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Cow vs. Goat and Sheep’s Milk: Which is better?

A lot of my recipes are dairy-free, and I often encourage my clients to cut out dairy, at least for a little bit, if they’re looking to figure out food sens
Nov 3, 2016 | Joy McCarthy

A lot of my recipes are dairy-free, and I often encourage my clients to cut out dairy, at least for a little bit, if they’re looking to figure out food sensitivities or heal a particular issue like eczema or IBS, but that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to cut out dairy forever! While I love using nut milks in my smoothies and baking, it’s safe to say that I love cheese. In fact, I probably love cheese more than Oprah loves bread! The problem isn’t with dairy itself, but often that we’re eating the wrong type of dairy for our bodies.

Twenty-five percent of the North American population is lactose intolerant, so those people will have to steer clear of dairy altogether. Sorry! But other people who might not be lactose intolerant can still develop sensitivities to dairy, and for them, the problem is often that they’re consuming the wrong kind of dairy. You guys may be in luck, cheese may still be on the menu!

We’re taught very early on that milk comes from cows, but it comes from goats and sheep as well!

In fact, in so many ways, goats and sheep are a healthier source of dairy. Here are a few reasons why:

Easier to Digest

The fat globules in goat and sheep’s milk are smaller than the ones in cow’s milk, and therefore easier to digest. Goat’s milk is also lower in the lactose sugars that can be difficult for some people to digest.

Less Inflammatory and Allergenic

For people who aren’t lactose intolerant, but have a dairy allergy, the culprit is often the A1 type of casein protein found in cow’s milk. Goat and sheep’s milk contains the A2 type of casein protein, which is far less inflammatory and closer to the proteins found in human breast milk (the only dairy everybody is specifically designed to handle), so it’s way less likely to trigger allergies and inflammation.

More Nutrient-Dense

One of the things that often worries people about goat and sheep dairy is that it’s higher in fat, but as I’ve said before, fat’s fine as long as it’s a healthy type of fat, which is exactly what you’ll find in goat and sheep’s milk: medium-chain triglycerides that actually help boost your body’s metabolism!

One of the main reasons we were told to drink our milk growing up was for calcium, but goat and sheep’s milk is even higher in this important mineral. Goat’s milk is also higher in zinc and selenium, while sheep’s milk is higher in vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate and magnesium than either cow or goat’s milk. Even better, many of the nutrients in goat and sheep’s milk, like calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, are more bioavailable, which means they’re easier for your body to absorb and use.

So try swapping traditional cow dairy for goat or sheep’s milk! You can also try goat and sheep’s milk kefir and yogurts to add the benefits of fermented foods to your dairy. And if you’re not a milk drinker, remember that there are tons of different delicious goat and sheep cheeses out there to try, as well as goat milk ice cream!

But no matter what dairy option you choose, remember that it’s super important to choose organic.

It’'s important with all animal products to choose organic and/or grass-fed and grass-finished whenever possible because any antibiotics, pesticides or herbicides that the animals are exposed to will get concentrated in their meat and milk, and then you’'ll absorb them too! Also, organically raised animals result in fewer chemicals making their way into the environment, so they’'re better for the planet too. 


Walker, Vienna and I definitely have our favourite dairy products but in moderation. I love sheep's milk yogurt in my smoothies and hard sheep cheese on a kale salad, we add organic goat milk to Vienna's smoothies and Walker LOVES cheese -- all cheese. He doesn't really discriminate, haha!

I hope this helps you in your quest for feeling your best!

Joyous health to you,


Nov 3, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
Colleen Short   •   November 4, 2016

Where can I find Goat or Sheep Milk please . My Husband has been having trouble for years and we just realized about 8 months ago that his problems stopped when he stopped drinking milk and anything else Dairy .

Heather Allen   •   November 4, 2016

Blair   •   November 8, 2016

can you taste the difference between goat/sheep/cow milk?

