Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
I apologize in advance for ruining your lunch or latte or whatever dairy confection you are enjoying. No, I’m not going to go into gruesome detail PETA style about how your milk is produced, although there may be a few nuggets of information you would prefer not to know. Actually, the purpose of this blog is to encourage you to question your food-related assumptions and beliefs. I mean, it would be great if you eat less conventional dairy (dairy coming from mass-production factories which are not pretty places), or alternatively it would be nice if you at least gave thanks to the cows that suffered in order to bring you that dairy. Ok, Ok…I’m going to move away from the PETA style (It’s so tempting though!).
I would like to ask you a question: If you were offered a cup full of refreshingly cold breast milk, would you drink it? Sorry, did I disgust you? Sorry you’re so sensitive. I assume that if you wouldn’t have the breast milk, you wouldn’t dream of drinking cow’s milk, right? I mean, I get not wanting to drink bodily secretions. I just don’t understand why the thought of an adult drinking breast milk gets people up-in-arms, while choosing not to drink cow’s milk gets people worked up as well. They are both bodily fluids intended for that mother’s babies. Considering that we are not cows, breast milk is actually better suited to our systems than cow’s milk! Additionally, conventional dairy farms are not pretty or clean places. There is a reason that most milk is pasteurized. It is out of necessity because dairy cows are not living in clean conditions. That brings me to raw milk. Would you drink that? What if I told you that the raw milk was from a small local farmer whose dairy cows were well-cared for and weren’t wallowing in their waste like conventional dairy cows? What if I told you that some raw milk has lower bacterial counts than pasteurized milk?
For some reason, our beliefs about food are very strong. Perhaps because food is so intimately connected with our health and well-being and serves as a reflection of the culture we live in. Whatever the reason, I encourage you to question your strong-held beliefs. Are they rooted in facts and careful consideration, or are they backed by irrational fears or not wanting to know too much about where our food comes from?
Now…let’s all petition Ben and Jerry’s to make breast milk ice cream!