As I do most every night that I work, I took a quart of our nice fresh, unpasteurized skimmed milk to work to drink. I was getting it out of the fridge as another nurse was looking for non-dairy creamer. I offered her a little real milk for her coffee.
"Eeyew I can't drink that. I looks like breast milk."
"Technically all milk is breast milk," I replied.
Another nurse heard our exchange looked at my milk bottle in abject horror and asked, "That came from your cow." Well duh! Where did she think milk came from a laboratory somewhere? Or maybe it just appears on store shelves late at night like magic?
I took a swig of deliciously cold fresh milk and went on with my day, but it's really been bothering me all evening. When did we start believing that the more processed, the more removed from the source, the more depersonalized our food was that it made us somehow better off?
I was fortunate to have been raised largely on rich fresh unpasteurized milk from our family cow and pork and beef and vegetables we raised ourselves. And I know this is anecdotal, but my siblings and I were healthier than our friends growing up. My sister and I didn't "blossom" while we were in grade school like girls do now. It distresses me when I see 8-9 year old girls with developed breasts. They are ill prepared for the changes in their bodies and the change in the way that people regard them. This early puberty has been linked to hormones in our food. Why is it that when people talk about contaminated foods they think only of bacteria? They don't think about hormones and antibiotics passed along and concentrated in our commercial food chain.
Another of my friends asked me how I could eat animals that I had raised myself. It never occurred to me that you shouldn't name your food. Each animal on our farm has a name. A personality. And a purpose. We are kind to our animals while they are with us and grateful for the food they provide us. We take responsibility for their welfare and we take responsibility for what we eat.
Come on! Food doesn't start out dismembered, depersonalized, plastic wrapped and sealed. We had a European couple stop by the farm for a tour last summer. They thought it was weird that in the U.S. you can't tell what animal the meat at the market comes from unless you read the signs. In European markets, they said, you an tell what the animal because you can recognize the parts.
All beef starts out as a living breathing calf in the spring and if it's lucky it grows on pasture until it's two years old. Then it is humanely processed into delicious grassfed beef. If it's not lucky it is raised in an overcrowded CAFO with a lot of other unfortunate animals. It's fed on grain it was never meant to eat and kept alive and growing on antibiotics and hormones. All pork starts out as a cute little piglet not a whole lot bigger than a man's hand. On our farm they are fed on excess cows milk, grain and all the pasture they can eat. They have lovely mud holes to play in and a large pasture to root around. Less fortunate pigs are raised on slatted floors in crowded conditions and fed sub therapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones. They cut the pigs tails off so that when the pigs become stressed from the overcrowding they can't bite one another's tails.
Which would you rather eat: food from stressed animals grown in crowded conditions? or food lovingly raised by a caring farmer?
Think about it. Know your farmer, know your food.