Unlike the grocery store, we promise that ALL of our dairy products are A2A2, which is scientifically shown to be easier to digest than much of the conventional dairy out there (that contain A1 casein proteins). (ref, ref)
Let's discuss why ⤵️
Milk contains protein, and two of the main types include casein (~80% of the protein) and whey (~20%). Then there are different subtypes of casein and whey, as well.
Let's focus on the beta-casein subtype, which makes up about 40% of the total protein contained in milk (the dominant form), and are present in two forms: A1 and A2 (or some combination of the two).
Dairy breeds and dairy animals will have varying amounts of A1 and A2.
Many commercial cow breeds will contain more A1. And then dairy goats, sheep, some cow breeds (need testing), buffalo and human breast milk contain exclusively A2.
Both A1 and A2 beta-casein variants are polypeptide chains made up of 209 amino acids in sequence, and the ONLY difference is a single amino acid at position 67: A1 has a histidine and A2 has a proline at that position. But this change can make a huge difference for some people, as it chains the behavior of this protein during digestion.
Proline (in A2) provides a strong bond, making it harder to break down at that location. Histidine (in A1) provides a weak bond, so the A1 beta-casein can easily be broken down at this location, yielding beta-casomorphin 7 (BCM7). Some people are able to digest and break down BCM7 just fine.
But a lot of people are sensitive to this formation of BCM7, which means they would react negatively to milk/dairy containing A1 casein, but not necessarily milk containing A2 casein that does not break down to this BCM7.
There are multiple studies demonstrating that switching to A2 milk lowers intestinal inflammation, bloating, and abdominal pain; prevents constipation and brain fog; improves lactose tolerance and more. (ref, ref, ref, ref, ref)
"When analyzing the available evidence... it is possible to conclude that consuming cows' milk containing A2, instead of A1, results in an overall improved gastrointestinal status and reduced milk gut discomfort." (ref)
Now this may not be the case for everyone, but many of our customers are able to consume our A2A2 dairy products symptom free, despite not being able to consume conventional cow milk and dairy from the store.
All of Nourish Cooperative's beef, lamb, yak, bison, and goat meat is 100% grass-fed. Ruminant animals (cows, lamb, meat goats, yaks, bison, etc.) can receive all the nutrients they need from grass alone. Monogastric animals (chickens and pigs) cannot.
This means that 100% of the diet of our grass-fed animals consists of pasture (during the grazing seasons) and stored grasses (hay) during the winter months - no grain ever. The animals are also provided with free-choice minerals to ensure optimal health.
97% of chickens are bathed in a chlorine (bleach!) bath during processing due to USDA requirements - this even happens in Organic chicken processing. It’s not required to disclose sanitation ingredients like chlorine, soap, etc on packaging. Given the stats, it’s pretty safe to assume that, if you purchase chicken in a store in the US, it has chlorine on or in it.
The result of washing chicken carcasses in a chemical bath = meat with absorbed chemicals, added water weight, and less flavor.
Our processor uses NOTHING to wash the chickens. How? They are air chilled, where no chemical ice bath is needed. Instead, the birds pass through several chambers where cold, purified air is used to cool the meat. And that’s it - no chemicals!
Raised naturally without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. The farmer's land is never sprayed with harmful chemicals, only natural beyond organic fertilizers necessary to build healthy soil.
The carcasses are not sprayed with citric acid during processing, which is derived from GMO mold and increases the histamine load in meat products. Our processing standards do NOT add more chemicals to the final product.
Feed did not contain corn or soy, or other high PUFA ingredients (that are present in most other feed! But we made our own to ensure the livestock do not receive any high PUFA ingredients. This includes flax, sunflower, safflower, vegetable oils & more!)
Genetically Modified Organisms are not allowed in any level of our food production model. There has been no long term testing on the safety of GMOS for human health. Plus, GMOs signify a ‘I am smarter than nature’ mindset - well, Mother Nature is smarter than us and she will always win. We promise to produce food as nature intend and work with Mother Nature, not fight against her.
Our animals are treated with respect and live the best lives ever, with clean living conditions and access to fresh air and sunshine. They are also provided with adequate space in order to practice their natural instincts, which we believe is an important aspect to overall health and wellness (impacting the final taste and nutrient quality of the product).
The type of fat in an animal’s diet impacts the type of fat in their own fat tissues, and thus the fat that YOU eat - you are what you eat, eats! Something that makes our products unique is that they are lab-tested to be ‘Low PUFA’ - meaning low in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.
There are three types of fatty acids: saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).
PUFAs downregulate our metabolisms, and are very unstable and dangerous compounds. Evolutionarily, humans consumed very low PUFA diets (1-2% of our total calories). With the advent of vegetable oils and massive increase in corn, soy, sunflower, flax and safflower crop production - there has been an increase in our own PUFA consumption. We now consume over 10% of our calories from PUFAs! Largely from vegetable oils and high PUFA eggs, chicken and pork products (since pigs and chickens are now fed high PUFA diets).
Unfortunately, 99.99% of feed out there is high in PUFA ingredients. We were not happy with these options (even the commercial "corn and soy free" ones!) so WE MADE OUR OWN FEED, low in PUFA, that is used at our own farm and ALL of our partner farms (we have it made at a mill, and then we coordinate the delivery to ALL partner farms).
