Like most Americans, cheese, milk, butter and anything else that comes from a cow was a part of my daily routine. In fact, most of the time it was the only section of the food pyramid I even cared about. That was until late December of 2015, when I realized I had become lactose intolerant. Sadly my lifestyle change is very new and in turn incredibly hard to adhere to. Interestingly enough, over half of the adult population of the world has some form of lactose intolerance. There are a couple forms of intolerance; some cases make it impossible to be comfortable after having any form of dairy. The lesser cases allow the individual to have some cheeses and yogurts. I unfortunately suffer from the prior and cannot ingest any dairy without accepting serious discomfort and a ruined day.
Now, the only thing keeping me going is soymilk, goat cheese and the undeniable benefits from living dairy free. On the days I completely cut out all dairy products I feel a million times less lethargic and I am in a much better mood. I’m not an expert, but it could quite possibly be that I am not giving my body something it is allergic to.
I have found it very easy to completely cut out milk because there are tons of delicious alternatives. Almond milk and soy milk have been wonderful substitutes for milk, my worst offender. Compared to dairy milk, soy milk has almost as much protein without the excess cholesterol and less calories. Almond milk is all around healthy and full of vitamins and low in calories. Feel free to make your own comparisons at Healthline.com!
As for cheese and butter…things have not been so easy. Even so much as using butter on a pan before cooking eggs is enough to make me sick. Recently I have started using coconut oil as an alternative. Turns out, it has more benefits than not making one spend the entire afternoon in the restroom. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties; it’s fantastic for your skin and it helps (in a small amount) to lose weight. You can check out the list of benefits coconut oil has here! Even if you are not lactose intolerant, incorporating it into your life is still a great idea.
Cheese can be the most difficult beast to conquer… and I still have not managed to do so. Cheese used to be a very important part of my life. So much so that my boyfriend’s dad, who also loved cheese, would say that in our past lives we were royals and spent our time eating rich foods and cheeses. There really is not one piece of advice I could give on this matter except for pure avoidance. I have officially cleaned out my refrigerator and eradicated any sign of lactose there may be. The best advice and most effective method is; out of sight out of mind. If there is not cheese in my house or anywhere that I can see, I do not have to make a conscious decision to not indulge.
Ultimately we all eat foods that are not good for us, and sometimes I even make a conscious decision to eat something I’m allergic to. I think the best thing is to be aware of the problems these foods cause and be open to healthier changes even if you aren’t lactose intolerant. Coconut oil is good for everyone, soymilk and almond milk are delicious, and cheese is also delicious…so just be careful.
For more information on the issue or to see if you might be lactose intolerant yourself, Genetics Home Reference can give you some answers.