Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lactose Shmacktose....

Hot fudge sundaes, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, vanilla pudding.... You may look at this list and see a selection of decadent desserts the thought of which cause you to start salivating..... I look at this list and see the top four foods that make me shit my pants. I am lactose intolerant.

 It started when I was in college but wasn't actually diagnosed until recently. I NEVER felt good, my stomach always hurt, I was always sick to my stomach, I missed out on a lot of things, canceled plans all the time because I felt so sick. My weight would fluctuate drastically, (dropping below 100lbs at one point) with no rhyme or reason and I could not figure out why. Those who know me well know that I am a bit of a hypochondriac and that I tend to immediately think the worst, so of course I was sure I was dying from stomach cancer. I went to several doctors and no one could find anything wrong with me. Most of them stopped reading my chart at "Occupation: College Student" and immediately told me it was because of stress. Some of them did blood work just to appease me and of course it would always come back normal.

Some days I would be totally fine and others I would lay in bed fighting vomit and drinking Pepto Bismol straight out of the bottle. I was literally going through  a bottle of Pepto every week or so.... which in turn caused other problems. Then came the miraculous invention of Facebook where you can bitch about your aches and pains publicly and people you never speak to face to face can commiserate and dole out "there, theres." I was complaining about not feeling good (it was the day of my son's first birthday party and I was almost too sick to go) and a friend I've know since Kindergarten private messaged me and said, "Hey, this sounds exactly like what was going on with me. Have you ever thought you might be having an issue with dairy?" .....No.....No I hadn't thought of that.....come to think of it, why didn't any of the doctors I've seen over the past few years think of that? At the time dairy was the biggest part of my diet. I had milk with my cereal, cooked with milk, ate cream cheese on my bagels, ate ice cream like it was my job and had more milk with more cereal before I went to bed. I decided to experiment and cut dairy out of my diet. And you know what? It worked. I've been dairy free for three years now and I have not had one episode of nausea/yucky stomach ever since (unless someone poisons me with milk in a recipe because they didn't know).

The thing about being lactose intolerant though, is that some foods don't bother you at all and others turn you into a green, sweaty mess. And it's different for everyone. For me, I can eat yogurt and cheese all day long but all other dairy kills me. One day we were at our local Target which conveniently has a Starbucks located inside. My husband grabbed a coffee, took a sip and starting moaning and making out with his cup, "Ohmygod, it's sooooooo good! Try this!" I took a big gulp and stopped dead in my tracks. Smack smack....smack smack....(<--- this is me smacking my lips trying to discern the "milky" taste in my mouth.) "Matt, what is this?" "A Latte." "Is there milk in it?" "Yes.NO.....Yes. Shit, sorry." My own husband tried to poison me and I got to lay on the couch for the rest of the afternoon in between bouts of flaming diarrhea.

And it's beginning to appear that Shea has also come down with my affliction. He too is having stomach problems, and I've been experimenting with his diet and have found that on days that he doesn't have "real" dairy, he doesn't complain of stomach aches or have "bad potty." The problem here is that now all four of us drink a different kind of milk - costing roughly 15.00 a week at the market.

As you can see, Kellan (doesn't) drink Organic Whole Milk (he is still breastfeeding so when we pour a glass of traitor milk for him, we end up having it spit in our faces and then a sippy cup launched at our heads), Shea drinks Soy milk because soy is good for boys (bad for women) and he doesn't like the taste of Rice or Almond milk. I drink Almond or Rice milk (because soy is bad for women and because cow's milk is you-know-why) and Matt drinks whatever is about to go bad or whatever swill is on sale that week. It's complicated and expensive.... but so is shitting your pants. And because I can handle yogurt, I eat one cup of greek yogurt every morning as soon as I wake up to help regulate my blood sugar, as I am also hypoglycemic (whole different story) and I cook with it - in place of sour cream, cream cheese or buttermilk. But don't cry for me....there are a lot of new alternatives popping up to make my life more tolerable. They have started coming out with coconut milk ice cream, which is amazingly delicious, unlike soy ice cream, which tastes like baby formula vomit. New lactose free yogurt. Crossing my fingers still for an alternative to cream cheese... I miss it so much! But I feel so much better now... dairy is the devil.

 I'm just crossing my fingers that Kellan isn't lactose intolerant as well..... Here he is enjoying a piece of cheese, which at the moment is the only food he will willingly eat.

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