In my late twenties, I thought I might be lactose intolerant. And, after a few weeks (or maybe months) of not having any dairy at all, I had a full-on cappuccino with cream. (It was delicious!)
I guess I was “testing” the theory. After all, I’d had many cappuccinos before without having any issues.
The funny thing about food intolerances is that you might not be aware that you have them. You could write off the bloat and cramping and other symptoms to any number of other things. And most people usually do.
But once you start purposely “experimenting” with a food intolerance, things become a whole lot clearer.
If you have a lactose intolerance, you can’t cut out dairy and then have dairy one day and not notice the difference.
Doesn’t work that way.
So that day, after paying our bill, I went straight from the restaurant to the loo and left my loving wife waiting in the mall for 45 minutes or more, I don’t recall, while I experienced horrible, torturous cramping and other “fun” lactose intolerance symptoms.
And today I might be setting myself up for much of the same.
Well I’ve read a couple of stories where people who were completely lactose intolerant “fixed it” by having raw milk. And considering how damn tasty dairy products are, I’ve been promising myself to try this for a while.
The other reason to try this is that, if it works, my life becomes slightly less challenging. A spot of cream or milk or butter out in a restaurant would no longer threaten to ruin the rest of my day, week or month. (Yes it can be that bad at times.)
And then there are all the health benefits. Good butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows is packed full of vitamins that are harder to get elsewhere.
And while it’s easy enough to get your calcium from other sources (including seaweed and a range of other more bio-available sources) it wouldn’t hurt to be able to get milk in as a source of calcium in my diet.
So I’m doing it. Starting today, I’m having a half teaspoon of milk every morning, along with my other supplements. I’m also using a “live bacteria” supplement which will hopefully speed up the process of getting the right bacteria in my stomach to help process the lactose.
(Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose – the sugar I’m intolerant to. And certain bacteria create lactase as a byproduct of their metabolism. At least, that’s what I remember from the research I did a long time ago.)
Frankly I’m scared.
Eating or drinking something that hurts my gut is one of the absolute least fun things I can think of to do with my day. So this isn’t going to be an “easy” experiment. It’s going to be tough. It will take discipline – particularly if I find myself rushing to the loo within the next 30 minutes.
But, to me, the benefits are worth the gamble.
You see, in one instance, I read of a family whose male descendants always suffered from lactose intolerance. Until they started drinking raw milk. After a while, not only were they able to drink raw milk but other, pasteurised and processed forms of dairy, too.
Imagine that? A pizza with cheese? (Right now I have my pizzas on paleo bases with no cheese. Less than fun.)
So while this may take discipline, the last 5 to 7 years of not having milk, butter, cream or cheese in anything I eat is going to serve as a strong motivation to stay the course through the bad times. You might be surprised to learn just how hard it can be to eat out if you’re lactose (and soy) intolerant. It’s downright dangerous.
I’m not sure how long I should do this but I’m going to aim for at least 2-4 weeks. I imagine 4 weeks of daily dairy (and fantastic probiotics) is a lot of time to help build a healthy gut flora.
If I’m still suffering symptoms by that stage, I’ll probably stop and forget all about this. If it works? Well then it might be time to enjoy a delicious banting treat as a reward for my hard work and discipline!
Wish me luck!