am relaxing more all the way around?? Did some research on raw milk fasting yesterday and am going to tweak it a little. Was literally gulping down about 2 or 2 ½ cups when I had a chance and then having about 2 or 3 hours in between.
Believe it should be consumed more slowly and —savored so to speak and within a 12 hour period to allow the stomach and digestive organs a rest. So, yesterday started drinking about 1 glass each hour over a period of 12 hours which gives me my 3 quarts. Have been losing about .2 lbs per day so, for the time being, will stay with that amount.
One thing I have been observing over the last few days is that my “eyes” seem to be better. Initially thought it was my imagination but has been consistent. I wear reading glasses and alas I still need them but my eyes feel like they are able to open further and somewhat clearer vision. Not quite sure how else to explain it other than perhaps the optical nerves and maybe even facial nerves have “let go” a little? I usually have some sort of opinion but this is all I could come up with. Starting to get into this.
Slept so so? No rhyme or reason I suppose. Was down 1.8 pounds yesterday and only down 1 lb today? Of course, I have not been active. Staying with 3 quarts per day of raw milk though. Feel pretty much the same, no hunger. Did have a craving when my husband grilled a big juicy grass-fed sirloin yesterday (yum) and he even offered to eat outside. And the bacon he cooked for breakfast smelled really good. If it wasn’t around me it wouldn’t have bothered me. Weekdays easier; missed cooking yesterday. Felt like working out today and had a great workout of heavy pull-ups, 1 legged squats and some bodyweight exercises to get a good sweat going. Took warm salt baths this weekend as recommended in some of the articles I have come across.
Slept pretty good. Elimination, not a problem, moving well and still a light tan color. No hunger, no cravings. Very busy day; great energy. Felt yesterday’s workout in a good way and took a day off more because of my schedule than not wanting to workout. Alls well and routine today.
Did not sleep well? Very busy day, got home late and could not wind down. Very unusual for me and I do not think it is related to the fast. I did however have an incredible amount of energy and felt like I had about 4 more hours of work left in me but knew it was time to shut it down. I reduced my quota to 10 ½ cups yesterday to facilitate fat loss while on the fast. Noticed no difference in energy but was a tad hungrier this morning. A heightened sense of awareness and mental clarity continues.
Interesting: it seems my clients are intrigued by the raw milk fast that I am doing and now 3 of them have jumped on the bandwagon. After class this morning I and 2 of the other women were talking about it and I am curious about why 3 different women would have 3 different results. One is constipated, badly. One is going all the time and I am going the same as I was before. Why is that? Yes, I know we are all different to a degree and have different issues but I would love to know the possible whys.
One thing I was comforted to find out was that the color was the same for everyone light tan/slight yellow. Never having had children I had no idea what color their elimination product was on a milk diet but one Mom compared it to that. And to be honest, I have no desire. Time for some more milk!
Whoa!! Floodgates opened this morning. I can count on 1 hand the number of times in my life I have had more than 1 movement of elimination on the same day. TMI again but 3x within 2 hours of waking up. Hmmm??? Boy am I a lot lighter this morning. Wonder what is happening. Have been hungry today, everything is gone. Drinking lots of milk, hard to get full. Lacked usual strength today in my workout but the lighter bodyweight movements and conditioning felt invigorating and a produced an excellent sweat.
Must have been a fluke. I was really busy yesterday and did leave a glass of milk out for about 3 or 4 hours and then drank it and we use no air conditioning if that could have caused. All back to normal today though.
Energy still good, very satisfied, not hungry, and feel like I could continue for quite some time. What I do miss is having dinner in the evening with my husband. During the day it is actually quite nice to just grab a glass of milk and not have to prepare anything.
It’s back! Restless night, stomach cramping and diarrhea. Highly unusual for me, do not know if the body is detoxing or I have some kind of bug which I never get! Also woke up with a mild headache which again, is highly unusual. Hubby is experiencing the same symptoms as well as some of my clients. I never get these bugs!?
My immune system usually fights them right off. I am surprised while doing something that supposedly builds the immune system I come down with a mild bug. Managing to keep some milk in me but have reduced the quantity a tad to a little over 2 quarts today. On the bright side, weight is down to 120.
Day 13: Breaking the Fast
Oh my, I don’t know what hit me but I most certainly did the bed rest thing yesterday. I laid on the couch the entire rest of the day after I got home from work–at least when I was not in the bathroom. I only managed to get 5 cups of milk in yesterday and that was a chore. Must have been some kind of a bug as hubby was down also.
He had a fever and chills which I had none of. Still surprises me as I have not had anything like this ever other than an occasional upset stomach but never 2-3 days of diarrhea. Finally was able to get a decent night sleep yesterday and have awakened feeling better this morning.
Of course, after a day in the bathroom one’s weight would be down but when I washed my face and looked in the mirror this morning my skin was amazingly clear? I feel like I was hit by a hurricane and now the storm has passed.