Our products contain less of the bad fats (PUFAs) and more of the good fats (saturated fats) - to support optimal health and metabolism, as Mother Nature intended.
To learn more about why excess PUFA consumption is harmful, tune into this podcast with our very own Dr. Ash and Dr. Chris Knobbe.
Unfortunately, the term 'pasture-raised’ is not monitored at grocery stores. This often means chickens are raised in a barn with a door to a single fenced in area. If you have ever seen chickens, they are very destructive to the land. So when they are kept in a single area, that land gets degraded - very quickly! No more grass, no more bugs, no more life… So the chickens do not eat a varied diet, and instead rely on their corn and soy based feed.
With mobile pasture-raised, the chicken coop is regularly moved to a fresh patch! The result:
healthy living conditions for the birds, to raise them without medications
Improved soil health and ecosystem development as animal impact and manure is evenly distributed over the field with adequate rest for regrowth
Wider nutrient intake, as the birds get regular access to fresh grass and new bugs
Healthier birds that lay more nutritious eggs!
Our animals are never administered growth hormones for faster growth, steroids or given antibiotics.
Our farming practices yield healthy animals, so there is rarely a need for routine medications. For animals that do require medications to stay alive, those animals are pulled from production.
Homogenization is a process where the fat droplets in milk are emulsified and the cream doesn’t separate. This is a process that allows grocery stores to extend the shelflife of their products, and improves the ‘aesthetic’ of the milk as the cream doesn’t separate and all containers look the same (even though the milk comes from hundreds of thousands of cows mixed into one large vat).
During this process, the milk is exposed to very high pressures to break the fat globules into smaller, more uniform sizes so that they are more evenly dispersed and suspended throughout the milk.
This sounds like fighting against one of Mother Nature’s superfoods, consuming it in an unnatural form.
We do things the old fashioned way and leave our superfoods as nature intended - non-homogenized.
So for the cow milk, you will notice that the cream will naturally separate over time while sitting in the fridge.
Our products are not certified Organic since this is an expensive and time consuming product. Importantly, there are a lot of loopholes, and we believe that our farming practices go ‘Beyond Organic’ (since Organic eggs can still come from chickens locked in cages inside of a barn).
With that said, we absolutely only use organic inputs. For the feed we do provide our monogastric animals (layer chickens, meat chickens, pigs and dairy goats) - the grain is Organic, meaning no chemicals, no pesticides, no GMOs. This is a step above many regenerative farms who just use non-GMO. Non GMO still means the grains are sprayed with pesticides which then end up in the fat (and eggs) of the livestock that you then consume.
This is one of the reasons why our products are more expensive - the feed we give our livestock is more expensive than just standard non GMO feed (which is what most other regenerative farms use).
All of our animals are raised outside on pastures as nature intended. (Our animals do not come from confinement barns). This provides healthy living conditions, fresh air, and most importantly, sunlight - all of which lead to healthy animals.
When milk comes out of a goat or cow’s teat, the temperature is right over 100 deg F. Let’s keep it that way! So raw means the milk never exceeds 105 degrees F for products like cheese and butter. In milk and kefir it means that the only processing we do is cool it down and put it in the bottle. You can’t get much fresher than that. The CDC does not approve the consumption of raw milk for human consumption, so this milk is for pet consumption only.
Livestock are raised in a way that improves soil health and regenerates ecosystems. This involves regular rotation to a fresh patch of grass so that beneficial animal impact and animal manure are evenly spread out across the field. This also allows for the land to REST, recover, and build back stronger. Animals locked in confinement, or placed on a single plot of land (without rotations)
For example, Ruminants (like cows, goats & lamb) can help us improve soil health, climate health & human health.
Many of our agricultural landscapes have low diversity in their soil microbiomes due to monocropping, chemicals & heavy tillage. What is linked to low diversity in soil microbiomes? Susceptibility to pests & diseases, low plant nutrient status, imbalanced carbon & water cycles, & poor plant productivity. This means land will require more chemicals to grow food - more fertilizers to give plants nutrients & more herbicides to kill off weeds (& more money for the Big Agrochemical companies!)
Well, there are 3X more microbes in 1 milliliter of rumen fluid (the liquid inside ruminant animals' 4 chamber digestive system) than there are humans on this earth.
Properly managed ruminants who pee & poop (that microbe rich rumen fluid!) evenly across fields can help us reinoculate soils & improve the diversity of soil microbiomes. Like how certain probiotics can improve our own gut microbiome.
This means we can grow more nutrient dense food with less chemicals - improving climate & human health at the same time.
It’s not the cow (or the goat, or the lamb) - it’s the how!
Chickens and pigs are also very beneficial for the environment when regularly rotated! They also poop out nutrient-rich manure, and they provide a unique animal impact to the soil.
Here is an example from our farm of how animals can improve the environment! We converted a degraded, row crop field into a diverse and thriving ecosystem, with the help of livestock!
Did you know that chickens are descendants of jungle fowl? Some of our chickens are raised in the trees, just like their ‘ancestors’! This provides cool shade, branches to perch on, sun spots, foliage and bugs to forage for. The chickens are guarded by livestock guardian dogs (Josie, Mud and Doug!)
You can check out these videos to see the tree range meat birds in action, living their best lives!