Is Goat Milk or Cow Milk Healthier?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 5, 2011

I am fortunate where I live to have convenient access to both high quality, farm fresh cow milk as well as goat milk for reasonable prices.

My family enjoys both cow and goat milk although each member of the family tends to have a preference if given the choice of one over the other.

One of my kids asked me the other day if one milk was better than the other.   Great question!

Goat Milk Advantages

The most significant difference between goat milk and cow milk is that fresh, unpasteurized cow milk forms a distinct creamline at the top and goat milk does not.   The reason is that goat milk is naturally homogenized which means the fat molecules are smaller than in cow milk and so remain evenly dispersed throughout the milk.   The smaller size of the fat globules seems to make goat milk more digestible for some people but not all.   I personally find no difference in digestibility between the two.

While the protein structure of cow and goat milk is fairly similar, goat milk is missing an alpha casein present in cow’s milk.  In addition, when you drink a glass of goat milk and it reacts with the acid in your stomach, the protein curds that precipitate are smaller in size and a bit softer than the ones that form with cow’s milk.  This is another reason some folks find goat milk to be more easily digested than cow milk.

Cow Milk Advantages

Cow milk is higher is vitamin B12 which so many people are severely deficient in.  Goat milk also lacks folic acid making cow milk more suitable for homemade infant formula in the event the mother cannot breastfeed.

Cow milk is also higher in B6 making it a better choice for pregnant mothers who have morning sickness.   I myself suffered from B6 deficiency morning sickness and so found sipping fresh cow milk during the first trimester to bring immediate and welcome relief. Incidentally, B6 is destroyed by pasteurization so any sort of heat treated or pasteurized milk will not help in this regard.  The milk must be farm fresh and preferably grassfed.

The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends adding 2 teaspoons organic raw chicken liver, frozen for 14 days, finely grated to each batch of the milk based formula if goat milk is used and encourages egg-yolk feeding for infants to begin no later than four months old.   If cow milk is used, egg yolk feeding can be started later if desired at 6 months.

Cow milk is usually more readily available than goat milk and is typically a lower cost per gallon making it more suitable for tighter budgets.

Sometimes I’ve heard folks say that they prefer the taste of cow milk because goat milk tastes goaty, but in my experience, goaty tasting goat milk is more a result of quality than anything.  The goat milk I buy doesn’t taste goaty unless it is more than a week old (and then it only gets a slight goaty taste) and is generally very similar in taste to cow milk.

Should You Be Drinking Goat Milk or Cow Milk?

Ultimately, the choice of whether to drink fresh cow or goat milk is a personal preference.  In my home, I have both available and while I prefer cow milk, I do enjoy goat milk kefir for my smoothies just to mix things up a bit and provide more variety to my diet.  For straight drinking, my husband prefers goat milk but loves cow milk cream on his fruit.  My kids generally prefer cow milk although they don’t mind a glass of goat milk when it is really fresh.

So what did I answer my child when he asked whether one milk was better than the other?   I told him that it was kind of like the difference between turkey and chicken.   They are both yummy and healthy and it’s perfectly ok to prefer one over the other or even drink both if you want to!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (170)

  1. I’m on a waiting list for raw cows milk. I have raw goats milk available and am ready to be done breastfeeding. My 11 months old has been only breast-fed up until now. What is your thought on giving raw goats milk until I get access to raw cows milk.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk: The Milk Battle | Conscious Life News

  3. Elizabeth Dock Berry via Facebook May 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Brenda, actually in Oregon, raw cow’s milk can only be sold on the farm and can’t be advertised. But raw goat’s milk can be sold in a store. I find that really strange! But years ago I used to buy raw goat’s milk in the store in Oregon and raw cow’s milk in the store in California and we never got sick. Thankfully I’ve found a local farmer where I can buy raw goat’s or cow’s milk at his Oregon farm.

    Reply
  4. Some breeds of cattle have milk that is very similar in composition to goat milk. Dexter cattle are a good example of this. Many people are able to digest Dexter cow milk easily, while the regular dairy breeds’ milk can present digestion problems. I’d also say the A1 vs. A2 factor comes into play here as well.

    Also, I want to mention that ‘goaty’ tasting milk is more a matter of the mineral intake of the animal, not necessarily how old the milk is. I have raised milk goats for years, and I currently milk my own cows (yes they are A2 Dexters :) ), who are always on organic green pasture, and every once in awhile the milk starts to taste a little ‘cow-y’ (same concept as goaty milk) when, for an example, in spring the grass starts growing rapidly and the mineral composition of the pasture is changing. When that happens, I know that I need to adjust their mineral rations and it fixes it right up. However I don’t feel bad about drinking that cow-y milk in the meantime, because the cows/goats are still eating the same pasture, and the milk is just as fresh and healthful.

    Point being, flavor has more to do with good animal management than how old the milk is or how healthy it is, goat or cow alike.

    Reply
    • Another note on the “goaty” flavor… Our local dairy goat farmers say one of the main reasons for a goaty taste is keeping billy goats on the same property as the milk goats. They have no billy goats on the property and have zero goat taste to their raw goat milk

      Reply
      • having a buck near the doe does make the milk taste weird. but we’ve gotten the goaty flavor even with no buck on the property, and it has always been fixed by adjusting the minerals.

