I never really wondered what it meant to be lactose intolerant until it happened to me and I had to deal with it. Looking back the signs were always there, my body letting me know that something was not quite right, but all signs were ignored.
The most common question I get is so what happens when you have dairy? There are those that just think you are making it up or the classic one “it’s in my head”, believe me when I say rushing to the toilet is not some sort of hobby of mine. What is lactose intolerance? It is the inability to digest lactose (sugar) in dairy products.
There is no cure yet, so the problem is I do not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to properly digest all the lactose in products. Typically experience symptoms 15 minutes to two hours after consuming dairy, abdominal cramps, bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea and borborygmus (rumbling or gurgling sounds in the stomach) and it is loud almost as if there is a monster in your tummy like the Roald Dahl classic.Ages ago I had a mozzarella salad and noticed I felt ill within a few minutes, so I just always avoided eating that cheese and didn’t give it a second thought. A trip to the doctors forced me to make a complete lifestyle change for my own good, it was a bit of a challenge at first partly because it wasn’t enough to just eliminate products I assumed had dairy, as it turns out the ones I thought didn’t have it actually did.So, I started re-educating myself and mostly reading a lot of labels on what is in the things I loved to eat. I opted to include as many vegan meals as I could manage, I am not fully vegan but like to mix it up a little. These days most supermarkets have a section in one of the aisles dedicated to dairy, wheat and gluten-free products but they can be costly. Wholefoods or Realfoods has many options as well I get nutritional yeast from there for when I make butternut squash carbonara.
Lots of substitutes have been made but it doesn’t matter I am enjoying being inventive and creative what I eat now, which has become easier over time with a diary free hashtag and all the recipes that come with it, as well as my trusted spiralizer making things interesting. My favourite thing to make is breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day and as much as there are many oat combinations out there my favourite one is blueberry and strawberry with a drizzle of honey.
Directions: Microwave or cook as desired, scatter fruits on top of cooked oats, drizzle some honey and enjoy.
Instead of thinking of it as a burden I have embraced it and always ask what dairy free options a restaurant has when I go out to eat.