Naughty lactose

For quite some time now I’ve thought I had lactose intolerance and switched to lactose – free milk and other products. I still “cheated” regularly though as I love hot buttered toast, cake, yogurt, ice cream and chocolate so I kept on having these and suffering the consequences. Bloating, stomach cramps and awful wind. Not quite “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” more “…several hours of discomfort and embarrassment!” Was it really worth it?

Well recently, after a particularly bad afternoon of stomach cramps followed by diorrhea (probably TMI, sorry) after a rather tasty ice cream at the beach I decided to do something about it. So I embarked upon a strictly lactose-free fortnight as recommended by the Lactofree website. The idea is to test your theory of being lactose intolerant by cutting out lactose for two weeks during which time the symptoms should settle and then at the end of the fortnight drink a glass of normal milk and see if the symptoms return.

So two weeks of deprivation from some of my favourite goodies began. I had to pretty much cut out processed food unless I was able to check they were milk – free.  That can’t be a bad thing though I’m sure but it has meant being more organised to plan meals and food shopping. Again this is no bad thing – I probably saved some money. No chocolate, ice cream, cake, pizza, cheese etc. Guess what – I’ve lost 5 pounds! Another bonus. Did I feel better? Of course – no bloating and I do feel slimmer which is great. I’ve had much reduced cramps and embarrassing wind although I’ve noticed that when I have stressful situations at work my stomach seems to respond almost immediately so there’s something else going on there I’m sure. I’ve also felt surprisingly in control and determined around food.  I have to admit, I’ve not really felt like that since I was really strictly doing Slimming World a few years ago. I will admit to one little cheat – we had a family day out and ate at a restaurant for lunch. There wasn’t much on the menu that was suitable so I ended up having a “posh fish finger sandwich” which came with tartare sauce which is a real fave so I did have a little of it and didn’t feel too bad afterwards. However other than that I really have been very strict with myself, knowing I wanted to complete two weeks and do it properly. I challenged myself and I feel proud that I have stepped up and done it. People have told me in the past that I’m too hard on myself but for a while I’ve felt that I’ve given up, given in or failed in some way at lots of things so it’s given me a little confidence boost too.

So what happened when I had the glass of milk I hear you ask? Well about an hour or two later I started feeling the cramps. And the wind. I feel pretty rubbish as a result and will have to resort to the old indigestion remedies and peppermint tea until it settles down again.

So what have I learned? I CAN do it. It IS possible. It IS WORTH it! (And dark chocolate is so much better quality than milk chocolate which is full of vegetable oil as well as milk!)

What happens next? I’ll have a challenge to keep going as we’re off on holiday soon, but I will try to keep avoiding standard dairy as much as possible. I will experiment with using lacto – free products in cooking and alternative types of milk. (I recently discovered chocolate – flavour oat milk which is yummy and a great chocolate craving – buster!). I will continue to try to plan our meals and shop smart. And I will be healthier and feel better as a result.

All in all I think it was a very worthwhile exercise!

Thanks for reading. S x

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