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My Motherhood Story + Restore Your Home Challenge

I’ll never forget the memory my husband shared with me as a snippet of the birth of our first son. That is where my motherhood story truly begins. He said, “Something in you changed in that moment, you became a mom.” He was referring to what he physically witnessed in me just moments before our first baby was born. Him saying that to me is one of my most cherished memories. That experience did change me, drastically. As many other mothers will attest, I had no idea a love so big existed.

At 20 years old, I wasn’t ready for a lot of the information I would absorb during my first pregnancy. At 21 years old, ready or not I was giving birth. I would also be plummeting into my first year of caring for a newborn baby. No, this isn’t a birth story, you can find those here, if you’re interested.

However, my story doesn’t start at that moment. It starts long before the transformational moment that baby was placed in my arms…

Before I Became a Mama

Few people know the full story behind my unconventional ways, and I’ll keep it sweet and short for you here. I grew up eating the typical red-capped whole milk from the grocery store. We ate fish sticks, and the same cereal you probably did. (Not in that order, or all together, yuck haha). I didn’t grow up wealthy, and we ate what we had without giving it much thought. I was not taught to cook, and not raised to question ingredients in things, etc. However, we grew up relatively healthy and active. I spent a LOT of time outside growing up and without any serious medical issues.

Fast-forward to entering into adulthood, and my physical activity came almost to a screeching halt. I wasn’t playing sports anymore, or riding horses, and my coupon clipping supported diet was absolute trash. Not knowing how to cook, I found myself married at 19 and really struggling mentally. I was quickly given a diagnosis and multiple prescriptions to counter the symptoms I was experiencing. It wouldn’t be until 2-3 years after that diagnosis that I would realize that I was grossly mis-diagnosed. A bandaid was placed on me with zero consideration for my nutrition or lifestyle.

A few months after starting those meds, I wanted to get off of them. I was offered no help when I shared that with the doctor’s office that had prescribed them. No one would help me. My general practitioner told me, “You’re already on the lowest dose. I don’t know how to help you wean off of these.”

This was the pivotal moment in my life when things started to shift. When I started seeing benefits from using things like essential oils and switching to raw dairy, the questioning of everything else began.

My First Pregnancy

My first pregnancy was…difficult. Not because I was high-risk or because I have any medical conditions that made it so, but because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I was worried and stressed at every turn:
What if I move too quickly, or pick something up that’s too heavy?
How am I going to handle the pain of childbirth? I have such a low pain tolerance and I have no idea what to expect.
Why do I need to get a flu shot, and can that effect my baby?

It wasn’t until I found a Bradley Method instructor and doula at 7 months pregnant that I was at peace with the thought of giving birth. I was terrified before meeting her and taking those classes. Despite having just moved 8 hours north of almost everyone we knew and loved, we ended up doubling down and taking a 12-week childbirth education class in just 6 short weeks. We finished the course just in time to wait for me to go into labor. If you’d like to you can read my first birth story here.

I am a firm believer that the more education you can provide yourself with before your first pregnancy, the less stress and overwhelm you’ll experience during that pregnancy. That will also naturally effect your birth experience, and first year of life with your new baby. People in our culture don’t pass down wisdom like they once did (or welcome it when it’s offered), and our motherhood journeys suffer for it.

My Second, Third, and Fourth Pregnancies

Sadly, we experienced an early miscarriage with our second pregnancy. This taught me it’s own set of lessons, but some of those weren’t understood until years later……

My third pregnancy with our second son had it’s own set of difficulty and stress, especially following a miscarriage. The biggest difference in this in contrast to my first was the care team we chose for this baby. I knew after the hospital birth with our first that I would seek an out of hospital birth next time. This time, we hired a certified professional midwife for my prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. We had a very quick home birth with a skilled team, you can read that birth story here.

My fourth pregnancy was much easier on my body than my previous ones. We had our second home birth with him as well.

