RI House Committee Hearing for H5820 (Raw Milk)

House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. Photo by Mark Baumer.

My partner, I and a group of raw milk drinkers, including recently turned 2 year old Desmond, were at the Rhode Island State House, this past Wednesday, to support House Bill: 5820 by Representatives Palangio, Handy, Ajello, Costantino and Winfield, Entitled, An Act Relating to Food and Drugs – Raw Milk. This bill would establish procedures and standards promulgated by the milk commission for the handling and sales of raw milk in the state, and was introduced on 2/28/2013 and referred to the House department of Health, Education and Welfare. On 3/12/2013 it was scheduled to be heard on 3/27/2013 at the rise of the house. We were told this would start around 4:30. A bill to require labeling of GMO’s in RI was also scheduled for the same day but was postponed. See EcoRI New’s article on it.

As the co-leaders of the Providence Chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation, Richard and I did our best to get the word out. We have been working with The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund  for tips to get the bill passed. We also started 2 petitions in support of the Raw Milk Bill.



We gathered at the State House with about a dozen other supporters, with excitement, to testify in support of the raw milk bill. We had the unfortunate coincidence of having our bill being heard in the same committee meeting as House Bill 5654. Entitled, An Act Relating to State Affairs and Government – State Emblems. This bill would designate Calamari as the official state appetizer. Read the article from the ProJo here.

As a native Rhode Islander, there is no way I could be against this bill. Its a fun and a wonderful idea. There was also no one opposed to the bill at the hearing. The room was filled with smiling people, cameras, a chef cooking calamari, waitstaff serving calamari to the committee and many supporters signed on to give testimony. Also, its good to note that two employees of the RI Department of Health were present during this.

Wednesday’s hearing at the State House turned into a theatrical show for the media and the committee’s Chairman Rep. Joseph M. McNamara. With more than an hour of repetitive testimony and Rhode Island Style Fried Calamari being served to the committee, half of our raw milk supporters could could wait no longer and had to leave without giving testimony. When the Calamari Bill was over and they had moved on to the Raw Milk Bill, most of the people in the room, along with the media and almost half of the committee left the room and were not present for the raw milk hearing.

The Department of Health were first on the list to give testimony. As expected, the DOH was completely opposed to the raw milk bill.  See their testimony here. https://www.dropbox.com/s/rozlw0h1ople6i5/03.29.13rawMilkFDA.MOV (Thank you Mark Baumer for taking and sharing the video)

We had five people give testimony in favor of legalizing raw milk. First, a woman with Crohn’s disease who told her wonderful story of using raw milk as an addition to her medicines to treat her Crohn’s symptoms. Then, my partner, Richard, who made it clear that this is a progressive rights issue (the right to choose) and addressed some of the DOH’s claims that raw milk has no benefits. Next, a man with a family history of dairy farming and then a very active member of the local food community gave his testimony of wanting to have access to raw milk, as his family in New Hampshire and Maine are able to. I am very proud of the brave farmer who got up in front of the committee and gave her testimony and showed a photo of her beautiful pet cow, Lily, from whom they get 2 gallons of milk per day.

After our testimonies, the committee continued with the other bills on the agenda, and we were met in the hallway by Representative Palangio and  Representive Tansi, who thought it went really well and are big supporters of the bill. We shared smiles and cups of raw milk with the Representatives and the supporters, celebrating our hard word.

I checked the next morning and found that the Committee recommended measure be held for further study. However, looking up the decision of the Calamari bill, that bill was also held for further study. I will continue to look up the status of Bill 5820 (Raw Milk) and will be at the next hearing(s) for the House and Senate.

Thank you all for your support and hard work for the ability to have access to clean, raw milk. If you are new to raw (real) milk please see RealMilk.com and learn about the benefits of drinking clean, raw milk from pastured cows.

Cultured Dairy Benefits and Recipe

Cultured or fermented dairy plays a large role in my diet and my kitchen. We try to ingest at least one cup of cultured raw dairy per day. This can be done in many forms. Yogurt, cheese, clabber, curds, whey, kefir, creme fraiche and so on.

Earlier in the year I wrote a post about raw milk and many of its benefits. Now I would like to expand that with the cultured dairy. There are great benefits to consuming cultured dairy. The fermentation process breaks down casein (milk protein) which can be difficult for some people to digest. It also helps the body absorbs calcium and other minerals. Vitamins B and C increase during fermentation and are easily absorbed by the body. In addition, these products provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid to the digestive tract to keep pathogens at bay and aid in digestion of all other foods consumed.

