Saturday, September 8, 2012

Illegally Delicious

It's rich, creamy, delicious, healthy and... illegal?

First order, raw milk, cream and cheese
Humans have been drinking animal milk for thousands of years. Until the 1890's, that milk was raw; then entered pasteurization and everything changed. Now, a little over 100 years later, unpasteurized milk is illegal to sell in many states, and can be difficult to acquire, unless you milk your own animal. So what happened, and what's wrong with unpasteurized milk, anyway?

Raw milk was incriminated in many deaths during the 1800's, caused by several factors: unhealthy cows, confined and fed an unnatural diet, sick dairy workers and an unsanitary milking environment (it's rumored the workers sometimes stuck their bare, dirty feet in the milk pails to keep them warm while milking! You can read more about the history of raw milk here if you're interested). In typical American style, instead of fixing the root of the problem, we took the "easy" way out, killed all the germs and drank the stuff anyway. Does that sound appetizing to you?

Now, in the 21st century, we're obsessed with a sanitary, sterile, germ-free environment. Anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers are used religiously, and one can barely sneeze without getting prescribed an antibiotic. It's not a surprise that these germophobic people don't want to drink something that hasn't been sanitized, but what might be a surprise is that the majority of milk produced still needs to be pasteurized to actually be safe. "Conventional" dairy cows are usually still confined, still fed an unnatural diet (often GMO soy and corn), can still get sick, and diseases are spread more easily in confined areas, between animals that are weakened by their unnatural diet and habitat. These cows are given massive amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics - 29 MILLION pounds of antibiotics were used by factory farms in 2009 alone! Plus, since the milk is all going to be sterilized anyway there's no need for sanitary conditions; pasteurized milk might be contaminated with blood, pus and all kinds of other nasty things, but it's okay, it can't hurt you once it's been killed, right? To top all that off, the calcium you're supposed to be getting from your milk has rendered insoluble by the pasteurization process, so all you're drinking is dead, sterilized, junk calories, highly laced with a chemical cocktail of drugs. Organic pasteurized milk is a better option, but is still lacking in nutrients due to pasteurization.

The best option is organic, raw milk from cows that are pasture-raised. They eat their natural diet, live healthy lives, and produce milk that is rich in all the nutrients that milk is supposed to contain: calcium and other minerals, vitamins (like B, D and K), enzymes (some that help you digest lactose), beneficial bacteria, protein and saturated fat (don't let fat scare you, saturated fat has gotten an undeserved negative stigma, but that's another post...) This rich, delicious food is so good for you, but is illegal for sale in NC, except for pet consumption. 

I've been eager to get real milk for a while, and we finally found a co-op (that gets around the legality very intelligently). I immediately made ice cream. We all had two scoops after supper that night, and I didn't notice any congestion at all; usually that much dairy would have had me hacking for an hour or so. The cream was so thick and luscious, it almost wouldn't pour, so I scooped it into a measuring cup with a spoon. The flavor and texture of the ice cream was simply wonderful. We've been eating tons of totally delicious ice cream ever since, sweetened with raw honey... it's actually healthy, and absolutely delicious!

 So here's to wonderfully scrumptious, healthy, guilt-free dairy! (Unless, of course, you feel guilty for not drinking the government-approved swill. Then I can't help you.) I'll never want to eat Goodberry's for an ice cream treat again!


  1. Raw milk IS incredibly good for you and in fact, a natural cure to many, many conditions.

    We run a dairy farm that sells to Kraft foods (Philadelphia Cream Cheese is made in our town.) but we drink all of our milk raw. (and do our best to send good, clean milk into the system.)

  2. Oh, yes, I've recently read about The Milk Cure, and thought about trying it!

    That's great! (I hope you aren't offended by the generalizations in my post, I know lots of dairy farmers must sell to big name companies and pasteurize their milk unnecessarily. I wish the government would ease up on raw milk!)