We found a local farm selling raw milk for 55p a pint and started a little milk buying co-op that meant we only had to drive over there once a month to receive fresh milk every week.
It was all going well until we found out that the farm wasn't organic.
I asked around online and most of my GAPS adhering friends tell me that raw is more important than organic. By this time the co-op had fallen apart though, so now I will have to go back to driving to the farm every week, and I found out that Abel & Cole (who deliver all our meat, fruit and veggies) could deliver me organic, unhomogenised milk for a reasonable price.
Homogenization is the process that breaks down the fat particles in the milk and allows them to be distributed evenly so that you don't get all the cream floating on the top. Basically the milk is forced through really tiny holes that the fat globules have no way of getting through whole, so they break down. At one point this was thought to be the leading cause of arterio- and athero-sclerosis (heart disease) although this is now uncertain. What is known though, is that when the globules reform they contain tri-glycerides and the proteins casein and whey.
The problem is that once these proteins are encapsulated in the fact globules they become difficult to break down in the gut and can pass into the blood stream only partially digested (this is the same principle behind why liposomal vitamin C is so much better for cancer patients than ordinary vitamin C). Autistic children have problems processing these partially broken down proteins and create casomorphin (that's right, how it sounds, it's an opiate) which causes them to behave 'autistically'. It's like small doses of heroin. You can read more about it all here.
So, realising that we could buy organic, unhomogenised, milk and get it delivered to my front door, I went against all advice and decided to do that instead of raw.
For about a week or so things were going okay. The kids seemed a little tired, but it's the summer holidays and we've been doing lots of visiting and activities. I feel exhausted, but that's the summer for you. William started to get a little more whiney, but that could just be a phase.
Then he started complaining about noise levels again, and losing his temper quickly. Not only quickly, but finding it hard to calm down even if you rectify whatever the problem was. Don't get me wrong, it's still not where we were in february, but a definite decline in the last few weeks.
Not only that but within two weeks I started getting hay fever and noticing peoples pets more quickly. Interestingly I hadn't noticed that I had managed without any hay fever this year until mid-august when it came on with avengence. My asthma has been worse too, and Elisha's chest got very wheezy at one point on holiday too. I feel phlegmy and and my throat is cloggy. It affects my singing.
I didn't notice any of these things getting better when we switched, but looking back I guess there has been some significant health benefits to raw milk, even if it isn't organic.
So we're going to make the switch again, even if it means driving to the farm every week.
And one day, when my kids drink less milk, maybe we'll be able to afford to go organic and raw.