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Aug 29, 2004 09:44 PM

I'm sick of being lactose intolerant

  • r

Ok, so I became lactose intolerant sometime in my thirties. It took over a year for my idiot self to figure out -- a miserable year. I've been "living" with it for about four years now and I'm not happy!

It is so inconsistant for me. One day I can get away with a whole ice cream cone. Another day the mere picture of a cow lays me out for twenty four hours. I know what you're thinking -- its all in my head -- but that doesn't make it any less real.

Yes, I've tried the pills like Lactase. I does not seem to help.

I've learned that aged cheese looses lactose, and I've had some luck with this. (I've got some seven year old cheddar in the fridge right now.)

I've also learned that the bacteria in yoghurt kills off lactose and I've had some success with this.

I'm just wondering how other foodies deal with this. I walk past famous Chicago pizzarias every day with a literal tear in my eye.

It doesn't just affect foods with dairy, it can ruin a whole meal. A hamburger doesn't taste right without cheese along with many other sandwiches. Many dishes fail without sour cream. Entire quisines are near off limits -- I have a hard time at a Mexican restaurant.

I can't eat many of the woderful, syrup drenched breakfast dishes. A half stack of buttermilk pancakes screams for a cold glass of homo. My daughter, this second, is joyfully dunking an Oreo, flagrantly in my view!

I taught my self to like soy milk a little at a time. I started with just a little in my cereal and progressed to where I could drink it from a glass without a grimace. I celebrated the next morning by pulling out the waffle iron. I had a wonderul breakfast and the pure maple syrup and soy milk chaser satisfied. Turned out I'm alllergic to soy also. My entire body broke out in hives and my wind pipe started to constrict. I haven't tried soy again.

Thanks for listening to me whine. I'm sure I could have much worse problems. I just wonder how others deal with it. It's even socially awckward. I need to constantly remind people that I can't eat what they are offering me -- even my own wife can't seem to remember. I know many others suffer from the same but no one in my circle of friends and family shares this condition. Please share your experiences.


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  1. A thought, perhaps you're not actualy lactose intolerant - you could have an issue with the type of fat in cow milk. Give goat milk a try. (Note: Goat milk often can be used by lactose-intolerant people as well.)

    I find it a bit sweeter to drink straight, but if you can digest it, it's a great option for all those milk-based recipes, and there are some wonderful goat-milk cheeses out there too.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ab

      Perhaps the OP has a milk allergy, a reaction to a protein, rather than a lactase or enzyme deficiency.

      If goat's milk causes no problem, it's because the casein (milk protein) in goat milk is much smaller than the casein in cow's milk and so easier to digest. Most hard cheese has no lactose, only young soft cheeses do, and it's a small amount. Most ice cream, also, has no lactose; lactose is a problem in manufacturing (it causes a gritty texture) and manufacturers get rid of it because of that.

      Perhaps a test for milk allergy is in order.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Interesting. Does that mean that the gas attacks my husband gets in the middle of the night after eating ice cream has a different source? Maybe it's the sugar?
        I hate him when he has ice cream after dinner, it doesn't happen after sorbet, which he rarely eats because he was raised German Lutheran, and they're ice-creamophiles genetically. Sorbet doesn't have the same comfort factor. ;-)

        1. re: maria lorraine

          I am curious about your claim that lactose is removed from ice cream. Can you cite any references on this, or which manufacturers do this? Back when i was still prone to eating Ben & Jerry's by the pint, it always caused me gas. I do much better with cultured dairy such as yogurt and cheese and avoid ice cream except in occasional small quantities.

          Francisco Migoya's Frozen Desserts book ( a pretty technical CIA ice cream book) says that if lactose is used in EXCESS it will cause the final product to feel sandy but does not suggest that lactose naturally occurring in milk is excessive. Also: nonfat dry composed of 50% lactose...(NFDM's) contribution to the final product includes mouth feel, body, and the ability to trap air. It helps form the structure of ice creams and sorbets without having to add more fat, and can improve the final products' quality.

          So according to Migoya, the amount of lactose naturally found in milk plus a little extra = good, some amount more than a little extra = sandy.

