Did you know that selling raw milk is illegal in 18 U.S. states?
Much of the food our grandparents took for granted is now banned in what we call the land of the free. The argument? That processed food is much healthier and safer.
While you may get dizzy checking out the list of recent industrial food product recalls, due to contamination. It makes you wonder why raw milk is so very illegal in most of our country.
To help us figure this out, we’re here with my very own raw milk dealer from Tennessee, Mr. Bradley Bleasdale.
My wife Alyson and I met Brad at the Cookeville Farmers Market when we lived in the Smoky Mountains a few years back. And after buying veggies and milk from him for a few months, he gave us some of the best fresh venison we’ve ever tasted in our lives. It was out of this world.
On today’s show with Bradley, you’re about to learn:
- How the ridiculous raw milk controversy ruined our Food Freedom
- Immune benefits of raw versus high temp pasteurization and homogenization
- The secret to the best tasting fresh venison in the world
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Brad.
Bradley Bleasdale: Food Freedom & the Importance of Getting Dirty
Abel: Alright, folks, Bradley Bleasdale is a public speaker and a small family farmer who specializes in fresh goat’s milk and grows about 40 varieties of fruits and veggies for CSA Restaurant and Farmers Markets.
My wife Alyson and I actually met Brad at the Cookeville Farmer’s Market in Tennessee a few years back when we were living in the Smoky Mountains before that silly ABC TV show nonsense.
But after buying veggies and milk from him for a few months at the Cookeville Market, Brad actually gave us 4 lbs of the best venison I’ve ever had in my life. The best.
So Brad, really great to reconnect, man.
You too, man.
Abel: Now, I was just reading through your bio. I’m really glad that we’re reconnecting. This is the first time that I’ve really got the full taste of your story.
So bring us back. You’re one of 13 kids, and you say that you were literally raised on the wrong side of the tracks.
Yeah. I grew up one of 13 in a small town in Massachusetts. Nowadays, it’s not so small. It’s right outside of Worcester, which is the second biggest city.
And I had an interesting time growing up. Like I said, we were right on the wrong side of the tracks.
If I remember right, I was in third grade when we got running water in my house.
And my folks bought a couple of cows and I loved the milk, but I hated milking them.
And we had always had a big garden. And when I went to college, I swore I would never ever farm again.
Then after college, I worked for a while, went to law school for a while, and with about a semester left in law school, decided that I could stay with my wife or stay with law school, so I picked staying with my wife.
And we ended up in Florida. I was a financial adviser, literally running the rat race.
Had a massive house. I think it was like 8000 square feet or some crazy number, and really got tired of it.
And thinking back to my youth when I liked to hunt and fish and grow things, exactly when hitting 40 years old, I had that 40-year old mid-life crisis.
So we started looking for land somewhere that we could afford, because with a mortgage on a 8000-square foot house, you don’t have any money to buy land.
We ended up on about 55 acres up here in beautiful Tennessee and decided to come up and live off the grid and homestead it.
All that wild American Dream, which, if you ever get the feeling like you want to do that, hold your breath until the feeling goes away.
Or come and listen to somebody like me who will tell you all the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make, so you won’t have to make them.
Abel: You started that before it was even trendy. Homesteading is trendy these days.
That’s right. I’m the pioneer that sort of blazes the trail while breaking his legs along the way.
Nutrition, Meat, Butter and Milk
Abel: There you go. Well, I can say that there are a whole lot of fake farmers markets out there and there are fake farmers at those markets these days. It’s really astonishing.
But from time to time, you meet some really great people who seem to be doing it the right way.
So I would love to have you talk a bit more about the general tenets of what you think good eating is. Because Weston A. Price is something that, even for listeners of my show, they probably haven’t heard that in a while.
We were talking before this interview of how the waves kind of come and go, and there’s a big ancestral health movement back when I was starting this show, about 5 – 7 years ago.
It came and went, and a lot of people forgot the general tenets. And now people are all on the carnivore diet where they’re eating nothing but meat.
So can you talk about what is balanced eating to you and why do you do what you do? Why do you believe in this anyway?
I was never a real student of nutrition and certainly compared to somebody like you, Abel. I’m still not.
But it just never made any sense to me when I was a kid and we were making butter and killing our own chickens and eating them, and then people tell me when you eat a meal, the amount of meat you should have should be about the size of a deck of playing cards.
And I’m like, “That’s like starvation rations. What, are you kidding me?”
I can and do eat a whole lot more than that.
I was at the Weston A. Price convention last week, and I think common sense will tell you that if you look at an ingredient label and it’s got more than four or five ingredients, it’s just wrong.
I don’t know if you know Pat McNamara. He’s a shooting instructor, a former Special Forces guy. And he says, “If it comes in a box, it’s not food. It’s a product.”