I want to clarify something that I learned through my years as a birth photographer and doula. (I did this from the time my first baby was 2 years old until he was about 6.) Just because I have had unmedicated hospital births, home births, and choose differently than you might, doesn’t make me right and you wrong.

Do I think you should consider all of your options fully, including home birth with a skilled and professional team of midwives? Whole heartedly, yes. Do I think you’re wrong if you choose differently than I did? Absolutely not. However, you can’t make a fully educated decision without fully understanding what your options are. Just like there are some phenomenal obstetricians, there are just as many skilled midwives helping women deliver babies safely at home. You may be surprised to learn that many professional midwives learn the exact same skillset as OBs. The biggest difference being that they don’t learn to perform surgery. The reality is if you don’t know what your options are, you don’t have any.

Learning Through Motherhood

I share so much about my pregnancies because without them, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills to share my story with clarity. The compelling I’ve always felt to share my own birth stories openly have undoubtedly had a positive impact on many other’s pregnancies and birth experiences.

It’s not just through pregnancy and childbirth that I’ve learned, though. When I was 9 months postpartum with my first son, I did my first Whole30. I had no clue what I was doing in the kitchen as a young stay at home mama with a small family to feed. In 2014, you couldn’t buy many things that were compliant for Whole30 in the store. I had to learn quickly how to make things from scratch if I wanted to eat and stay on track. Homemade mayo, ranch, and ketchup are skills still pressed on my memory now.

Sometime after that, I learned about some real food and natural living meetings local to me. The woman I was picking up my fresh, raw Jersey milk from led a local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter. They held monthly nutrient-dense potlucks and meetings that covered a different topic each time. There may have been mostly older crowds that showed up for this, but I learned priceless valuable information that I couldn’t have learned elsewhere.

Motherhood is a Marathon

There is so very much to learn when we enter into motherhood. I believe we go through waves of absorbing massive amounts of information, to learning how to apply those, and even getting overwhelmed when it all becomes too much. This is all part of learning. Mistakes will be made. Without mistakes, how can we really learn anything?Motherhood is a marathon, which gives us the grace of space to learn and make small adjustments overtime.

If I would have switched my lifestyle from what it was for the first 20 years of my life to what it is now overnight, I would have crumbled under the pressure. I started making sourdough bread less than 3 years ago and I just the other day learned something new about using my starter (thank you to my friend Liz from Homegrown Education, you’re a literal culture saver, pun-intended).

Let this be an encouragement to you now. Life is a journey of living and learning and making small adjustments for the sake of serving your loved ones. It will take change, sacrifice, and hard work sometimes. But, when you make the adjustments over time at a pace that serves you and your family, you make space to flourish. You make space to cultivate a more holistic, healthy, and natural home.

Restore Your Home

Readiness wasn’t even on my mind when I began this lifelong journey of restoring my own home. I’m still doing it now, and I hope to never stop. There is always more to learn, but I hope that you’ll at least start somewhere. If you need a place to start, my Restore Your Home Challenge is a fantastic option. I created this challenge and resource with the hopes that it will get you started on your own journey. Or, perhaps encourage you to keep going if you’ve been at it for a while.

Over the course of this next year, I will be providing a different free printable PDF checklist that focuses on a different part of your home.

  • January | Kitchen
  • February | Medicine Cabinet
  • March | Cleaning Products
  • April | Furniture, Closet, + Linens
  • May | Catchup + Review
  • June | Air Quality
  • July | Technology
  • August | Water
  • September | Garden + Yard
  • October | Bath, Body, + Haircare
  • November | Catchup + Review
  • December | End of Year Wrap Up

This is for you to have an organized place to dig into all of the nooks and crannies of your home. Customize this challenge how you want to restore your own home. This is going to look different for everyone, don’t play the comparison game and just start.

If you consider yourself a homemaker at all, I invite you to join me alongside numerous other homemakers and start restoring your home, today.

Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

Once you use this beef bone broth recipe, you’ll never want to go back to buying store bought again! I’ve taken a lovely and decadent recipe by Rhoda Boone I found on Epicurious and adapted it to make a more affordable, bulk batch of delicious beef broth.