        Reply
        • catz.. how do you adjust the minerals to change the goaty taste? I find this very interesting and would like to know if particular minerals account for what tastes? thanks

          Reply
  5. Brenda Murray Cortez via Facebook May 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Would you trust raw milk from a store? There is an independent natural grocery store not far from my work that has an awesome organic bulk section and a great cheese selection. I noticed a couple of months ago that a small cooler appeared in the cheese section and in that cooler is raw goats milk for sale by the half gallon!

    It is from a local maker of soft goat cheese (I love their cheese!), but I worry a little about the longer chain of distribution might make the raw milk more likely to become contaminated. At the same time, I’d like to support them is making raw milk more available, and it is awfully convenient. What do you think? Would you by raw milk from the store?

    Retail raw milk sales are legal in Oregon, but I NEVER actually seen a store carry raw milk before!

    Reply
  6. Would you trust raw milk from a store? There is an independent natural grocery store not far from my work that has an awesome organic bulk section and a great cheese selection. I noticed a couple of months ago that a small cooler appeared in the cheese section and in that cooler is raw goats milk for sale by the half gallon!

    It is from a local maker of soft goat cheese (I love their cheese!), but I worry a little about the longer chain of distribution might make the raw milk more likely to become contaminated. At the same time, I’d like to support them is making raw milk more available, and it is awfully convenient. What do you think? Would you by raw milk from the store?

    Retail raw milk sales are legal in Oregon, but I NEVER actually seen a store carry raw milk before!

    Reply
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  9. Hi Sarah,

    I’m hoping you can help me. I’ve been trying for weeks now to find a source of 100% grass fed A2 raw milk in the San Francisco bay area, (Oakland to be exact)…I’ve looked online, but I keep running into semantics over feed. Some farms claim to grass feed their cows but not 100% of the times. I’ve seen terms like “dried grass” (hay, I guess) or grass seeds? (sounds like grain to me)…argh! I’m so frustrated and confused.

    I’ve read about a farm in Santa Cruz that supposedly has the only real grass fed A2 cows and I’ve tried contacting them to no avail. I’ve been at this for over a month now…ready to give up the search. Maybe you can give me some leads?

    Reply
    • I may know the place you mean, and they may have already filled up their cow-share list. PM me and I will give you their contact info.

      There’s a point during the year that all pasture is dormant (winter). It is impossible to grass feed year round unless you live in a more temperate climate where it never freezes or the grass is never dormant. Hay feeding is perfectly fine during those times, Hay IS pasture grass, just dried. Also, the idea that you should never ever ever feed your cows anything but green pasture is naive. I’ve spoken to Tim Wightman personally about this (have taken several of his courses when he travels out this way), and he says he is always having this conversation with Sally Fallon about the subject. I believe Sally has actually changed her stance on it as well because of his influence. Ultimately, you cannot have a healthy dairy animal on only pasture. The mineral/vitamin make-up of that field grass is insufficient and the health of your animal suffers, and an un-healthy animal equals un-healthy milk. It is perfectly reasonable, and actually adviseable to use mostly pasture, with supplemental feeding of hay, and yes even some grain or sprouts, to balance their diet and maintain a healthy rumen. This also gives farmers the opportunity to add in the minerals and supplements the cows need in order to sustain a healthy life.

      Point being, animals who are only on pasture and nothing else are not ideal, and not very healthy. I would look for a place that has A2 cows, organic, non pesticide, non-GMO methods, and incorporates quality pasture and good mineral management into their regimen. That is much more valuable and will give you a much higher quality product.

      Reply
  10. I live in Portland, Oregon and it is deemed legal to sell raw farm fresh goat milk at the co-op, which I buy and drink weekly at $9.00 per half gallon. Raw cow milk, however, is still not sold in store because it is not “legal.” So in my case, goat milk is available but not cow and I wonder why?? I know things vary from state to state but I’m curious if anyone has any insight.

    Reply
  11. SteveandPaula Runyan via Facebook March 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    To me, the best difference is that goat milk is easier to digest, especially for those with poor gut health and for little ones.

    Reply
  12. I have tried goat milk 3 different times as a doctor told me that I was allergic to cow’s milk. Each time I tried it it made me sick and I couldn’t digest it, kept burping it up. I have never had any problem digesting cow’s milk so that is what I prefer.

    Reply
  13. Lisa Olson via Facebook November 13, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I wish I liked goat. I really have tried (numerous products even). I just can’t get over the odd taste. (I can do goat butter though.)

    Reply
  14. I thought they both tasted amazing and only have a preference toward goat’s milk because I’ve read that it’s easier for us to digest than cow’s milk and is closer to human milk than any other animal milk. But, as far as taste goes, they both taste fantastic to me.

    Reply
  15. Julie Bass Cross via Facebook November 13, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Jennifer, you haven’t had the right goat’s milk. I love both cow and goat milk, but we have our own goat that we milk twice a day and it is such a blessing.

