Raw Dairy Revisited

Anala (ah-NAH-la) Goat Company is the product of Teg Gregory and Shelby Brown.  Teg and Shelby met at a ‘Spill-Your-Guts’ workshop in December of 1993, and were soon life partners. Anala is the name of Shelby’s beloved childhood nanny, Anala Hebert. Mommy Nell is a loving, strong and wonderful woman, a native of Abbeville, Louisiana — heart of Cajun country.  She is also the best cook under the sun.  Rumor has it that Shelby spoke with a French accent when she was a baby, and her favorite dish is still Gumbo!  Mommy Nell retired back to Abbeville, a grand lady at the age of 96, playing bingo and making jambalaya.  We love her very much!

       The Travis clan in 1870 homesteaded in Follett just as the original “Dancing with Wolves” was playing out. At various times Coronado, George Armstrong Custer, Kit Carson, Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill Cody and over 100,000 Texas Longhorn cattle  cut across the family’s front lawn. Nestled in the armpit of the Oklahoma Panhandle in the extreme northeast corner of the state, is Follett, Texas, 50 miles closer to Canada than Mexico.

And if you head back that direction, you’ll find a whole lot of nothing all the way to Canada.

       The community started out as Ivanhoe, Oklahoma, wised up and moved to Texas to catch the railroad. The town elders sucked-up to the special interests and named the town Follett after some railroad supervisor. That 1919 global repositioning put Follett at ground zero for the 1937 Dustbowl. The Travis family had their bags packed for Idaho when the rains came. The demise of ‘steam’ in 1956 eliminated employment by the railroads and brought an economic drought until the Arab oil embargo created exploration activity. Recently fame visited upon the area as the location for the last 10 minutes of Tom Hanks’ movie “The Castaway”. The film’s director needed a highway intersection in the middle of nowhere.

The Travis family homested before our goats ate the bottom six feet of fir tree windbreak

       Shelby Ann Brown encountered the ‘grass’ ceiling in her childhood visits to her grandparents’ – George and Leola Travis – farm, six miles east of town on the Oklahoma-Texas line. Grandpa Travis thought Shelby should stay in the house and bake cookies like Hillary would some day not do.

Shelby’s mom Trixie, the best mother-in-law anyone could have, organized the Travis family reunions e.g. this one in Salado, TX. Boerne, TX, Poteau, OK, Monterey, CA, and Orange, TX are present .
Great Uncle Don Travis, at 80 something, has had to change his ways. No smoking or dipping – he even steps outside to cuss.

       When Shelby heard that her mother and siblings were about to let Century 21 sell her 130 year ancestral heritage to just anyone, she stepped up to the prairie, sold her home in Houston, quit her job and moved her family to the Texas Panhandle.

I traded in my new home sales counselor faded armani for bib overalls and welder cap.

       Days after arriving Shelby chose the Cortez model over Coronado, “burning her boats” by taking out a PCA loan to purchase four bred nannies from the nearest Boer Goat dealer, Troy Powell’s “Little League Ranch”, four and one-half hours away in Benjamin, Texas.

       Where the buffalo had roamed. Where half of the nation’s hogs and cattle are bred, fed and bled, Shelby Brown, livestock farmer wannabee was now going to populate the landscape of her ancestors with full blood Black Boer goats.

Shelby, raised in northern California, liked Mother Jones and when the Black Boer goat failed to generate less than $500 each year for two years running, Shelby packed up her CPA Systems analyst skill set and moved us back to Houston.

Goat milk is the milk of choice in many parts of the world. At Anala Goat Company near Houston , Texas, Shelby Brown and husband Teg Gregory believe raw goat’s milk is such a sustaining food that it can help people of all ages gain weight, lose weight, or just get healthy. Since raw food products are typically not legal to distribute, customers who learn of the nutritional benefits of drinking goat milk often have to buy direct from the farm.

Direct to consumer on-farm sales are legal, so long as producer/seller has a state permit and otherwise complies with state requirements for Grade A raw milk for retail sale.

Brown and Gregory, and the majority of their customers, glean information about the benefits of drinking unpasteurized milk in general and specifically raw goat’s milk from Sally Fallon’s Weston Price Foundation. According to Brown, the foundation’s website (www.realmilk.com) calls for a “return to humane, non-toxic, pasture-based dairying and small-scale traditional processing” because of the tremendous benefits to the human digestion system.

For humans, raw goat’s milk is extremely digestible and is easier for people with milk intolerances to digest. This is due to the molecular composition, which for goat milk is one-fifth that of cow milk. Goat milk is digested and assimilated into the bloodstream in 20 minutes, compared to one to two hours for cow milk. Brown and Gregory witnessed the real life benefits of goat’s milk for humans in terms of necessary weight gain in a friend’s baby boy, Cullen.

At our peak we had 12 birth & forever mothers visiting our farm. Linda Richard’s group of five would put the raw goat milk in 8 ounce zip-lock baggies in their freezers. Do you think we were nervous – God forbid if?

Although never a hearty eater, Cullen’s dietetic problems began in earnest when his mom’s milk supply dwindled to nothing when he was six months old.  Refusing almost all foods, juices, additives, or supplements, Cullen’s health and disposition deteriorated so that, over the next six months, he gained only four ounces!  His pediatrician declared Cullen severely malnourished and was ready to hospitalize and feed him with a feeding tube.  That was when his mother decided to try goat’s milk and called Brown and Gregory.  It only took a couple gallons from the does at Anala Goat Company and Cullen’s appetite kicked in with gusto. During his first week on a goat milk diet, Cullen gained over one pound.  Soon, he was sporting a pair of traditional chubby baby fat arms, and a big smile!

