Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wholesome Wednesdays: Raw Milk

This post could be quite an undertaking, but instead I think I'll just post a few links to articles concerning the health benefits, controversies and laws addressing raw milk, along with some personal opinions. I'd like to delve more deeply into the matter, and i'm super open to comments in opinions from my readers - so post away!

I've been unable to drink store bought milk for most of my life. It always made me phlegmy and later in life gave me bad tummy aches and worse gas (especially bad for the innocent bystanders in my life). The very concept of humans drinking cow's milk is unnatural and only digestible due to a genetic mutation that most folks have. We 'lactose intolerant' are actually the norm, despite the FDA's suggestions via cute milk mustached advertisements. That being said, the store bought milk that has been pasteurized 'for our protection' is even more difficult to digest: lacking key enzymes and good bacterias essential for proper breakdown and access to milk's calcium.

Copyright Chiot's Run

For almost a year I have been drinking raw milk that i purchase from a local co-op. The co-op consists of health conscious folks and 'real milk' advocates and provides an opportunity for Austinites to pick up raw milk from a natural Jersey cow farm in Schulenburg. In Texas, we are CURRENTLY lucky to have farm sales of milk be legal, but not all states are so lucky, and not all farms are conveniently located. It wouldn't do the environment very good if all us raw milk drinkers took a weekly drive to Schulenburg, so instead we pay the pick up location (a family with a shed and a few extra fridges) a small fee to help with the electricity, order our milk (and raw cheese and beef, etc) online via a google doc and pay the farmer directly for the product he drops off. The milk is fresh (though not as fresh as i'd like: from my own animals), and best of all it's raw and chock full of all the enzymes that milk should be. I ferment most of the milk we pickup into delicious yogurt. It's my bi-weekly routine and i've noticed more energy following a breakfast of yogurt and chia seeds than i ever had eating grains or even eggs. I save some of the milk to drink raw and to add to our tea. I skim the cream off the top to make our butter and occasionally make sweet treats with it. I make farmers cheese infused with homegrown herbs and peppers. And best of all: i have no extra phlegm and my digestion suffers no foul repurcussions. I'm able to digest this milk and my bones and skin and hair are healthier for it.

Pasteurization is great for the expanding world: there are tons of us and tons who don't do their own cooking, farming, growing, or canning. Yes, there should be steps taking to 'protect us' from bad bacteria and pathogens, but no: not all bacterias are bad and our gut requires quite a few to function normally. Safely, cleanly, and fastidiously harvested raw milk should be available to those who want it. i can't wait til we have a small herd of goats on our homestead so that i don't have to rely on raw milk shipped from out of town, and i can be responsible for the clean handling and storage of fresh milk that's even more easily digestible than cow's.

You may have noticed some news concerning raw milk lately. People claiming it's poison and can kill you. People claiming it should be banned. People clamouring for it to be more widely available.
Here are some links i've read recently:

-Time Magazine
 -Amish Raw Milk from Boing Boing
-Real Milk
-Milk Laws
-FDA vs The Constitution

Take a gander and don't hesitate to give me your thoughts: pro or against. All I can say is that i feel great, my skin feels great, my immune system is super great, and my digestive system is functioning A OK!

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