When I entered my early 20’s, I began to notice something was not quite right with my skin constantly having outbreaks and lower gut discomfort when I would consume cows milk, cream and ice-cream.
It was at this time I decided to do a 2 week elimination diet (excluding dairy, caffeine, alcohol & gluten) to try pin point which food category was maybe the culprit.
The heavy dairy products had quickly been identified as the issue on reintroduction with nausea, gut pains, skin breakouts.
Later on I realised I was only partially lactose intolerant because I was still able to digest small amounts of cheese and greek yoghurt without any consequences.
“Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy foods such as cow’s milk and yoghurt. It is normally broken down or digested by an enzyme in our body called lactase, and ends up in the bloodstream as glucose. People with lactose intolerance don’t have enough of this enzyme to properly digest lactose, resulting in lactose intolerance.” (DAA, 2015)
Being a Nutritionist with partial lactose intolerance, I knew how to manage this quite well, however if you do think you may be lactose intolerant displaying diarrhoea, stomach cramps, bloating, excessive flatulence type symptoms you might like to consider being tested through a Dietitian or GP before you begin eliminating foods from your diet.
It does take a little while to adapt to not being able to consume some dairy products, especially when I loved iced chocolates with cream and ice cream!
On a good note, asking for dairy substitutes from cafes and restaurants these days has fast become reality.
- Non-food crafts and activities for families with food allergies
- Dealing with kids food allergies in the school playground
There are many Healthy Smoothie Recipes that are Dairy Free alternatives bursting with goodness too. If you think you may be lactose intolerant or partially then the following tips might support your lifestyle.
Smart eating tips for lactose intolerance
- Drink milk in smaller quantities. Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate ½ cup milk at a time. Full cream milk is generally better tolerated than low fat or calcium enriched milks.
- Check the ingredient list for ingredients such as milk solids, non-fat milk solids, whey and milk sugar.
- Yoghurt is low in lactose as the natural bacteria break it down. Try ‘Greek Natural Yoghurt’
- Hard cheeses (such as cheddar) are low in lactose and can generally be eaten without any symptoms.
- You can buy lactose-free milk which has the lactose broken down already try Harvey Fresh
- Alternative milks do not contain any lactose and can be a suitable substitute for dairy products, providing they are fortified with calcium try Rice Milk or Vitasoy Calci-Plus.
If it is all very confusing and you are not sure about where to start or what has dairy, you can always speak to a Nutritionist who can create a personalised meal plan to suit your dietary requirements.
We can evaluate your diet and ensure you are still receiving adequate sources providing nutrients, specifically calcium and vitamin D, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc that you would have found in milk products.
Do you have lactose intolerance? How do you get all the nutrients in your diet? Please leave in the comments below.