Shopping with Lactose Intolerance

The other day I asked this young guy who was stocking the shelves in the medicine/vitamin area where the Lactaid was. His reply: “What’s that?” I must admit that sometimes I’m surprised to hear that they don’t know what Lactose Intolerance is. Perhaps the young guy thought it was something that only those in 35+ age range have. Or he simply had never heard of the product because none of his friends or family have heard of the intolerance. So it was brought to my attention that others may not know about the symbols. Lactose Intolerance runs in my family and I do not have it. But since it’s in my family I’ve had to learn about symbols, what the intolerance really was and the products out there that can make dealing with this a lot easier.

It’s understandable if you’re frustrated when hearing that 3-5 servings of dairy a day can help weight loss when you can’t have dairy. But there is help. But first let’s move on to some products you may be buying often. Bread for instance sometimes has a P on it. Or the words: Pareve, Parve or a circle with a U in the middle. This stands for the project being milk free. Kosher products are often times milk free as well. Sometimes you may see the word dairy or the letter D on products next to the letter K or U which means that their could be some milk protein. This could effect you if you are severely lactose intolerant. Sometimes the product may have been made on equipment that has had dairy on it. Even a small trace can have an effect.

The good news is that there is hope. The official Lactaid website has recipes for many items including breads, side dishes and desserts. You can e-mail an expert to answer your questions and check out their Lactaid enzyme pill. It comes in chewables and swallow caplets which help your body with bloating and other stomach discomfort. Also good news is that Lactaid makes milk which if you’re trying to lose weight with dairy can be a real help. Currently they have a free sample of their new Fast Act but if you missed out, check back for new products and other free samples.

If you feel that you need more calcium, consider buying calcium pills or chews. But make sure there isn’t any milk, milk protein or lactose in the product. There are many items out there that are milk and lactose free. Other enzymes, perhaps ones that you’re talking now may have on the label : Lactase. This is used to help digest lactose. Before taking an enzyme you may want to talk to your doctor to decide which option in best for you. You may decide on an over the counter enzyme (which isn’t FDA approved as of the moment) or a prescribed one. Many rice products are safe to eat such as rice ice cream but again, always check the label. If you feel unsure contact the company and ask them. Ordering deli cold cuts can be dangerous since most likely they may use the same machine to cut cheeses on. You may be able to have extra sharp cheddar or Swiss cheeses. The reason for this: Many brands of these two cheeses do not contain any lactose. But not all. Always read the ingredients.

Be careful when eating out due to cross contamination. Inform friends and family or if you aren’t sure if they will remember…prepare meals yourself. If you feel lost, there are many Internet support groups and chats to help. Lactose doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods, just be careful and take medicine if needed.

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