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Getting Good Milk Shouldn’t Be So Hard!

I grew up in Texas and as a child I clearly remember driving with Mom out of town to pick up our milk from a nearby farm. She grew up on a farm where raw milk was a staple, so she was always excited to get the fresh raw milk for our family. Every time she pointed at the cream on top and raved about how yummy it was. I think she was remembering her own childhood of making butter from raw milk. Sadly, once we moved away from the area, she no longer had a way to obtain raw milk. Pasteurized milk was absolutely NOT allowed in our house, ever. Mom never bent her rules on healthy eating and this was one she was absolutely passionate about.

Fast forward 25 years, I don’t drink milk much – probably due to the fact that for the most part we only had powdered milk at home. I make a special trip to the grocery store to buy a quart if I need to bake something. And every time I buy pasteurized milk I can almost hear Mom saying, “All the good enzymes and vitamins have been killed. It’s worthless. Don’t buy it!” I buy it anyway, but only after I silently apologize to Mom.

Once we had our first child, I did a complete turnaround. I knew kids need to drink milk, but I couldn’t give them pasteurized milk knowing how bad it is for them. So I completely stopped buying pasteurized milk and asked my husband to do the same. This sudden change caught him by surprise and sparked a few lively discussions.

His main concern was the safety of raw milk. He, like most Americans, believes that raw milk is dangerous and must be pasteurized to be consumed – completely untrue. Raw milk, when produced in a appropriate and sustainable manner is completely safe. My husband is a fact and figure sort of guy, so I gave him one that is hard to refute. Between 1996 and 2006, the CDC recorded 116 reports of illness attributed to raw milk per year. Compare that to the annual number of people who contracted a food-borne illness from contaminated food (spinach, tomatoes, beef, eggs, etc) during the same time – 76 million annually. Drinking raw milk has a .000002 percent chance of making a person sick. I will take those odds any day!

He replied that milk is pasteurized for a reason. Yes, that is true, but you have to look at the reason. Milk was originally pasteurized because people were getting sick from drinking milk produced by dairies located in the cities. Those cows lived in less than sanitary conditions and the milk produced reflected those poor conditions. The solution at the time was to pasteurize milk to kill the harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, everything that makes raw milk super nutritious and healthy –  vitamins, enzymes, milk proteins and beneficial bacteria – is also destroyed by pasteurization.

Today’s large dairy farms have similar challenges – too many cattle, not enough space, frequent outbreaks of disease and too many antibiotics effecting the quality of the milk. Raw milk from an industrial dairy is definitely not healthy nor safe to drink. I would NEVER drink raw milk from the industrial dairies.

The most important thing I wanted my husband to understand about raw milk is you have to know the source. You have to know that the farm producing the milk is doing so in an organic and sustainable manner – grass-fed cattle that have been allowed to graze in a pasture. And to address my husband’s last concern around contamination, I pointed out that producers of raw milk are held to higher safety standards than pasteurized milk producers. Higher standards equals safer to drink in my mind.

After our discussions, my husband still wasn’t completely sold on buying raw milk, but he no longer stringently objected either. That’s when I started looking around for sources to buy raw milk and was shocked at how hard it was to find, much less buy, if you live in a city like we do. How can something so healthy and consumed worldwide for centuries be considered by the FDA as unsafe for general public consumption?

Heck, we can easily buy alcohol and cigarettes – universally known to be detrimental to our health. If we can buy beer, then why in the world can’t we just as easily buy raw milk if we want to? With the current regulations, you have to be really motivated to buy it and make an effort to find a trusted source. Even if I didn’t want to drink raw milk, I want to see it in the stores so that I can make that choice myself. This is America – we should be able to make our own decisions about what we want to put into our bodies.

Fortunately for my children, we live in California, one of the few states where raw milk can be found in some health food stores. And by a stroke of luck, we are nearby one of those stores. Yes, it is more expensive than pasteurized milk, but I look at it as an investment in my children’s health.

As for my kids, they love the raw milk – they easily go through a gallon a week. My oldest drinks it by the glassful. My middle one loves his raw milk fruit smoothies. Both pour liberal amounts on their cereal, and my homemade biscuits are much tastier when using raw milk. I love the fact that they are getting one of the most beneficial and natural foods available to them. I firmly believe raw milk plays a large role in keeping my family healthy and happy.

For more information about the benefits of raw milk or how to find raw milk in your area, go to or visit the Weston A. Price Foundation at to find your local chapter.