Raw milk is a bit of a controversial topic. In fact, in Canada, it is completely banned from being sold to the public. All milk in Canada must be deposited into a centrally controlled “pool” and pasteurized before it is allowed to be sold. Raw milk is considered dangerous and un-fit for general consumption.
So why would you want to drink raw milk?
The idea of drinking raw milk entered my awareness after going to the dentist a few months ago. Those events aren’t actually directly connected – don’t think for a second that my dentist made any dietary recommendations for healing my teeth – Oh nooo! (sarcasm!) The only things he recommended was to use a high-fluoride toothpaste, and awful electric toothbrush with skull-penetrating vibration that made me feel like I was going to the dentist to get my teeth drilled every single day…but more on the follies of mainstream dentistry another time!
Long story short, I found out that my dental health was not as pristine as I would have expected, considering I was brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and using mouthwash. I was also eating a generally Paleo diet very low in sugar and processed foods. So you would think I would have the healthiest teeth ever!
WRONG – I had some major issues including gingivitis, deep gum pockets and several impending cavities. I was actually pretty traumatized by the dire prognosis on my teeth.
And what does dental health have to do with raw milk?
Well, in typical ME style I was determined to reject the standard-issue dental diagnosis of “Come back in a month after using this high-chemical mouthwash, then we will fill one half of your cavities and put preventive resin on most of the rest of your teeth, then a month later we will fill some more cavities, then soon after that we should probably put a crown on that tooth…” etc etc etc. I was basically destined to constant HIGHLY unpleasant visits to the dentist, plus having to deal with a steady stream of insurance submittals, not to mention from then on having a mouth full of half-fake teeth…
I set out to do some SERIOUS research, and stumbled upon the Weston A Price Foundation and the book Cure Tooth Decay. This line of thinking embraces nutrient-dense foods with high levels of fat-soluble nutrients in line with the diet of our not-too-long-ago farming ancestors, and remote societies all over the world that still eat this way. Those societies display incredible resistance to tooth decay, plus they have the most gorgeous white teeth that fit into perfectly formed jaws and symmetrical faces.
One of the mainstays of these nutrient-dense foods is raw, grass fed dairy. Cows who are free to roam on pastured lands and eat green grass provide beautiful healthy milk free of toxins and high in super-nourishing vitamins that help us keep strong bones and teeth. Check out this link for all the reasons why raw milk is extremely beneficial.
Ok, so how do I get some if it’s illegal in Canada?
So after I did all that reading I was determined to get my hands on this raw milk that would heal my poor teeth and save me forever from the torture of the dentist’s chair. But how was that going to happen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where raw milk is entirely illegal to sell, and where years of lobbying has barely influenced the law whatsoever?
I did A LOT of Googling, and found basically nothing (other than lots of advice to drive across the border and bring lots of grass fed products back; apparently it’s legal to do so for personal consumption). Finally I discovered the possiblity of a raw milk cowshare. Check out this website for raw milk cowshares in your area: Real Milk Finder.
These awesome farmers help people in their communities get access to the wonderful fresh products they produce through organizations like cowshares and co-ops. I buy milk, butter, cheese and kefir as well as 100% grass fed free range beef through a farm in west-central Ontario. Will and I actually bought a 1/4 share of a healthy, silky-coated shiny-eyed dairy cow that provides us with 25 L worth of dairy per week. A lovely warm-hearted guy who runs a co-op then brings the products into downtown Toronto once a week for convenient pick-up.
This is a loop-hole around the anti-raw-milk law: if you technically own a cow – or in our case, part of a cow – you can consume the products in whatever state you wish. We bought a share that is valid for the length of the cow’s life, about 6 years. This is easy to do by contacting the people on the Real Milk site in good faith.
It’s pretty sweet to have a part in such a grass-roots movement and to be able to imagine our happy little cow prancing in a green field somewhere not too far away, even though we are stuck here on the 25th floor above the dull roar of the Gardiner Expressway.
What is raw milk like?
The products are really affordable, plus they come in re-useable containers like glass jars. The milk is slightly creamy and deliciously flavourful. I had never tried raw milk before paying $500 for a cowshare (kind of risky I guess!) but it’s seriously delicious, and my stomach loves it. Despite not having a great time with commercial dairy products like ice cream.
We’ve been drinking the milk and kefir, and eating heaps of grass fed butter for about 2 months now, and seriously, my teeth have stopped hurting. I plan on going back to the dentist for an x-ray in about year’s time to compare to the x-rays I got a few months ago, and I’m betting the cavities I had developing will have halted, or maybe even disappeared.
Anyway, that’s about all I have to share at the moment, but feel free to comment below or get in touch if you have questions! I am ultra passionate about sharing knowledge and information on how to get your hands on quality local food.