Be sure to visit my Chicken Broth Recipe for instructions on how to bag your broth to both store and thaw it easily!

Quality Matters when Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

When it comes to nourishment, you are what your food eats. It’s really important to source grass-fed beef from reputable farms (local is best!) to obtain the most nutrients out of what you’re feeding yourself and your family.

Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

Optimum health requires animal foods and fats. Vitamins A, D, K2, B12, B6, Zinc, essential fatty acids, and amino acids are all beneficial nutrients. You will find some of these beneficial nutrients exclusively in sustainably raised animal products.

Conventionally Raised vs. Pasture Raised

Conventionally raised animals are typically raised in ultra-confinement conditions with little to no access to the outdoors. They are almost always fed artificially with inexpensive GMO feed. They are often given performance-enhancing drugs which causes them to be efficient and profitable. There is also usually zero regard to humane processing options available when it comes to conventional meat. Modern conveniences do not come with consequences on both the animals well-being and the health of those consuming the meat products produced this way.

Pasture raised animals are raised primarily outdoors with appropriate access to shelter to protect them against the elements. They are almost always fed expensive non-GMO feed or grass. They are not given antibiotics (mainly because it’s often unnecessary in their living conditions with no confinement). These animals are typically processed humanely with care and thanks being given to the animal. Regenerative farming is also common with these farming methods.

Making beef bone broth at home requires some homework, if you want to do it right.

Know Your Farmer(s)

The most important thing to consider when sourcing animal products we consume is not always looking for the cheapest cut. Sometimes we are in positions where we have to consider the cost of our food. I am currently one of those people. Based on what I know, though, I can no longer make a decision based ONLY on the lowest price tag.

I think what we have been conditioned to blindly do in our culture is walk up to the meat section of our grocery store and not consider it’s origination. We don’t ask questions like, “Did this animal have access to sunshine and grass over the course of it’s life?” Instead we tend to think more like, “What’s on sale this week?”

There are nutrients our bodies require to obtain optimum health. Some of those are EXCLUSIVELY found in animal products raised in the right environment (pasture raised, etc.) These nutrients are simply not found in nature outside of these conditions.

Let’s stop considering simply the cost of the meat we are buying. But, let’s also consider the cost of what looking the other way could mean for these animals, as well as our health. Are you with me?

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Weston A. Price Foundation Overview

Every time I have a conversation with someone about nutrition, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is sure to come out of my mouth. I am not sure if anyone has every answered, “Yes,” when I ask if they have ever heard of the WAPF. Why does this so frequently come out of my mouth? Evidently, it’s been an invaluable resource I’ve grown to rely on when it comes to feeding myself and my family well. It’s past time I provide you with a Weston A. Price Foundation Overview. Shall we?

How Did I Learn About the Foundation?

Living in Northern California for five years following the final weeks of my pregnancy with my firstborn provided me with a slew of resources. It is only natural that the Weston A. Price Foundation practically fell into my lap, too. There was a local chapter that met monthly to potluck with real, homemade foods. In addition, they also sought out to learn about a relevant topic that changed each month.

weston a. price foundation
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I chose the above image here because it very perfectly portrays the feeling I would get when I would attend these meetings. I was back in time. An era where knowledge is shared openly and wisdom is passed down from older and wiser generations. Knowledge that was once passed down, and started slipping through the cracks at some point in the last few decades.

So, What is the Weston A. Price Foundation?

While the foundation covers a vast amount of topics, I think they describe their overall intentions best by how they explain their logo (pictured below). I can’t give you an adequate Weston A. Price Foundation Overview without this vital information, the heart of everything they share.

Weston A. Price Foundation

The Weston A. Price logo (a registered trademark of the Weston A. Price Foundation) superimposes three faces over the map of the world.

Reading from left to right, the first face is the broad face of someone who was nurtured with a nutrient-dense traditional diet, as were the traditional peoples of Alaska, Australia and the Pacific region, over which the face is positioned.

