Sunday, August 16, 2009

Up to the Hype: Goat's Milk

When it was time to start Reid on another form of milk once I weaned him from breastfeeding, we chose goat's milk. I breastfed Reid for an entire year and he has never had a drop of formula. There were a few times, after he turned 6 months old, when I hadn't pumped enough or I wasn't home from work where he did have a few goat's milk bottles, but as far as milk and formula goes he had exclusively breast milk for one year and two weeks. Reid has always really liked goat's milk, but I have tried it myself and I don't think it's too tasty (warning: it smells awful), but that could be because I've always been used to cow's milk.

And you say... Why goat's milk?

Some of you may know that I'm a family nurse practitioner and the nurse practitioner that I work for is very knowledgeable about integrative and alternative healthcare (she's currently working on her doctorate and is doing a huge research project on Vitamin D- we check a ton of Vitamin D levels in my practice). We have a vitamin shop in our clinic and practice holistic, nutritional medicine integrated with conventional medicine. I'm just beginning my integrative/alternative journey and I have a LOT to learn (as I didn't learn much about any of this in school), but I can say that I'm fascinated by the differences that I see in people's health with nutritional change and supplements. Children with behavioral problems, irritability, and hyperactivity can make tremendous progress with nutritional intervention. This is the background I am coming from so back to the goat's milk question. My grandmother took my dad to a gastrointestinal specialist when he was a child (over 40 years ago) and he said to her, "Do you know what cow's milk is good for?" And she replied, "What?" and he said, "baby cows." Dairy products are some of the most allergenic "foods" and children can have reactions to cow's milk including skin rashes, respiratory allergies (sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes), abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, reflux, fatigue, headaches, irritability (these are common symptoms of most food allergies). Now I know what you are thinking...millions of people drink cow's milk all the time. And yes, this is true. I'm not saying that cow's milk is terrible and that all people have reactions to it, but I chose goat's milk because it is more closely related to human's milk.

Facts about goat's milk:

-contains a little more fat than cow's milk (10 grams compared to 8 grams in whole cow's milk)
-does not contain agglutinin making it easier to digest
-contains more essential fatty acids
-forms a softer curd so more rapidly digested
-only trace amonts of alpha-S1, allergenic casein protein in cow's milk
-slightly lower levels of lactose (better for those who are lactose-intolerant)
-13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B6, 47% more vitamin A, and three times more niacin
-more antioxidants, 27% more selenium
Goat's milk has been used for years for children with digestive issues and sensitive stomachs, but it should not be used as a substitute for breastmilk or formula. Soy milks are not very nutritious and most soy now is genetically engineered. Rice milk is a great choice for adults, but does not contain the nutrients or fat that growing children need.

Important to know about goat's milk:

Goat's milk contains a lot LESS vitamin B12 and folic acid than does cow's milk so it must be supplemented with folic acid. Be sure is you're buying goat's milk that it is supplemented with these important nutrients, as most brands usually are. I read lots of articles and books by Dr. Sears, a well-known pediatrician that is really big on nutrition, and he recommends the brand Meyenberg. Meyenberg is natural and is free of bovine growth hormones. This is the brand that we use and is available at Wal-Mart. It comes in a purple carton and costs about $3.50 for a quart.

For more information see the following links:

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we'll try substituting Bub's Cow milk with Goat milk! Thanks for the info Kelli Ann!