Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Milk and other thoughts


Well, it's raining like crazy here today, and, as usual, our yard is turning into a lake. Usually once a year in the late winter, we'll get a heafty few days of rain and our yard will fill with water. Fortunately we have good drainage and it's gone the next day. But it's gloomy in the meantime.

I was chatting with a new friend the other day, a man from my church that I just recently discovered owns a grass-fed dairy operation. They live about 40 minutes from here, but they sell homemade cheeses, grass-fed meat and pork... But in Indiana, it's illegal to sell 'raw' milk(also called 'real' depending on who you are and what side of the debate you take).

What is real milk? Not that white water they sell at the store, that's for sure. Real milk is milk that comes from the cow, is filtered for cleanliness, then cooled and sold as is, without being pasteurized. The FDA says it's not healthy to drink this kind of milk and Indiana has made it illegal to sell milk or mild products that are unpasteurized, except for cheese. Now, there are ways to get around this and still be legal. For instance, my friend has a pet food label/line. Basically, he takes the milk or butter he makes and puts the pet food label on it. The label clearly reads "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION". But what you do with it when you get it home is up to you. The other way around it is to buy a share of a cow. You and several other folks go together to pay a farmer for the 'room and board' of a cow and you get some of the return from the cow. The legality is that you aren't buying the milk and butter, but the cow. THIS is legal in Indiana, but the outright sale of it isn't. Man, I can't stand this. Our government is deffinitely too big for its britches.

If you're reading this and wondering why anyone would drink unpasteurized milk in the first place, consider this.... When Louie Pasteur first developed the process of pasteruization (originally used for wine making), refrigeration was not a common practice in homes around the world. Food would spoil but people would go ahead and use it... they'd get sick. But most of the bacteria found in milk only becomes a problem in warm temperatures. Most everyone has a refrigerator today. So the milk is kept cool and the bacteria don't become problematic. Wellllllll.... ok, let me make a clarification. I'll say, milk from a grass-fed cow won't likely become problematic. Feed lot cows? Oh deffinitely, please, pasteurize that stuff... twice if you have to. You see, when a cow is able to feed on pasture and get most of her nutrition from her forage, she's able to ingest bacterium that help her in digestion of her food, in keeping her healthy, and producing safe milk. Her own immunity to disease is stronger, her health is better, and therefore, her milk is safer. They're given medications only when they truly are sick... which isn't often.

Then there are the factory cows. I call any animal (be it chicken, cow, pig... or whatever) raised in close confinement and fed grains and silage (or heaven knows what else in the case of some animals) factory animals. These cows do nothing but stand around on a concrete pad all day, waiting for the next delivery of grain or silage to be dumped in the trough. She eats, then moves into the milk parlor to be milked. Stringent records are kept about her productivity and if she doesn't produce more than, say, 30 pounds or more milk per day, she's outa there. She and her sisters get very little exercise, and probably the only grass they've ever seen is on the other side of the feed lot fence, growing in a narrow strip next to the farm office. These animals are cramped together, staning in their urine and feces all day, being given daily doses of antibiotics in their feed, as well as hormones to promote milk production. You better believe some of those antibiotics and hormones are passed on to you in the milk you drink. Yeah, if I have to drink that stuff, I want it pasteurized.

You see, real milk really is good for you. When milk is pasteurized, some of the natural enzymes are distroyed that help transfer calcium, and vitimins A and D. It's a whole food, not processed. One more thing. If drinking unpasteurized milk was so bad for you, why didn't pioneers and folk who had family cows in years gone by complain of sickness more often than is recorded? Sure a few must have gotten sick... but by and large, people were healthier then than we are now.

Check out www.westonaprice.org for more information on eating more whole foods and real milk.

1 comment:

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