Culturing will also restore many of the enzymes destroyed by pasteurization (not ultra pasteurization). So, you can make your own cultured dairy products, even without access to raw milk. Of course there will be more benefits to raw milk from grassfed cows, goats, sheep, etc.

Fermentation is an art and recipes may require tweaking for your environment. Have some patience with yourself when trying new recipes. And remember…practice makes perfect. So if you botch a batch…don’t worry…just try again another day.

I suggest yogurt making as a first step.

Raw Milk Yogurt

1 quart raw whole milk, nonhomogenized
1/2 cup good quality plain yogurt or 1/2 cup yogurt from previous batch

Place milk in double boiler and heat to 110 degrees. I will sometimes put the milk in a mason jar in the dehydrator on 110 for about an hour to heat the milk up to temperature. In a mason jar or mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup warm milk with 1 tablespoon yogurt. Continue adding another 1/2 cup milk and 1 tablespoon yogurt and mix until warm milk and previous batch yogurt are mixed. Pour into mason jar and cover tightly. Place jar in dehydrator set at 100 degrees for 8-12 hours. Transfer to the fridge. This will make a thin raw milk yogurt.
You may also drain the clear liquid (whey) off for a slightly thicker yogurt. Remember to keep it and use to Lacto-ferment vegetables.

For a thicker yogurt try…


1 quart pasteurized whole milk, not ultra pastuerized
1/2 cup good quality plain yogurt or 1/2 cup yogurt from previous batch

Place milk in double boiler and heat to 180 degrees. Let it cool to 110 degrees. Stir in yogurt and pour in a mason jar. Place jar in dehydrator set at 110 degrees or in an oven with a pilot light on or that was preheated then turned off for 8-12 hours. Remove and transfer to refrigerator.

You may also drain the clear liquid (whey) off for an even thicker Greek style yogurt. Make sure to keep the whey to use for Lacto-fermenting vegetables or to use in smoothies for extra probiotics!

Hearty Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is one of my favorite soups! It is full of goodness with raw dairy and homemade chicken stock. It freezes pretty good too.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 quart homemade chicken stock
2 large bunches of broccoli
2 tablespoons pasture butter
1 medium yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, mashed
2 carrots, shredded
4-8 ounces raw cheddar (depending on how cheesy you want it to be)
Sea salt and black pepper

Cut the stalks off the broccoli and set aside the florets for later use. Bring chicken stock to a soft boil. Chop stalks into small pieces and add to stock. Simmer until broccoli stalks are cooked. Remove from heat and let cool. Process in a blender or with handheld blender until smooth.
Chop onion and garlic finely and let sit for ten minutes. Sauté in butter until translucent. Add shredded carrots and broccoli heads and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add to the stock mixture and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat.
Finely grate cheese and slowly whisk into soup mixture. Add salt and pepper to season.
I also add about 1 tablespoon of good quality (no fillers) sour cream or creme fraise into the bowl when served.

Not cooking the dairy allows the cultures to remain alive and do their work in your belly.


Living Cultures are Necessary

Daily showers, hand sanitizer and keeping clean are a big part of this society. I enjoy being clean. It offers the benefits of a small risk of food contamination. By keeping clean we are not ingesting the bacteria that keep us healthy and able to fight off illnesses and disease. So…we must eat them!

Fermentation is the best way to prepare foods with the proper bacteria. My first experience with this was at 14 years old. In culinary and baking class (vocational high school) we made sourdough bread. Wow!! What a wonderful feeling it was. Watching a simple mixture of flour and water turn into a bubbling and ALIVE bowl of sourdough starter over a few days amazed me. I didn’t know at the time, but it was full of the nutritious Lactobacilli bacteria and numerous enzymes to aide in my nourishment and digestion of the foods I eat.

My next experience with fermentation is yogurt. Another one with the healthy bacteria Lactobacilli. Vegetables, krauts, miso, meads and cheese are other examples of fermented foods that will aide in anyone’s digestion. Fermented foods are a condiment or side dish. They are not meant to be eaten in large quantities. If you have a stomach problem, I suggest a small amount with at least one meal every day to build up the healthy bacteria in your gut. Having the necessary bacteria in your gut will help protect your stomach and also work to process sugars and grains properly.