The left-hand face is the past. The middle face is the narrow face of someone brought up on industrialized food. It represents the present. The face is positioned over North America where these foods originated. The deleterious effects of these industrialized foods were first described by Dr. Weston Price whose name indicates to us that this legacy is truly the “price of the west,” the price cultures pay for western modernization.

The face on the right is the goal, the future–once again broad faces that come from nourishing diets. The face is superimposed on Europe and Africa, the ancestral homelands of many Americans. We must re-embrace traditional foods in order to restore nutrient-dense foods to our tables.

Weston A. Price Foundation Website

We don’t pass down the knowledge of nourishing foods anymore to our children and grandchildren. Raise your hand if you were raised on cereal, pasteurized milk, top ramen, and fish sticks. ✋🏼
(Obviously I ate more than that, too, like: boxed mac n cheese, “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!” …the list goes on.)

I spend a lot of time investing in my calling within marriage and motherhood, reading and teaching myself new skills in the kitchen. Skills that I simply wasn’t raised on. You can, too.

Who Was Weston. A Price?

Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who lived from 1870-1948.

In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice, he turned from test tubes and microscopes to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them- the isolated “primitives.”

Weston A. Price Foundation

Price’s studies include various different primitive cultures. These studies lead to the conclusion that the vast majority of physical issues find their roots in nutritional deficiencies.

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated indigenous peoples he found that they provided at least four times the calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish and organ meats.

Weston A. Price Foundation

You can find more details in this biography about Dr. Weston A. Price here.

What Can I Do to Start Feeding my Family an Ancestral Diet?

Thankfully, we’ve been provided with great resources because of modern technology and foundations like the WAPF and The Price-Pottenger Foundation. Homegrown Education is a sweet online friend of mine who participates in her local chapter in Ohio. Liz has created a phenomenal upper elementary curriculum-middle school nutrition curriculum that is perfect to supplement any learning environment. She is working on a lower elementary curriculum that I cannot wait for!

In addition to resources like I’ve mentioned above, I always recommend the books that the founder of the WAPF has provided. This wouldn’t be a Weston A. Price Foundation Overview if I didn’t mention these vital resources:

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats

“This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.”

I resource this book regularly to this day. Some of the best meals I’ve ever made have come from the inspirations in the recipes provided. This is a must-have book whether you are just beginning this journey or have been on this path for a while.

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care

“The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care makes the principles of traditional nutrition available to modern parents. The book provides holistic advice for pregnancy and newborn interventions, vaccinations, breastfeeding and child development, as well as a compendium of natural treatments for childhood illnesses, from autism to whooping cough. The work of Rudulf Steiner supports the book’s emphasis on the child’s spiritual requirement for imaginative play.”

Equipped with the only formula option I would ever be comfortable making, this is another invaluable resource that every family should read through. If you ever plan to or already have children, add this to your bookshelf.

The above books are the two I have, but you can find those along with many more incredible books by visiting my Amazon Storefront here.

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Getting Passed the Overwhelmed

Look, I understand that there is a lot pining for your attention, including on the WAPF website itself. From raw milk, cod liver oil, and soy to dentistry, women’s health, and vaccinations it can be a lot to take in. I hope this overview provides you a more simplistic view of starting somewhere and growing at your own pace.

Start with something affordable and relatively simple like Making Chicken Bone Broth at Home using my free, printable recipe. Instructions on how to freeze it with little space included!

This is a huge reason I am working very hard to finish my Restore Your Home Checklist. I want you to restore your home to health and wellness. I want you to know how to combat modern conveniences that may be interfering with that goal. Newsletter subscribers will get the resource first when it’s available. Get on the list right here if you’re not already and share this with a friend who might be interested too!

Please feel free to reach out to me or comment below anytime if there are any specific questions you have about this Weston A. Price Foundation Overview!

