I don't normally post about personal health issues on this blog (because who wants to read about that?), but I've decided writing about them might help someone else — and maybe you can share some ideas that would help me.
About six months ago, I found out that I'm lactose-intolerant. I'd been having stomach pain for years and couldn't figure out what was wrong until Nurse Lauren (my sister) suggested that eating dairy might be the problem and encouraged me to cut it out of my diet to see if it made a difference.
You should know that my family and I LOVE dairy. My mom used to buy about six gallons of milk a week as we were growing up because my dad and two brothers used to pour giant glasses of it with every meal. And while I'm not much of a milk drinker, I love cheese — and I'm like Joey from Friends. I could eat a sandwich for every meal and never get tired of it, and the more cheese, the better.
So since I discovered that I am lactose-intolerant, I'll admit that I have not completely eliminated dairy from my diet. That would be pretty impossible — and it would make me miserable to not eat cheese and ice cream and the foods I love occasionally. But I thought I'd share a few things I have discovered in case you're lactose-intolerant (or just trying to cut back on dairy).
- Lactose-free milk: When I first found out I was lactose-intolerant, I thought, Great. Now I'm going to have to drink soy milk and never taste normal milk again. And I did try soy milk and found that it wasn't too bad. However, the best invention I've found if you're lactose-intolerant is lactose-free milk. It tastes exactly like real dairy milk, but it doesn't send me running for the bathroom. It's also not as expensive as soy milk, and there are plenty of knock-offs so you don't have to pay a premium for the name brand.
- Lactose-free ice cream: I lied. This invention is more exciting than lactose-free milk. While I'm sure there are other brands that offer lactose-free ice cream, the best I've found is Breyer's vanilla bean flavor. It's just as delicious as their normal ice cream, with a perfect vanilla taste and creamy texture. Plus, I get an entire carton of ice cream to myself since Andrew has no problem eating dairy. :)
- Lactaid: I'll admit that I'm not great at taking Lactaid (which is a pill you take with your first bite of dairy), but when I do I am instantly grateful for it. It allows you to digest dairy food properly, which means you don't have to give up the food you love. My problem is that I usually forget to a) bring it with me when we eat out and I need that fettuccine alfredo and b) don't think about taking one when I'm at home. I need to be better at taking it; I always regret eating cheesy/creamy foods afterward.