Getting Real About Raw Milk

Those of you who keep up with my 365 Project might remember a post I made at the end of July about raw milk. Since that time, I got connected with another farm and had been getting between 1 and 2 gallons each week. For all the reasons I stated in the 365 post (and more), I really felt like I was doing something good for my family by getting milk straight from a source I trusted. I knew there were risks, but the benefits seemed to outweigh them. Raw milk is nutritionally superior to pasteurized milk, and I stand behind that statement.

When we left for Seattle, Wyatt was battling a bit of diarrhea. After a doctor recommended my mom (my parents stayed with the kids while we were gone) cut dairy out of his diet to give his gut a break, his symptoms cleared up. We didn’t know what the problem was, but were glad it was taken care of. The day after we got home, I got really sick. I also had diarrhea, and felt quite nauseated. Four days later, Markus was showing similar symptoms. At that point I went to see a doctor and he had some tests done. He seemed sure it was viral, but ordered the tests just to be sure. Public health called me the following week to inform me I had Cryptosporidium. I had to give a play-by-play of what and where I had eaten while we were on the west coast, so they could check other databases and see if my information matched up with any other reported cases. I assumed I had picked it up in Seattle, that Markus got it from me, and Wyatt’s illness was unrelated.

So what does this have to do with raw milk? Maybe nothing, maybe everything.
Maybe my initial thoughts were correct – maybe Wyatt’s problem was unrelated. Maybe I became infected on our trip, and maybe I passed it on to Markus.
Maybe the milk made us all sick. Markus got sick only 4 days after me, and the average crypto illness shows symptoms 7-10 days after infection. The timing of everyone’s sickness doesn’t seem to compute if it were unrelated to the milk.
I really don’t know where this came from, but I do feel unsettled about the milk now. Given the possibility that it made us sick, I’m not interested in taking the chance that we could get sick with something else. If it was crypto this time, what next – listeria? No thanks.

To be honest, I didn’t even want to post about this. I was fighting a battle, sticking it to The Man who said I couldn’t drink unpasteurized milk if i wanted to. Oh yeah, you wanna bet?! I was triumphant about beating the system and coming out of it with food that I felt was better for us. Now I have reasonable enough doubts to say it was perhaps not the best idea. I’m okay with that. Don’t we all do things that are unwise? While I sometimes feel like I’m out to prove something, I guess this just goes to show that all I’m proving is that I don’t know everything, and there is always room for us to learn and grow. And I’ll grow in spite of my pasteurized milk.

4 Responses to “Getting Real About Raw Milk”

  1. Allison Says:

    Glad you guys are all doing better now. I really admire your humility and honesty in this post. You are just trying to do what is best for your family, and like you said, we are always learning and growing. Especially as a new mom, I am starting to realize the insane amounts of learning and growing I have to do as I take on this new role. :)

  2. Kendall Says:

    We’ve all been in places where we have had to evaluate our individual ‘great’ ideas – and I’m convinced it’s totally part of God’s plan that sometimes we have to admit (and not even on a blog – lol!) we should change some stuff. It’s hard enough when I have to admit it to KURT – so kudos to you. :)
    Meh (shrug sound). In these situations, I fall back on simply being thankful that God is big and sovereign – and all this: even crypto – leads to more of our growth and His glory.
    Hugs. (and glad you guys are all recovered) :)

  3. Amy Says:

    I also want to say that it takes a lot to admit your good idea may have caused a problem. Personally when I first saw on your 365 that your drinking raw milk I thought good for you. (i grew up on a dairy farm we drank it all the time.) But if you think it may have made you sick then its wise to heed that as well. In both circumstances your just going on the best information you had at the time, and thats really all any of us can do. You thought it would be good and nutritious for your family so you gave it to them that is an admirable goal and now you think it might not be a good choice for your family so you stop also admirable. And admitting it to the world when you didn’t have to seriously humble.

  4. Allie Says:

    You always post about things I am interested in! :) As my daughter gets older (now 13 months) we are starting to give her dairy. I buy her organic yogurt, but so far I’ve just been giving her regular cheese and cottage cheese. (I feel vaguely guilty whenever I do, with images of hormones and antibiotics running through my head!) She hasn’t had a good ol’ glass of milk or milk on cereal or anything yet, so I’m not sure what we’ll do when she does. I’d like for it to be organic, but my husband and I still have to discuss the extra cost of that (it’s like two times the price here on the west coast as conventional milk). I did a bit of research into raw milk, but I think for me the risks would outweigh the benefits. It’s too bad, because I love the idea of it – fresh from the source!! But I also don’t want anyone getting sick from it.

    I think I’m rambling. Basically, like the others said, your attitude is wonderful. Would that I would always be so humble when I find I might have been wrong about something!

    Blessings to you and your family.

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