Weston A. Price Foundation Overview
Photo by Destiny Stansel of Freckled Fragments Photography

Making Chicken Bone Broth at Home

If you’re not already making your own bone broth in your kitchen: you’re spending either too much on the good stuff or too little on the imitation of the good stuff. Chicken bone broth is so versatile in home cooking, as well as extremely nourishing and sustainable.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Benefits of Bone Broth

According to the book Nourishing Broth – An Old Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, bone broth has the ability to support a number of ailments. It improves the gut by aiding digestion. It strengthens bones and joints and stabilizes moods. This liquid gold even restores the weak and ailing back to health and a normal appetite with it’s many provided minerals and nutrients.

Nourishing Broth is another must have book by Sally.

It’s no mystery why we think we need chicken soup every time we get sick. There is truth behind that notion, but the stuff we find in a can today doesn’t cut it. True bone broth, slow simmered for hours over heat, has the ability to work wonders for various ailments. However, broths we find on the grocery store today are a terrible substitution for this wonderful food that has almost vanished from our kitchens. Thankfully, in a pinch, you can find decent ones in the freezer section, but you’ll certainly pay a steep price for it. This is one great reason to make chicken bone broth at home.

chicken bone broth recipe

Uses for Bone Broth

You can easily replace stock in any soup recipe you come across with homemade bone broth. It takes a basic soup recipe and majorly improves the nutritional quality of that soup. Green Soup is my household’s favorite way to utilize this homemade chicken broth. If you haven’t tried it yet, get it on your meal plan ASAP!

Another great way to add more of this liquid gold into your diet is making rice with it. It can even replace water in a homemade mac n’ cheese recipe like these ones from Jovial. This will also increase the protein content of your rice or mac n’ cheese, which is great!

The simplest way to use homemade bone broth is by reheating it on the stove, adding a bit of salt, and sipping on it throughout the day like a cup of tea. Especially when you or someone in your home is ill, this is a great way to boost your immune system and strengthen your gut and body.

Store-Bought vs. Homemade

We don’t always realize that something like Better Than Bouillon isn’t the best option for us, health wise. Sure, it’s tasty, but it’s not contributing to our health. Just because something has a label with “organic” doesn’t equal nutrient dense, either. A handful of the ingredients in Better Than Bouillon are: cane sugar, maltodextrin, flavoring, and natural flavor. A quick search online will bring up a description of maltodextrin:

It is commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.

Wikipedia

Can sugar is one of the furthest things from a healthy food option. My recipe below includes no sugar added to your homemade broth. It’s simply not needed. Consider researching how highly-addictive sugar is and you’ll begin to understand why it’s put in just about every commercially produced food product that is marketed to us.

Natural flavorings can be just about anything. Again, research these things so you have a more well-rounded view on what you’re reading on your food labels while shopping for your family.

The cost to purchase the really good options in a store are more than double that of their watered-down imitations. In a pinch, I have purchased store-bought broth before, but I wasted a lot of money on it considering it costs me close to nothing to make at home. The best options in the store won’t be sitting on the shelf, though. You typically want to look at the options in the freezer section of the store to find the actual bone broth.

chicken bone broth recipe

Storing Your Homemade Broth

The best method I’ve discovered for storing homemade bone broth is in the freezer in a food saver bag. I freeze my chicken broth in quart-sized bags, and lay them flat to dry. I’ve yet to have a bag break on me using this method. You simply seal one end, fill the open end with cooled broth, and lay your bag down with enough edge to seal without it seeping out. You can carefully remove all of the air out by hand and use the moist button while sealing. Do not use the function that removes the air, or you’ll have a big mess.

Lay your bags flat in the freezer and then you can store them how you’d like once they’re solid. I hope this helps you as much as it has me!

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The Truth About Raw Milk

If you personally know me, you probably know that the dairy we have consumed in our home for the last seven+ years has been primarily: RAW. Our journey of switching to raw milk wasn’t a comfortable one, but it’s one I’m grateful for…here is the truth about raw milk.

