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Not too long ago, my doctor told me to start eating gluten free. What that kicked off in my home was an unintentional and complete change of not only my diet, but my family’s diet as well. I booted any processed foods my kids were eating. We moved back to eating as much farm fresh as we could. And after learning about all the raw milk benefits, we switched to drinking raw milk.
Making the decision to switch to raw milk was something I did not go into lightly. There is so much conflicting information about whether raw milk is safe, information calling raw milk dangerous, raw milk benefits and more. In truth, it took me weeks to make my final decision, but now that I have, I won’t ever go back.
Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post should not be misunderstood to be medical or dietary advice. I am only able to tell you the reasons that my family personally made the switch to raw milk. Please discuss any significant diet changes with your doctor.
11 Reasons We Switched to Raw Milk
As I said, there is a crazy amount of information – both right and wrong – out there are the benefits of raw milk. In truth, you could research it for years and still never really get to the bottom of it. For my family though, it was easy to see the reasons we should make the switch.
If you’re currently researching raw milk benefits for your own family, the reasons we decided to switch may just interest you.
Is Raw Milk Safe?
The first thing I looked at was to answer the question, is raw milk safe? There is so much information that the dangers of raw milk make it unsafe to drink, but what I found and have experienced is something other than that.
The simple answer to the question is this; raw milk is as safe as the cows it comes from and the equipment used. If the cows are sickly and the equipment dirty, your raw milk is dangerous. Bacteria grows in raw milk quickly if it is not handled or milked correctly and yes, that bacteria can be dangerous if those raw milk safety precautions are not properly performed.
Raw Milk Safety
With all of that said, raw milk that is handled correctly is one-hundred percent safe.
What this means is that when you are looking for a raw milk dairy, you need to look for one that practices the proper raw milk handling practices. Luckily for our family, raw milk in Texas is regulated by the state so we have the option of buying ours from a state certified dairy.
Make sure you do your due diligence on where you get your raw milk and your raw milk will be safe.
How to Store Raw Milk
Raw milk safety also depends on how it is stored after you purchase it. It needs to be kept cold even on the ride home from the farm (or from the barn to your kitchen). I drive 18 miles one way to get my milk. That means I must take proper care to get it from the farm to my house.
To do this, it requires a bit of equipment:
When I buy our milk, it comes in normal plastic gallons. These gallons go into the ice filled cooler immediately as soon as I take them out of the farm coolers to buy.
I have a plastic free kitchen so the milk does not stay in the jugs once they’re at my house. The milk gets poured into half gallon mason jars and put into the fridge. After it has sat for a few hours, I remove most of the cream off the top.
Reasons We Drink Raw Milk
Raw Milk Tastes Better
I have never been a milk drinker. The milk I grew up on and what is still sold in stores has always tasted sour to me. Or watery. Or just plain disgusting. I went years without drinking a single glass of milk due to this taste.
Raw milk, however, has an amazing taste that I absolutely adore. It tastes fresh and clean with a slightly sweet taste.
Homemade Heavy Cream comes from Raw Milk
Anyone who loves an old fashioned family recipe knows that heavy cream is always an amazing addition to the right recipe. Heavy cream comes from raw milk and knowing how to make heavy cream from it was a skill I was so happy to learn. It means I can stop using my heavy cream substitute recipe and use the real thing!
Having fresh heavy cream on hand each week has done amazing things for my cooking.
Raw milk has fewer chemicals
Raw milk, because it comes from healthy cows, contains none of the chemicals that may be found in store bought milk. It has also undergone significantly less processing than what the store offers. From cow to store, pasteurized and homogenized milk is nothing alike what came out of the cow.
Actually none of the dairy products you buy with the store are the same as they would be if they used raw milk. The dairy products you purchase at the store can have up to 30 different chemical additives added to them.
Raw milk has none of those additions making it an infinitely better decision for my own family.
Fresh milk is puss and blood free
Did you know that that “fresh” glass of milk you bought from the store contains both puss and blood from the cow that gave it? Because cows from conventional dairy farms are often kept in very inhumane conditions and are basically used as breeding factories (a cow only gives milk for 10 months after it has had a calf), they often get infections such as mastitis.
Think the FDA protects you from that puss and blood in your milk? Think again. The FDA allows 750 million puss cells for every 1 liter of milk. Just so you know; that is the highest amount allowed in the world. Even the USDA admits that mastitis in cows is an epidemic in the US.
Cows that are milk for raw milk, however, are kept in smaller farms. They are milked much more humanely and are kept in much more humane conditions. They experience less instances of infection resulting in less puss or blood in your milk.
Fresh milk does not “go bad”
Leave a gallon of store bought milk on the counter for a day or two and it turns putrid. Raw milk, however, does not. It simply sours, but is still usable. Soured milk turns into clabber – a great addition to your baking and produces whey. There are so many uses for clabber and ways to use whey that it doesn’t even make me sad when a half gallon sours on me these days.
Soured milk is great for making homemade ricotta cheese, homemade cottage cheese and more. It cuts the amount of waste down which is never a bad thing.
Raw milk nutrients are better than pasteurized
Raw milk nutrients are – simply put – better than pasteurized milk. As I mentioned above, by the time milk reaches a store shelf, it has been stripped of its fat content and fundamentally changed. Part of those changes result in the raw milk nutrients that were there being stripped.
It isn’t just the nutrients in raw milk you should be concerned with though. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that are beneficial for gut health and that boost your immune system.
Store bought milk can’t say that.
Pasteurization kills those raw milk nutrients
Advocates of pasteurization will tell you that it makes raw milk safer and healthier. That couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion. What it does do is kill the nutrients and beneficial bacteria that are naturally found in raw milk.
This is especially true if you drink anything other than whole milk. Skim milk in particular is basically nothing but milk colored water by the time they are done processing it.
I know where my milk comes from
If you’re trying to eat raw, fresh food more often, knowing where your food comes from is important. When I go to get my milk, the cows it comes from are within eye sight of where I get it out of the coolers. The milking equipment is there too.
Having that knowledge provides just a bit more comfort in knowing that my family drinks healthy and fresh milk each day.
Buying raw milk helps the small farmer
I am a small business owner myself and as such, I love helping other small businesses. Raw milk dairies are typically small farmers. When I buy our raw milk, I’m helping the farmer who owns the cows who just happens to be a little old man with a warm and welcoming smile.
It’s comforting to know that my money is going to him and his wife as opposed to some mega corporation.
We waste less milk with raw milk
I don’t care what the date on the carton says, anytime I buy milk from the store, it spoils within 5 days of being opened. Yes, my fridge is cold enough to keep it from happening. Pasteurization kills the protection that milk has naturally to keep that from happening.
Raw milk kept in half gallon mason jars in my fridge lasts us at least 12 days before it sours. I know. I’ve counted. And as I said earlier, even if it sours, it’s still very much usable.
Raw milk is more cost effective
As I said, raw milk lasts longer. I may pay more per gallon for raw milk, but I spend less in the long run because it lasts longer. I end up buying less and paying less as a result.
Not on that though, I can do so much more with a gallon of raw milk than a store bought gallon. I can have homemade heavy cream that can be turned into butter, ice cream, sour cream or homemade whipped cream. Sour milk makes amazing cottage cheese. Clabber can be added to my baking instead of baking powder.
Whey makes an amazing addition to your garden or even pancakes. I can make homemade mozzarella cheese or ricotta cheese.
The possibilities of what I can use that gallon of raw milk go on and on.