    Reply
  16. Valerie Goodrich Esparza via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    My 9 month old son is on a homemade raw goat milk formula due to his VERY severe cows milk allergy.

    Reply
  17. I have a cow share which supplies me with A2 milk and a goat share as well. I like them both. This takes care of everyone in the family’s needs and give me the ability to make various cheeses. I plan to learn to make a few difference kinds of cheese from each milk this winter.

    Reply
  18. Sarah Nelson Miller via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I prefer goat but it’s difficult to obtain here so we are drinking Jersey milk. That is very good, too.

    Reply
  19. Well, all I can say is I can’t handle raw cow’s milk (will get a stomach ache soon after drinking) yet I have no reaction AT ALL to my own Alpine goat’s raw milk.

    Reply
  20. Suzanne Gagnon via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    We raise goats and drink raw goat’s milk for most of the year. When our girls are dry, we drink raw cow milk. We much prefer the goat milk.. it is what we are used to. It has more flavor, and we find cow milk to taste kind of greasy by comparison.

    Reply
  21. Becki Miller via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    For those who don’t like the taste of goat milk. There are several reasons it may taste “off”. It should have a clean sweet taste just like cow milk. Never goaty. But because the fat is naturally in smaller globules it is more delicate and needs to be treated gently. It must be cooled quickly and kept cold as well. Also, the health of the animal and what their feed is plays a part. For example, if they are deficient in minerals and vitamins the milk can taste off. :)

    Reply
  22. Naomi K. Fournier via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I like both goat and cow milk. If I choose one type for drinking fresh, I would choose cows’ milk, but if I choose one type for cheese making, I would choose goats’ milk.

    Reply
  23. Rachel Budman-Burke via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I was just about to ask if anybody drinks raw sheep milk and saw Deniz Jones post. Sheep milk cheese and yogurt are so much easier to digest than cow and goat.

    Reply
  24. Robin Patton via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    My son has an allergy to cow’s milk, so we buy fresh goat milk. We tried the store-bought goat milk and found it disgusting! Now the whole family drinks it … even my son’s friends! They don’t even know it’s not cow’s milk. :)

    Reply
  25. Jennifer Bertani Walley via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    We keep both animals because I like both for different reasons. I cant’ stand “goaty” tasting milk – but fresh goat milk is my preference over cow’s milk. I actually think it has LESS taste than cow’s milk, almost no taste at all – just a creamy sweetness. But I don’t like it after a few days. I like cow’s milk for it’s cream – butter, ice cream, alfredo sauces – yum! I also like that one cow will give plenty of milk for our large family.

    Reply
  26. Hi Sarah,
    I just wanted to thank you for doing all that you do to get this information out to people. I have added so many changes to my diet/lifestyle as well as my husbands, and we both feel the benefits from doing so. We still have work to do, but we are getting there. I did have a ? regarding raw milk and fertility? My husband and I have been trying to concieve for about 2 years. I have been drinking two to four glasses of raw milk a day for the last year or so and feel great. I have read in some circles that milk can be congesting and create inflammation,etc…..causing issues with concieving. Is there any truth to this? As I have been trying to follow WAPF guidelines for pregnancy/breastfeeding. I am not doing everything on the list yet, but have used it as a resource as I continue to fine tune my diet. Many people I talk to first say to stay away from raw milk period and second say to minimize dairy as a tool to help one concieve. I have been a bit confused over this and thought you may be able to shed some light on this topic. Thanks again.

    p.s.
    Your recent article on giving up caffeine urged me to once again try to kick the addiction. I have now been caffeine free for almost 8 weeks and so incredibly thankful for the positive changes I am experiencing. Thanks again.

    Reply
  27. We have both goats and Dexter cows. We prefer the goat and so do the cats lol! A great nephew was here last summer and was told by his mother he needed to drink some milk. He asked me what the goat milk tasted like so I told him “milk”. He turned up his nose, but gave it a try anyway. Looked at me with a confused look and says “Aunt Sandi, it tastes like milk”. Well DUH! Strong tasting goat milk is usually from feeding them grain and/or having the buck in the same pasture as the does in our experience. The goat milk also makes wonderfully moisturizing soap.

    Reply
  28. Theresa Lynn via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I prefer cow, but I pay a ridiculous $14 per gallon for it!!! I can’t find it any cheaper in the part of So Cal I live in. Raw goat milk is even more.

    Reply
  29. We have dairy goats and a Brown Swiss milk cow. Our goat’s milk has always tasted fine, but I still prefer the cow’s milk for all the cream… It’s a bummer to be milking the goats 2x/day and still be having to buy butter/cream!

    Reply
  30. Robin Kelman via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I had nubian goats for years and we drank mostly raw goat. Now drink both raw goat or cow from friends. The major factor in taste for either is the feed/grasses taste, cleanliness and quick milk chilling. I can’t tolerate any pasturized milk. I switched to more cow due to nutrient defiencies and it has helped along with alot of other changes.

    Reply
  31. In our natural medical practice we recommend raw goat’s milk to babies coming off the breast as the smaller molecular structure seems more easily assimable. I love both, but just wrote a book about doing a 35 day raw goat’s milk cleanse. I’d love it if you would peruse it and perhaps provide me with a testimonial. Thanks for encouraging us all to eat/live more naturally.