My Personal Experience with Raw Milk

Growing up, I was a huge cereal fan (who am I kidding, still am). We always seemed to have whole milk in the fridge, rarely 2%. You know, the one with the red cap? Now I’m wondering if it’s still like that, or if it’s like that everywhere, hmm…

Anyways, when I was 18, I was working at PetSmart in Washington state. In the parking lot of our store, there was a Starbucks that I very much so enjoyed my frequent drive through while ordering the delicious Peppermint White Mocha. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, that drink was my jam. Until it wasn’t…I started noticing an extremely upset stomach when I would show up to work. I wasn’t stressed out or anything, so that wasn’t my problem. Then it clicked: THE WHITE MOCHA. (Insert crying face here, right?) Suddenly, I’m lactose-intolerant…or so I thought.

From there, I started drinking Lactaid milk and taking digestive pills any time I would have dairy. This went on for roughly 1-2 years and I was perfectly fine as long as I took those pills if I consumed dairy. Fast-forward a couple of years, Craig and I get married, and someone comes into our lives that drinks raw dairy. My first reaction? Gross. Why was that my first reaction? I think it’s because as a society we are so conditioned to not question where our food comes from (or how it’s denatured). My new friend insisted I “just try it” and see what happens. So, I did. It tasted perfectly fine, and I had NO TUMMY ISSUES. So much for lactose-intolerance, hmm? What was going on, then?

From then on, I entered into the beginning stages of what I guess you could call “my natural journey.” An entire new world emerged for me, but it wouldn’t be for a couple more years that I would really understand the benefits I was providing myself with by switching to raw milk. Knowing what I know to be true now about the dairy industry as a whole, and the undeniable benefits of the God-given gift of nature’s perfect food, I am beyond grateful that each of my pregnancies were sustained while consuming raw milk and that my children know nothing different. Don’t let me lose you on that note…

If this is your first experience being introduced to the truth about raw milk, please don’t feel judged or too frustrated with the circumstances life has thrown your way. Continue reading and learn about why dropping conventional milk and switching to raw is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your family. You can’t do better until you know better.

The Cow (Elephant) in the Room

I see a specific argument rather consistently amongst the inter-webs. It’s the argument that because the dairy industry is so corrupt and absolutely horrific (partial truth) and that because cow’s milk is made for sustaining a growing calf, that it holds no nutritional or moral benefits to our body. I’m going to upset vegans everywhere now…this is an absolutely ridiculous notion. Why? Because conventional dairy is not the only option you have out there. There are small dairy farms that work day in and out to provide sustainable agriculture that actually benefits the environment, their own families, as well as yours and mine. You can find local sources almost anywhere in the United States by visiting RealMilk.com (as long as it’s legal, there are unfortunately still a few states that the sale of raw milk is still illegal to purchase).

The argument that expresses that cow’s milk is made to grow baby calves, and that’s why you “shouldn’t” consume it as a human sadly dismisses not only the incredible amount of benefits that we can obtain from it, but also ignores the biblical fact that God gave us dominion over animals on this planet. Does that mean we should go on and bury our heads in the sand while animals are treated with cruelty and horrific circumstances? Of course not. As a Christian, I hold a conscious obligation here that requires me to think deeper than “my milk comes from the shelf in the grocery store” and actually choose to acknowledge the process of how it arrived there. Which brings me to…

The Truth Behind Conventional Dairy Farms

Have you ever driven through California on I-5 (or many other major freeways that run through the massive state) and noticed the black and white cows that are crammed together on nothing but dirt and shelters? If you’ve never noticed them, you’ve certainly smelled them on a warm day. If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing this lovely reality, allow me to paint the picture for you. You are traveling down the freeway and your air conditioning is running cool and clean. Suddenly this stench whiffs through your air vents and you are practically knocked off your seat. Within minutes you recognize “that smell” as you approach a mass of dark dirt and mud, and cows…hundreds of cows. These cows are always black and white (Holstein is the usual breed) and there are always SO many of them, and absolutely no green grass to graze on or enjoy. As an animal lover, it’s devastating to look upon.

