Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food Class: Raw Milk

I hadn't really thought I'd start out talking about raw's pretty "out there" but since Alison brought it up, I'll jump right in with it. I guess if you hang in there through this, you'll survive the rest!
Okay, to be honest, my friends had to talk up raw milk for some time before I paid attention. I don't know what finally made me switch over but I do know what held me back: the gross factor. Picking up milk in the jug from the store makes it easy to forget this milk comes from an actual animal's teats. Yuck. Meeting the very cow I'm drinking from (her name is Prissy if I remember correctly) makes it a bit different. I had to just push that out of my mind and drink it anyway. And I'm glad I did.
When I started buying raw milk, the "milk lady" gave me a book to read and although I didn't actually finish it, the chapters I did read changed my thoughts about milk forever. Basically, in our country, milk comes from "freak of nature" cows with messed up pituitary glands that over produce milk, are full of hormones, antibiotics, and are fed inferior foods. Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, explains that the forced over production of milk causes "slime and pus" to be in the milk. It has to be cleaned with a centrifuge action (I had mistakenly said it was homogenization that cleaned it) that dissolves the pus into the milk so you don't know it's there.
There are so many other compelling reasons to pass on store bought milk. You really need to dig in and research it for yourself (there's no reason for me to retype it all here). Much of the research points to the high nutritional value of raw milk compared to it's super market counter part. All the processes to prepare the milk for our consumption actually strip it of it's God-given vitamins. It's interesting to note that once our milk was no longer raw, many diseases came to be common.
Oh, what about food borne illnesses from "dirty" raw milk? Well, many if not all the salmonella cases reported from milk were from "clean" store bought milk. Also, raw milk has infection fighting properties (just like we've been told human breastmilk has) that can actually ward off bacteria that might come into contact with the milk. Unfortunately, regular milk does not contain these properties (they're killed in the processes of making it to the grocery store).

Here are some websites to get you started:

What is real milk? This has a lot of great stuff on it, from a reputable group. Don't miss the many articles available on this site.

Raw Milk Truth Hey, this one even tells you how to get started with your own cow!

Want it in blog form? Check out this comprehensive series from a raw milk convert.

So, where do you find this magical milk? The Raw Milk Truth has a tab on the sidebar addressing this, but I'll tell you how we did it (actually it came to us, but how you would do it if you lived here...):

If you dropped into my very rural town and didn't know anyone, you could start asking at the local health food store. If that didn't get you anywhere, you could try the local chiropractor (I know this would land you a phone number to at least one dairy woman (there are three local women who have one or two cows each, which they milk with stainless steel equipment), since our very wise chiropractor feeds raw milk to her family, I mean, animals (in Texas you can legally buy it for your animals...). Still a dead end? Try asking local dairies if you can buy their milk (but it may or may not be raw for you-find out. A lot of cyber friends and one in real life has bought from a local dairy, I just don't know how it all works). Finally, if you're bold, put an ad in your local paper. If you keep your eyes open for health conscious people, (not the ones buying Slim-fast, the other ones) you'll eventually track down someone who milks a cow.

Costs: locally about $7 a gallon. We supply the glass jars for fill up.

Gulp-yes $7 a gallon is a lot, especially for a large family. First, you have to remember that store bought organic milk is about $3-$4 a half gallon, so this is a very fair price. To trim our costs further, I've stopped buying so much cereal (which tends to be eaten not only as breakfast, but as an after-karate snack). We can get by with about 2 to 2 1/2 gallons of milk a week for a family of 7 (though one isn't drinking any cow's milk yet).

I'll leave you with my number one reason for not buying store bought milk (if I can help it and I'm not being lazy--truth be told I've been lazy for months but am awaiting the arrival of a new calf so we can get back into this milk thing) is this: the "mainstream" cows are injected with growth hormones, which end up in the milk. This could be why children's bodies are maturing at a faster pace than before. I don't want these hormones in my daughter's bodies. As an added bonus of today's lesson-the toxins (like hormones) are stored in fat (in us and in cows) so eating butter and other food derived from milk fat exposes us to more of the hormones. We currently don't have organic butter available in our town (WalMart had it but stopped selling it here) so we're back to regular butter but I don't like it...

