Don't Let Lactose Intolerance Cramp Your Lifestyle!

Being told your body reacts badly to dairy and lactose can be a real downer if you love your curd and milkshakes. The persistent cramps and unpleasant bloating and gas aren’t just awkward, they can also put the brakes on your everyday activities. But lactose intolerance doesn’t have to rule your universe! With options ranging from lactose-free curds to plant-based non-dairy milks, life can be a lot easier than you’d imagine. So, whether you’ve just discovered you are lactose intolerant or have been grappling with it for a while now, here’s what you can do to get your life back on track.

Signs You Have Lactose Intolerance

So how do you know you’re lactose intolerant? Now that you’re already acquainted with some of the symptoms, here’s a list of the range of issues it can cause:1

  • Flatulence/wind/gassy feeling
  • Bloating (especially around the stomach)
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Stomach cramps
  • Rumbling stomach
  • Nausea

Some of these symptoms are also common to irritable bowel syndrome, so do get yourself tested for lactose intolerance. If you don’t eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet after cutting down on foods with lactose, you may also wind up with malnutrition or have weak bones.

Lactose Intolerance Doesn’t Have To Hold You Back!

Lactose Intolerance Doesn't Have To Hold You Back

With all the hubbub around lactose intolerance, it can sometimes seem like you have an overwhelming issue to deal with. But it really doesn’t have to be one. If you have a full and active life, it just means a little planning ahead. Be mindful of what your body is sensitive to and what it can take well. Armed with that knowledge and a clear plan for your meals for the week, you’ll have the energy and stamina to do what you want, when you want, fortified with all the nutrition your body demands.

You can also make life easier –  that, too, without giving up on the things you love – by getting your hands on some lactose-free dairy. Some quality products even cater specifically to the needs of lactose-intolerant dairy lovers. For instance, if you crave curd, the home-style, lactose-free curd from Artisanal Curd makers Epigamia is just the ticket! This creamy pack of goodness is utterly convenient to use and easily available off the shelf. So all you’ll need to do is order some in from the local store or online whenever a craving strikes.

Getting The Nutrition You Need When You’re Lactose Intolerant

Dairy has probably been a very convenient and quick way for you to get in nutrients like calcium, protein, potassium, or vitamin D. But you can make up for the shortfall you face after cutting dairy intake with these easily available and delicious alternative sources:2

  • Calcium: Get it through spinach, broccoli, sesame seeds, sardines, arugula, bok choy, dried figs, fortified orange juice, legumes, tofu, amaranth, oatmeal.3
  • Potassium: Have bananas, oranges, black beans, avocado, and spinach.4
  • Vitamin D: Present in egg yolks and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) but the best way to up levels is via sunlight exposure so your body can make its own.5
  • Protein: Enjoy legumes, beans, nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, chicken, turkey, or even red meat.6

You Don’t Need To Kiss Dairy Goodbye!

You Don’t Need To Kiss Dairy Goodbye

The good news is your love affair with all things dairy doesn’t have to end here. While it may seem like dairy should be a strict no-no, it really isn’t.

Pick Your Dairy Smartly

Dairy foods like milk, cheese, curd, butter, and cream all contain lactose. But in varying quantities. Pick your dairy smartly so that you keep lactose intake to the minimum or get it from sources that cause fewer problems.

  • Aged hard cheeses contain less lactose than soft cheeses because bacteria have broken down that lactose more over time.7
  • Thanks to its fat content, full-fat milk passes more slowly than low-fat milk through the intestines. This gives lactase enzymes more time to break down the sugars, which may, in turn, mean you face fewer digestive problems.8 9
  • Butter, cream, and curd do not cause as many problems as milk does for most people.10
  • Curd or yogurt makes a smart choice for many people with lactose intolerance. That’s because the probiotics in it help you digest it better.11 12 Probiotic power is also known to help boost your gut health and amp up your immunity.13 It’s hard to argue with that kind of goodness! That said, everyone’s tolerance for lactose-containing curd is different. So you may be able to have more (or less) than someone else you know, depending on the extent of your lactose intolerance.14 Find your sweet spot.
  • Lactose-free curd is undoubtedly a smarter choice than regular curd if you are lactose intolerant and don’t want to take any chances. A lactose-free version will pack in all the goodness you want from dairy without the reactions you’ve come to loathe.

