I Want My Milk! And I want to move back to the South, but what will happen to my freedom?

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Okay, I realize
that saying "I want my milk" is an odd thing for a nursing
mother of three children under five to be saying. Let me rephrase
it: I want my raw cow's milk! Now there are some who will
say that I shouldn't be drinking milk at all, the non-dairy folks.
They have some good reasons for this stance and I respect them.
Unfortunately, for their cause anyway, I had way too many bowls
of milk-laden cereal growing up to agree with them.

My husband
and I have decided to become healthier this year. Okay, really I
have decided that we would become healthier. You guys should
know that when you marry us, we will make you healthier. I believe
that's really why guys who don't ever get married stay bachelors – they
don't want some woman telling them what to eat. Fortunately for
me, my husband was totally ignorant of this women's ploy.

And so he's
stuck. He's had a physical and lost twenty pounds as a result of
the doctor's advice. He's heard me complain when he orders a hot
dog – see what you bachelors are missing?!? And he's started to drink
raw cow's milk. For the uninitiated, that means the milk is not
pasteurized or homogenized.

Neither one
of us is going to stop drinking milk any time soon. My husband can
probably blame his milk drinking habit on cereal as well, but he
drinks much more than I do. And he drinks it from a glass, not just
with cereal or in tea. And then there are our two older boys, with
the third soon to begin drinking cow's milk, following in their
daddy's footsteps already.

If there's
one thing about breastfeeding moms that you should know, it's that
for the most part we really care about what goes into our body.
We have to. Breastfeeding moms often study such stuff and we make
our long-suffering husbands and children go along with us. And here's
the thing – we're often right.

Studying up
on things has hardly been easier than with the Internet. I learned
a lot when I was busy obtaining three academic degrees, but I didn't
learn the important stuff. I didn't learn that raw milk, when produced
in a clean dairy, is much healthier than the pasteurized stuff.
There are people who would argue with me. And if you're not sure
where your milk is coming from, then it might be a good idea to
go with the stuff that's been heated so much that all the bad stuff
is mostly gone. When I first heard about pasteurization as a child,
I thought it had to do with pastures. The problem with pasteurization,
named after famed Frenchman Louis Pasteur, is that all the good
stuff is gone as well. So-called "raw milk" gives you
everything, the good with the bad, or the not-so-bad if the dairy's
clean.

The astute
reader at this point will wonder how all this is connected to the
South, for which I am growing more homesick every day. The other
night my four-year-old said, "I'm not from North Carolina,
mommy, you are." Okay, I must admit that he's right
about that, technically anyway. Never mind that his maternal grandparents
are alive and well in North Carolina and his mom was raised there.
His father's mother is from Nebraska, nowhere near the South. His
paternal grandpa is from Memphis; my children are three-quarters
Southern.

And technically,
yes, he and his two younger brothers were born and bred, and if
you want to be nosy, even conceived in California. And so even though
my firstborn seems to love North Carolina barbeque – Eastern North
Carolina barbeque if you want to be picky – I must tell you that he
is indeed correct: Mommy is from North Carolina, but he is not.
Yet.

And then, even
more recently, we were looking at a map of the United States and
I was showing my four-year-old where the South is and telling him
that's where he's from. Okay, so I exaggerated a bit. And like any
good four-year-old, he caught me: "No, mom, I'm from your tummy
and Cedars-Sinai," referring to the Los Angeles hospital where
I gave birth to him. My tummy, and the rest of me, is from North
Carolina, but Cedars-Sinai is not.

Much as we
love our currently rising property values in Southern California,
my husband and I know that the booming real estate market's not
going to last forever. Anyway, we miss the barbeque. That I can
say for both of us. And even though the barbeque, and the sweet
tea and grits that I miss immensely, have little to do with our
burgeoning good health, we miss the South.

And what does
all that have to do with raw milk? I thought that moving from state
to state would have little to do with raw milk, actually. In fact,
I believed that raw milk, with its scrumptious cream on the top,
would be one comforting thing wherever our abode. I assumed nationwide
access to raw milk until I went to Florida this past summer. Shopping
at the Wild Oats Market, the Miami equivalent of Whole Foods, I
didn't see a bit of raw milk on the milk shelf. Never fear, my husband
said, they sometimes put the raw milk in a separate part of the
refrigerated section. Sometimes. At least in California. Raw milk
can easily be found in California, until it sells out, which is
usually the same day it's placed on the shelf.

When I inquired
about the raw milk, or lack thereof, in Florida, I was told that
it was illegal to sell it in the grocery store, that some, perhaps,
could be bought from a dairy, but not from a grocery store. Needless
to say, I was puzzled. It wasn't, after all, marijuana, which also
shouldn't be illegal, but is. A mom of three has little time to
worry about marijuana laws, as she once did, but the cow's milk
thing – well, that's something to think about.

Having said
that about marijuana, I must admit that maybe the two aren't that
dissimilar. Milk and marijuana, after all, other than the super
obvious – beginning with the same middle-alphabet letter – are natural
products. You can't say that about, say, Paxil. But it's evidently
a lot easier to obtain unnatural Paxil in North Carolina than it
is to buy natural raw milk.

Ironically,
as part of the La Leche League of North Carolina's 2005 Annual Breastfeeding
and Parenting Conference at which I was performing recently, I attended
a seminar on nutrition. The seminar leader talked about Westin
Price
and his research into diet and one thing that came up
was the importance of drinking raw milk. When I looked in the North
Carolina Whole Foods, however, I saw no raw milk. This time, I was
afraid to ask.

When I returned
to California, I
looked it up on the Internet.
Sure enough, my fears were confirmed
and I learned that North Carolina is a state in which it is illegal
to sell raw milk, even from a farm. Silly, isn't it? Should Our
Masters tell us what we can and cannot buy in the grocery store?

After all the
government-sponsored supposed drug education programs, a mom feels
as though she must say she's against illegal drugs, even
the natural ones, even if she thinks that the government has no
business regulating foliage. But milk? People have been drinking
raw cow's milk for hundreds of years. The trouble with regulating
what we buy and sell is that once Our Masters begin to control these
things, they really forget how to stop. And slowly, but surely,
we forget the freedoms that we once held sacred.

I want my raw
cow's milk. And I want my North Carolina barbeque. And in a free
country, such as the United States supposedly is, I should be able
to have both, no matter what state I claim as my own. I am not advocating
here a Constitutional Amendment that says each state must allow
freedom in milk; the last thing we need is another commandment from
Leviathan. I'm just wondering how we've gotten ourselves to the
point where we allow the government to decide what we can and cannot
place in our body. And what else will we allow Leviathan to do to
take away our freedom to choose?

North
Carolina barbeque tastes good, and there's no substitute for it
that I've found in Southern California. But it's not illegal for
any California cook to try and outfox any North Carolina cook. The
fact that it hasn't been done pays a real tribute to the power of
good pulled pork barbecue and to the people in North Carolina who
cook it. Do North Carolina's cows and the people who drink their
milk deserve any less? I love the taste of North Carolina barbecue,
but right now, the freedom to choose my raw cow's milk tastes even
better.

November
14, 2005

North
Carolina State University graduate Tricia Shore [send
her mail
] is happy with her momly life. Discuss this article
at http://www.livejournal.com/users/comic_mom/.

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