The funny thing about this whole raw milk battle is that each side is convinced they are completely right, and the other side is completely wrong. I got lectured the other night by someone who is convinced that raw milk kills babies- and here I am convinced that raw milk is the second best thing for babies, after breast milk.
Now, some of the advocates for raw milk are convinced that all raw milk is manna from heaven, and refuse to hear any aspersions against it. I am not one of those people. I am perfectly aware that you can get sick from raw milk, but you can also get sick from pasteurized milk, or meat, or spinach, or any number of things. You can get sick from small children. You can get sick from sitting in airplanes. I mean, we live in a society where people are in very close quarters. It is pretty much guaranteed we are going to be fertile breeding grounds for loads of diseases.
The funny part is, the people who are against raw milk are completely convinced that raw milk is this dangerous risk to public health and it kills everyone it comes in contact with. That website I linked to the other day, for example. That guy is totally convinced that everyone who drinks raw milk gets sick. This is far from the truth. And statistics can be made to say almost anything, and statistics about illness and outbreak even more so- because people don’t always report illnesses, and sometimes when they are reported, they are reported wrong (as in, it is assumed one thing made a person sick when it might have been another).
It was brought to my attention recently that the fancy steaks you can buy in the store go on and on about their quality nearly as much as I do about the grass fed steaks we get from our neighbors. The funny thing being, at least to me, that those other steaks are bragging about being “grain-fed”- the very exact thing I’m always so proud my steaks are not! Apparently the people who sell grain-fed steaks are convinced that they are the height of quality, when it comes to steaks. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t be caught dead eating a grain-fed steak, cause heaven only knows what the poor cow suffered before being slaughtered. Most likely it ended its life on a feedlot, being fed some kind of ridiculous concoction of “grain,” that also included rendered proteins from other animals (oh yes, that’s still happening), chemical supplements, and goodness knows what else. Cows aren’t supposed to eat all those things. Their stomachs are made to eat grass. And you’re telling me they are higher quality because they’ve been fed GMO grains? Puh-lease.
Speaking of GMOs. I recently heard the amusing alternative to GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), “God Move Over.” I believe Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures dairy in California coined that one. Farmers (and corporate types) who are fans of GMOs think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Plants with pesticides built in! Who couldn’t beat that? But people who don’t like eating pesticides are not such big fans, and farmers who end up with GMO plants in their fields who didn’t plant them there, and who end up in court because Monsanto is a big dumbface who sues the pants off people just because Monsanto copyrighted seeds accidently ended up in someone’s field are definitely not fans.
The point, I suppose, was that the strange thing about this whole food scene is you have people on such rampantly opposite ends of the spectrum. On the one hand: the germaphobes. On the other: the bacteriaphiles. Or the live culture lovers or whatever you want to call them. And each person is rabidly convinced that their way is the right way. I was reading this fantastic New Yorker article about Sandor Ellis Katz the other day (sorry I can’t share, they made it subscriber only on their website) and the guy was talking about people who love to eat rotted meat. That just crosses a line, in my opinion. The argument is supposed to be that prehistoric peoples sometimes ate rotted meat, but seriously, prehistoric people probably ate a lot of very nasty things, and that alone is not an argument for us to eat them, too. I’m going back to the argument that it’s much more pleasant to drink raw milk then to eat fermented fish heads.
I know I’ve made the conclusion before, but there really is no other way to say it: you have to eat what makes you feel good. The odd thing is, I suppose, that people are really good at ignoring when they don’t feel good. There are plenty of people who run around exhausted all the time, are listless, and have constant stomach problems, and it apparently doesn’t occur to them that this could be related to what they eat. Plus you’ve got all these people being diagnosed with allergies (and the allergies just keep getting crazier, how many people are allergic to peanuts now?), and coming down with diabetes, and cancer, and god only knows what else, and still, no one goes, hmm, maybe there’s a reason for it…
Clearly I must be right!