And I stray a long way from that.
I can tell you, I don’t eat anywhere near as well or as clean, but we try to grow stuff that is close to nature as we can get it. And that’s the beauty of especially the raw milk, is it’s a pure, fresh, raw natural product that the USDA says is completely dangerous.
Abel: And illegal in a lot of places.
Yeah. There’s a lot of places.
Abel: I can’t tell you how many times Alyson and I, shhh, have bought milk for our dog. And, boy, is it delicious.
Yeah. Well you know, Weston Price leads the way in getting it legalized.
There’s now only seven states where it’s completely illegal, and here in Tennessee, we have to do the herd share thing where you buy a share of the herd, kind of like buying a mutual fund.
But it’s a free country. So you have to buy a herd share because you can’t buy milk.
What are you going to do?
Abel: Well, let’s talk a little bit about that because we do supposedly live in a free country.
But when you look at food, it certainly doesn’t look that way, especially if you’re a farmer, as I understand.
A big part of the presentation we did up there was entitled “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Raw Milk,” and the first part of it is demonstrating that not only is raw milk safe, it’s really among the safest of foods that you can eat.
When you look at this massive organization that regulates food, there’s the USDA, the FDA, the CDC, and they all work in concert to try to convince me that this is one of the most dangerous things that you can put in your body.
And I’m like, “I don’t want to be giving people something that’s not safe. I don’t want to do that.”
So, I started doing a tremendous amount of research on it. And the health benefits, it’s got a beautiful amount of protein, it’s got a beautiful amount of fat, it’s got a beautiful amount of calcium, probiotics, enzymes, everything that we need.
It’s really one of the most nearly complete foods you can eat.
And yet, I was on the USDA website and it says there’s no such thing as safe raw milk.
Well, I’m looking at my buddy Abel here and you look pretty darn healthy to me.
Abel: Our dog is, too.
We’re rolling the dice. We’re rolling the dice, baby.
So I started looking into it, and the CDC did a study. It was of 27 years, and it was all just about dairy products, and in particular, raw milk.
And what they came to the conclusion was, over that 27-year period, according to the number they came up with, 3 people died from ingesting raw milk.
And so I’m like, “Well, that’s almost three decades. That’s one a decade, right?”
Then I’m looking at the dates on it, and I’m like, “27 years. Why does it go from 1987-2010? That seems a little strange to me.”
And so I did a little bit more research, and those dates are kind of book ended with two massive outbreaks of foodborne illness from milk that had been pasteurized.
So I don’t know if they did it on purpose or not, but they left out the 1985 Jalisco cheese listeria outbreak that killed over 50 people from pasteurized milk.
And a few years before that, there was a big one up in Massachusetts that killed a whole bunch of people from a pasteurization plant.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but Blue Bell Ice Cream, obviously pasteurized milk, and several people died from that.
So, when you figure that, right there in your home state of Colorado a couple of years ago, cantaloupe carrying listeria killed 22 people in one year.
And yet they look at me and say raw milk that we think might have killed one person in a decade needs to be pasteurized, needs to be regulated, needs to be illegal to carry it across state lines.
But I’m like, “Well, should we require the pasteurization of cantaloupe?”
Abel: Right. And lettuce?
Yeah, exactly. So when we look at the numbers that the CDC says are based on their information, on the very highest estimate, 3800 people a year die from foodborne illness.
Well, nobody wants to die from foodborne illness, right? But that’s everything. That’s poultry, meat, fish, everything.
So then, when you do the math, 3800 is 0.011% of the population of our country. I mean, there’s problems we need to deal with, right?
Twenty-two military veterans a day commit suicide. 22 per day.
Thirteen people a week are murdered in Chicago. We don’t hear anything about that.
But there’s a foodborne illness outbreak, and some people get sick or die, you know? I guess the way I think of it is, if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
And when you’re in that business, you have to find some nails to hit.
Abel: Well, the food industry, from my perspective anyway, is not built for small farmers at all, which is a bit ironic considering that was the majority of our population just a couple of generations ago.
Yeah. Farming is now so scarce that it’s not even listed as an occupation on the census anymore.
And as you said, there is quite a revival and an interest and desire of young folks getting into farming, which I think is absolutely fabulous.
The problem is a lot of times there’s roadblocks that get in their way.
I tend to be a liberty lover, and I’m like, “Let’s get those roadblocks out of their way.”
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Raw Milk
When it comes to living in America, I grew up in Massachusetts, so I have a sort of affinity for the American Revolution, and I can just picture April 19th of 1775 and here’s Captain John Parker mustering the militia on Lexington Green.
Because, as we know, “One if by land, and two, if by the sea,” the Redcoats are coming.