    Reply
  32. Nicole Belsky Moore via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Goats milk is the closest to human therefore more easily digested. I just started experimenting with goats milk cheese and my children loved it!

    Reply
  33. Licia Harry via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I want to like goat milk, I really do. But it just has that grassy taste that I can’t get past. Our dairy share cow (just one old girl) has the best tasting milk, I’ll stick with her for now.

    Reply
  34. Kacee Wheeland Burke via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    We have a few dairy goats and I was skeptical about the flavor of their milk before I tried it (we bought them before I ever drank goats milk) and it doesn’t taste any different than cows milk. Our goats are on pasture during the day and hay at night. They are dry now because we put them with the meat goats and buck to breed and rest during winter. I totally agree diet plays a role in flavor.

    Reply
  35. Abby Brimm via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    To those who don’t like the taste of goats milk, the taste will vary depending on what the goat is eating. If the goats are eating the right stuff the milk won’t be bitter.

    Reply
  36. ..i only have a source for goat milk here in raleigh nc & it never tastes “goaty”. it has a very fresh taste with a hint of sweetness. i see the goats every time i pick up & they are very well cared for & allowed out to get fresh grass & romp around. they are a type of dwarf goat & they say the milk has more cream than regular goats.

    Reply
  37. David Schafranka via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    An old dairyman from the 30′s told me that raw goat’s milk would help TB patients get better and that if it didn’t after 30 days then he gave it to them for free.

    Reply
  38. I can’t tolerate cow’s milk – even raw, so goat is better for me. I am lucky to have access to a dairy where I can get both raw and fresh. I just don’t really drink milk anymore but I do love goat cheese and have on my list to experiment with making goat’s milk cottage cheese.

    Reply
  39. Rebecca Hauptman Cashman via Facebook November 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I love the taste of raw cow milk, I use Jersey cow milk…. I get it for $2.50 per gallon. The raw goat milk is $10 per gallon. No thank you! And the lady who sells the raw goat milk tells everyone how it is bad to drink cow’s milk, that it causes mucus, etc. even raw cow milk. So I printed out an article for her on the differences of A1 type milk, and A2 type milk.

    Reply
  40. Almost every source I find on the internet states how goat milk is better than cow milk. I just wanted to see both sides of the argument fairly. Unfortunately, the article seems a bit biased towards cow milk since maybe you and most of your family prefer cow milk. There are a lot of advantages of goat milk that you missed out on such as their higher nutritional content of minerals and vitamins and even more. The lower price of cow milk that you stated as an advantage however proves that goat milk is actually more valuable than cow milk. I personally prefer cow milk since the goat milk taste is pretty strong and I find it difficult to drink.

    Reply
  41. I know this is an old post, but I am a recent convert to having my OWN milk goats and I have to say that I LOVE the taste! Cleanliness in the process and chilling quickly are an absolute necessity to get really good tasting milk! Also, I work at a hospital in a Rehab with lots of senior citizens and I can’t tell you how many have told me stories of cow milk allergies (raw) from when they grew up on a farm, and had to get goats milk for digestibilty! In fact, several said that they had siblings whose survival was directly linked to goats milk! Amazing! (nothing against cows!) We have those also, but this has been my experience! Just FYI!

    Reply
  42. Milk handling is not the only thing that effects the taste of goat milk! Their health, what they eat, if they are near a buck and mineral deficiency such a copper and selenium, as well as vitamin deficiency can all effect the quality of the milk. Most feeds and mineral supplements (even ones labeled for goats) are not sufficient for them.
    I grew up on raw cow milk but had an allergy that was remedied by raw goat milk instead. I still do not tolerate raw cow milk well. Guess it just varies from person to person.

