Something Medical

Lactose Intolerance.

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.

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/300118011
https://www.oatly.com/en-au/stuff-we-make/oat-milk/oat-milk
https://violifefoods.com/our-products/

66 thoughts on “Something Medical

  1. That is a crazy story Pete! I haven’t heard of lactose intolerance happening at our age? Thank God for Julie and her astute observation. That was genius. So glad you’re feeling better and adjusting to the new diet. I’m like you, I eat a lot of cheese and milk with coffee and tea. I believe it would be a difficult adjustment but a necessary one. Well done. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may have been self-inflicted in my case, Cheryl. I ate cheese most days, and also drank milk every day. Maybe I overdosed on dairy, who knows? Luckily, it is manageable, and much better than the alternative.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Bummer; I’m a convert to oat in many cases but cheese… that would be tricky.
    My daughter, when about seven came home from school top report that one of her class was black toast intolerant. Took us a while to work out what she meant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The joys of growing older, Pete…but it seems like you have it in hand and are finding alternatives…I like almond milk if drinking milk but don’t drink coffee and only drink Oolong tea or Camomile neither of which require milk…Coconut milk makes a really nice substitute for fresh dairy cream it even fooled my hubbie who loves his cream 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have the same problem; in fact I can’t even have the lacto- free cheddar. That also makes me feel very ill, so I think I also have a problem with milk proteins. I just went to Tesco earlier to buy a few things, including 2 more packets of Applewood vegan cheese. It really is the best by far. I have found that it melts great on a crumpet ( I have Genius gluten free ones) and it even does that browsing puffing up thing cheddar cheese does! Tastes great with a bit of Baxters Victorian chutney on top. And Philadelphia vegan cheese spread is very nice too (made from oats and almonds, so has no nasty aftertaste). Another tip is if you have one of those super high speed blenders soaking some pine nuts or pistachios and blending them up can be used in recipes for a sort of “cheezy” taste.

    I don’t use “plant milks” very often because I rarely eat cereals ( gluten free ones are very expensive) and like my coffee black. I occasionally use oat or almond milk in recipes but I always end up wasting half of it because the cartons are so big. I really wish they’d do small cartons of it. In the 1980s you could get small cartons of soya milk. My fave is coconut milk though. It’s sublime in soup! I’m actually looking at vegan milk powders now for my recipes, as that will mean no wastage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bought the Vegan Applewood Smoked on your recommendation. It does taste just like smoked sheese, though I find the texture rather ‘oily’ to eat on its own. I have had it in sandwiches with other things, (like ham) but have yet to try it toasted.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I don’t eat it on its own either, that is just slice and eat it. But I never did that with cheddar et al either. I grate the Applewood (or buy the grated pack ) and sprinkle it over a jacket potato, and top it with other things like my home made bean dip. Nice in a gluten free panini too with chutney and salad. And more recently have found it toasts wonderfully! It’s also great for topping a cottage pie (then browned in the oven).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am lactose intolerant also. It’s amazing how quickly you can go off all those foods you used to love when you find out they are the cause of so much discomfort. I have a bunch of other intolerance’s . It takes time to work it all out but it is worth it to feel better. I am glad you found your answer without all the tests.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Even though I know it makes me ill I still have yearnings for cheddar, crumbly Lancashire and tangy Wensleydale. I don’t buy them though. I hope that one day there’ll be vegan versions of them that taste nice. I am going to buy a blender in the new year and experiment with vegan cheese making.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nancy tells me they have pills one can take in advance of consuming milk products that alleviates some if not all of the symptoms of intolerance. She said they sell them at Walmart, and I have seen the adverts on television for them “Lactaid.” Warmest regards, Ed

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The cheese is the worst, it just isn’t ‘cheesy’. But I can take a tablet if I want a meal with real cheese. It’s manageable, but not exciting. Better than having the runs 24/7, that has to be said.
      Cheers, Pete.

