Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alice in Non-Dairyland

I recently figured out that I am lactose intolerant. I kinda knew for a while (30 years or so...). I'm a little dense, I guess.

It started out in High School. I would always get sick on Friday or Saturday nights, after eating pizza after the basketball games. Thought it was the spices in the pizza sauce...

In college, I'd get sick often times while out with friends. I actually began to wonder if it was a social anxiety...

The episodes continued after getting married, but not too bad. I got pregnant and drank milk and ate ice cream like a champ all through that pregnancy. After nursing was over (10 months) the pains started to come back. I think at that point I kinda figured it out but then years went by without doing anything about it.

When I got pregnant with the twins, I wanted to "fatten them up" because if I delivered early, I wanted them to be as big as possible. So this entailed me eating ice cream nearly every day, with no symptoms of my intolerance. I nursed for 11 months with them, all the while drinking milk and enjoying dairy with no problems. It wasn't until after they turned 2 that I began to question my dairy tolerance.

This past January, I reported to my NP that I've been having cramping/bloating/gas issues every night after dinner. I told her that I thought it was because of all the veggies I was eating. She said something along the lines of "Well, our bodies change as we age. It's probably just the way your body is processing the vegetables." Ok, I guess. I also told my Mom about these symptoms and she thought I was crazy thinking it was the vegetables.

One weekend at my parents' house, I passed on milk (because all they had was 2%--icky to me) but ate veggies per the norm, and I had NO symptoms at all while I was there. The next week at home, I did not drink milk and avoided all dairy and the symptoms did not appear. Wow. Could I really be lactose intolerant? ME? Born and raised in Dairyland USA? And I married a guy who works for a major cheese producer?!

Yup. I guess I am.

I am now trying to manage my symptoms, still not sure of exactly what sets me off. At a wedding this weekend, I enjoyed the mashed potatoes at dinner, but suffered afterward. It did not occur to me that they may have milk/sour cream in them. Bummer.

I'm beginning to miss ice cream, sour cream, shakes, etc. I still can eat hard cheeses, butter and yogurt. Silk Soy Milk is now my friend. And so are the little Lactase tablets, as long as I remember to take them before I eat.

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