Are you lactose intolerant?

August 27, 2012

My favorite ice cream growing up was mint and strawberry flavored. I used to love going to Cold Stone Creamery on my cheat days and splurge on some concoction mixed with kit kats, snickers and anything with chocolate. I don’t remember any true summer that didn’t include a trip to Thrifty to get an ice cream cone for 75 cents.

I don’t know how it happened or developed, but right around my mid-twenties I started feeling bloated after I ate ice cream. When I say bloated, I mean, my stomach felt like there was a balloon inside and it just inflated and WOULDN’T go down! All of a sudden, eating ice cream or drinking milk made my stomach tender and painful.

Not all dairy makes me feel terrible though. Sometimes I can tolerate cheese (which I don’t really eat anyways) and yogurt. In general, I try to avoid it entirely.

A lot of people have told me to take a lactose pill so I can eat ice cream.  Some of my friends are also intolerant and use that to cope with their stomach problems.

They are also all overweight.

I have found that if my body says NO to something…then I need to follow it.

I’m not going to take high blood pressure pills, if my heart rate is too high.

I’m not going to take insulin if my sugar is out of control.

And I’m not going to take lactose pills if I can’t eat dairy.

If you listen to your body often, you will hear what makes it feel good…most often, what makes it feel good is lots of clean water, unprocessed foods, lots of sleep and moderate exercise.

While I knew that eating ice cream hurt my belly, it took YEARS for me to quit. It took years for me to quit dairy, diet sodas, energy drinks and sugar-free gum. While there was ALWAYS a negative effect almost immediately after consumption, it took years for me to finally choose to not want to deal with it anymore. This is an example of how changing is difficult, that it takes time, and that it often takes years – even for those who are seemingly so disciplined.

So why am I writing about dairy today?

Because after my photoshoot on Saturday we stopped by a Starbucks. In my maturity I knew I didn’t want a huge cheeseburger as a ‘reward’. I just wanted a soy, vanilla latte. My husband ordered a chai latte, which he encouraged me to try. And so I did.

An hour later I was laying in bed, in a fetal position and massaging my tender belly. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I was in so much pain. I reviewed everything I ate (which was not a lot) that day: a banana, almonds, latte, chai latte… and then it hit me! Did that chai latte have milk in it?

Turns out it did.

If you are lactose intolerant, here are common symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas


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