It's the holiday season here in the United States, and a condition that I've had in the past for, at the most, six months at a time, has become completely chronic.
I'm now lactose intolerant.
In the past, when my system's been out of whack, I've had to avoid richer milk products to avoid spending way too much time sitting on the porcelain throne. But eventually, I usually was able to return to my regularly scheduled cheese, ice cream, and miscellaneous products. So when it hit me about nine months ago, at the age of 27, I thought if I simply waited it out, I'd be back to normal.
Well, not this time. Nine months later, I can't even have a spoonful of green bean casserole unless I want to be homebound for about 48 hours--even if I take a dose of Lactaid at just the right moment. And it's taken my well-intentioned mother nearly this entire time to start reading labels before donating food to my personal pantry (and even then... oy!), and this month has been the first one in over a year when I haven't had to use copious amounts of air freshener in the bathroom.
Now, I love me some milk products, so this has been a rather difficult transition. But some research and experimentation has led me to conclude that, with a little extra effort, there can be life after lactose. More and more companies are producing products that remove the lactose from the milk or making products that use real alternatives to milk without sacrificing taste and that don't cost significantly more than normal lactose-laced products (because I don't know about you, but I barely make ends meet as it is without having to consider a specialized diet!)
This past week was Thanksgiving, and for once, Mom thought ahead and looked up a recipe online for pumpkin pie that did not use milk, and much to her and my surprise--it tasted the same! I'll be sharing that recipe in the near future.
Now, I'm just starting to be proactive about finding lactose alternatives, and living in a smaller city (Springfield, Missouri), there aren't always some of the products available that are more easily found in St. Louis, Kansas City, and some of the coastal area. So, I'm going to be sharing my newfound recipes and products, reviewing them here, and passing the information along to you. There may be other food-related posts as well. But I can't do this alone...
So what can you do? If you encounter a well-priced store, product, a recipe, or a milk alternative technique that is truly comparable to the real thing, send it to me! Tell me where you found it, the price (or price to make), and tell me about your experience. I'll share it here, and eventually, I hope we'll have a splendid little Life After Lactose community and the comfort in knowing that we're not alone!
So send your submissions to Niki at HoldingOntoTheMagic dot com. Tell me your name and your website/blog, so I can give you credit, and any other helpful information. Photos, links, and other media can help readers get a better idea what we're talking about, so don't be shy about sending those along.
Check back soon for recipes, products, store reviews, and more!