Goats vs. Cows (Milk): You might not know what you're missing
When I was 18 years old, I ended up in Urgent Care because every time I ate, I got sick. I dropped a lot of weight in a very short period of time. After several tests for bacteria and parasites, the doctors found that I was severely allergic to lactose. Herein was the answer to a childhood filled with pain and sickness. I couldn’t digest it. It would ferment inside of me and when it went bad, I would get really sick. They didn’t have to tell me twice!
It’s not easy being allergic to dairy or being lactose-intolerant. Even in this amazing society and time that we live in with all kinds of foods prepared without common allergens, how’s a girl going to enjoy a slice of pizza? Soy cheese just doesn’t cut it! Add a gluten-intolerance on top of it and you have frustration with food choices! Do you want to know what the sad thing is? Most people are allergic (or sensitive) to both dairy and gluten and they don’t even know it. They suffer from a host of digestive upsets, inflammation, maybe arthritis, eczema, ear infections, or asthma, and they don’t know that the elimination of these inflammatory and aggravating foods could eliminate their discomfort. Again, that’s an article for another time… but think about it. Are you really feeling WELL? All the time?
What I want to tell you about is the beauty of goat’s milk. I was scared to try goat cheese, though my craving for cheese had gotten more and more intense. Those who know me know that I really listen to my cravings and satisfy them, lest I deprive myself (shudder). So, I had soy cheese and almond cheese and they’re okay. I guess. But I wanted flavor! Sharpness, tartness, texture! Venturing into a Whole Foods one day, I picked out a goat cheese and asked for a sample. It was amazing. (It was called Drunken Goat Cheese, by the way.) I bought some. As all food allergy tests go, I ate some and waited three days for a reaction. Nothing. I ate it again and waited three days. I was loving this! Almost a year later, I happily eat goat cheese many times a week and love it!
I have SO MANY dairy alternatives for almost any cow’s dairy you crave, but I really want to address the health benefits of goat’s milk and why it’s a great alternative!
For one, it’s considered the “superior alternative” for children and adults rather than milk (Pitchford, 2002). On a global scale, goat’s milk is consumed more than cow’s milk. Our society is just different in that it prefers cow’s milk. Revered in Egypt, Greek mythology, China, France, and much of Europe, goat’s milk has a long history of health benefits and purity. And for some this may be news, but low-fat and non-fat dairy products are really refined and denatured, not giving your body what it needs. These products are missing the fat and enzymes that are necessary for calcium absorption. So, yes, dairy contains a lot of calcium; just make sure it has the fat so that you can actually absorb it! So if you choose the cow over the goat, please opt for full-fat, organic and non-homogenized. (Why not homogenized? It can set up the scene for fatty deposits on the arteries due to the entrance of the enzyme xanthine oxidase into the vascular system.)
Across many cultures, goat’s milk has been used to treat many conditions:
- Weakened conditions
- Convalescent conditions
- Stomach ulcers
- Nervous exhaustion
- Loss of energy
- Enriching intestinal flora (relieving constipation)
Making the Case for the Goat:
Cleanliness. If you can’t afford the organic milk products at the market, goat dairy is a great alternative because goats are generally more clean and healthy than cows, which means that they are not given antibiotics or other drugs like cows are given regularly.
Mucus. Most people know that consuming cow’s dairy when sick will increase the mucus production and isn’t advisable. However, this isn’t the case for goat’s dairy, which has a unique astringency that prevents (most) mucus formation!
Weight. Goat’s milk normalizes body weight for both under- and over-weight individuals.
Digestion. People with digestive troubles who avoid dairy (usually while avoiding gluten as well) experience a lot of freedom from these problem; gas, bloating, and diarrhea just being a handful of them. The structure of the fat in goat’s milk is more digestible, naturally homogenized, and contains more nutrients than cow’s milk. Where cow’s milk has a harder curd with large fat globules, goat’s milk has softer curd and smaller fat globules, which equals greater digestibility.
Nutrients. Goat’s milk is ten (10) times higher in fluorine, which build immunity, strengthens bones, protects teeth and unfortunately, is lost during pasteurization. I know there is a lot of fear around raw milk products, but consider it, if you are so inclined!
What to Expect!
What to expect: Goat’s milk should taste slightly sweet and maybe a little salty. It should be as fresh as possible and kept cold and sealed at all times. Try to get it fresh and maybe local (at your farmer’s market or local goat’s farm). It makes great yogurts, completely replaces cow’s milk in all instances, and the cheeses from goat’s milk vary from hard to soft, creamy to crumbled making additions to soups, salads, and snacks a breeze! One of our friend takes a soft Chevre goat cheese, slices it, coats it with cornmeal and pan fries before adding to salad. What a treat!
In Peace & Health,
Get more free resources from Theresa Singleton, MA at http://www.freedomfromdiets.com!
Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA.
Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books: New York, NY.