I hadn't really thought I'd start out talking about raw milk...it'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.