And as he mustered the men on the militia, he said, “Alright, men. The British are coming. We don’t want war, but if they want war, let them have it. And if we prevail today and in our cause, 240 years from now, our great grandchildren will go to jail for selling milk.”
Somehow, I don’t think that would have been quite the rallying cry the land of liberty was looking for.
Abel: Well, it’s especially preposterous. I didn’t realize so many people got sick from pasteurized milk, probably because the media doesn’t talk about it.
How would you ever know unless someone close to you died from having pasteurized milk or this cheese or ice cream, right?
Blue Bell was big when we were living in Texas. Everyone knew Blue Bell.
And it’s a problem when people are dying from eating ice cream or lettuce or cantaloupe.
There’s serious problems with our food infrastructure. And it seems that, well, especially in America, we’re all brainwashed into thinking that bigger is better when anything is concerned.
And you can see that just fall flat on its face when it comes to food.
On the one hand, I think generally speaking, and it is weird how we use the term “a food system,” right? To me, even that is somewhat ironic.
But the food in America is actually very, very safe. But we’re not talking about pesticides. We’re not talking about herbicides.
We’re not talking about genetic modified foods. We’re not talking about fluoride in the water, all of those things.
But generally speaking, our food is incredibly safe. I’ve never been overseas, so I can’t say, but I talk to folks that go there and they’re like, “Don’t drink the water. Make sure you boil everything before you eat it,” that kind of thing.
So on the one hand, it is very, very safe.
On the other hand, I read about these kids in Atlanta last year that had a lemonade stand and the Health Department shut them down.
I don’t know if you saw just a few weeks ago, I think it was Chicago, there was a civic organization or a church feeding homeless people. And the Health Department showed up with police and poured bleach on the food so they could not serve the homeless people because they said, “You don’t have a permit to serve food.”
And I’m like, “What?!”
After a while, you just say, “What do you do with that?”
Abel: Who voted for that? I didn’t vote for that. Did you vote for that?
No. I didn’t vote for that.
So, we live in such crazy times where it’s like everything needs that regulation.
I was reading through the Declaration of Independence, and when you read through how our country was founded, the whole idea.
Jefferson starts it out, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that we’re all created equal, that we’re endowed by our creator with unalienable rights. And among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
And then he says, “We have a current governmental system that we don’t like, but we shouldn’t just throw it away.”
And he wasn’t an anarchist, right?
He wasn’t saying, “Hey, we’re going to chuck this so we can kill each other in the streets.”
No, he said, “We’re going to set up a form of government that’s appropriate to us.”
And then he lays out the offenses of the king to make his case as to why it’s okay to throw off that form of government and establish a new one.
And one in there that’s very often missed, he said, “The king has erected a multitude of new offices and sent out swarms of officers to harass us and eat out our substance.”
And when you look at that and then you look at these regulations that carry the force of law. If I were to sell you milk, Abel, from my farm in Tennessee, well, that’s not against the law per se, it’s a violation of a USDA regulation.
But it still carries fines and criminal penalties with it. So it has the force of law, right?
Well, all of that stuff is codified in the Code of Federal Register, which is now so bloated. They used to update it every 5 years, it’s now updated quarterly.
It’s over 180,000 pages.
Abel: To ensure our freedom.
They regulate the size of the holes in Swiss cheese. Do we really need a bureaucrat somewhere regulating the size of holes in Swiss cheese? I think we can handle that mano a mano without…
So it’s just very maddening.
Abel: One of the reasons we moved to Tennessee for a while there was because we were having trouble finding clean air to breathe in a lot of places where we like.
We like those places. Our families live in these places.
But if you look at the data, the numbers show that we’re already at this level of pollution that will stop our hearts or shave years off of our lives.
Already, millions and millions of people die every year because of poor air quality, yet they’re loosening the regulations on drilling and polluting the air.
Yes, we need to eat, but we also need clean water and we need clean air, and we need to be free to live our lives.
Abel: And so, the cherry picking of certain regulations aimed at small farmers is just one example.
This was heartbreaking for us. Because, in Austin, especially when we were there several years ago, there was a great kind of craft food movement, farm-to-table, small-scale people making craft stuff.
And there was this one dude, Sebastian, who came over from France and for years we got pates and duck and all sorts of craft meats and bacons and things like that from Sebastian.
We left for a few months, I think we were traveling internationally, and when we came back he was gone.
And so we went to the market and asked, “What happened to Sebastian?”
And they’re like, “I don’t know.”
I looked into it and looked up his website, and just in the couple of months that we were gone, one of the regulatory agencies came into his tiny operation, and they demanded that he install $25,000 worth of new equipment within the next two weeks, or else he’s going to get kicked out and shut down.
