Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Raw Milk Rocks - Factory Farms Suck

Congratulations to Michael Schmidt on winning his case. For those not in the know, Michael Schmidt is an Ontario dairy farmer who was charged with selling raw milk. Selling raw milk is illegal in Canada, though it is not illegal to consume it. Mr. Schmidt had tried to get around the law by selling shares in his dairy farm and distributing the raw milk that way. Luckily, an Ontario judge agreed with him, and unless the Crown appeals, raw milk can now be distributed using his method. Hallelujah.

I am also a drinker of raw milk, when I can get my hands on it, which isn't often out here. There just aren't that many people willing to break the law, even a law as senseless as this one. You can buy alcohol and cigarettes and processed foods loaded with chemicals and sugar, all known to be detrimental to health, but you can't buy something as healthy and good for you as raw milk?

The thing is, raw milk, coming straight out of the cow's udder, is absolutely fine to drink. The reason pasteurization was started, was because as farms got larger and became more like the factory dairy farms we have today, it became more and more likely that the milk could become contaminated with something on its way from the cow to the store. When you have a large factory dairy or feedlot, you can't pay as much attention to each individual cow or piece of machinery, and therefore contamination becomes more likely. When you have smaller farms, the farmers can spend the time needed to ensure that the products are clean and safe. Tragedies like the listeriosis outbreak at the Maple Leaf plant is much more likely to happen in a big farm or factory. As long as people are aware of what raw milk is and the possible risks in consuming it, it should not be any more illegal than any other food. And if you check out your supplier and make sure they are a small farm with clean facilities, it isn't any more dangerous.

And why do I personally drink raw milk? It isn't just because it tastes better, which is absolutely true. It's because I'm healthier for it. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was about 20 years old. And the thing about colitis, is they don't really know what causes it. They can only treat the symptoms. So I was put on cortical steroids and another aspirin-like anti-inflammatory. The steroids I went on and off of for short periods of time since they are very, very unhealthy for you. But the other anti-inflammatory I was on continuously - 6 huge tablets a day - until last Fall. When I stopped cold turkey. And I haven't had any medication since, but I'm still symptom-free. How did I do it? Raw milk, and lacto-fermented products like home-made sauerkraut. If I feel symptoms coming on, I just drink some raw milk or eat some sauerkraut, and I'm okay.

Here's my theory. Because of large factory agriculture, in order to keep our food supply safe and to kill all of the bad bacteria, we have had to use methods like pasteurization. Unfortunately, it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad. When I drink raw milk, I am repopulating my digestive system with the good bacteria that we are dependent on to digest our food properly. In fact, by killing all the bacteria in our food, we are making ourselves more unhealthy. Factory farms are killing us.

So that's my theory, and while I can't prove 100% that it was the raw milk that fixed me up, it did seem to work for me, and continues to work today. Hopefully there are some smart, enterprising scientists somewhere that are studying the effects of whole foods like raw milk on people's bodies. I suspect they'll find I'm right. In the meantime, if you have ulcerative colitis, or other similar disorders, find a supplier and try some raw milk. And hey, if you live in Ontario, you won't even have to break the law to do it.

4 comments:

Amy Paliwoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Violette said...

Hi Amy. Thanks for the comment.

My ulcerative colitis has not made a reappearance, I'm still medication free. It's difficult to get raw milk where I live (you're very lucky to live where you do!), so I've been mostly eating naturally lacto-fermented sauerkraut, which seems to work just as well. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Amy Paliwoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Violette said...

I went cold turkey with the meds and I was fine. But that might not be for everyone.