Now, if you think about it, you might start becoming interested in digging a little further. When you start digging, you might learn these cows are treated like milk machines and nothing more, nothing less. They are forced to breed and then their calves are removed from them (also by force) to continue the cycle of producing milk. Infections like mastitis run rampant and therefore antibiotics are widely used (and then yes, ends up in the milk you’re drinking). The only antibiotics that make their way into our bodies are not just from prescriptions.

Nine times out of ten, this is where the milk available on grocery store shelves comes from that you pickup without thinking about week after week, month after month. This is not sustainable for the animals, the environment, the soil, or even your own health. Just a little bit of research outside of this blog post will provide you with the videos and the evidence that backs up what I am sharing with you.

Denaturing a Perfect Food

So these cows are milked, and then what? Milk is bottled up and sent to the store? Nope, sadly there’s a lot more that happens from here (though, thankfully the cows “job” is done at this point). Once the cow is milked, the milk is then sent off to be processed. What do I mean by processed? Well, first it is pasteurized and homogenized. Ever notice those labels on your milk? They’re there, but what do they mean, exactly?

Pasteurization is the process in which raw milk is heated for a period of time to kill “harmful” bacteria. Let’s pause and address the FDA’s concern with raw milk. They claim that “pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, Q fever, and brucellosis.” They refuse to acknowledge the truth about raw milk. Now consider the thousands of Americans that consume raw dairy on a regular basis for years on end and have never experienced these issues. (As I write this, I’m personally pregnant with our third baby and have been consuming raw milk consistently since before and through each of my pregnancies and have stayed perfectly healthy.) Which poses this question: If there’s nothing unsafe about raw milk, why did pasteurization become the norm? The conditions the cows live in are naturally a huge culprit. Can you imagine the possibilities for disease and sanitation, etc. in the previously mentioned conditions? Is it possible that is the issue, not the raw milk itself? My whole-hearted opinion is yes. This causes me to pause and question the FDA’s intentions as a whole as well as the truth about raw milk.

RealMilk.com defends the safety of raw milk perfectly here:

Real milk that has been produced under sanitary and healthy conditions is a safe and healthy food. It is important that the cows are healthy (tested free of TB and undulant fever) and do not have any infections (such as mastitis). The cows should be eating food appropriate to cows, which is mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The milk should be full-fat milk, as many important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat. The cows should be milked under sanitary conditions and the milk chilled down immediately.

Homogenization is a process that breaks down fat molecules in milk so that the cream doesn’t separate from the milk like it does with raw and non-homeginized dairy.

Organic Consumers puts it perfectly:

The nutritional bottom line is that pasteurization and homogenization destroy nutrients and proteins, make healthy fats rancid, and cause free radicals to form in the body. They denature milk by altering its chemical structure.

Yikes. So, if this process destroys nutrients and proteins in milk…what is there to drink? Ah…that explains the synthetic nutrients being added back into the milk after this process is over. Oye…that doesn’t sound great, either. Does it?

What Makes Raw Milk Better

Typically, when you find a source for raw milk, you’re going to come across a small, local dairy that cares deeply about their products and the way they are treating their animals. These farmers usually hold a high education on what their animals are being fed, how they are bred, what breed they are, and how their carbon footprint effects the earth and our livelihood. Most of these farmers even take a huge dip in income a couple of months throughout the year to give their cows a break from milking, as our producer in Northern California did year after year. This is a bummer for those that consume milk regularly, but the benefits far outweigh the disappointment of missing out for a couple of months. Sounds like a much better situation for both cows and our environment, right?

