Lactose intolerance. Ugly term, yes. But understanding what it means can save you a heck of a lot of tummy aches. So what is it? Being lactose intolerant means you have a reduced ability, or an inability, to properly digest lactose - which is the natural sugar found it milk.
And if you've ever asked yourself if you might be lactose intolerant, I can let you know with at least some confidence the answer: PROBABLY. That's right, you are probably lactose intolerant, whether you know it or not. The reason for this is because I'm assuming if you're reading this, you're a human - and statistically most humans have a decreased ability to properly digest lactose. Some studies will say 75% of the world, some will say 65% of the world, but most people on this planet are at least somewhat lactose intolerant... and that's just what's been reported.
Studies show as much as 75% of the world may be lactose intolerant. Here's an image that shows that.
Anyways, I had a lactose intolerance test when I was in 7th grade. Weird flex, I know. But it legit changed my life. As for the test itself, it was just atrocious. Imagine you're pretty sure something gives you a terrible stomach ache (like 95% sure it's that thing) and then a FREAKING DOCTOR is like "just to make sure this is really causing your terrible stomach ache, drink a ton of that exact thing so we can see for sure." 🤔 Like really? Is there no better way to test Mr. Doctor Man? Jk jk. But yeah - I'm lactose intolerant.
Did I really need the test? Uh... maybe? But in my opinion, probably not. So if you don't want to head into the doc, here are 3 easy ways to tell if you're at least somewhat lactose intolerant.
HOW TO TEST IF YOU'RE LACTOSE INTOLERANT
1. Drink only lactose free milk for a few weeks and see how ya feel
Seems pretty easy, right? This is far and away one of the easiest ways to tell if you're lactose intolerant. Regular milk has a ton of lactose compared to other products, and if you simply cut that out of your diet, and feel at all better... voilà! You have your answer.
And remember, lactose intolerance affects everyone differently. Even if you don't have tons of stomach aches or severe symptoms drinking regular milk these days, give this a try. You might just notice you feel better in a couple weeks - which means that you're just a lil' lacto intolerento.
2. Cheese-a-holic? Keep it to aged-Cheddar or Swiss for a few weeks.
I know there are some people out there that would sleep with an IV of cheese going into their veins if they could, regardless of the consequences. For me - yeah I like it, but I don't NEED it. I spent most of my life avoiding it, but after years of practice, I now know how to eat it as a lacto-intolerino. Aged-Cheddar and Swiss only have trace amounts of lactose. So try a few weeks sticking to these two when it comes to your cheese fix... and see if you notice any changes in the way you feel.
^ "Omg this is my heaven" - like half of you people right now
3. Shamelessly take a Lactase Enzyme pill with all dairy products for a few weeks
Ok so this can make people feel a little awk (I still don't really get why), but honestly who cares what people think. And this could be a game changer for you.
The lactase enzyme is literally just a little (usually white) pill you can get in packs at most pharmacies and grocery stores. All it does is help breakdown lactose in your stomach... so if you take it when you consume lactose, the idea is it can reduce or prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance. The lactAse enzyme helps with lactOse intolerance. Easy enough to remember, yeah?
But for a couple weeks, try taking these lactase enzymes with your dairy products, and really listen to your body. See if it helps at all, in any way. I pretty much always have these pills on me - just in case. You never know when you're gonna stumble on a perfectly fresh piece of strawberry cheesecake - ya know? Gotta always be ready.
If you try one of these above and feel even a little bit better, welcome to the club! You're a lacto intolerento. In other words, you, my friend, are lactose intolerant. But worry not! It's not hard living with lactose intolerance these days, there are tons of delish offerings.
Written by Manny Lubin, Co-Founder at Slate Milk.
PS - these are just suggestions based on my research and personal experiences. I'm light years from being a doctor.