Disclaimer: This conversation is made possible through The Motherhood blogger network in partnership with Lactaid. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.
My battle with Lactose intolerance has been ongoing for over 20 years. It began before I was a month old and I “outgrew” it by the time I was one. Unfortunately, with my first pregnancy came a renewed lactose intolerance. Fast forward to today. Both my daughter and I are lactose intolerant. When my lactose intolerance again became apparent, I chose Lactaid products because they made the most sense to me. Unlike the other options, Lactaid dairy products are 100% real dairy! So I wasn’t surprised to find out that celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian chose to be a spokesperson for Lactaid because her family loved it too. It made me even more excited to speak with Melissa and registered dietitian Michelle Harrington, Lactaid Regulatory and Nutritional Affairs Manager. I was surprised by how similar our experiences were and how much I learned from both Melissa and Michelle.
From meeting with my doctor I knew that I was lactose-intolerant, but beyond that I didn’t really know the facts. For instance, What is Lactose? Lactose is the major carbohydrate in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Lactose (milk sugar) consists of two simple sugars – glucose and galactose. Lactose must be broken down into these individual simple sugars via the enzyme lactase.
So what does it mean that I’m Lactose-Intolerant? People who are Lactose-Intolerant lack sufficient production of the lactase enzyme to break down the lactose. Everyone has different levels of lactose intolerance. For example, mine is more severe than my daughters. People experience a range of reactions from eating dairy products. If I even drink a half a glass of milk I feel like my stomach is being tied in knots. Where as if my daughter can have an occasional glass and feel fine.
Lactaid helps people with lactose-intolerance by providing the lactase that the body can’t produce enough of, thereby helping it break down the lactose. They have an extensive range or products including Milks, Cottage Cheese, Ice Cream and Eggnog. In addition to making life with Lactose-Intolerance a breeze Lactaid has so many other great features. For instance, all flavors of ice cream except for Cookies & Cream are gluten free! Lactaid provides 500 mg of calcium in each 8 oz glass, that half of the recommended daily allowance. Plus, Lactaid Chocolate milk is made with NO high fructose corn syrup.
As I was listening to Melissa d’Arabian speak about her families experience with lactose intolerance I found that we both ran into a reoccurring question. How does Lactose-Intolerance affect your life? Both of our families contain members who are lactose intolerant and members who are not. People tend to think this creates a challenge in our life. I wish I could elaborate, or share a bunch of tips on coping with lactose-intolerance but the honest answer is just simple. The thing is, lactose-intolerance isn’t a life changer, just a game changer. So my honest, simple answer? I just use Lactaid! The problem begins and ends there. I swap out dairy products with Lactaid products, cup for cup in my recipes. That’s it. There isn’t anymore. I enjoy ice cream, milk, and cottage cheese. I just use Lactaid products. If I’m eating out I take a Lactaid Fast Act.
Tips for eating with Lactose Intolerance:
- Many lactose-intolerant people find that yogurt doesn’t bother them
- Yogurt has live and active cultures in it that help digest the lactose
- Greek yogurt has double the protein and fewer carbs, which means less lactose and easier to digest
- If tolerated, yogurt is a great way to get nutrients and calcium needed in an everyday diet!
- Rule of thumb for eating cheese: the harder the cheese, the less moisture or whey in it—as a result, the less lactose in it
- Always choose the aged cheeses, as they are lower in lactose
- Aged Cheddar, Gruyère, Pecorino and Swiss cheeses will have less lactose in them
Melissa suggests introducing these aged cheeses back into your family’s diets in small amounts to see how much they and/or you are able to tolerate.
Important note: if someone who is lactose intolerant consumes products containing lactose on an empty stomach, they will be more prone not to tolerate it. Eating lactose with other food will help you digest it more easily
Check out Melissa d’Arabian on the Today Show making lactose-free blueberry muffins.