Last week I shared why Eric and I choose raw milk over pasteurized. It’s a decision we were careful about making, but one that we’re incredibly blessed by. However, I don’t want to make a sweeping statement and say that everyone should drink raw milk no matter the circumstances! In fact, when I was researching the health benefits of raw milk, I also came across a lot of people cautioning against it. Did you know that for the popular pro-raw milk site Raw Milk Facts there’s an opposing site, Real Raw Milk Facts? Reading sites like that might make you think twice before drinking raw milk.
And really, that’s okay. You should be careful when considering raw milk. I believe that raw milk is a nourishing, time-tested food, but it is possible to drink raw milk that has been contaminated and it is possible to drink raw milk that will make you sick, just like it’s possible to get sick from contaminated lettuce, McDonald’s hamburgers, or pasteurized milk. When seeking raw milk, you should be cautious enough that when you find a good source, you’ll be confident to drink it. Here are three things you can do to drink confidently:
1. Know and trust your dairy farmer
You can find a farmer on Realmilk.com, which has state-by-state listings of local dairies. Once you make contact with the farmer, visit the farm and watch the milking! Ask questions about the cows’ diet, conditions, and health pedigree. Eric and I know our farmers personally, and we know that they wouldn’t endanger their livelihood with dirty milk, or give something to shareholders that they wouldn’t feed to their own family.
2. Drink milk from pastured cows
Raw milk should come from cows raised primarily on grass. Raw milk contains a high nutritional content, but many of the health benefits are dependent on the milk coming from grass-fed cows. Poor living conditions and garbage diets are what made pasteurization necessary in the first place. This article goes into more detail about the merits of grass-fed animal products.
3. Don’t drink raw milk that’s intended for pasteurization
Presumably, pasteurization can be an excuse for producing milk that’s not rigorously clean. If bad bacteria get into the milk via a sick cow or a lapse in cleanliness, the heating process acts as a safety net. Rather than striking a deal with a commercial dairy farmer, seek out one who produces milk specifically for raw consumption.
Raw milk seems to be a rather loaded issue, and it can be tricky to navigate the claims and biases surrounding it. I think it’s important to do your own exploring, and if you feel confident–give raw milk a try! I’m so glad we did. For a good article that skillfully covers both sides of the raw milk issue, read here.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is not intended as medical advice, and is for entertainment purposes only.