Damn you, lactose.

I’m lactose intolerant and it makes me sad.  I love a big glass of chocolate milk (who doesn’t?) but I’ll spare you the details and just say that it ain’t pretty.  I also love ice cream but it makes me slightly queasy.  Sometimes I’m a trooper and I suffer through the quease anyway.

The thing is, a lot of people use the term “lactose intolerant” to mean a complete abandonment of all things dairy, when they probably mean to say that they have a dairy allergy.  The two are not the same thing.  Fermented dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, actually contain no lactose.  The lactose is gobbled up by bacteria during the fermentation process, so if you’re having issues with cheese and yogurt, the lactose isn’t your problem.  If you’re having issues with anything dairy-related, then you actually have a dairy allergy or sensitivity.

So while chocolate milk isn’t an option for me, I’m happy that I can have all the yogurt and cheese that I want.  This is fortunate, because I eat a disproportionate amount of yogurt and cheese, given my size (petite) and cultural group (Asian). 

My current favourite thing is Olympic organic probiotic french vanilla yogurt, which tastes just like ice cream.  I eat it in the mornings with Granola King hazelnut hemp granola.  Even better than their tastiness, both are local, organic products.

Also, you can’t go wrong with St. Agur blue cheese.  Served with a little bit of ripe Bartlett pear or a fig compote, it’s really delicious.

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4 responses to “Damn you, lactose.

  1. I thought there was medication for people who are lactose intolerant? hm, guess not. How sad!

    I once did a cleanse where I cut out dairy, sugar and wheat. I thought the wheat would make me really sad but it was the dairy that did it!

  2. thewelltemperedchocolatier

    There are options: you can take lactase pills, which supply the enzyme that digests lactose. That requires a bit of foresight that my food cravings don’t usually permit.

    I went on a kick where I drank lactose-free milk. It has lactase added to it, so it tastes a bit sweeter than normal milk, but it’s also really expensive. I’ve switched to fortified soy milk, which is just fine for my cereal.

  3. actually I believe there is still lactose in cheese and yoghurt. Cheese has less lactose than milk but not zero. Yoghurt also has lactose.

    Kefir is the bomb. If you are lactose intolerant and have trouble with yoghurt then try it out. It is healthier for your gut and you can make it at home easily if you get some kefir starter from someone with a good kefir grain.

  4. thewelltemperedchocolatier

    Pat, I’m going to have to do more reading on the saga of cheese, yogurt and lactose. It has a lot to do with the specific method of fermentation and who’s making it. Some companies actually add milk solids back into their yogurt, while others don’t. And while yogurt does contain trace lactose, there is often bacterial lactase (the digesting enzyme) in the whole mix, which would help in digestion.

    As far as cheese, the older the cheese, the less lactose. Beyond that, there are so many variables that it’s hard to say.

    I’m going to go out and buy some kefir now.

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