    Reply
  43. Pingback: Q & A: July 24th, 2011 | CHEESESLAVE

  44. Oh, the goat milk stories I can tell. :-) But I’ll spare you and just tell a couple. LOL! We’ve been breeding and using dairy goats for over 30 years (used to show, etc., too) so we’ve been using goat milk a long time. Our sons grew up on it (one is now 6’2″ and the other 6’4″). But we also have cows and we use cow milk, too (raw cow milk all of our lives, even before goats). I prefer doing butter with the cow milk cream because it’s just easier to get off of the milk even though we do have cream separators. They are messy to clean up so I just get cream off the cow milk. My husband discovered years ago that when he drinks the goat milk, he becomes desensitized to the poison ivy/sumac. He used to react something horrible – just walking through woods and he would break out when no one else does and blister something awful. I’ve had times where I had to lead him around like a blind man because he broke out on his face and his eyes were swollen shut (from logging in the woods with our mules). It is truly awful. The goats eat the ivy and he drinks the milk and he doesn’t break out as long as he’s doing that. Earlier this spring he had the goats shut up so they weren’t able to wander the woods like normal (we have hundreds of acres around us). He had a job he did for a friend and he broke out (not real bad, tho). The first time in years. So he turned the goats loose again and he’s been doing fine so far. He also tells me that he can tell a difference in his energy level between the cow and goat milk – the goat milk is better, he says. His work is very physical and he’s pushing 60 years old (we have our 40 acre homestead and a trash pickup business, both of which involve a lot of picking up heavy things all day). If he notices a difference, I believe him. We have a friend who used to suffer from migraines and ulcers. Doctors didn’t think he’s was going to live to be very old and he was very thin. He met us and then got some goats and started drinking the goat milk. Next thing we knew, he was buying reg. dairy goats and showing and was looking better. He told me later that his migraines had stopped and his ulcers were gone after he started drinking the goat milk, and that was why he jumped into the goats so seriously. That was back in the 80′s. Today he is still alive, still showing goats, and on his second wife…he outlived the first one. He’s getting up there in years as he older than us. Another goat showing friend (and if there’s anyone on here who knows anything about the Nubian breed they will recognize the herd name Price O the Field) was born into an Amish family. She was premature and sickly and her mother had no milk. They raised her on goat’s milk and she credits it with saving her life. When she married, she had 12 children, including two sets of identical twin girls – and not one complication with pregnancy, etc. Of course, she and her husband had Nubian goats. Those kids grew up on goat milk and now most of the grandkids are, too. I have lots more stories of people who had health issues resolved or were infants raised on goat milk. Nothing added to the milk, either. I believe that what the goats are eating also affects its benefits. They are browsers, not grazers, and tend to not pick up parasites as easily if they aren’t forced to graze by lack of browse. They also eat the bark on trees where the minerals are at (like a deer). They eat vines/ivy with oils that you will not get in cow’s milk. Tests that have been done on goats milk have not included milk that was from goats roaming woods like our’s do and getting a huge variety of above-ground plant life. As we know that grassfed beef is better for you and different from commercial beef from feedlots, same for the milk….what you feed MATTERS. And those studies were not done with browsing goats, but with hay/alfalfa/commercial feed/etc. goats, you can just about bet on it because finding a truly browsing herd to test is not easy to do. One other thing about goat milk, they utilize their beta-carotene better than cows and that’s why their milk is so white while cow milk (especially milk like Jersey) has a yellow shade to it. Now, that’s for cows grazing, not commercial dairy cows in lots. Their milk will be whiter ’cause they’re not getting the green stuff in a pasture. As for our cows, I can taste the *cow* in their milk and smell it. I can tell the difference between the two milks by looking at them and smelling them. Goat milk should be the sweetest, best tasting milk you’ve ever had. If it is off-flavored, something is wrong – our experience has been wormy goats have goaty flavored milk. Milking *clean* is also a must for good tasting milk….and getting that milk COLD as soon as possible makes a huge difference. We don’t feed any commercial feeds/corn/etc. to our goats – they get a handful of whole oats on the milk stand and that’s it (just to reward them for getting on the stand). In the winter they get some alfalfa hay (and sometimes we have ryegrass/wheat pastures for them to eat on in the winters). And they browse year round. We eat our goats, too. This is BROWSING goat meat and is not the same as goats being fattened on commercial feeds, corn, etc. which most are. Just like with the beef/bison/chickens/etc. We don’t “fatten” our goats before butchering. They all run together in the woods until the day they are butchered. They are basically eating the same diet out there as the wild deer are. We eat a lot of goat meat. The stew meat is tender and mild and I love cooking with it.

    Reply
  45. Do you have a list of raw goats milk sources in Wisconsin? If I use Goats milk instead of raw milk in the formula does that mean that I also take out the whey and cream that I get from the raw milk?

    Reply
  46. Some goats milk has a cream line. I don’t know if it means it is less homogonized than “regular” goats milk of if it just has a lot more cream. I get my goats milk in 2 qt jars and it will sometimes have 3-4 inches of cream at the top of the jar. Even more than the jersey cows milk we get.

    You also didn’t talk about the A1 vs A2 issue. Goats milk is only ever A2 milk but cows milk may be A1 or a mixture of A1 and A2. No breed guarantees A2 milk although some are more likely than others to have it. Since my children’s milk allergies have been healed on GAPS they still can’t tolerate cows milk except very occasionally as cheese or as kefired cream. My older dd with ASD is the most affected by the cows milk.

    Reply
  47. I can’t wait to have a pregnancy on my real food diet. I know the morning sickness and excessive bleeding postpartum were results of my inferior diet.
    Also, I want to respectfully point out (as this can be a touchy subject) that the ideal food for human infants is human milk. The WHO recommends as a 2nd alternative to the mother’s milk is a donor’s milk. Human Milk 4 Human Babies is now a global network of moms who are literally saving lives with their donation of breastmilk!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Crystal, the reason I don’t promote breastmilk donor banks is that the vast majority of breastfeeding Moms do not follow a Real Food diet and hence their breastmilk is inferior to homemade baby formula from grassfed cows. Sad but true. I breastfed my own children for extended periods of time (over 3 years ) and am a strong advocate of breastfeeding, yet I would NEVER have used a donor breastmilk bank for my children had I not been able to breastfeed. I would have made my own homemade formula from cows on unsprayed pasture. Just too risky that the Mom donating the milk ate fast food, drank coffee, took over the counter meds or whatever. WAY too risky.