I have been eating a fermented food with every meal. Homemade raw whole milk yogurt in my morning smoothie, a pickle or sauerkraut with lunch, and sourdough and cheese with dinner. I try to mix it up as much as possible to not get bored. Its been about 4 months that I have been consistently eating fermented foods and my gut feels so much better. I am able to digest my foods well and my entire gastrointestinal system is feeling almost like new. A few more months and I bet I’ll have a like-new gut!!!

Start your day with a nutrition filled smoothie!

Morning Smoothie
3/4 cup grass fed whole milk yogurt
1 organic banana
1/2 cup fresh organic fruit
1/4 cup frozen organic berries
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon bee pollen
1/2 teaspoon fermented cod liver oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
A few drops of bitters
1/4 cup organic pomegranate juice
1 raw pasture raised egg

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Information credits:
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
The Weston A Price Foundation

The raw milk debate

It’s been a wonderful week! Not because of the holidays, gifts or seeing friends and family. It is because I have been consuming raw milk. Exactly the way it is when it comes out of the cow. Its a beautiful farm in Foxboro, MA where the cows graze on green grass during the nice months and locally grown hay during the months when green grass is not available.

There seems to be a large portion of people who say they are lactose-intolerant. If you do, give cultured milks a chance. Lactobacilli, also known as probiotics, improve intestinal cultural ecology. Helping digest and absorb the nutrition in milk. Regular consumption will help lower cholesterol and protect against bone loss. Beneficial bacteria and lactic acid protect against infectious illness and disease, and aid in the digestion of all we eat. Especially grains, which are soaked in whey for many hours before cooking.

Milk and cultured milk products are generally consumed by people around the world at every meal. Without pasteurization or refrigeration, milk will sour and separate. This is because the bacteria begin breaking down the milk sugar (lactose) and milk protein (casein) to produce enough lactic acid to inactivate putrefying bacteria. This protects it from spoilage. Casein is the most difficult protein to digest.

In the west, we know of yogurt, buttermilk and sour cream (creme fraiche) to add to our meals for flavor, texture and the health benefits. traditional societies insist on giving the sick, aged and nursing mothers lacto-fermented milk products, beverages and vegetables. Also both vitamin B and C increase during fermentation.

When dairy products have been pasteurized or heated in ways that destroy enzyme activity, have significant levels of enzymes that contribute to the difficult digestion of lactose in the intestine. When milk processors make low fat milk, they remove the fat, pasteurize and then add unnatural vitamins to “help” us, supress odr and restore tastw. This process makes milk very difficult to digest and does provide any nourishment. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added and is toxic and linked to heart disease. Homogenization has also been linked to heart disease. Cheeses made from raw milk contain a full complement of enzymes and are more easily digested than cheeses made from pasteurized milk. Processed cheeses with emulsifiers, extenders, phosphates and hydrogenated oils should be strictly avoided. Milk found in the supermarket come from cows that have been genetically engineered to produce more milk. Which is present in the milk as high levels of bovine growth hormones. Which can result in growth abnormalities. Another issue with dairy methods today is the feeding of high protein soybean meal to the cows. Little has been researched on what problems this may cause. Other forms of soy have been found to be very damaging to the human body. Properly fed cows (green grass) are rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), vitamins and minerals.

We were taught that the pasteurization is beneficial to protect ourselves against infectious diseases. Stainless steel tanks, milking machines, efficient packaging and distributing, make pasteurization completely unnecessary for sanitation purposes. In recent decades, all outbreaks of salmonella have been in pasteurized milk. Raw milk contains lactic-acid producing bacteria that help protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms. Heat will also alter the amino acids, making the proteins less available and the deconstruction of vitamins. B12 is completely destroyed, which is needed for healthy blood and nervous systems. Calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur availability is reduced from pasteurization. The test for successful pasteurization is the absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all body building factors, like calcium. Osteoporosis may be a cause of drinking pasteurized milk. Over time, raw milk will sour and still be edible. Where as pasteurized milk will putrefy. Lipase, in raw milk, helps digest and utilize butterfat, helping with weight loss.
It is extremely difficult to purchase raw milk in the United States. It is federally illegal and only available from a few farms around the country.

If you can not find good quality raw milk from pastures cows, limit your milk consumption to cultured milk, buttermilk, whole milk yogurt, butter and raw cheeses.
Check out www.realmilk.com for a list of raw milk and milk products from pasture-fed animals.