Doctor's Orders

Why I Choose Hickory Hill Milk for Myself and My Family

by Robert I. Carey MD PhD FACS
Dr. Carey is a urologic surgeon specializing in robotic surgery for prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer as well as pelvic floor reconstruction for females and complex kidney stone disease. Dr. Carey earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MD from the Medical College of Georgia. He has held professorships at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, the University of Georgia, Athens Georgia, and he currently is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Florida State University College of Medicine in Sarasota, Florida. He has spent his entire adult life treating cancer patients and kidney stone patients not only as a scientist and physician with the best of modern surgery and medicine, but also using a common sense holistic approach to sensible, nutritious foods that promote wellness and prevent common disease states.

I choose Hickory Hill Milk for my family because it is a whole, minimally processed food – milk as it was intended to be consumed by humans. Hickory Hill Milk is whole, non-homogenized, low temperature pasteurized milk produced on a family farm that ensures the quality of their product from the time that a calf is born on their farm to the time that the bottle of milk leaves their on-site family owned milk-processing plant.

Does the farm really matter? At Hickory Hill Farm, trespassers will be impressed. Hickory Hill milk is processed on site at the Dorn family’s dairy. The owner / farmers Watson Dorn and his father Jim are open and inviting for their customers to see their farm, to see how they treat and feed their cows, to see the beautiful fields of high quality alfalfa and corn, to see their means of producing and storing silage, and most importantly to allow you to see where and how their milk is minimally, yet efficiently processed. (When is the last time that a major supermarket brand invited you to their milk processing plant to describe how their factory works and why they produce milk in the manner that they do?)

Does it matter what dairy cows eat? Yes it does. Cows are ruminants. They are supposed to eat grasses such as alfalfa and corn and other grass species. They are best kept in pasture. At Hickory Hill Farm, the pastures are spectacularly beautiful. The pastures are so green that visitors will ask themselves - is this Edgefield or is this Ireland? Generations of experience have enabled the Dorn’s to grow and maintain the highest quality alfalfa and corn that form the basis of their predominantly grass fed dairy cows. However, the Dorn’s understand that they are not just feeding cows, but that they are actually caring for nursing mothers. The dairy cow, which may produce 5 – 7 gallons of milk or more per day, must have a diet appropriately supplemented with nutrients in order to maintain the proper health of the cow and the quality of the milk, just a nursing human mother must care for herself as well as her baby.

Industrial Organic vs Local, family owned, biologically sensible milk production.  While the characterization of “certified organic” may sound nice, the large industrial organic farms fall far short of Hickory Hill Farms in terms of assuring me of the quality of their milk. Hickory Hill cows bask in the sunshine of beautiful pastures for all but a short period of their day and their feet never touch concrete. The Hickory Hill dairy cows are treated humanely as they are led from a lush pasture to a food buffet of their nutrient rich silage, to efficient milking and back to pasture. This process is repeated twice daily. Industrial organic cows may be “certified organic” while spending a disproportionate time of their life pressed into a small dark space eating organic, yet nutritionally inappropriate, grain mixtures. Think about your milk and do not be fooled by buzz-words like organic and grass fed and think about what they mean. Proper diet and proper living space lead to dairy cattle under less stress, which in turn lead to appropriate omega 3 to omega 6 ratios in the milk without artificial supplementation of the milk. In medicine and milk, I believe what I see. What I see in Hickory Hill Milk is the meticulous care of the dairy cows as well as the milk production. This leads to better milk for my family to drink.

Isn’t skim milk healthier than whole milk? No it is not. Skim milk is an industrial by-product where much of the value added components of whole milk have been extracted and sold to large food corporations leaving a hormonally unbalanced, nutritionally incomplete, and aesthetically unattractive pale blue liquid which must have chemicals added back in to address the unsightly appearance, unpleasant mouth feel, and have Vitamin D and calcium added back in. When is the last (or first) time that a mass producer of skim milk offered you a clear rationale of why they first homogenized their milk, took away all of the nutrients, minerals, and cream to produce their other profitable products of cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt leaving nothing but the residual (skim milk) that our grandparents simply threw away or fed to the pigs? At some point the food industry has managed to convince wealthy Americans, who should have the best food available to them, that their waste product, skim milk, is a desired substance. I complement Hickory Hill for sticking to their principles to produce a whole, nutritious food for their customers.

Aren’t there too many calories in whole milk? No. Persons should be eating whole foods totaling a calorie count between 1800 to 2500 calories a day or more depending on their exercise and work level. Persons should incorporate whole nutritious foods into their diet to achieve the correct calorie count. In America, obese people are often malnourished because they are consuming large quantities of nutritionally barren foods such as white bread and skim milk instead of sensible quantities of whole grains and whole milk.

Isn’t high temperature pasteurization better? No it is not. When has a major milk manufacturer explained to you the rationale of using high temperature pasteurization of milk?  Is that better for the consumer? No. It is better for the industrial milk manufacturer. High temperature pasteurization is a rapid way to process milk. The manufacturer can get it in and out of the factory and give it a longer shelf life in the stores. However, it comes at the expense of destroying much of the nutritional value of the milk, in particular the enzymes that are used in digestion of the milk. When you see milk that is dated many months after it is packaged, that simply is not normal. Whole, nutrient filled milk is a perishable item, whereas high-temperature pasteurized milk is a nutrient depleted, sterile solution of significantly less nutritional and medicinal value. Low temperature pasteurization processes used by Hickory Hill Milk preserve the useful enzymes and proteins without compromising the safety. The pathogenic bacteria are killed by the low temperature pasteurization methods, but the enzymes and nutrients are preserved. As a scientist, I respect that there are other well-intentioned people who may make an impassioned argument for pasteurizing milk using a high temperature low time method, but the consequences of that method have profound nutritional consequences. The milk producer must simply be willing to take the extra time involved to perform the low temperature, long time process. Hickory Hill Milk is a milk producer that is willing to do that.

How much do you emphasize diet for your cancer patients? For all of my patients I recommend that they take the best that western medicine has to offer, while at the same time carefully assessing their diet, exercise, interactions with others, spirituality, sensuality with their spouse, and in general ask patients to take charge of their own care. This means taking charge of their diet and treating food as medicine. There are excellent food choices that patients can make that lead to consistently better nourished patients who tend to have better outcomes. I also emphasize to patients that we can never tell them specifically what to eat or what to avoid as nutrition is too complex for that.   

If a patient forms kidney stones, isn’t whole milk bad for them? No, sensible amounts of whole milk as part of a balanced low-salt, well-hydrated diet is an excellent food for kidney stone patients. Randomized, controlled studies have identified that patients who are dehydrated (who do not drink enough water or make sufficient quantities of urine) and patients who eat too much salt are at risk to form kidney stones.  Clearly, patients with kidney stones need to have the exact stone composition analyzed as well as their individual blood and urine physiology studied through the office of a doctor specializing in kidney stone disease and specific recommendations can be made. 

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We received the above testimony not long after we started bottling our own milk. It blew us away that we dedicated a page to Dr. Carey and his testimony of our milk.