And remember, everyone’s body has different tolerance levels. Some people may be able to drink a cup of milk without any issues, while others may struggle to have just a few spoonfuls. See where you fit on this scale. While lactose-free dairy is ideal, you may be able to consume some lactose-containing foods if you don’t have severe lactose intolerance.15 Portion size also matters. Limit your intake even when you have low lactose foods and space it out so you aren’t having all of it at one meal or in back-to-back meals.

Follow These Dos And Don’ts To Simplify Your Life

If you’re hard-pressed to schedule a special diet into your already full life, here’s some help to get you on track.

  • Do test foods to know what you can tolerate and what you can’t. Categorize into “clean chit” foods which are lactose-free or contain trace amounts and don’t cause issues; “special treats” that you can have as an indulgence now and again; and “banned foods” that are strictly off the cards. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how short that last list really is.
  • Don’t overdo it! Being good all week long and binge-eating lactose-containing foods on one day won’t work with lactose intolerance. It could cause a major bout of diarrhea and cramps. Portion control matters.
  • Do be smart about picking the right type of dairy. Weigh in options such as full fat vs low fat, curd vs milk, lactose-free brands vs lactose-containing products.
  • Don’t do last-minute meal planning! Plan ahead. It is well worth it. If that doesn’t work for you, stock up on healthy, lactose-free ingredients so you can whip up a meal without any prior planning.
  • Do have fun with your food. Lactose intolerance is a challenge millions live with, the world over, so there are plenty of great food blogs, recipe sites, and even Instagrammers you can follow for meal planning tips and recipes.

Get Creative With Dairy Alternatives

Get Creative With Dairy Alternatives

Thankfully, today, you’re not short of choices as awareness of lactose intolerance grows. Sidestep your problems by buying packaged dairy-free, lactose-free milks such as plant-based soy and nut milks. You could even make your own nut or rice milk at home. You should also be able to find lactose-free home bakers and artisanal cafes in the city for lactose-free versions of treats you crave and currently miss out on. At the store, looking for things labeled “vegan” is one easy shortcut, though it will mean you miss the eggs in the baked goods too.

Try Some Delicious Lactose-Free Curd

Remember, if it is curd you’re craving, there’s an easy alternative to all the effort of sourcing plant milks and then setting curd from them. Just reach for some of that divine creamy, lactose-free curd from Epigamia to whip up your favorite lassi or raita. Or just indulge in some plain whenever you feel like it – it is just as good on its own! A 100 gm serving of Epigamia lactose-free curd has just 59 calories but gives you 3.48 gm of protein, 140 mg of calcium, and probiotic benefits. What’s hard to beat is that it is completely lactose-free so you can indulge whenever you want without the fear of those unpleasant side effects!

So go on and rediscover that unbridled joy that only a tall glass of lassi or a creamy bowlful of curd can give you. A spoonful of Epigamia’s sublime lactose-free curd and you’ll soon be wanting more of the guilt-free pleasure it promises!

References   [ + ]

1. Lactose intolerance. National Health Services.
2. Nutrients and health benefits: Dairy. United States Department of Agriculture.
3. Calcium Content of Foods. University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
4. Potassium and sodium out of balance. Harvard Health Publishing.
5. Vitamin D. University of Maryland Medical Center.
6. Protein sources that are best for your heart. Harvard Health Publishing.
7. Kindstedt, Paul S. “The basics of cheesemaking.” In Cheese and Microbes, pp. 17-38. American Society of Microbiology, 2014.
8, 10. Lactose intolerance. Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia.
9, 13. Parvez, S., Karim A. Malik, S. Ah Kang, and H‐Y. Kim. “Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health.” Journal of applied microbiology 100, no. 6 (2006): 1171-1185.
11. Savaiano, Dennis A. “Lactose digestion from yogurt: mechanism and relevance–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 99, no. 5 (2014): 1251S-1255S.
12. Adolfsson, Oskar, Simin Nikbin Meydani, and Robert M. Russell. “Yogurt and gut function.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80, no. 2 (2004): 245-256.
14, 15. Lactose Intolerance. The Center for Young Women’s Health.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.