Heather Allen   •   November 9, 2016

Helen   •   November 9, 2016

This was a very interesting article. We have been using goat milk at home for a number of years now but used mostly in our coffee. We are not milk drinkers. We are big cheese and yogurt lovers but we normally have cow's milk products though we do like goat cheese in it various forms. I do suffer from chronic eczema and have heard diary can be a culprit but my love of cheese is just too great. Would turning to all goat milk cheese and yogurt help?

Heather Allen   •   November 9, 2016

Nicole   •   November 16, 2016

I have tried goat's milk and I really don't like the taste, but I do love goat cheese!


Kelly   •   August 23, 2017

This is really helpful. We're not big milk drinkers, but my 2yr old does like goat milk. Where we live, I can find local goat milk, but there is no organic goat milk at all. Would we be better off to switch to organic cow milk for our little guy? He's not a fan of almond milk and I like the nutrients of goat milk. Thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   August 28, 2017

Chip   •   September 23, 2017

I really love feta cheese. But couldn't eat it too often as I end up bleeding... Drinking coffee would send me bleeding on the toilet.. I used to lose between half a liter to a liter of blood a week. Doctors done all the tests... told me to avoid dairy. Always anemic and needed iron supplements. Used to buy the iron supplements ladies use. Had this for decades. Didn't stop me from eating feta though.. Or drink coffee. Lol Stubborn But now since I discovered goats feta at Aldi for $7 450g I been eating it like mad. I love also has culture in it. And after each and every meal I take a probiotic and a handful of berries... as they are packed with antioxidants. And I drink lots of water. I feel better than ever before. Fantastic actually. Lost 12kg in a month without even trying. I only cut out the bread unfortunately... love it so much. 😞 I used to eat 12 French rolls a day.... Empty.... Couldn't touch yogurt... diarrhea for days... like water. Real bad. Psoriasis is even gone... and my GORD (huge indigestion probleA's) is at bay... no more bloating, no more my stomach ending up in my mouth in bed at night .....etc. it feels unreal. My skin improved dramatically... Didn't notice until people couldn't stop complimenting Amazing.... I hope this will help others. Thank you.

Rachel Molenda   •   September 25, 2017

Veronica   •   November 21, 2017

We’re we live I can’t find organic goat Keifer there the only thing I can find is regular goat keifer Redwood Hill farm but there also Lifeway organic keifer that’s is organic and grass fed

Rachel Molenda   •   November 22, 2017

Joy W. McCarthy   •   January 4, 2018

Thank you for the comparison. I just purchased a sheep yogurt from our Food Coop. It was delicious. It was my first time in trying this brand of yogurt. The company is Bellwether Farms, California. The yogurt was creamy and wasn't tart flavor. I like the idea sheep yogurt is healthy than cow yogurt. Regards, Joy ( my name is the same as yours)

Rachel Molenda   •   January 5, 2018

Veronica   •   February 13, 2018

What brAnd or goat or sheep cheese are good

Rachel Molenda   •   February 14, 2018

Leah   •   February 25, 2018

I have an allergy to casein. How can I determine if it is A1 or A2 or both?

Rachel Molenda   •   February 26, 2018

Amanda   •   September 25, 2018

What brand of organic sheeps milk and cheese do you use because I cant find it anywhere?

Joy McCarthy   •   September 26, 2018

Vesna   •   April 10, 2019

I give my son goats milk, he’s a little older now so he’s drinking the 2% goats which doesn’t come in organic. Only the 3.25% does...any suggestions ? Or is there an organic 2% I am not aware about...?

Joy McCarthy   •   April 11, 2019

Vesna   •   April 11, 2019

Thank you! Yes I had him on hewitts from awhile, it is 3.25%. His pediatrician said I could start giving him 2% but there is no organic one in 2% unfortunately.

Joy McCarthy   •   April 12, 2019

Peter Kalmus   •   August 11, 2020

where do you get Sheep's milk?

Joy McCarthy   •   August 13, 2020

Peter Kalmus   •   August 21, 2020

where can I get sheep's milk?

Joy McCarthy   •   August 21, 2020

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