Rubin’s powdered ‘Goatein’ was akin to powdered milk not even close to the real thing liquid raw goat milk which freezes well. Cow milk gets clumpy due to its bigger molecular structure.

Brown and Gregory believe adults can also use goat’s milk to gain weight, quoting an example in Jordan S. Rubin’s book, “Patient Heal Thyself”.

“His book chronicles his recovery from Crohn’s disease chiefly by drinking copious quantities of unpasteurized goat’s milk,” Brown said. “His number one selling protein supplement is a $40 bottle of dehydrated goat’s milk he calls ”Goatein”.

Organic Pastures has led the fight to make retail sales of raw dairy available in all fifty states as it is in California.

Brown said that Rubin’s writings advocate cultured raw dairy products like cheese, butter and kefir to aid the body in digestion and nutrient absorption.

“It’s not what you eat, but what you assimilate,” she said, quoting Rubin.

Ironically, the same goat milk that can help some gain weight necessary for health, can also help those overweight lose extra pounds. For Teg Gregory, the light in his head went on when he saw a magazine cover in the check out line at Wal-Mart.

Pasteurization cooks the life out of both the enzyme and its substrate, calcium loses its vitamin ‘D’ buddy and can no longer enter the bloodstream.

“The headline said, ‘Stop Carb Cravings: Consume the one nutrient that acts like a diet pill’,” said Gregory. “That nutrient is calcium, and it is more important than the 19 other minerals combined. Calcium stimulates the gall bladder to secrete bile and the pancreas to make digestive enzymes. The article suggested taking 600mgs of calcium supplements twice each day. Did you know there are 300 mgs of calcium in 8 ounces of goat’s milk?”

It is a popular and accepted viewpoint (by even Dr. Atkins and his Atkins diet) that drinking milk makes a person fat, but Brown and Gregory are convinced that it is drinking the heat-treated enzymes in pasteurized milk that makes one fat.

“Pasteurization got us started on the slippery slope to denaturing our foods,” Brown said.  “Homogenizing cow’s milk in 1932 for cosmetic reasons further confused the natural digestive system. However, the current degenerative disease epidemic began with the fast foods industry’s invention of the hydrogenated, oil-soaked French fried potato. Americans have become addicted to Trans fatty acids, high carb content, processed foods. The bulk of our health care dollars go towards fixing what we broke with our lousy eating habits. The typical American diet is 90% manufactured or processed foods.”

Brown and Gregory said that getting healthy, whether by gaining or losing weight, should be the public’s number one reason for drinking goat milk and consuming raw dairy products.

“Gandhi survived his fasts on raw goat milk, which contains 170 calories in an 8 ounce glass,” Brown said. “Teg went on the Gandhi diet for a week, found it impossible to consume more than 1000 calories a day and lost 11 pounds.”

Brown, Gregory, who teach cooking, and health related classes to customers, recently led a session on how to make Kefir from goat milk. “Kefir is a 5,000-year-old nourishing drink with a consistency somewhat like yogurt,” Brown said. “It is typically made by culturing the kefir grain in raw goat’s milk. Making kefir from raw goat’s milk is fast and easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. The live kefir beverage is better than pasteurized milk because it establishes coral-like digestive enzyme

colonies in the body. Those who are lactose intolerant can use it. One glass of kefir a day “super-sizes” the good bacteria and yeasts in the human digestive system to relieve intestinal disorders create a healthier digestive system and contribute to a healthier immune system.”

Showing others how to make Kefir and related products, like Kefir beverages, Kefir cream cheese, and Kefir waffles, has become economically beneficial for Brown and Gregory, as their goat milk customers need to buy more milk on a regular basis.

When Brown and Gregory got their first dairy goats in 2000, a neighbor was selling raw milk for $8/gallon. Another dairy goat producer near Waco, TX, with 200 Nubians on two acres, sold raw goat milk for $7/gal to health and diet-conscious Dallas yuppies. These customers were willing to make the two hour drive to Waco to avoid paying $12 to $14 in the Metroplex. Meyenburg pasteurized goat’s milk sells for over $12 a gallon.  

“We figured that a Grade ‘A’ raw goat dairy selling on-the-farm raw milk adjacent to a four million population metropolis like Houston might work,” Brown said. “Texas law states that raw milk goat dairies can only sell their products on the farm and must also possess a Grade ‘A’ license that requires a monthly inspection by the Texas Health Department.  Clearly, our challenge is to develop the customer base. To that end we have invested $30,000 for a twenty-four foot square walk-in cooler dairy, attached milking parlor, associated equipment and animals with the “build it and they will come” mantra in mind.”

For Brown and Gregory, the raw, primitive, organic, or natural movement is here to stay.

“We find that it takes five to six customers to support one Saanen doe’s production. We focus on producing the milk and teaching classes to customers on how to make their own cheese, yogurt and kefir. They never quibble about the price. The raw milk ‘On Premises’ health regulations require the buyer come to us, creating a farmer’s market opportunity to sell not only milk, but also eggs, honey, soap, chickens, rabbits and cheese produced by us or our friends, customers and neighbors. For 100 years, Americans have been leaving the farm for the big city. Teg and I feel like pioneers going back to a past life of sustainable agriculture.”

For more information about Anala Goat Company visit (www.analagoatcompany.com) on the web.

Healing from the Ground Up