      Reply
  48. Sarah,
    Just want to tell you that I appreciate all the time you take to provide this wonderful website for all of us! It is very helpful to me and for the health of my family! Hope God blesses you with many healthy years.
    Thanks,
    Jean

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

      Hi Jean, you are very welcome! :) It really means a lot when folks email and tell me how much the info is helping them navigate the minefield of misleading health info out there.

      Reply
  49. Just wondering if you had a reference for the B6/morning sickness connection you made mention of. I have several friends who are dealing with morning sickness and would like to provide them with some information. Also, I know several of them (okay all) will not drink raw milk when they are pregnant bc…well…their doctor told them not too. Just wondering if there are additional sources for B6 that you could also recommend?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Emily, I cannot remember where I read this. Probably one of the many pregnancy books I’ve read but can’t remember which one. I did tons of raw dairy while I was pregnant with my second and third children. Don’t know what I would have done without it! Nothing else worked like the raw milk for my nausea! I even tried B6 supplements to no avail. Supplements in isolation are not a good idea generally speaking anyway. I question how well any of that stuff is digested. Obviously not very well in my case .. so glad the raw milk was available.

      Reply
      • I was also given B6 for my morning sickness (synthetic, of course) but it didn’t help at all. I found alfalfa pills much more helpful. I took about 6 tablets each day, broken up into small pieces so that I could gulp them down. Helped me with the regularity issues, too :) More recently I’ve started taking Dr. Ben Kim’s vitamin B supplement (Folate, B6, B12 with food cofactors that aren’t known or measured) which all food-derived and I notice a huge difference in how I feel taking it. I’ve run out and now feel very run down. It also doesn’t turn my urine bright yellow so I know I’m not flushing unused synthetic vitamins out of my system like I notice when taking those. I’v thought that might be helpful to mothers suffering from morning sickness. Not planning to test that theory out on myself though :)

        Reply
  50. We have dairy goats! It’s been six years now since we moved to our farm and began drinking raw goat’s milk. Delicious! It’s all in how you handle the milk and how clean things are. GM is very delicate. I must say that we are much healthier, with strong immune systems and fantastic teeth! Our goats browse, eat quality hay and are fed whole grains while milking (no soy, no corn, no preservatives, etc). Pound (of feed) for pound (of milk) a goat out produces a cow, is cleaner and easier to manage. We had a cute little Jersey cow for a year but much prefer the goats and their milk over the cow. Our milk is never goaty and keeps well for 10 days (although it never lasts that long!). :o) Mind you, we do have a milking routine, grooming the goat, cleaning the udder, milking into a sanitized SS bucket, straining the milk (KEY!) into sanitized glass jars and cooling as quickly as possible in an ice bath. Clean, clean, clean! We make great cheese, yogurt, kefir and ice cream, too! Most favorite is a tall glass of chocolate milk after finishing chores in this heat!

    Reply
    • Susie, I second what you do! It almost sounds like something I would say. I agree, it’s milk handling. Plus I also think that pasturization does soemthing to the milk, though not sure on that one. Being in Illinois, in order to sell any dairy products, it has to be pasturized unless aged for 60 days. I don’t have that sort of equipment to make that kind of cheese, but as long as it is fresh milk, it is wonderful. Milk also picks up odors easily and it can pick up the barn odor! Must keep it covered (I milk by hand) between girls.

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  51. The milk of the Nubian goats is sweet, and I like it..But the milk of the Sannon goats is goaty tasting and I do not like it.

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  52. I am so excited to find out that i will be able to get raw cows milk soon..I have been getting goats milk but I actually prefer cows because sometimes it did have that goaty taste and at other times it didnt. I guess its hard to get use to if it is not goaty all the time. Patience and searching has paid off

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  53. The raw goats milk i get from a friend from her amazingly healthy goats actually does form a small cream top if you let it sit in the fridge for 5 days! :)

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  54. Sarah, (or readers) do you know much about sheep’s milk? We are interested in getting a hair sheep for milking. I hear that the milk has a very high percentage of butter fat (yum!), but that it also is “naturally homogenized” and would require either a cream separator, or a lot of patience in waiting for a cream line. Pros and cons, for sure!

    Reply
  55. Hi

    Great topic.
    Besides what has been said above, I have been told that goat milk is good, but can be very stimulating. It’s good if you are an athlete, or have a high work load, but maybe not for someone who just has a regular day.
    If you observe a cow, then generally they are quite placid, where as the goat is mostly a little ‘wired’, or more active than the cow. This seems to come through in the milk.
    I have not had the personal experience in this instance, so feedback would be good.
    I now drink a fair amount of raw milk now, after thinking for over 20 years that I had a dairy intolerance. But it was only a commercial dairy intolerance.
    I find that drinking the milk at room temp. is much easier on the stomach than cold. Also for those attempting to return to drinking milk, just start with small amounts each day, to allow your system to get used to it. Usually after a 2 weeks, the body’s system would have settled into it.

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  56. I keep 2 Nubian goats for their milk. It tastes wonderful. “Goatiness” comes from poor milking practices, pehaps from eating strong herbs, etc., and I have been told that some breeds naturally produce strong milk. In the winter when we have to drink cow milk, my 10 year old says it tastes “watery.”

