I’m lactose intolerant, but I refuse to give up dairy

I know I’ve talked about my myriad of health problems before, but here’s one I don’t think I’ve mentioned. I’m lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is “the inability to metabolize lactose, because of a lack of the required enzyme lactase in the digestive system. It is estimated that 75% of adults worldwide show some decrease in lactase activity during adulthood” (Wikipedia).

Basically, when I consume lactose (milk, ice cream, custard, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, etc) I get sick. And not in a good way. I can usually tell within 20 minutes if something is going to make me sick. Yes, it comes on that fast. This ain’t no joking matter.

The biggest culprits (for me) are:

  • Milk: No cream in my coffee, no pudding, no heavy cream, no milk with dinner. Milk is lethal to my digestive system.
  • Ice cream/custard: I rarely crave ice cream, shakes, malts or custard anymore because I don’t want to deal with the repercussions. It’s that bad, people. I’m not one of those girls who wants to go get ice cream on a first date. Been there. Done that. It wasn’t pretty.
  • Yogurt: This one is in the “iffy” category for me. It’s really hit or miss. As long as I don’t have a huge portion of yogurt, I’m usually ok. Usually.
  • Cheese: Cheese is one of those things that it depends on the kind. The harder cheeses, like Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, etc don’t get me sick. If it’s in a small quantity, the softer cheeses (mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, etc) are ok.

How do I get around this, living in the dairy state?

Well, this is hard. I grew up around dairy. My grandfather was a dairy farmer. I love cheese.

I didn’t develop lactose intolerance until I was 20 or so. Apparently, this is very common to develop as a young adult. So I could enjoy all the ice cream, milk, cheese, pudding, custard, etc. that I wanted without the fear of, well, you know.

Now I try to eat dairy in moderation. I stopped drinking milk all together, and have drank Silk (soy milk) for years. If I’m really craving ice cream or custard, I make sure I’m going to be home for the night. Same thing goes for cheesecake.

I’ve used pills like lactaid in the past, but it’s a huge pain to carry those pills around just in case you want some ice cream. It’s a great excuse for not eating those fatty foods! “Sorry guys, I can’t get custard with you, I’m lactose intolerant.” If someone questions it, my response is, “Do you really want to know what happens if I have ice cream? Trust me, you’ll know it when you smell it.”

So, I try to limit the dairy intake and, of course, always know where the nearest bathroom is. 🙂

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