The Dairy Dilemma – Part 1

November 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

It’s a horrible feeling. You head down the frozen foods aisle with the goal of finding mixed vegetables and all of the sudden the colorful, fun ice cream packages from across the aisle start chanting your name. Between the swirls, sprinkles, candy-covered shells and cookie dough balls it feels like if you don’t open up the glass door and add one to your cart – you’ll be missing out on the party of a lifetime. You start to entertain the thought as you realize they’ve added even more candy bar ice cream boxes to the shelf when you suddenly snap into reality, walk back across the aisle, locate the vegetables, fill up your cart, and get the heck out of aisle 13.

For many of us semi-colons, and actually a lot of lactose intolerants, it’s hard to not join the party. Dairy is so good! That creamy milk softening your cereal, the hot stringy cheese covering the pizza, or the yummy ice cream making summertime memories is hard to pass up. But it seems like even the average person is developing a strong love/hate relationship with dairy these days. My husband has recently discovered he’s lactose intolerant thanks to Pizza Hut, and it seems like half of the kids I know these days cannot digest regular milk.

As a semi-colon, I can relate to having “issues” with dairy. Many of them fall into everyday lactose intolerance symptoms:  multiple bathroom trips, cramping, bloating, and Captain Uncomfortable: gas.  But as I’ve had more and more colon removed, I’ve had one big additional side effect from dairy consumption: burning.  I’m guessing the sensation can be similiar to grown-up diaper rash or just a hefty case of hemmoroids – but only while the dairy is in your GI tract. It seems to automatically go away once it’s in and out.

Despite all of these adverse effects, I’ve not vowed to give up dairy.  I love a good bowl of cereal way too much. Plus, we live within walking distance to this great little ice cream shop named Poppy’s and I have to take advantage of it. So while I’ve not cut out all dairy from my diet, I have learned how to live with it’s side effects and actually skip over a few of them. Here are some tips that I’ve found while eating dairy as a semi-colon. I’ll even throw in a few ones for you lactose intolerants too while I’m at it:

Overall:

  • Don’t overeat, and especially if you’re eating dairy. There’s something about packing your digestive system too full and then lacing dairy all the way through it that causes a nightmare. Try to have more of an empty stomach, or at least don’t be totally full, when eating dairy stuff. (or anything for that matter.)
  • Eat starch with dairy. If you are going to go for the big bowl of ice cream, eat something carb-based first. This will help line your stomach and GI tract so that the dairy isn’t shocking it, and give your GI something softer and easier to digest first.
  • For you lactose intolerants – Mike’s been using Lactaid tablets and taking one with his first bit of dairy-based foods. It’s helped a lot.

Milk tips:

  • Drink skim or low-fat milk. The whole, 2% milk can really throw me for a loop – and a bad one.
  • Speaking of lattes, I skip the whip and request the nonfat milk. The extra whipped cream on the top is unneeded calories and not worth it.
  • Soymilk doesn’t necessarilly make this better. I tried it. Might work for some, but didn’t for me.
  • Lactaid also makes a brand of milk for you guys who want to drink milk and are intolerant. I’m sure there are other brands coming out soon. There’s even lactose-free soy milk on the shelves.

Yogurt:

  • Yogurt is a mystery. Maybe if I understood the chemistry of food better I would understand. But yogurt doesn’t really seem to bother me or Mike.  I’ve even started going for the large tub of plain, vanilla yogurt and throwing cranberries into it. Oh so good. Mike’s a Yoplait fan and loves the berry flavors. It might give us a little bit of Captain Uncomfortable (gas), but no burning or bloating. Yay!
  • One tip if you go for yogurt – go for the most natural kind you can. There’s something about the blue stuff in tubes that doesn’t seem quite right.

Cheese:

  • Go easy on the cheese. I haven’t cut out cheese, but I opt-out of having cheese-dominated meals. This has been very hard because I love mac & cheese. I haven’t cut it out, just not made a meal out of it.
  • On pasta, I’ve had to do the same. I do opt for the fresh parmesean on the dish, but have had to not order the entrees that come blanketed with a warm layer of melted cheese.
  • One exception is pizza. I’ve started eating a lot of cheese pizza and it’s gone pretty well. I make sure to monitor the grease though and go for freshly-made pizzas when possible. The more saucy, tomato-based, the better (for  me the semi-colon.) Here are a few locations places in the KC-area that have not given me any issues with their pizzas (so far): Waldo Pizza, Spin! Pizza (their margherita pizza is out of this world), The Dish (in Liberty)
  • There is something about ricotta cheese that tears me up. Everytime. Just a warning for you.

Ice Cream:

  • And last but not least: ice cream!  Sometimes ice cream won’t be a problem, and other nights it’s a nightmare. Of course, frozen yogurt is always a healthier way to go.
  • Watch what you put on your ice cream, or the type of flavor. For me, the more pure and simple, the better. I’m going to handle a vanilla cone much better than I will a dish of ice cream with candy, chocolate and nut toppings.
  • I have found that ice cream is much easier to digest than custard.

So, those are a few tips for a consuming dairy as a semi-colon (or even dairy-sensitive person in general.) I know these won’t work and apply to everyone, but they’ve helped me and hopefully might be able to help you.

Can you relate? Leave a comment and tell us your own tips, or experiences with dairy, even if you’re not a semi-colon!

And stay tuned tomorrow for the Dairy Dilemma – Part 2 where I’ll share some research and facts I’ve learned about dairy that I think everyone needs to know.

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