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  57. I just love that your child is asking which is healthier. It gives me great hope that those of us out there feeding our children well, may be inspiring a new generation of healthy eaters, despite the overwhelming numbers of obese, and generally un-healthy people in the US.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi April, I agree that we parents who are making the effort to teach our children today will in fact change the food system tomorrow because our children will demand it and changes come more easily to a later generation for some reason. Our healthy children will also be the leaders of tomorrow as many children raised on junk today will be too sick to be productive citizens. Sad but true.

      Reply
  58. Really great info. Thank you for this article, I would only add:

    Relative to the A1/A2 cow controversy, there is an amino acid called BCM 7 causing the opiate effect to both cows and humans in A1 cows and related to a host of illnesses/issues and is not found in goat’s milk.

    Reply
      • The organic dairyman I know started switching his cows over due to this A1/A2 thing. All I could smell was a money trail so I tried to follow it and this is what I found. There is a company in Australia, a biotech company that is held by stockholders. If what I read was correct and I may be entirely off base and wrong here, but this compnay was having financial issues and then all of a sudden “discovered” these differences in cows. Well now they have developed the genetics to correct this “problem”. The writings I found all stemmed from this company in one way or another. I’m very leary of this thinking regarding the genetics of the cows. If I’m wrong here, someone please correct me.

        We own a Jersey and she is totally amazing in milking. I also milk goats, Nubians. I chose the animals for the higher butterfat content. I do prefer the cow’s milk over goat, but as long as the goat milk is less than a week old, it’s very good. I hate that goaty taste and that will be found in all store bought goat products. I even tasted a local goat creamery cheese at a farmer’s market here and it was disgusting. I find it so distasteful, that I throw it away. So I make my own goat cheese and the family cant get enough of it. I miss my butter from the cow, though.

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  59. I am curious about your egg recommendation for babies starting at 4 months old. Most babies do not tolerate solids until 6 months or later b/c their system is set up to only receive breastmilk until that time. Why would anyone suggest feeding a child younger than six months a solid food, especially one that can trigger severe allergies? I am not sure there would be any benefits to this at all. Better to breastfeed until babies tongue thrust instinct goes away and he/she is ready to eat solids on his own.

    Reply
      • Neither is rice cereal but it’s the most commonly recommended first “solid.” Solid foods are any food besides breastmilk (or formula).

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    • Melanie, I know it can seem hard to believe, but a GREAT first “food” for babies 4 months and up is liquid egg yolk (egg added to boiling water for 4 minutes and liquid yolk spoon fed or added to bottle). This is due to the fact that liquid egg yolks are easy to digest, loaded with DHA, choline, vitamin A, vitamin D, and cholesterol which are all critical for brain and nervous system development of babies. A very important note, I’ve noticed babies CAN have reactions to egg yolks at 4-7 months depending on the hen’s diet. The least allergenic eggs are from pastured hens fed NO soy or gmo-corn. This means buying “organic” eggs is not sufficient. You’ll need to look for a farmer or a co-op in your area who pastures his animals and ask about their diet. You can read more about “sacred traditional foods” for babies in this WAPF article: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/2040-sacred-foods-for-exceptionally-healthy-babies-and-parents-too
      as well as this article on First Baby Foods: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/317-nourishing-a-growing-baby

      Reply
      • Personally I would only try egg yolks if my baby didn’t show any signs of food intolerance (reflux, blood in stool, colicky or very gassy) and I, as the mother, didn’t have any history of food intolerances, allergies, eczema, digestive troubles, etc. I have friends who used that as their baby’s first food at about 7 months old with no problems. I also have a nephew who had all sorts of food intolerances while breastfeeding and when starting solids. After a year old he had a small sip of some chicken bone broth that I’d made with egg shells (pastured) added with the bones and broke out in a rash around his mouth. Another friend of mine has been to the emergency room twice with her son and carries an epi pen everywhere because of his egg allergy. My friend eats well and doesn’t have any apparent food issues of her own but does struggle with environmental allergies and occasional eczema. I would not want my first attempt at solids to involve an ambulance ride to the ER. I realize it’s rare, but it’s definitely worth really looking at your health and your child’s health and considering if you have increased chance of reaction before offering a food that is on the list of top food allergies.

        Reply
      • Right, Annika. Raw eggs yolks are very easily assimilated by the body and require almost no digestion. Hence their use, along with pre-chewed raw liver, as baby’s first food by populations around the world for eons.

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  60. In reading this about cow and goat milk I wonder if perhaps I might tolerate goat milk. A few years ago I learned that I am intolerant of casein in cow milk. If I read correctly, casein does not appear to be in goat milk, maybe I could tolerate that. I have noticed the “goaty” taste of goat milk before and thought that was just the way goat milk tasted so I never had anymore. Perhaps I should try some good quality goat milk. I really miss my cow milk though…….

    Reply
    • There is most definitely casein in goat milk. It is a different form of casein protein than is in most cow milk though. You may not react but you may. I’d suggest mare’s milk before goat milk for someone who is intolerant of cow milk as the casein protein in mare’s milk is completely different from the casein found in bovines.

