When I was 11, my mom first brought home raw milk. A little background, my mom is cooky. She's an 18th century English peasant living in a modern world.

She grinds her own wheat, bakes her own bread, churns her own butter, concocts her own deodorant. She keeps our freezer stocked with at least 5-7 frozen chickens (heads, feet, everything) at all times. She refuses to eat at most restaurants, and if she must go out to eat, she's been known to bring her own salad in her purse. 

Now, you might be thinking, "What is raw milk?" and, if so, here's a brief history lesson. People used to raise cows and then sell the cows' milk. Well, in the 1800's people started getting sick from drinking the milk they had become accustomed to drinking. What happened? Experts investigated the problem and found that dangerous microorganisms lived in the milk people were drinking.

So, they implemented a full proof solution: pasteurization. Pasteurization included heating the milk to a high enough temperature to kill the harmful microorganisms. Except that many people argue that the pasteurization process also burned off a lot of the nutritional value in milk. There's a reason why calves drink their mother's milk straight from the utter. Herein lies the raw milk controversy.

milk, dairy product, cream, lard, dairy, yogurt
Margaret Ann Riley

At age 11, all I wanted was for my mom to be normal. I wanted  Pop-Tarts, Lucky Charms and Doritos. NOT raw milk. When my mom walked in with gallon jugs of this stuff I ran the other way. Why was the cream on top so thick and yellowish? Weren't there laws about pasteurizing milk? It didn't help that the label read "Not for Human Consumption."

milk, cream, yogurt, dairy
Margaret Ann Riley

Despite my family's resistance towards the milk, my mom praised it. It could do no wrong. She made raw milk ice cream. She rubbed the cream on her skin. She fed it to our dog.  

chocolate, coffee, milk
Margaret Ann Riley

She preached that whole raw milk from grass-fed cows nourished the body and the brain. That the cream on top was healthy fat our bodies needed. At first, I turned my nose up at her spiel. I knew she was crazy.

pizza, cake, tea, beer
Margaret Ann Riley

But as time wore on, I begrudgingly drank it, dramatically gagging after each sip. After my obstinance faded, I soon came to realize I enjoyed the milk. It was naturally sweet and rich, but it didn't leave me feeling heavy. My bones felt stronger, and my mind felt sharper. What was happening to me? Could my mom possibly be right? 

For years now raw milk has been part of my diet. My immune system is strong, and I have tons of energy. My dogs still drink the milk every night, and one of them is now 16-years-old (we attribute it to the milk). I have no reason to return to store-bought pasteurized milk.

I still think my mom is wonderfully crazy. That's not up for debate. But the crazy woman has a point. I'm a believer of raw milk.