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  6. (1) Would your body tolerate milk if you called it “la leche”?
    (2) I couldn’t tolerate lactose intolerance. I’d probably go crazy and engage in worldwide alien-inspired cattle mutilation! (The only one that would survive would be the one that jumped over the moon.)
    (3) I hope you don’t become comment intolerant. Just to play it safe, I won’t milk the subject of lactose whatever any further.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good you know what the problem is, Pete… I have been avoiding dairy (almost) for a few years and find the Oatly yoghurt and milk quite palateable, and Rude Health coconut milk

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oatly I find has a nasty aftertaste. Lidl or Tesco plain soya are the ones I buy, but for a treat Alpro soya Blueberry is the best. It’s delicious!

          Liked by 2 people

            1. True! I was a bit disappointed I didn’t like the Oatly yoghurt. The cream is very nice though! I’ve seen
              many vegan people say they like that Scheeze brand vegan cheese which reeks and tastes horrid lol.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s quite a disruption when you have to change your lifestyle to accommodate a food intolerance, but at least you know what it is, and can take the appropriate action, and aways good when there are substitutes. I avoid eggs, unless they are used in cooking, after having a problem with them a few years back. It just happened totally randomly, but that’s life, I guess. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The OH quite likes oat whole milk or barista style in his coffee and in porridge, but there is no substitute for cheese. Glad you worked out what your problem was. My daughter had similar symptoms, but she cut out gluten and that has helped her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Applewood smoked vegan cheese might make you change your mind! It melts like real cheese and has a smoky paprika taste. Very close to the real thing (I’d say a bit like Edam with a paprika tang or that Austrian smoked cheese).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder how many other people are suffering from this and have no idea what it is. I expect many people who have IBS are actually lactose intolerant.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I use the Tesco own brand shown in the link. I tried Alpro brand, and Soya but they left an aftertaste. I put my own Tesco milk in Julie’s tea by mistake, and she didn’t think it tasted any different.
      The Oat milk is better (creamier) than real milk, but only as a drink, or on cereals. It tastes ‘curdled’ in tea. (I had it in coffee on holiday, and it was fine in that. But I don’t drink coffee at home.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been lactose intolerant since childhood, although it wasn’t known at the time. Mum would give me cereal and milk and then half an hour later I would tell her that I felt sick. She thought I was trying to get out of going to school, and told me to go to school and the sick feeling would wear off. It did, but as I got older I’d start throwing up as well. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I had a proper test for dairy intolerance, which was positive. Eggs give me ectopic heartbeats for around 3 days, cheese and chocolate give me migraines, and milk would make me throw up. Like you I have oat milk on cereal, and generally feel fine just as long as I avoid dairy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am still okay with eggs, though they are not dairy of course. I got used to fake milk and fake cheese really quickly, and those tablets are very useful if I feel a craving for the real stuff anytime.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Can you not even eat dark chocolate Stevie? If so it must be the theobromin in it. Carob is a good substitute for chocolate. It even has a lot of healthy minerals etc in it. Most vegan cheeses are gross I agree- but Applewood is lovely!

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I had no idea that one could develop lactose intolerance late in life. I rather thought this was more or less discovered while young. Yet another thing about aging I need to consider. So sorry you went through it, Pete… but very glad it wasn’t some damn stage 4 of some disease from hell. A life of eating the good dairy and now you can’t. Thanks for sharing, buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe… well, I like cheese and dairy products as well, although not a milk drinker, I do devour other milk products. Too much fat the doc keeps saying. It’s bad enough some new strange quirk that I feel.. some slight cough out of nowhere… a mild churning of the insides… I am always thinking “Well, this is it.”
        Hell, Pete…. two months ago I started getting a toenail discoloring… first time in my life. Toe fungus?? Where the hell did that come from and why now? Doc gives me a prescription for some topical stuff. I ask, “How long do I use this?” He said, “Until it goes away.” Um.. when does that happen??
        Aging is quite the experience. I shouldn’t bitch… at least I still know the way to the bathroom when I get up in the morning… for now.

        Liked by 1 person

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