My sister and I used to walk to school, and as a treat to ourselves on the walk home we would visit the Clydesdale horse stables which were almost on the corner of Malvern Road and Glenferrie Road in Melbourne. It was a large stable with blue cobble stones and we’d feed the horses white sugar cubes … oh dear, if only I knew then what I know now!

I used to thank the horses for getting up early and delivering to us the best milk, which came in glass bottles with a foil top. It was always a race between us kids for who was going to lick the foil that was laden with cream! The foils were recycled for school social service and the empty 1 litre glass jars were placed outside again to be collected, washed thoroughly and reused.

Oh, those were the days …

During the holidays our family used to go en-mass to my grandparents’ farm in Bega, NSW. It was a lovely time for all of us cousins to gather together at ‘the farm’ for the school holidays. We stayed on the quieter side of the farm near the manager’s house and the animal pens — pig, chickens and the cows. Dad and Mum bought an old silver caravan with a bright pink interior and that was where we stayed each time we went. I loved the farm and all that it afforded me growing up — exploring, adventures in the open air car, veggie garden, home kill and raw milk.

I remember filling my bowl with cereal (Coco Pops to be exact … yep, my parents were not clued in on available food choices), walking down the steps of the caravan and out towards the cow pen. After my good morning pleasantries to all the chickens, our two peacocks — Polly and Percy — the dogs and other animals, including a donkey, I’d place my bowl under the udder of our family cow and begin milking straight into my bowl. The manager’s wife, Margaret, would assist with my eagerness to get at the real milk. The cream, of course, was delicious!

Then, one year after we returned to Melbourne, Mum told me the Clydesdales would no longer be delivering our milk. I was absolutely devastated. The day of their last run, I stood at the front gate and thanked them for delivering our fresh milk every morning. Mum said the milk was now going to be delivered in plastic containers. Eventually that faded out too; there were no more deliveries and we, like everyone else, began purchasing it from the supermarket without a thought as to whether it would be good for our health. Our family just did what everyone else was doing without question.

But I noticed the difference.

How can you not, when you are raised on whole milk and raw whole milk when at the farm during school holidays? I noticed the colour difference and the lack of a ‘thick’ consistency between supermarket-bought milk and what I’d milked from the cow. These days, however, people are up in arms about raw milk. Why is that? Today’s debate is important, given what manufacturers do to raw milk to make it more ‘shelf’ viable. (See Vital Wellbeing blog ‘Pasteurisation & Homogenisation’.)

With a little digging, you can see why people are so scared of raw milk. It’s interesting that no matter what you read or who you speak to, there is a common argument that raw milk carries with it germs that can kill you. That’s interesting, given that the pasteurisation process destroys bacteria — ‘knocks ’em dead’ — releasing cytotoxins into the milk which you consume and which wreak havoc with your intestinal tract, altering your gut flora and contributing to a plethora of health challenges which follow. This doesn’t happen quickly, but insidiously. The scales tip in the ‘more harmful to the body’ direction. And organisations like the CDC in the USA state very clearly that raw milk is more likely to cause illness. However is it the food source or the process that is creating the illness and challenging people’s systems? Isn’t it just a little weird that federal governments are fighting to keep raw milk illegal?

Umm …

Did you know that there are plenty of people who attest to raw milk benefits, not only for themselves but for their children as well?

Mark McAfee is CEO of the USA’s largest raw-milk dairy — Organic Pastures in Fresno, California. His thoughts? ‘People see amazing results when they give this stuff to their kids—they have ear infections and asthma and allergies, and with raw milk it goes away.'(1) There seems to be a ‘protective effect’ on illness rates from raw milk.

It would appear that hype and propaganda are overshadowing common sense. No deaths have been attributed to raw milk since the mid 1980s, and in 2007 almost 10 million people were consuming raw milk. Approximately 1.3% of food-borne illness comes from dairy — a tiny figure when 75% of the population consume dairy products. A lot more people are dying from eating nuts, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and fruits, rather than from drinking unpasteurised and unhomogenised milk.

Sources and References

To find out where to get your raw milk go here:

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