So I found this page where he was trying to raise money in two weeks to get all this stuff, and then he’s just like, “I don’t think it’s going to work.” Because he couldn’t raise enough funds in time.
And then he was gone.
I had never heard from that man again. He made the best pates. He was the sweetest guy. And it was just heartbreaking.
But that stuff happens all the time.
I get very, very sarcastic when I hear something like that.
I’m like, “Well, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that those kids were selling lemonade without a permit. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that Sebastian didn’t have that extra equipment.”
And when it comes to the milk, in particular, because you look at what milk has in it. It’s like God created this perfect food, because not only do you get that nutrition, but the main thing that’s in there to help is all the enzymes and probiotics that occur naturally in raw milk.
Well, here’s the crazy thing. There’s about five main pathogens that can infect milk, including listeria and campylobacter. But most of those aren’t in the milk. It can be contaminated ex post facto.
And the enzymes, you have phosphatase that helps you digest the potassium. You need that potassium calcium. You have lipase which helps you digest fats.
They’re all there to help you digest it.
So you would think that since they require pasteurization, that the test to see whether or not your milk has been pasteurized is lack of those bacterial things that can harm you, right?
That’s not the case. The test to determine whether or not your milk is properly pasteurized is done to test for enzymes.
And if the enzymes are there, that means it hasn’t been pasteurized. So you have to kill the milk. So the only safe milk is dead milk.
Abel: Which goes bad faster in some ways, right? It’s going to spoil because there’s no good bacteria left to protect it.
The way I look at it, my wife says, “It’s a petri dish. You’ve made this petri dish with these nutrients in it that’s now sterile.”
Abel: Yeah, just a growth medium.
So guess what, if something bad shows up or something good shows up, the bad guys usually win then, right? And it’s just madness.
And then your buddy there, Sebastian, who knows what it was he needed, but did you ever lose a minute sleep knowing he didn’t have that $25,000 worth of equipment? No.
Abel: It was delicious. None of us ever got sick.
Yeah, exactly. In Tennessee, for example, it’s against the law to recycle egg cartons. You must buy new egg cartons.
Abel: In other countries, they don’t even bother refrigerating eggs.
On my dad’s side of the family, my grandfather was an organic farmer way back in the day, and also a dairy farmer.
And my dad told me that the way that they used to have yogurt was by taking the fresh, warm milk right out of the animal, just kept it warm and let it grow.
And dad said he’s never had anything like it to this day. They loved it.
And the thing is, pasteurization got to be popular, in the States in particular, right about the same time that indoor plumbing and an understanding of germ theory.
Penicillin’s only been around not even 100 years.
So all of those things sort of had a happy nexus point.
And is there any doubt that when the milk was left in cans in the street and flies were landing in it from the open sewers that it was a bad deal? Yeah, absolutely. I wouldn’t want to drink that either.
But with an understanding of cleanliness, proper hygiene, taking care of your equipment, and taking care of your livestock.
One of the dangerous bacterium is Brucellosis, and it used to be pretty common. It causes miscarriages and stuff like that.
Well, there’s fewer cases now. There’s, on average, about 120 cases a year in the United States, almost all of it from people who’ve gone overseas and contracted it there from milk from contaminated cows.
So two years ago, it might have been last year, there was two cases in Texas.
And the reason that people got Brucellosis is because the little raw milk dairy decided to vaccinate its cattle against Brucellosis, and the cattle shed the bacterium in their milk, which is not supposed to happen. And the people got sick from Brucellosis.
So, in my mind, that wasn’t the milk that caused the problem.
Abel: That’s a perfect example of us trying to outsmart nature.
Exactly. And the thing is, there’s no such thing as a perfectly safe food system.
Are some people going to get sick from milk? Yes. Are some people going to get sick from raw oysters? Yes.
But the onerousness of telling me it’s illegal in Tennessee for me to sell you my milk, to me, that’s beyond the pale.
And yet, I comply with the law.
Abel: It’s good to be aware that not all of these laws and regulations are there to serve us. That’s important to know.
Just because it’s in the grey area. It almost always is at the farmer’s market, no matter where we are. Buying raw milk is in the legal grey area, and to go along and buy raw milk as if you’re carrying contraband.
Even though it feels that way, there is great satisfaction in knowing that it comes from a real place, from people who take pride in what they do.
Because that, unfortunately, is such a rare thing these days, and I think you’re a great example of that.
Well, that’s like the Wild Diet, right? The closer we’re going to get to nature, guess what, it’s wild, it’s a little edgy, maybe it’s a little dangerous in some regard. And yet, when do you feel most alive? When you’re closer to that edge.
You don’t really feel alive when you’re sitting on your couch. But if you’re out hiking through the Rocky Mountains, my guess is you feel pretty darn good.
