This post may come under the category of ‘too much information’ for some readers, but I have published it anyway, as it may be helpful to those experiencing the same symptoms.
During the peak of the heatwave this summer, when it reached 39.4 C (103F) in Beetley, I started to feel quite ill. I had a very upset stomach, and could keep nothing inside me for any length of time. That developed into almost permanent Diarrhoea, and could not be controlled by the usual medications like Immodium. I thought it was because of heatstroke, and expected it to go away when the weather cooled down. But it didn’t.
I still had my appetite, but became worried about eating anything as I could not risk being too far away from home, day or night. Following two weeks of this, I got an appointment with my doctor which resulted in tests on stool samples and urine. When they came back indicating nothing specifiic or worrying, my doctor confessed she had no idea what might be causing it.
It carried on for another few weeks, and it looked as if I might have to go into hospital for tests on my stomach and bowel. Then Julie suggested that it might be Lactose Intolerance, a reaction to eating and drinking dairy products. I was known to eat cheddar cheese on an almost daily basis, as well as being partial to drinking milk when I was thirsty. So rather than face the insertion of cameras and other unpleasant tests that might be necessary, I agreed to try cutting out dairy.
Out went my beloved cheese. Semi-skimmed milk was replaced by a non-dairy milk substitute for use in tea and on cereals. That tasted rather strange at first, but I got used to it in three days. After those same three days, the problem was gone. We concluded that Julie had been correct, and at this late stage in my life I had suddenly developed Lactose Intolerance.
Then I had to start looking carefully at what I was eating. A momentary lapse with a real cream cake had me up half the night, and I could no longer enjoy my one pizza a week, as the base was covered in cheese. Lasagna was no longer an option, and creamy sauces on Pasta Carbonara and similar meals were now a no-no. Recipes for home-cooked food had to be amended, and buying any pre-prepared meals involved looking at the ingredients label in fine detail.
Some months on, I am basically a non-dairy person. I have got used to that milk in my tea, and discovered Oat Milk, which is delicious on cereals or as a drink. (Not so good in tea, I would avoid using it for that.) There are Vegan cheeses that simulate the taste and experience of eating cheese, though they are best used with other ingredients, as they are not convicing eaten on their own. Some have a ‘oily’ constistency, others replicate the taste better but are still obviously ‘not cheese’. They are also considerably more expensive. (I also tried whole Soya Milk and Coconut Milk, but neither were acceptable to my taste.)
Whatever the cons of this dairy-free diet, it has to be better than the alternative. And there is also a ‘cheat’, though that is not to be used too often. Tablets are available online that can ‘pause’ the side effects of eating cheese, cream, or any dairy product. So if you want to enjoy a pizza, or eat out in a restaurant without worrying about what’s on the menu, just take one shortly before eating, and you will have no after-effects at all.
For anyone thinking they might have a similar problem, or if you just want to cut out dairy from your diet, here are some links. I am not promoting any brands or receiving anything to mention them. They are just to give you some idea what is available.