When our son turned one year old, and was switching to cow’s milk, I did a lot of research on milk. Frankly, I was scared of what was being fed to confined cows at large dairies, and specifically of the growth hormones and antibiotics given them. It just didn’t seem natural or safe to me. I also am a fan of buying food as locally as possible, both for the health benefit (the more the food has to travel, the more the nutrients degenerate) and to support the local economy.
Naively, I called a nearby farm and asked if they sold milk directly to the public. I was just looking to buy milk locally, and without the use of artificial growth hormones. At the time, I wasn’t even thinking of raw milk. The answer was a big “no”! The farmer explained to me that he’d be in huge trouble if he sold milk directly to consumers due to licensing requirements in our state. I had no idea of the laws that surrounded the issue of unpasteurized milk.
That began my discovery of raw milk. After lots of research, talking with a friend who was buying raw milk for her family, and visiting the local farm that has a license to sell raw milk, I was sold on the benefits.
Here are just a few of the reasons we made the switch to raw milk:
1. Health benefits – I am not a doctor or scientist, but I became convinced through my research that pasteurization destroys many of the beneficial components of milk, including the “good” bacteria that helps us fight diseases and allergies (these are now added back into many yogurts on the market). And after well over a year on raw milk, I can say with confidence that our family is much, much healthier.
2. Raw milk is a natural food – I want to eat my food as close to the way God intended it as possible. That means limited processed food (although in our society it is very difficult to avoid this completely), and food prepared as naturally as possible. I feel that this provides our family with the biggest health benefits from the food we eat.
3. We like buying locally – We can buy our milk directly from a trusted source. The profit goes right to the farmer, and we know that our milk hasn’t traveled through many hands to get to us. That makes it cleaner and safer, and as fresh as possible.
4. We’re drinking organic milk from pastured, healthy cows – These cows get sunshine and a natural, pastured diet as much as weather permits. They are not fed soy, any growth hormones or antibiotics, or pesticides.
5. We feel safe drinking unpasteurized milk – I won’t go into the history of why pasteurization came about, but the conditions the cows were living in were a huge factor. Pastured, healthy cows produce safe, healthy milk.
Drinking raw milk is obviously a personal decision for each family to make. However, I’d encourage you to at least do a little reading (www.realmilk.com and www.raw-milk-facts.com are good sources). We made the switch and haven’t looked back!