Goat Milk?: For When Cow’s Milk Won’t Do

Photo by fishermans daughter via Flickr

Photo by fishermans daughter via Flickr

In Brandon’s opinion, there was nothing better than a big glass of milk to wash down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the morning.  But lately he noticed that he felt a little bloated and gassy after breakfast each morning.  On top of that, his eczema had been getting worse, lately.  Brandon thought it had to be the milk, but that was strange because he had never had any sensitivity to milk growing up.  How could he develop one as an adult?

How didn’t really matter though.  What mattered was taking care of the problem. Brandon knew that his friend Kyle, who had a milk sensitivity, had switched to goat’s milk about a year ago and it had helped.  Brandon decided that he would try switching to goat’s milk as well.  Maybe it would help him, also.

Drinking goat’s milk sounds strange to many Americans, but goat’s milk is actually the dominant milk drink in most of the world.  While less popular in America, goat’s milk has been gaining popularity there because it has been found to be a good alternative for individuals who are sensitive to cow’s milk.  That is because goat’s milk is believed to be easier to digest and less allergenic than cow’s milk.

Is goat’s milk healthier than cow’s milk?
Goat’s milk is very similar in nutritional value to cow’s milk, except that it has a slightly higher amount of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A.  But one downside of goat’s milk is that it has a higher fat content because it is only sold as whole milk.  Cow’s milk, on the other hand, is also sold in low fat and nonfat versions.

The greatest benefit of goat’s milk is that it appears that some people who can’t tolerate dairy products are able to tolerate goat’s milk much better.  The science community is still unsure of why this is true, but some preliminary studies suggest that specific proteins that are present in cow’s milk, but are largely absent in goat’s milk, may be responsible for the allergic reactions.  Goat’s milk also contains a higher percentage of smaller fat globules, which may make goat’s milk easier to digest.

That doesn’t mean that goat’s milk is a good choice for everyone.  For those that are lactose intolerant, goat’s milk is not the answer.  The lactose levels in goat’s milk are comparable to cow’s milk.  Plus, it is important to keep in mind that goat’s milk doesn’t have all the essential nutrients needed by infants.  So, if you are thinking of switching your infant from a milk based formula to goat’s milk, please talk to your pediatrician beforehand.

Where can I use goat’s milk?
Fresh goat’s milk and the products made from it have a slightly sweet, tangy taste that is enjoyed by many around the world in countless dishes.  Here are 4 ways to add goat’s milk to your diet.

  1. Milk: Use it like you would use cow’s milk.  You can substitute a glass of goat’s milk for regular milk, pour it over your cereal or use it to make hot chocolate.  Hot chocolate might be the best place to start though, until you get used to the flavor.
  2. Salad: Crumbled goat cheese is a nice substitute for any cheese you might normally put on a salad.
  3. Sandwich: You can use goat’s cheese as a tasty replacement for the cheese you usually use on your sandwich. As a bonus, since some goat cheeses have a stronger flavor than many cheeses, you can often get by with less.
  4. Appetizers: Goat’s cheese goes great on crackers.  Plus, goat’s milk yogurt can be used as a base for a savory dip.  Just add your own herbs and spices and you are set.

The bottom line:
Goat’s milk is a wonderful alternative for individuals who can’t tolerate cow’s milk.  It not only has similar nutrients, but it is also easier to digest and less allergenic than cow’s milk.  So, if cow’s milk has been giving you problems, try goat’s milk instead!

Comments (4)

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  1. Maria Isabel says:

    When I was little, I drank goat’s milk and ate goat cheese because my liver and stomach couldn’t handle dairy products. I don’t have this problem any more but I still like to eat goat cheese once in a while.

  2. I really love goat cheese it is really delicous. Most of the time I eat it as a dessert or use it to make a salsa.

  3. karen says:

    I love goat’s milk and cheese. It taste so good. I wish I could buy more but I find it expensive since cow milk is so popular in Canada… I’m very allergic to cow milk but not cows. I can tolerate goat’s milk, cheese and yogurt no problems. I want to buy a goat lol

  4. I’ve used raw goat milk as well as raw cow milk for years now and love them both. From what I’ve seen in research the intolerance either way is more typical when using pasteurized milk. I feel horrible on pasteurized versions – I can tell my body doesn’t quite like it. Cooking the milk denatures the proteins which the body has a harder time processing.

    Using raw goat or cow milk feels like a superfood – no problems at all. If you are having any issues with pasteurized milks try raw versions for a couple of weeks and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…

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