What is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose Intolerance is a very common digestive problem, harmless too but can make the person uncomfortable if they have this problem. It is caused when the body is unable to digest lactose which is a type of sugar found in all dairy products like cow’s milk, butter, cheese, coffee creamers, etc. It is caused by the deficiency of lactase an enzyme produced in your small intestine.
What Are The Symptoms?
If you are lactose intolerant, you can experience one or multiple of these symptoms within minutes to hours of consuming any dairy. Like bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps and sometimes vomiting.
How I Found Out I Was Lactose Intolerant?
Growing up as a Tamilian, morning filter coffees and evening teas are a huge part of our routine. On top of that, when I eat out, I love ordering pizzas and continental dishes which are loaded with cheese. I had always noticed that I bloat every so often and I used to develop stomach cramps as soon as I had any milk based beverage. Until a year back, I didn’t know what was causing this and I did not heed much about it as it was a mere inconvenience. Then one day, I decided not to have any coffee or tea for a week to see if it made any difference to my body. To my surprise, it actually did! I felt so much lighter as there was literally no abdominal cramps or bloating. My skin also started clearing up and felt so much smoother. I never had any severe consequences like Leonard from The Big Bang Theory to begin with so.
Struggles and Dairy Alternatives-
Weaning off cow’s milk was hard enough for me and to top it off I absolutely hated black coffee and tea. Ultimately, I went back to square one drinking regular coffees and teas. In the meantime, I started searching for plant based milks, it was difficult to find them in India but I found quite a few like Soy (love it, economical), Almond (hated it), Oats-Walnut-Rice combination (loved it, super expensive of all). You can find these on Amazon, BigBasket and other departmental stores near you. I found tea to be horrible with plant based milks and coffee to be okay if it’s vanilla flavoured. I finally switched to green matcha tea after struggling to avoid coffees and teas. Japanese matcha also tastes better with soy milk than my regular teas and coffees. I gave up because I couldn’t cope up with my constant headaches without my morning caffeine.
It is extremely difficult in Chennai restaurants to find vegan dairy options. I occasionally order my favorite pizzas and food with dairy and face the consequences for the next 24 hours or so because I love food and I cannot resist not eating them. Eagerly waiting for dairy free options like cheese and butter in the coming years for Indians like me.
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