How I Found Out I Was Lactose Intolerant

by bluebirdloves

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose Intolerance is a very common digestive problem, harmless too but can make the person uncomfortable if they have this problem. It is caused when the body cannot digest lactose which is a type of sugar found in all dairy products like cow’s milk, butter, cheese, coffee creamers, etc. It is caused by the deficiency of lactase, an enzyme produced in your small intestine.

What Are The Symptoms?

If you are lactose intolerant, you can experience one or a multiple of these symptoms within minutes to hours of consuming any dairy. Like bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps and sometimes vomiting.

How I Found Out I Was Lactose Intolerant?

Growing up as a Tamilian, morning filter coffees and evening teas are a huge part of our routine. When I eat out, I love ordering pizzas and continental dishes that are loaded with cheese. I had always noticed that I bloat every so often, and I used to develop stomach cramps as soon as I had any milk-based beverage. Until a year back, I didn’t know what was causing this, and I did not pay much heed about it as it was a mere inconvenience. Then one day, I decided not to have any coffee or tea for a week to see if it made any difference to my body. To my surprise, it actually did! I felt so much lighter as there were literally no abdominal cramps or bloating. My skin also started clearing up and felt so much smoother. I had no severe consequences like Leonard from The Big Bang Theory, to begin with so.

Struggles and Dairy Alternatives-

Weaning off cow’s milk was hard enough for me and to top it off I absolutely hated black coffee and tea. Ultimately, I went back to square one drinking regular coffees and teas. In the meantime, I started searching for plant-based milk; it was difficult to find them in India but I found quite a few like Soy (great for coffee, tastes decent, most economical plant-based milk), Almond (love it for teas, slightly expensive than soy milk), Oats-Walnut-Rice combination (loved it, super expensive of all). You can find these on Amazon, BigBasket and most supermarkets around you. There’s a knack to make coffee and tea with plant-based milk and there’s a certain adjustment period for one to get used to non-dairy milk. Now I switch between coffee, tea, and green matcha. Japanese matcha tea is high in caffeine and it tastes better with soy milk than regular teas and coffees.

It is difficult in Chennai restaurants to find vegan dairy alternatives. I occasionally order my favorite pizzas and food with dairy and face the consequences for the next 24 hours because I love food and I cannot resist not eating them. Eagerly waiting for dairy-free options like cheese and butter in the coming years for suffering Indians like me.

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