February 9th, 2009

Dig In: Got cow or goat milk? (Greek Style Rice Pudding)

Rice pudding: up close and personal

Photo: Randomduck

A friend who’s toddler kept getting croup recently mentioned that she believes her son has been in much better health (and croup-free) since she switched him to goat’s milk. Fascinated, I started researching the difference between goat’s and cow’s milk.

Goat’s milk is the milk of choice throughout most of the world. And many adults intolerant to cow’s milk can drink goat’s milk, which raises the issue of allergies. Not to mention what many believe is our over-industrialized cow dairy manufacturing, but I’m going to stick to matters of health and nutrition for now.

So what’s the scoop on cow’s milk versus goat’s milk?

What’s the scoop?
While goat’s milk tends to be more easily digested, its composition (not nutritional profile—I’ll get to that in a second) is pretty similar to cow’s milk. One way that goat’s milk is different, though, is that its fat globules don’t cluster the way that they do in cow’s milk. Many, including look very similar at first glance. But there is a meaningful difference. Goat’s milk has greater levels of:

  • vitamin A
  • riboflavin
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • niacin

Awesome. But it also has less:

  • iron
  • zinc
  • B6
  • B12
  • Folate (water soluble vitamin B = folate)
  • Not awesome. Especially for infants.

    So, what’s the bottom line?
    Children under 1 should never be given either milk as an addition to or in lieu of breast milk and/or formula. And children under 3 who are allergic to cow’s milk may also prove to be allergic to goat’s milk.

    But children safely drinking cow’s milk, eating a well balanced diet, and without major health issues may enjoy goat’s milk as an addition to their normal eats and drinks. Or, speak to your pediatrician about replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk if you believe your child’s health may benefit from its different nutritional profile.

    As for me, the one thing I don’t like to eat is goat’s cheese. And, if you ask me, goat’s milk has the same assy flavor. (Yea, I said it.) Isaac, on the other hand, seems to really like goat’s milk. I use it interchangeably with cow’s milk, served chilled in a cup, with cereal, or in this delicious rice pudding (a super simple recipe from my Greek grandma—yiayia).

    Yiayia’s Rice Pudding

    (can be served to kids 12+ mos)

    4 c organic cow or goat milk
    1/2 cup organic basmati rice
    1/4 cup organic agave syrup (the light colored syrup looks better, though the dark tastes just the same)
    2-3 1″ strips fresh organic lemon peel

    1. Heat milk over high heat until almost boiling.

    2. Add rice and bring back to a boil.

    3. Turn heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

    4. Add lemon peel and agave syrup. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so, until creamy consistency.

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2 Responses

  1. chowmama says:

    [...] we really drink on a regular basis in our house, other than milk, is water. We drink so much, in fact, that I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of buying a [...]

  2. candace says:

    I have dairy goats and, if the milk is handled properly (rapid cooling and meticulously clean equipment), the milk is very sweet and does not have an off flavor at all. If you are getting your milk from a farm, you might want to try a different one. If you are getting it from a store, it tastes nothing like fresh. The way that the milk is processed, for distribution, disrupts the delicate milk’s composition, hence giving that “bad” taste.

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