Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Our family drinks goat's milk and we love it. We made the switch to goat’s milk about two years ago. When we decided to buy our own Nubian does so we had our own fresh supply of goat milk we got a lot of puzzled looks and questions. Not many people in our sphere of influence drink goat’s milk so we have a great opportunity to educate those we come in contact with about the benefits.
Before we decided on a breed we did our homework and tried milk from many different breeds. We liked the taste of Nubian milk because of the high butterfat content. Higher butterfat content makes the milk taste sweeter.
Some dairy goat breeds have qualities that make their milk better for cheese making. Their milk usually has a much stronger (and maybe even unpleasant) taste. If you’re interested in learning about the different breeds we suggest doing your homework as well. There are many helpful articles like “Choosing a Dairy Goat Breed” that outline the pros and cons of each breed.
So why do we drink goat’s milk and not cow’s milk? We have four main reasons:
1. Lactose Intolerance and Cow's Milk Allergies are a Problem in Our Family
Why does this matter for us? Goat’s milk is about 10% lower in lactose (milk sugar) than cow’s milk. While that doesn’t sound like a significant amount it’s a big enough difference that lactose intolerant people typically thrive on goat’s milk, which is the case for our family.
Although no one is really sure why, it’s possible that goat’s milk is digested and absorbed more efficiently, so there’s not any lactose left undigested which causes all those nasty reactions.
Keep in mind that lactose intolerance is different than a cow’s milk allergy (CMA). CMA is a protein allergy, while lactose intolerance is sensitivity to a carbohydrate.
2. Goat Milk Has More Nutrients and Fatty Acids
In Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones he states, “When compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk delivers a powerful nutritional punch: One glass contains 13 percent more calcium, 25 percent more vitamin B6, 47 percent more vitamin A, 134 percent more potassium, and 3 times more niacin. Results of a 2007 University of Granada study found that it may also be better at preventing iron deficiencies and mineral losses in bones.”
Buettner also states that a daily glass of goat’s milk plays a part in the longevity of the people of Sardinia. He states, “Research at the University of Sassari is looking at the question of whether proteins and fatty acids in Sardinian goat milk may help protect people from the typical diseases of aging such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.”
3. Goat’s Milk is Easier to Digest than Cow’s Milk
How could that be? Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules and higher levels of medium chain fatty acids. This basically means that it’s much easier to digest and easier on your tummy! It also means that goat’s milk is naturally homogenized. Because the fat globules are smaller it doesn’t separate like cow’s milk, which equates to less processing and a more natural product. Goat’s milk is also lacking an alpha casein protein that cow’s milk has, which can trigger digestion trouble for some people.
4. Buying Goat's Milk Supports Small Producers
We have our own Nubian dairy goats, but there are times when we’ve had to buy goat’s milk. It’s a great feeling to know when we buy our milk we’re supporting our neighbors and community. Because we live Wyoming we can legally buy raw milk directly from producers under the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. If you can’t purchase raw milk in your state there are other possibilities like owning a share of goat.
We’ve found that the two main reasons people give for not trying or drinking goat’s milk is because they’re afraid it will taste like a billy goat smells or they tried it once and didn’t like it. It’s the same thing with store bought goat milk, it doesn’t compare to fresh unpasteurized milk.
Don’t let one bad experience discourage you from enjoying goat’s milk. Your health and tummy will thank you for it.
Jason and Amanda Brengle and their two daughters live on 20 irrigated acres outside of Cody, Wyoming. Jason has more than 15 years of professional natural resource, vegetation, rangeland management, invasive species management and rangeland restoration experience and Amanda has more than 9 years of experience in prevention and wellness program and nonprofit management. Together they own The Happy Cowgirl, where they blog and offer freelance writing services and small acreage consultation. Read all of their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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