Joyous Blog

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

Nov 3, 2016 BY 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. 

Promo Block

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

Hi Colleen. It's available at most health food stores and even some major grocery chains like Loblaws in their organic section. Good luck with it :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

Blair   •   November 8, 2016

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

Heather Allen   •   November 9, 2016

Hey Blair. Cow's milk is very mild/creamy while goat's milk is slightly more tangy and sheep's is fairly neutral. Let us know what you think if you try them :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

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

Hi Helen. Great question. While sheep & goat's milk is easier to digest etc., they may still be a trigger for your eczema symptoms. The best way to determine if it is an issue for you would be to eliminate all forms of dairy (cow,sheep, goat) for a period of time (3 weeks or so) and then reintroduce it and see how you feel/react. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous Health Team

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

I would personally stick to goat milk, it's just a lot easier on their tummies to digest. Hope that helps!

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

Hey Chip, Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. We're so happy to hear you are feeling relief from your symptoms and experiencing what Joyous Health is all about! If there's anyway we can support you further with your health journey, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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

Hey Veronica, That's great! The brands will vary depending on where you are but if it's organic and grass-fed, I would say that's a good one to go with! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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

Hey Joy! That's too funny that you have the exact same name. Joy will love to hear that she has a name twin ;) Happy to hear you're enjoying the sheep yogurt! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Veronica   •   February 13, 2018

What brAnd or goat or sheep cheese are good

Rachel Molenda   •   February 14, 2018

Hey Veronica, Joy uses Monteforte Dairy, Woolwich Goat and Baa Farms :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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

Hey Leah, If you have an allergy to casein, I would recommend avoiding both for 3-6 months and then re-introducing, starting with goat/sheep dairy which contains the less-inflammatory A2 casein. You could also look into a food sensitivity test to get this tested :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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

I buy from my local farmers market or health food store. It's Ontario sheep yogurt and one of the brands I buy is Best Baa Farms. 

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