I still have some milk left so I am going to take today and the next 2 days to gradually reintroduce solid foods. The first meal was 5 oz of strawberries and 1 ½ eggs cooked n 1 tsp butter. Fruit tasted very sweet and it felt peculiar to chew after so long; eggs tasted delicious. That settled well, had a glass of milk a couple of hours later, 3 hours after that some squash and zucchini in bacon drippings and 2 pieces of bacon. All good followed by some chicken and kale soup for dinner. Will reintroduce more protein tomorrow.
Slept decent. Kept food intake light yesterday with not a lot of protein. Weight this am was 119.4 lbs a loss of 4 lbs, however, we had a thorough cleansing over the weekend.
Wow! I feel amazing this morning and full of energy!! Skin again is clear and glowing. Elimination back on track and deep, dark brown again. I am still not sold on the fact that I had a bug; not that I am immune to that sort of thing but I had no fever and no chills and never get them, it’s been years. I wonder if it could have been detoxing die-off symptoms, the timing was accurate (after 11 days on the fast) and I feel cleansed today. I feel re-energized and rejuvenated. Wow. Life is good.
Sleeping better and things moving normally. Included protein back into diet yesterday; had a farm-fresh chicken that my husband roasted, fresh green beans with raw butter, and a nice green salad with homemade dressing for dinner. Good to be eating again although I must say milk is truly a perfect food and I never wanted for anything. It was still baffling to me why I came down with a little bug at the end. I like to know the whys and what Sarah said this morning made perfect sense. When you are detoxing (and you are in a raw milk fast), you are more vulnerable. That made sense.
I feel absolutely fabulous today. My energy levels are incredible and I am ready to take on the world. Also have been on a cleaning binge at home and work, decluttering everything and does it feel good. I had toned down my workouts during the fast because it felt like I needed to but we are ready to kick things up several notches.
As I have mentioned before I wanted to do the fast prior to our Swimsuit Challenge at my CrossFit facility. Well, I have started and will chart the progress over the next 8 weeks in my quest to lose 11 (now 7) pounds of winter fat that accumulated.
As as for the milk fast. . . it was a great experience and one that I will repeat each spring perhaps a little longer next year. I wonder if somewhere down my ancestral lines I am not part Maasai for I believe I could exist on exclusively meat and milk.
Hello there, I would very much like to try this protocol for various health reasons but would also like to lose weight. Is this possible on this diet and if so how much milk is advised? Many thanks.
I wonder what you called “a bug” could have been you body’s PH raised over 7.75. I know when I do the baking soda I can get what was described. Although I haven’t had it with raw milk alone “yet”.
Can it be done with raw goats milk?
Yes of course!
If it wasn’t RAW milk then it has hormones and antibiotics. It will not only not work but damage your body to drink puss filled pasteurized milk. The whole point is to go raw. If yours wasn’t raw then there’s your problem
I did the Milk cure about a year ago because I have a bad case of either Candida or parasites. I followed the diet as told, no other foods, rest, and drink only full fat milk. I developed severe constipation, but never figured out why. I would love to try it again, as I was NEVER hungry and didn’t have to worry about cooking or preparing meals. I didn’t drink water, as article said to drink only milk. What did I do wrong
I’m intrigued to try this to heal a number of issues. i have been detoxing to heal cancer. maybe try coffee enemas during this healing process? they detox the liver and enemas would help with constipation and get everything moving quickly to help ease you through the detox maybe? has anyone else tried enemas while doing this? coffee enemas to be more specific?
yes, the original milk cure is much different than this. it involves bed rest (definitely not exercise), enemas, and hot baths to eliminate toxins. It also states one should sip milk every half an hour–and to begin with 4 quarts/day and go up daily from there. Also, only use raw organic whole milk!!!
So I just watched this movie fat sick and nearly dead about a vegan juicing fast. This man looked and felt great by the end. I have been doing the WAP now for three mo and feel better but was inspired by his results. i looked on your website to find out more on fasting and came across this milk fast. Can I do both and I saw in an recent blog from you that one should stay away from raw kale and other veggies like them? Does the juicing book you recommend for Christmas talk about this? Thanks, Sara
Before I ask my question – let me first tell you this. I understand the benefits of it – indeed I weaned my son onto it starting when he was one year old.
I would love to do raw milk and raw milk products, but how do I get to the point where I like it (to me it has a terrible and strange smell and taste)?
Did you like it right away?
I’d appreciate comments from any and all!
I have a hard time drinking it even with my nose plugged.
Well thanks Sarah for answering this question via email – you are right. I found a dairy that makes drops in my town who also sells in my town’s grocery. They have grass-fed Jersey cows and their milk has absolutely no unpleasant flavor whatsoever and I love it! So does my son. I’m so excited to start purchasing my milk and beef/poultry/pork products from them!
I can’t wait to get their tallow so I can make your guilt-free french fry recipe!