Who here has a weird relationship with lactose?
Like many of you, we absolutely LOVE the taste of ice cream, cheese, chocolate milk, all that good stuff. But we can’t stand the way they make us feel.
Trust me, we’re not the only ones out there who have a love/hate relationship with lactose. In fact, it’s more common than you think. 65% of Americans are lactose intolerant. Yes, you read that correctly. 65% of people have trouble digesting milk.
We’ve all been in the same position: You eat some cheese paired with a beautiful red wine, or you spend the night hanging with your two best buds, Ben and Jerry, then - boom -- immediate regret. The belly aches ensue. Most people just deal with it until the next time because that’s just “how their body works.” I don’t know about you, but we’re tired of that same excuse!
And for some, reactions to consuming lactose can be extremely painful. The levels of lactose content in a specific food or beverage need to be closely monitored.
But no matter how high or low YOUR intolerance is, it’s important to raise awareness on the topic of lactose intolerance. This leads to our next point: how to know if you’re lactose intolerant.
If after consuming dairy you feel perfectly fine, then you’re one of the lucky ones. However, if you’re like the 65% of us, you might not feel too hot afterwards. This is where you let the professionals step in...
People who are lactose intolerant or suspect to be are advised to see their primary care physician. At the visit, the doctor will give you some options. A hydrogen breath test, a lactose tolerance test, and a stool acidity test are the different methods of testing.
Waiting for the test results… drinking some lactose free chocolate milk...
SO, you finish the test and discover that you are in fact, lactose intolerant. Now what? Well, there are a few different options, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Let’s start with lactose pills. These pills are actually lactase enzyme tablets that allow you to digest lactose properly. They can be purchased over the counter and have no downside whatsoever to taking them.
Another option for those with extreme symptoms is to eliminate lactose entirely. We know… a little scary. But no need to fret. Luckily, we live in a world where the options are endless. Plant based cheese, nut based cheese, lactose free milk, ice cream, mac n’ cheese, pizza. Virtually ANYTHING you want can be made without lactose. Search ‘lactose free’ online and you’ll be able to scroll for days. You also might have fun cooking some new recipes!
The moral of the story is that you should never have to sacrifice your comfort and well-being when there are so many BETTER tasting and BETTER-FOR-YOU options out there. All you have to do is look outside of the dairy aisle.
Cheers to being real,
The Slate Squad
Written by Samantha Okrasinski, Contributing Author