Why You Can’t buy Wild Meat in the Land of the Free
Abel: Absolutely. But I want to say too, on the point of talking about meats, I believe it would have been illegal for you to sell me that venison from your property?
Oh, yeah, sure.
Abel: This is fascinating because that the deer came on your property, you shot it. And one of the reasons it tasted so good, you explained to me, was because you gutted it right away, you cleaned it right away, you took good care of the meat, and it was fresh.
And like you just said, The Wild Diet, that’s the name of my book, I think that’s the idea. If I called it “The Natural Diet” it wouldn’t mean anything because that word has been so abused, it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
It’s illegal to buy wild animal meat in the Land of the Free.
In most jurisdictions, that’s for sure. Yeah.
Abel: Which is very bizarre to think about, especially when you consider the fluctuations of herd populations of deer, in particular.
I know when I grew up in New Hampshire, there was a big problem with over-population, a lot of them starving out.
There was a whole island where the population crashed because there were too many deer, and they got too skinny, and then they sent in the hunters and that sort of thing.
But it just seems there’s no balance. It’s like we have to eat from these industrial factory farms or else we’re going to go to prison.
That’s kind of crazy.
People always say to me, “Well, there’s a good reason for that.”
And when they say why, I always say, “Well, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I am a conspiracy analyst.”
Abel: I like that distinction.
And I know I sound like a one-trick pony, but I always go back to, is that reason good enough to tell free people that they can’t do what they want to do with their own life, their own time, their own property?
And for me, the answer, the majority of time, we ought to be erring on the side of, “Hey, that’s his farm, it’s his property, it’s his life, and leave me alone.”
I cleaned up my language on that one.
Abel: I appreciate that. I think this might be interesting. Let’s compare your life before your mid-life crisis at 40, and what’s maybe surprisingly better now.
It’s not easy ever, but what are the things that may have surprised you living such a different lifestyle now?
Because I think you are living a life, unfortunately, that is so unique now.
A lot of people, especially like my generation and younger, have just lost sight of most of the wisdom that comes from working with the land and living in a place that is free to you or where you can be self-reliant. Where you don’t have to participate in all of the machinations of culture and that sort of thing.
So just comparing the American dream achieved with all of the debt that go along with it to where you’re at now.
A big part of the reason I wanted to move up here was to raise my kids. My oldest boy was 17 when we moved here. He’s 32 now.
And it’s every dad’s dream that a kid would carry on with what he’s doing. And he does the cow side of stuff.
The milk that you got was from my son and his wife. And unlike me, he’s an excellent businessman, so he does okay.
But to see your son look at what you’re doing and say, “Not only do I think it’s worth doing, but I think I can do it better.”
And then do it better, I mean that is just so gratifying to see that happen.
Abel: I can imagine.
And a big part of it is, I started a school, the Sequatchie School for Self-Reliance, and a big part of it is self-reliance. So many people have none of that.
Let me tell you, living on a farm, there’s no money. When something breaks, you fix it.
If the cold is going to damage your crops, you have to get out there right now and make it happen. Like we’re doing today, because we’re going to get down to about 10 degrees tonight.
So I spent most of the day covering crops. And getting your hands dirty in manual labor, there’s just so much to be said for that.
I read a thing the other day, it said young men in America between 18 and 30, the overwhelming majority of them not only had never changed a flat tire, they had no idea how to.
And I was talking with a friend of mine about changing oil in a car, and he said, “I don’t change oil. I make enough money to buy a service contract so I don’t have to.”
And I’m like, “Well, that’s great,” and I’m glad for him.
But I still think knowing and understanding those fundamental skills is critically important for people.
Not only does it gives you confidence, but it gives you a tremendous amount of satisfaction.
Being able to say, “We built our own house.”
Every stone in this house, we built it out of concrete. And the stones for the walls, every stone came from our property. We bought a sawmill and milled the beams. My two sons and my daughter were integrally involved in every aspect of building our home here.
That’s not an education you can get except experientially, and I don’t think you can put a price tag on that. I think that’s invaluable.
So living in the big suburb, driving the kids to all the games and all that stuff, there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but I do think you’re missing out on a big chunk of what’s available.
I’m not saying you have to give it up to go try something like this, but why not take a weekend or a week and go out with your kids and get in the dirt and see what it’s like to see something grow.
Where Does Your Food Come From?
To know where your food is coming from, to see see it growing, not driving by the corn fields, but to actually see it, is something people are missing.
Abel: Yeah. And I think a lot of people are bashful, or maybe even ignorant of the fact that they can visit farms.
But how would they do that if they were interested in really knowing where their food came from? What would you recommend?
I’d just ask.