So, does breed matter? Actually, yes! Holstein cows and Jersey cows are the two I am personally most familiar with when it comes to milk and the differences. When I first started learning about the truth about raw milk, I was consuming milk that came from Holstein cows. I had never had anything different, so it tasted fine to me. Holsteins yield a high production, and is why they are the common choice for dairy farmers. However, learning about Jersey milk…oh this was a game changer. The creaminess and sweetness that a Jersey cow milk produces is enough to make you turn your back on their black and white cousins. After switching to Jersey milk, I can’t look back. It’s THAT good. Digging into the benefits of A2/A2 milk is also worth looking into if you care about the specific breed of cow you’re getting milk from.

Probiotic plug: Raw milk has LOADS of natural, GOOD bacterias that help our bodies thrive. This is 100% lacking in conventional dairy because the good bacteria is killed along with any possible bad ones when pasteurization occurs. You can get a lot more information about the “Magic of Raw Milk” on this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

It really is nature’s perfect food…

I almost forgot, raw milk never goes bad, y’all! If you consume store-bought conventional milk past it’s expiration date, it will not only taste terrible, but could make you very, very sick. It becomes completely useless and an absolute waste beyond expiration. Raw milk, however, is much different. It sours, absolutely, but when it sours it isn’t suddenly useless. You can use it in baking and cooking if the taste becomes unsettling, and you can also separate it into whey and curds by leaving it on the counter. What can you do with whey? Ferment just about anything (my personal favorite is homemade mayonnaise)!

How to Source Raw Milk

RealMilk.com is my favorite resource for sourcing raw dairy all over the United States. They have this Real Milk Finder available that allows you to lookup the closest source. In some states, it’s a lot easier to find raw milk because of different laws being passed. In California, you can go to a grocery store like Sprouts or Nugget and find it readily available on the shelf. However, in places like where I am in Texas, it’s only legal to make your purchase directly from the farmer themselves. There are some loopholes in most states. Contact (and get to know) your local farmer to find a source.

If you’re local to me in Houston, Texas area, then there are other awesome resources like Texas Farm to Home that make obtaining raw dairy in our area SUPER easy. We utilize their services regularly, and it’s been so convenient for our family to source not only milk, but also pasture-raised meats as well.

Not Just Milk!

But wait, there’s more! Beloved cheese, oh how I love thee. One of the huge disappointments of “becoming lactose-intolerant” was when I had to struggle with consuming cheese. When we made the switch after learning about the truth about raw milk, it wasn’t long before the switch to primarily raw cheese became imminent and permanent as well. Raw cheese is readily available where I am in grocery stores, but it is so expensive. It was also very expensive in California where we lived as well, so I was very grateful when I discovered that Azure Standard had really great, affordable options in the raw cheese department. (Read more about what Azure Standard is on this blog post where I share a huge order with you and explain more about how it benefits our family monthly.)

The cheese I purchase most often from Azure comes in many size options, of which I always go with the 5lb blocks that come in a two-pack. I usually split this with a local friend (they take one block, I take the other) and I’ve been doing this for years and years now. Sometimes one 5lb block lasts us through one month, other times up to two. It depends on how much our family consumes in any given 1-2 month periods. Yes, it lasts this long and if we had to stretch it out for some reason, it shreds beautifully in a food processor and freezes and thaws like new! I do NOT recommend freezing as a whole block. It becomes very crumbly to slice or attempt to grate after it freezes.

The other flavors we have loved over the years from Sierra Nevada:
Medium Cheddar
Monterey Jack
Jalepeno Jack

If you prefer organic, Sierra Nevada also offers that as well for a bit more cost:Traditional White Cheddar

The Bottom Line

The truth about raw milk is that it’s not something to consider as “gross”, or fear. Knowing your farmer is of upmost importance not just with dairy, but also with meats and more. Raw milk can improve you and your family’s health, while conventional options are doing nothing to benefit your well-being. It’s not “just for feeding baby cows.”

Change can be hard, but sometimes it’s well worth it. Will raw milk be your gateway into natural living like it was mine? I would love to hear about your journey, and answer any further questions this blog post may have provoked. I am all ears!

If you’re just beginning to learn about the truth about raw milk, what questions do you have? Drop them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer your questions!