Why Would Anyone Drink Raw Milk?

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Quest for a Better Life

What are you nuts? Isn’t that pretty risky? I mean there are a lot of bacteria in milk and isn’t that dangerous? Wouldn’t it be irresponsible parenting to give your child something that could contain dangerous pathogens? That would be the typical reaction to the question “why would anyone drink raw milk?”

Well, I am going to tell you why. First of all, everything you eat could potentially have dangerous pathogens. You could seriously slip and fall in the bathtub and break your neck. That doesn’t make bathing inherently dangerous, and neither does the bacteria in milk make it dangerous. Our bodies are full of bacteria, and guess what? Not all of it is bad. our bodies need bacteria to digest food and complete a variety of essential tasks. We can’t lump all bacteria together–There are dangerous bacteria, and there essential bacteria. Raw milk contains essential bacteria.

It isn’t impossible for raw milk to contain dangerous bacteria, but pasteurized milk is actually responsible for more cases of food poisoning than raw milk. My daughter got food poisoning from pasteurized milk that she drank at her day care when she was 5. She was sick for a week, and we are very blessed because it could have been very serious — especially since I don’t have all of the knowledge about healing that I do now.

I was raised on raw milk. We had our own cow – her name was Jennifer, and she was a Jersey with big brown eyes. She let us ride her while my dad led her to get water. I remember leading her to the water trough myself with a rope attached to her halter and getting her into the milking stall and milking her into a bucket myself with a cloth over the top when I was probably seven or eight years old. She was part of our family and when we had to sell her when I was older, I remember crying.

We never got sick from her milk. I have 11 brothers and sisters, and none of us has ever had a serious fracture. We were never seriously ill and we rarely had cavities.

But when my parents divorced when I was 11 we had to give all of that up. And our food changed. I still never got really sick until after i had my first child and that is when I really started noticing that I wasn’t where I used to be. I didn’t really understand it though because when I was growing up, the homestead that we had was more out of necessity than for healthy living, so when we moved to a house without property and we no longer had the animals, there wasn’t really any discussion about the change in where the food came from, just that we were going to have to buy store milk.

My second child was born when I was 27. I knew I didn’t feel well, but it didn’t really click so much until he quit nursing and I never got my period, except for spotting every once and a while. I started having hot flashes and night sweats. I didn’t know what was wrong, and I was too young for menopause. I thought maybe I had a thyroid condition, because thyroid problems run in my family, and I had checked all of my symptoms and looked them up. But after going to the doctor, he told me I was normal. I didn’t feel normal at all. I never went back to the doctor, but I suffered with my symptoms because I couldn’t bear to go back for more humiliation. When I was 30 I decided enough was enough, and I started researching herbal remedies and nutrition. I started taking flax seed oil, and I regained my fertility (much to my surprise) and was pregnant with my third child. I read about Dr. Weston A. Price, and I had this unexplainable drive to look for raw milk.

I called dairies. They told me I was nuts. I called health food stores. They said if I found some to tell them, because they would really like to know. I finally called a goat farmer who told me about a family who had raw milk, but it wasn’t certified dairy so it was all hush hush. I picked up my first gallon from a little shed at the back of a farm. I put my money in a box and took the milk out of a cooler and I was pretty much sworn to secrecy. We got our milk that way for a couple of years, before we finally had a certified raw dairy open in our area (and by that I mean within an hour drive).

I noticed a big difference in my energy levels, and after a few months, I had regained my muscle tone. When Zee was 1 I discovered that he was severely lactose intolerant. I feel I was led by the spirit to find the milk when I did, because of his special needs. I only found out because the childcare I was taking him to at the time kept giving him milk (UGH!) and he would come home with horrible diarrhea.

“Did you give him milk?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? He had really bad diarrhea when I brought him home yesterday.”

“Let me check his card . . . ok, no, it doesn’t say he had milk.”

agghhhhh I wanted to run screaming from the building. “I brought milk for him to drink while he was here. Regular milk makes him sick.”

“Oh, well, we’ll make sure no one gives him any then.”

This happened a couple of times and then we didn’t go back. (This is a whole other story, please don’t judge me! I would never under normal conditions ever take my child to a day care, but life happens while making other plans . . .)

I now have two younger children, who didn’t get cavities and were never sick until this last year. We moved to an area where we were not near a raw milk dairy and I continued to get milk from a nearby farm on a tip from a friend, but their cow dried up and so we were left again without a source of milk. After a year, Zee ended up with 5 cavities, and Bee 1 serious cavity that I could see a black hole in her tooth. I was starting to notice that my teeth were very sensitive and I had a sore place on one of my eye teeth. I started searching for a raw milk source again.

After 1 week I noticed a difference in my teeth, and the one really sensitive spot is now gone. Why would I drink raw milk and give it to my children? Because I have seen first hand the difference it makes. But if you want stats and figures, you should read Top 10 Reasons to Drink Raw Milk by Cheeseslave. If I can’t convince you, maybe she can.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    When we lived in rural New Mexico, we had friends who sold raw milk. We loved it! We bought it every week and never wanted to go back to store bought milk. It was so much better tasting and, I agree, healthier for us. We knew where the milk came from so we knew it was safe.

  2. Eric B
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Great points, thanks for talking about this. There is a farm in our area who has been trying to start a raw milk coop and NYS is giving them all kinds of trouble. It should be a consumer choice to take this risk, not big brothers!

    http://ithaca.wishingwellmagazine.org/blogs/tompkins-weekly/2010/04/dairy-seeks-closure-raw-milk-debate