Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A farewell to milk | Lactose-free lifestyle

Growing up I didn't hear much about lactose intolerance. There were occasional mentions on TV, but I never really given much attention to the subject.

My grandma used to say that she had trouble digesting milk, but I just thought "must be an elderly issue"... Plus, she always pourred a dash of milk in her tea.

In my early twenties, I experienced my first symptoms. I could swear my appendix had bursted. It was such a sharp pain and I looked overly bloated all of a sudden.
Most of the times I just felt sick and bloated. The pain fluctuated, depending on what I ate and how much. After a few months, I discovered that I had lactase deficiency, a.k.a. the enzyme that digests lactose.

Let's just say that cheese and ice cream are a no-no. They're the worst! Of course, besides the obvious dairy-based products, I found out that lactose was in most processed foods and "hidden" in a lot of dishes — just think about Italian food!
What I am able to digest is natural or greek yogurt. I believe the probiotics help with lactose digestion.

Luckily, there are lactose-free alternatives nowadays: milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, butter and yogurt. Other alternatives are based on soy, oats or almonds. I suggest testing a little bit of everything.
Pay attention to what you can actually digest (some people just have trouble with milk) and try new products, until you find something  you like. And if you just can't live without the real deal, there's always Lactaid Fast Act!

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