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Lactose Intolerant!

November 13, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
I’m reminded of a particular scene in the chick-flick movie, “French Kiss,” when Meg Ryan casts her lactose intolerance to the wind and consumes an inordinate amount of French cheese.

Her French cheese, which she lavishly spread on huge hunks of French bread while riding a train with the scenic French countryside flashing past the window, looks to me a lot like the goat cheese I enjoyed last week. I also spread this cheese on French bread, although mine were calculated thin slices of baguette rather than huge hunks.

But getting back to the movie, Ryan, or rather, her character whose name I don’t remember now, in the midst of her cheese consumption, grasped her abdomen and shouted, LACTOSE INTOLERANT! The next scene revealed her coming out of the train station, where I assume we are led to believe the cheese either came back up, which isn’t what really happens, or she had gotten rid of it another way, because she was skipping around and smiling as though relieved to be rid of what “ailed her.”

As we get older we sometimes find our digestive systems don’t work as well as they once did. I found this out by way of my annual county fair milkshake. Once every summer I would treat myself to an annual milkshake at the fair’s Dairy Bar, where milk is milk and there is proof that Ohio cows are the real happy ones. Thick and creamy, you can bet this is no skim latte. You have to have some really great cheek muscles to suck up that wondrous concoction.

But two summers ago, I found the milkshake’s comforting effects were quickly replaced by migrating abdominal pain and internally popping bubbles. After an evening of misery, I deduced it was my intestines reacting with disfavor at the lactose in the milk. I am, after all, a fat free milk drinker and this wasn’t fat free.

I continued to have fat free milk in my morning cereal, using it preparation with my oats and having an occasional glass with dinner or birthday cake. Lately though, I’m getting the feeling that my internal system is beginning to show dislike for even small amounts of milk or cheese. Now what?

I’ve heard of products on the market that contain the enzyme, lactase, which is needed to digest milk sugars. It is a lack of this enzyme that causes the discomfort, which by the way, affects people in all sorts of different ways. I haven’t yet embarked on any of these products, but might have to look into them if it means giving up my morning cold cereal. I could just eat my cereal plain but my cat, sitting patiently waiting for the bottom-of-the-bowl-milk, won’t be happy.

While I ponder the situation, I decided to start my day today with eggs. I scrambled two whole eggs and served them with lightly buttered toast. Tomorrow is another day and another breakfast.

Lunch was a bowl of Amy’s Mexican rice and beans with tofu. This tastes pretty good and is filling because it’s high in fiber. It also contains cheese, so I'm not sure how my stomach will like it. Baby steps.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces meat; 2 ounces grains; 75 discretionary calories.