      Reply
  61. Goat’s milk is best for young children and is a better substitute for mother’s milk of almost ALL species than cow’s milk. It does not need supplementation. Goat’s milk is much more delicate than cow’s milk and would not sustain the rough handling than comes from retail situations. It affects the flavor of cow milk too…but people are used to the taste of older cow milk.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Jenny, I understand that some folks feel goat milk is a better choice for babies and small children, but I have a different perspective as the low levels of B12, B6 and zero folic acid in goat’s milk is a real issue which is why the WAPF recommends adding grated raw liver to milk based formula made with goat’s milk. This problem is also mentioned in the Feeding Babies and Children Chapter of Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.

      Reply
  62. Why is raw goat’s milk not as available, at least here in my county of California, than raw cow’s milk? We have Organic Pastures in most of our small mom and pop natural foods stores, not the big chains like Sprouts and Whole Foods, but never see raw goat’s milk, just pasteurized. I’d love to try it even though my experience was pretty awful joining a CSA who briefly sold it. It was super “goaty!” I guess that means it was old, or not stored cold enough? Maybe the goats were eating foul herbs or grasses? Anyway, anyone in California have it raw in their stores?

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I really don’t know what’s going on in CA with raw goat milk not being too available. I am in Florida. There is certainly a lot of variability in the how easy it is to obtain based on the geographical area. Goat milk farmers are typically very small scale producers, so perhaps the land is so expensive in CA that most folks don’t have a few acres with which to run a few goats?

      Reply
    • If you are close to the bay area, you can join this coop and buy a share to get raw goat milk, or get it directly from the farm. I went up there to try it and the milk was sweet and smooth. The farmers are super friendly and nice. This milk gets goatier tasting as the days roll by. Day one nothing. Day four something, day 7 goaty, but still no where as unpalatable as the store bought stuff. http://www.liveearthfarm.net/GoatShareProgram.pdf

      Reply
    • I am looking for raw goat’s milk in CA too. I develop a cow-milk protein allergy during my pregnancies, so I am looking to switch to goat milk until I’m postpartum. So far I’ve been able to tolerate goat milk and cheese with no problem. I was told by a friend, who milks her own goats, that it is illegal to sell raw goats milk in CA. I’m not 100% on that, but looking into a CO-OP or getting “shares” in an animal is a good option if you can find it. My friend with the goats suggested posting an ad on the bulletin board of the local feed store, that is how a lady found and started getting milk from her.
      Banana\’s last post: Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day -A Review

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    • The small health food stores in our area (LA and Ventura counties) that sell raw cows milk sell raw goats milk too. Claravale Farm is the Dairy that sells it here.

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  63. I’m curious on your thoughts about radiation form Japan and milk right now? I know they have levels of radiation in cow milk in Ca.Az,Wa and few otherstates. These findings where w couple of months ago but I wonder If it’s “safe” now? The plant is still out of control and the US is right in it’s pathway. I don’t hear much about it anymore which is scary. Just curious on your thoughts about the radiation and dairy.

    Reply
  64. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama July 5, 2011 at 10:23 am

    We had considered goat milk (which I’m told is available raw nearby) before we found our raw cow’s milk source. My kids were “allergic” to cow’s milk when they were little, but GAPS and switching to raw fixed that. (They can even tolerate pasteurized now if we are away from home temporarily, though most of the time we are just at my ILs and they have raw too.) I was concerned about the lack of B12 though especially when they were young, though I suppose since they eat a lot of grass-fed beef that it really isn’t that big an issue (that was a first food for my son, he loved to eat the ground beef in bits when he was 8 or 9 months).

    Reply
  65. Also I forgot to mention, I make her milk into kefir beige giving it to her, she was spitting up a lot and I figured she was having issues digesting with even the little pasteurization of my good milk source.

    Reply
    • Rhiannon,
      I had issues with my breastmilk (or lack there of) so we have been giving our son goat milk since birth. We do add some “things” to it to increase vitiman content and he does very well on it. He rarely spits up, isn’t gassy and he does not experience constipation like he did when I gave him canned formula (even organic). I breastfed as much as I could and suplimented with the goatmilk until 7 months when I weaned and went to all goat milk. He has not experienced any issues and is 50% height/weight at the dr’s. They lecture me when we go about raw milk, blah, blah, blah…I just nod my head and smile.

      Reply
      • Danielle,

        What do you add to the goat milk when you give it to your baby? My baby is on the best (in my opinion) commercially available organic formula (Nature’s One). She does well on it. But I am really interested in giving her raw milk for the many benefits it has. But most of what I read and hear is to wait until 1 year old to give whole milk. My baby is almost 8 months old.

        Reply
  66. I have a question, I’m making the infant formula for my baby and have been since we adopted her a 3 days old. My local source for cows milk is gone, their facility had an explosion. It was grassfed Holstein cows, lightly pasteurized to sell legally and not homogenized. My only other choice will be another local brandthat I’m not sure the cows diet is grass only, it is pasteurized and homogenized. I could possibly find raw goats milk though, which would be the better option? She is now 1 and only having two bottles a day.

    Reply

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