Contrary to popular belief, we may not even need to drink milk (there are no other animals who drink a different specie's milk, especially into adulthood). The calcium in regular cows milk (not sure about raw milk) isn't even digestible to humans. Yet, if the Lord promised a land of "milk and honey" then milk is permissible if not good for us. Notice, the Lord did not hype up the land deal by promising processed milk and honey!

So, there you have it, the scoop on raw milk. What do you think? Jennifer F, please add to or correct my info.


Luke said...

The rest of my family has jumped on the raw milk thing, but I can't get $8/gal to fit our budget. So we get our milk organic without growth hormones for about half that and hope that's "good enough" [smile].

But, yes, milk is one of the many examples of how "science" has taken a fantastic natural thing and destroyed it in attempts to make it "safe" and available to everyone.


Alison said...

That's fascinating... Thanks for following-up on raw milk, I'll do some research. Given that we're in the middle of a city of ~4 million people it might not be much of a possibility, but who knows?

Your blog is interesting - partly because of stuff like this, and partly because it's interesting reading about a completely different family in a different part of the world. :)

Also, making pasta can be very easy - flour + eggs in bowl, mix into dough, knead a bit, roll out thin and flat, cut. I didn't realise how easy it was until i tried it :) Takes 15-20 minutes though.

Wendy said...

Luke, we've done lots of things hoping it's "good enough" and plenty that are just not good at all, depending on our moods & budget. You just have to know what's most important and run with it.

Alison, if you come back and read this, can you tell me if you have to have a pasta cutter-or whatever it's called? I don't really want to add another contraption to my kitchen, but wouldn't mind trying to make pasta. I've suspected it was easy, just not looked into it. Thanks for the encouragement :)

Tiffany said...

Great post Wendy! Just another way we have found to "mess up" what God created for us! I think that all of the over processing of foods is doing us in! Don't get me wrong I do buy some processed things but most all of our grocery money goes for real food!
Oh and pasta machines/cutters are great but you can make noodles with just a rolling pin and knife! if you need a recipe let me know!

Vicki said...

I agree about the raw milk.. I guess I should pray and see if the Lord will provide this for our family. As it is I have asked at the Amish store here if I can find a source for Raw Milk.. no luck. So we drink Hormone Free milk from Aldi's.

Summer said...

okay, so I can't see myself ever committing to raw milk for various reasons ranging from my own laziness to my husband thinking I'm a freak. So, in light of that and the fact that I really do want to feed my family as little pus as possible, what kind of milk do I get? We really don't drink that much; I use it to cook and the kids use it for cereal. Thanks. okay and please come to my house and help me throw out/replace my crappy food items

Wendy said...

Summer, I'm so proud of you! I thought this milk stuff would send you over the edge, lol. Glad you stuck with me. If you want to stay local, we buy the organic kind from Wal-Mart, but my friends say Braums also has a great hormone free milk. I guess this means you're stuck with the pus but at least it's hormone free pus, lol.

Alison said...

Like Tiffany said - "pasta machines/cutters are great but you can make noodles with just a rolling pin and knife." What you do with the pasta depends on what you want. There's a fantastic article on How to cut pasta without a machine over at (who i don't have anything to do with, i just like the article). :)

Jennifer said...

Jennifer F. here. Good post on raw milk. I will add a few things to your already comprehensive list:

Some people who are lactose intolerant can handle raw cow's milk. If you can't then raw Goat's milk is the next best alterntive. Around here I know two sources if anyone is interested.

Braum's milk is hormone but not antibiotic free FYI, so the Wal-Mart brand organic is the next best thing, but raw is wayyyy better. Summer, Graham would warm up to it especially if he tasted it because it's like drinking pure cream.

Raw milk also helps with allergies, not just milk allergies.

Also, just FYI for those who didn't know. Raw means it goes straight from the cow, through the filter, and into the jar. That's it. No heating! Which means the good bacteria is still left in it for you to consume.

It's great for making yogurt using the cooler method. You don't have to have a yogurt maker and it makes a lot more at a time especially if you have a bigger family or are a yogurt lover and go through it quick. All it takes is a cooler, a heating pad, and a yogurt culture. I order mine online because it has 7 live cultures versus 3-4 cultures the yogurt in the store has. Plain yogurt will work though, although this comes in powder form. Super cheap.

To non-whole foods people, eating raw milk is definitely freakish but well worth the effort especially if your family is prone to a lot of sickness.

Ok, Wendy enough of my comments. Good post