Do you feel bloated often, especially after a creamy dessert? Do you spend your days silently placing innocent little farts into your office chair, your sofa, your car seat? And do you like to eat milk products, drink milk or eat chocolate? Don’t be embarrassed, then. You might just have lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is a condition where your intestine no longer produces lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose (milk sugar). Instead, you just get gas. A lot of it. In bad cases, and if you don’t stop consuming milk, you get diarrhea and an inflamed intestine.
Actually, you as a human being should not be able to digest milk as an adult in the first place! But in their rather colorful past, northern Europeans and subsequently Americans have developed a genetic mutation that allows them to drink milk even as adults. By far most of the world’s population, however, is lactose intolerant. Entire peoples are. The Chinese, most nations of Africa, the entire country of Thailand and a whopping 75% of African Americans are just a few examples.
What makes things worse is that lactose is used in many non-dairy products, such as sausages or spice mixes, or as a taste amplifier. Lactose intolerant people should be extra careful when shopping. Examine those labels!
Next time you feel uneasy after that chocolate pudding, don’t run to the pill closet and try to battle the symptoms like a fool. Instead, take a break from products containing lactose for two weeks:
- Stop drinking milk
- No more cream in your coffee
- No chocolate
- No cheese (sufficiently aged hard cheeses are an exception)
- Stop using cream for cooking or desserts
- No more candy bars, no Mars, no Twix, no Snickers (real black chocolate is okay, but check label)
- No sausages (Kosher products labeled “pareve” are okay)
- No dried meat (same as above)
- No frozen dishes, TV dinners etc. (check packaging, some contain lactose, some don’t)
If you feel a lot better and more relaxed, if you have less problems with diarrhea and no longer suffer from wave after wave of odorless flatulence: Welcome aboard, you might be lactose intolerant. Perhaps in a later article, I can give you some shopping and cooking hints.