          1. re: babette feasts

            well don't i wish that were true... no lactose in ice cream?! we lactose intolerant folk wouldn't be complaining so much :)

            1. re: nothingswrong

              There are some lactose free ice creams available in every grocery store where I live in Halifax, NS. The brand depends on the store.

      2. I am both gluten and lactose intolerant. I feel your pain- but.. The wonderful thing about this board is that we learn about so many food choices. Instead of looking at all of the things that I can't have, I think about all of the new things that I get to discover. It makes me a very creative cook- and eater. I refuse to use substitutes like rice crust pizza with soy cheese cause they taste NASTY. Instead I do amazing things with a variety of flours and other ingredients. Enjoy!

        1. A good friend has many intolerances as well... lactose and wheat. As suggested above, many cow intolerant people have no issue with goat cheese. I don't know what your take on soy cheeses are, but most restaurants are happy to accommodate you if you bring your own cheese, i.e. at a pizza parlor. I know it's not the same, but at least you'd get the rest of the pizza in their style. You might also experiment (don't grimace too hard) with the vegan attempts to construct cheeses out of nut products. I know a number of vegan restaurants make a faux cheese. You might Google search vegan cheese recipes. I've linked a site that has non-dairy cheeses.

          Best of luck to you... I can't even imagine how horrible it must be, but I hope you find some good alternatives.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Emme

            The OP mentioned that he's allergic to soy as well.

          2. I too am hopelessly lactose intolerant. Fortunately for me the Lactaid Ultra pills work fine... and believe me, I don't shy away from cream sauces, pizza, ice cream, and above all cheese... all kinds of cheese. The first course for dinner at home last night for some pals was Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce w/Crab, and dessert was AMAZING fresh strawberries in homemade whipped cream and chocolate sauce, appetizers were fried artichoke fritters stuffed with goat cheese and a parmesan crust... entree was marinated tri tip w/jasmine rice snd fresh white corn on the cob... good wine too (Whitehall Lane Reserve, 2001). OK, I'm now officially off track.

            Back on track. But there was a reason for going off track... I wanted to let you know what I ate and what I did to counteract it in a real world scenario, which is not atypical of a most meals for me and my wife...

            I took 2 Lactaid Ultra before eating the appetizer, and one as I was finishing the sauce for the pasta (had to taste) and another 2 before tasting/eating dessert. It seems like a lot of pills, but my physician assures me that it is nearly impossible for me to "OD" on this stuff, as it is basically a naturally occurring enzyme that my body no longer produces enough of, and I have been taking Lactaid for years, with no ill effects at all.

            One thing I have noticed is that if I don't take 2 pills, the lactose intolerance does kick in, so maybe you weren't taking a high enough dose? As always, I would recommend that you definitely check with your physician to make sure this is OK for you before doing anything.

            Additionally, have you considered that it isn't lactose intolerance that you may have? A close friend of ours has IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and his symptoms often very closely mimic lactose intolerance. He finds that when he eats certain foods in certain order/combinations his symptoms are MUCH less severe to nonexistent. One thing I know he does is eat "white starches" first and that alleviates quite a bit of the problem, along with several other things. Again, definitely check with your physician and that may get you some answers.

            Hope this helped and hope you find a way to enjoy the chow!

            1. With respect, and since you seem to be open and scientific, I think you have more research to do.

              Lactose is one element of cow's milk, and is a frequent cause of indigestion. Lactase pills, or the treated milk products, solve that problem. Period.

              If you still have problems then something else is going on. Unfortunately I don't know what.

              You are accurate in that your body may react to the same set of circumstances in various ways on any two days.

              All I really want to convey is that I don't think you have an accurate diagnosis. The symptoms are certainly real, but if Lactaid didn't work, I think that something other than Lactose-intolerace is your problem.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SteveT

                I agree with this 100%. Have you actually been tested for lactose intolerance?

                I also don't mean to downplay your symptoms, but as someone who thought she had lactose intolerance but ended up actually having ulcerative colitis, I always tell people to get checked out by a gastro doctor.