Speaking of lactating…
I love milk. I love drinking it. I love baking with it. I love butter. I love cream.
Shaye + cows = love.
You may have noticed that I have not yet blogged about my new years goals. Well, here is one of them:
Drink raw milk.
Photo Credit: Pride and Joy Dairy
Before you curl up into a shriveled ball and die of shock, please, let me explain. Before I got pregnant, Stuart and I were drinking raw milk. Luckily, in our state, it's still possible for dairies to sell raw milk. After I found out I was pregnant, we took a hiatus from the raw milk, as pregnant women's immune systems are easy compromised (it's better to steer clear of unpasteurized dairy products while pregnant!) But now that I am no longer a big-bellied-giant, I'm ready to give it another go.
I can hear what you're thinking:
Shaye, why are you drinking raw milk? Gross! Isn't there like nasties in it and stuff?
To which I say, raw milk is good for you! Milk is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and even beneficial bacteria. Think about the great benefits everyone recognizes in yogurt. It has bacteria, but it's good for your guts! Raw milk is much the same. It is much more digestible than pasteurized milk because of all these bacteria goodies inside! We've been taught to fear bacteria (and not to say that there aren't harmful ones!) but there are also lots of good ones as well. Picture this: lots of live little bug-looking-bacteria that swim around in our systems and aid in productive digestion of our food. Pretty cool, huh? I found a great resource for Real Milk Facts here. And here. And here, too. There are a million sites that you can visit – and I encourage you to! Do the research yourself – don't just take my word for it! I'm a crazy milk nerd, remember?
It's important to remember that where you get your raw milk is very important. The standard commercial dairy is not designed for raw milk. Cows that are used for raw milk eat grass, which benefits the bacteria in their stomach, which then passes along through the milk. They have a much lower pH level in their stomach than cows that are fed grain. Fresh air, how much grass they eat, and production expectations are all important factors for making healthy milk. Think about a woman's milk: What we eat greatly affects what our milk tastes like, what the fat content is, what “goodies” are in it, etc. If we are deficient in nutrients, so is our milk. It's important to obtain your raw milk from a dairy that practices things such as low-stress handling of the cows, pasture rotation and grazing, and no antibiotics or growth hormones because all of this is passed through the milk.
Pasteurization (or even recently, Ultra-Pasteurization -Yikes!) is the heating of the milk to kill off all the bacteria. This was initially put into practice so that the milk would have a longer shelf-life. But beneficial bacteria, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are lost in the process. That is why typically Vitamin A & D are added back into the milk. The milk is then homogenized, which “unifies” the milk and the cream so that it doesn't separate. But if it doesn't separate, you can't scoop the cream off the top and put it over peaches. Or in your oatmeal. Or make butter. And that's just a shame! Even though we don't realize it, milk has become a heavily processed food.
Photo Credit: Pride and Joy Dairy
I've visited many a commercial dairy in my day. Remember my major in college? B.S.in Animal Science, baby. While I specialized in beef production, I also learned a fair amount about the ‘ol dairy cow. I know that commercial, standard, pasteurized milk is cheap. Really cheap. And it's easily accessible. But have you thought about where that milk comes from? Have you visited the dairy and seen the practices of the farmers? Have you seen the cows udders that almost drag on the ground because they are pushed to produce too much milk? Or the amount that are culled into the sick pen? Cows like grass. They like fresh air. They like dirt and soil. They like to graze. God designed cows to forage. Let them eat cake! Errr… I mean, grass!
While it's not always possible for us to obtain, when we are able to, it's a real treat on the homestead. It's real milk…cream and all. You can easily make your own butter (I'll show you how this weekend after my delivery!), your own buttermilk, and your own cream. Real milk has fat. But I don't care because it's good fat. God designed it to have fat. I have a food motto that I will share with you:
Fear the fake, not the fat.
(Copyright 2010. Just kidding. But someday I'm going to write a book on this and make enough money to buy my own dairy cow!)
Fear the slurpee. Not the handful of fatty walnuts.
You can stick that in your back pocket for later. I shall now step down from my soap-box.
Find raw milk in your area by visiting this website. If you live near me and want to give it a go, let me know. I'll teach you the secret handshake and hook you up.