Our farm is, talk about the mistakes I’ve made, right? So one of the things I didn’t know anything about is drainage, and we kind of built at the bottom of a hill and the water comes off the hill where our house and barns are.
So about nine months a year, it’s like an ocean of mud. So that’s not good. I’m still working on it.
But I’ll tell you, there’s an organization out there called WWOOF, Willing Workers on Organic Farms.
Abel: Some of my friends did that years ago.
Yeah. And we did it for a while, but it was tough on my wife. The trouble is, it’s tough to vet the people that are coming, and we’d have these kids come for a weekend and they’d basically just want to talk and smoke and hang out and not actually do anything a lot of times.
And we’ve had some wonderful experiences. We have people stay with us for several months at a time. It was wonderful.
But you can get involved with that WWOOF organization, look at local farms and they’d be glad to have somebody come out just for a day.
Down in Chattanooga, there’s an urban teaching farm, Crab Tree Farms, and they do workshops and volunteer stuff.
They have been such a benefit to the whole local food movement in Chattanooga. It’s just unbelievable what they did for us.
And finding an urban farm like that, and they’re all over the place, it would be a great way to go as well.
Abel: Yeah. And to your point, there’s a really interesting thing that happens when you do get just a little bit dirty. There’s a wilderness survival guy who I had on the show a while back, Cliff Hodges.
One of the first things that he recommends everyone to do when they get out in the woods is take a handful of dirt and just smear it across their forehead.
Because it does something psychologically, where all of a sudden, you don’t care anymore, you’re an animal, just a being.
And there’s something to be said for that.
With everyone on their phones all the time, all showered and dressed up in pretty Instagram clothes and all this.
It’s like if you’re not learning that other side, then someday it’s going to creep up on you and scare you.
So we really loved the clean air in Tennessee, and loved all the green grass, and there were so many things that we loved about it.
But most people don’t really get that experience where it’s that outdoors-y type place, unfortunately.
The Importance of Going Old-School
Abel: Why do you want your kids to learn those old-school skills that maybe they might have too much money for or will be too good for someday?
Why do you think it’s important that the next generation learns the old-school stuff?
I think it’s for a few reasons. First of all, if you don’t have an appreciation of where you come from, it’s really hard to appreciate where you are.
And the idea, as I said, the idea of self-reliance and self-sufficiency is very, very important to me.
And also, it gives you an appreciation of just how hard other people work.
So, when you see how hard it is, let’s say you go work with a construction crew for a day and you realize how hard those guys work to build the homes and the buildings we live in.
You go to an auto shop and it always has the sign that says, “Don’t go past here for insurance regulations,” but go through anyways ’til they kick you out, and watch how hard these guys are working.
I’ll tell you what, go to the back room of a restaurant.
You see people griping at restaurants because everything’s not perfect. But when you work in the back room of a restaurant for a while, and you see how hard those people are working, like absolute maniacs to make sure you’ve got a decent meal.
I said to somebody a while ago, I said, “If you’ve never worked construction, restaurant, or farming… ”
And this is a broad brush, but I’m not sure you really have a clear understanding of how the world works if you’ve never done any of those things.
Abel: Well, you can’t be good at everything. But it’s important to feel like you could pick up the slack almost anywhere, right?
And I think that that is one of the things that we’re being coached out of when every new product we buy is replaceable and expendable in some way.
This is funny, but I was going through some old footage of tapes, tiny little Hi-8 tapes from my parents’ old house when they moved, of old performances and just childhood videos and stuff like that.
And I was literally learning how to re-splice tape again. And it was probably one of the most fun things I’ve done that I can remember in the past few weeks.
Just like, this old school project that seems so meaningless, that’s kind of hard, that takes a lot of fine tuning and finger work and what have you; it’s a fun challenge.
And there’s something really physical about it, too.
It’s like, when I was a kid I didn’t have any money, and playing music was so important to me, and I worked so hard to get the instruments that I had.
Now I have more resources, and some of the instruments I have mean nothing because I just bought them. Compared to the ones that I literally put together or built way back in the day.
And I played the instruments completely differently because there’s more heart in it.
Whatever the confidence that you get from self-reliance, from building skills, is there. And there’s something really valuable about that that I don’t think a lot of people necessarily experience on a regular basis.
Yeah, you know what? For our school I teach a lot of shooting classes, I do free classes for women all the time.
And to see the change in peoples’ demeanor when they come in. I’ve had people who have never even picked up a firearm. They’re scared to even touch it.
And then, I remember this one young lady from Washington, DC. I taught her how to shoot. She’d never touched a gun in her life.
And about an hour-and-a-half later she’s like, “Well what do you mean we’re out of ammunition? I thought we were going to shoot all day.”
I don’t even know that I can articulate why it’s so important, why it’s so cool.
I see the change in people when they learn how to do that, what I consider to be a necessary skill.
And going from being afraid of it, being branded as something because they pick up a gun, to now saying, “How come I don’t have these skills with arms?”
It’s really gratifying when you see all those things happening. You know the quote from Robert Heinlein, right?
Abel: I think you should share it.
Okay. Well Heinlein says, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer. Specialization is for insects.”
Abel: I love that. It is so good.
I am no gun fan. In fact, some members of my family have been, unfortunately, harmed through guns.
And I have shot guns myself on many occasions, especially in the past. Little ones, big ones. And I’m game to try it sometimes.
And I am really glad that I have on those occasions, because what it made me realize in a very visceral way is that life and death is in your hands.
What really tripped me up or made me think even more deeply about that is, that’s the way we should feel every time we get behind the wheel of a car on our way to work.
That’s the way we should feel any time we do something that could damage some other part of the world. Every decision is that important, as if you’re holding a gun.
But going from that state of always being fearful to realizing the power that every human has, for good or bad, is something psychologically that must be experienced to be understood, I think.
Yeah. Way back in college I had an interesting experience. I was living in New York state, and this lady I know had bought a car.
And the state had passed a Lemon Law. And the Lemon Law said if you had three unresolved problems with your car, then the dealership had to buy it back.
Well she had three minor problems with her car and decided she didn’t like her car anymore, so she brought it back and figured they’d just hand her her money back.
And they’re like, “No, we resolved all your problems. You’re not getting your money back.”
And she was just dumbfounded. Part of the whole consumer protection mentality is that, “I don’t need to take responsibility for this stuff anymore because other people are taking on that responsibility for me.”
Whether it’s making sure my milk is pasteurized, or knowing I can dial 911 even though the response time is 27 minutes.
You’re talking about self-reliance. It is self-reliance. Instead of saying, “The time may come when I need to rely on myself.”
I think you can change your life pretty dramatically if you say, “I have to rely on myself. And why can’t I take on those responsibilities that other people are willing or able to take on for me?”
It’s like health. Why should I be responsible for my health if I can have other people? But it’s a much more satisfying life the more that you take on. It’s not easy.
Abel: It’s humbling. I think it’s what people don’t like about it.
Yeah. Well, it has been for me. That’s for darn sure.
Abel: Well, because we’re all bad at most things, if we’re going to be honest about it. We’re not all specialists and experts at everything. That’s for sure.
Abel: But that’s kind of the fun of it.
It’s a great and yet hard question that you ask. And we’d all do well to contemplate that more, I do believe.
Goat Milk Vs. Cow Milk
Abel: We’re coming up on time, but there’s so much more I would love to talk about.
We get a lot of people asking about the difference between goat and cow milk. I think if you could just run us through that a little bit, that would be useful.
Sure. This is a jar of my son’s cow milk. The first thing you’re going to notice is the cream on the top.
The fundamental difference between goat milk and cow milk is goat milk is naturally homogenized.
And when homogenized milk had come about the early part of the last century, is when you buy milk at the store it’s all just perfectly white, right?
Well that’s because they’ve taken the milk and they’ve forced it through a tiny orifice at really high pressure, and it breaks up the fat globules.
So in raw milk the fat globules haven’t been broken up, so they rise to the surface because fat is lighter.
Well goat milk, that doesn’t happen. It’s naturally homogenized.
Those fat molecules are already quite small. So goat milk is much more readily digested, it’s much less allergenic.
Guys like you, the health nuts as I call them.
Abel: I’ll take it as compliment.
There you go. Most of them say if you can get goat milk, get it. They’re both great.
The advantage of the cow milk is the cream. If you drink as much coffee as I do you’re glad to have that cream in your coffee.
And it is, as you’ve experienced, kind of like drinking an ice cream cone.
Abel: Oh, it’s unbelievable.
Goat milk is a little bit of a wilder product. In any raw milk, the flavor’s going to change, depending on what the cows are eating. If you put them on pasture.
But goat milk does tend to be a little healthier in regard to the absorption of the nutrients that are in there. Because the fat molecules are small.
Anytime you want something to taste really good, what do you do? Fry it in bacon grease, right?
So that’s the analogy I would use there.
But when we do blind taste tests, it’s funny. About half the people prefer goat to cow.
And it’s right around 50/50 until you tell them it’s goat milk. They’ve been conditioned.
Because here’s the big difference. If you buy pasteurized goat milk, that enzyme that’s in there, lipase, gets activated by a little bit of heat.
That lipase will immediately start working on the milk and make it turn, just like anything turns flavor after a while.
So it sort of accelerates. So personally, I cannot drink pasteurized goat milk.
I can stand pasteurized cow milk. I don’t like it, but I’ll drink it. But I can’t drink pasteurized goat milk.
So, for all of those people out there whose only experience with goat milk is getting it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or something like that where it’s pasteurized, that is not goat milk.
Go find a quality farmer, go to realmilk.com, look in your state for a local raw milk place and get some real goat milk. And it’s just fabulous.
And here’s the other thing kills me. People will say, “Well, what am I going to do with a gallon of milk a week?”
And I’m like, “There’s many, many days I drink a half a gallon a day.”
So I don’t really have a category for people who can’t figure out what to do with a gallon a week. But…
Abel: I could tell you what we did. We made kefir, yogurts, ice cream. The cream was delicious. That went first every time.
Abel: It’s so good. And it’s hard to find, because we travel so much. You do have to invest some time. But it’s not that much.
Like you said, you just go to that website, look it up, and you’ll find some sources that are hopefully relatively close to you.
Before we go, I wanted to ask because you do see these popping up in some of the health food stores. The low-temp pasteurized non-homogenized cow dairy.
The temperatures, traditional milk is pasteurized, and I think it is 140 degrees for 30 minutes, and ultra-pasteurized milk is like 280 degrees for two seconds.
The idea with the low temp pasteurization, if they can get it through the state is, the hope is that it’s at a low enough temperature that it won’t kill all the enzymes. And that’s a good thing.
Personally, I wouldn’t mess with it, but if somebody is completely concerned about whether or not their milk is pasteurized, that’s not a bad alternative.
Homogenization is an interesting thing because when they started to homogenize milk, it was right after they started requiring pasteurization.
And the reason for that is, if you haven’t pasteurized the milk and then you homogenize it, as I said, those fat molecules are now very small. The enzymes now have a much bigger surface area to work on, and it immediately goes rancid.
A fortunate coincidence was they require pasteurization, which kills the enzymes that help you to digest the fat, and then they homogenize it to make the fat globules smaller, so it’s easier to digest.
It makes perfect sense.
Abel: We should probably regulate that, before it goes from mother to child for all Americans. It’s really quite absurd when you think about it.
Don’t even get me going on that one. Oh, my goodness.
Where to Find Bradley Bleasdale
Abel: We are almost out of time, but before we go, please tell folks a little bit more about what you’re working on, your wilderness survival classes and where folks can find you.
Yeah, the school is called The Sequatchie School for Self Reliance and Survival Skills.
There’s a county in Tennessee called Sequatchie County and a river that flows through it. And it’s me and a lot of guys who are far more qualified than me to do this stuff.
One, our wilderness survival instructor, Josh McKinley. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Tracker School up in New Jersey, Tom Brown School’s up there.
He’s world famous. Josh has been to his school as of this year, 11 times. He handles the wilderness survival stuff, the scratching the sticks together to make a fire.
He does that in about 47 seconds. It just drives me crazy.
And then we do emergency preparedness classes, trauma medicine classes. A lot of the ones I do are free.
I’ll be teaching down in North Georgia, the basics of emergency preparedness class in a couple of weeks.
And yes, sequatchieschool.com. As a big part of that too, we’re going to be offering this year, farming classes for urban farming, small-scale farming, right here on our farm in Spencer.
And then, my son and his wife, they broke off, for marketing purposes, its Orchard House Creamery, for folks that want that yummy cow milk.
And our farm is fallcreekfarms.net. For what we got going on here, I am very technologically challenged. This is my second time on Skype.
Abel: You’re doing great. Oh, but really, Brad, thank you so much for spending the time with us. I know people really appreciate this one.
And it’s so great to reconnect but let’s have you back on the show just to have another excuse.
Oh, it’s been totally my pleasure Abel, it’s great to talk to you.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review for The Wild Diet that came in from Christopher. He says:
The Wild Diet sums up the knowledge of the Fat-Burning Man podcast and creates an easily digestible Guide to the new frontier of health.
Abel touches on nearly everything you need to know for a healthy life way. He even gives you guidance on the family dog and your children.
This may be the best source for everyone looking for a nutritional change, it’s simple, straightforward and succinctly written.
It would take 10 books to garner what he has put together here from bio-hacks, to standing desks, he covers the gamut.
Thank you, Christopher R.
Christopher, thank you so much for the review and your support, as well as the kind words.
When I wrote The Wild Diet I really wanted to squeeze a ton of stuff in there so that I didn’t have to keep writing a new book every year, like a lot of other people do.
So Christopher, I appreciate you pointing that out, and finding value in the book and the podcast, as well.
Now, by the way, we recently became our own sponsor, and to celebrate, we’re giving listeners like you a great deal on brand new goodies from what we’re calling Wild Superfoods.
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