Dairy and I are not friends these days. While the breakup isn’t horrible because I am super-particular about the cheeses I will eat and avoid most creamy substances like the plague, it has been making it nearly impossible for me to enjoy some of my staples, like tacos and pizza. However, removing the offending cheese seems to restore my favorite foods to their former glory.
My genomic makeup predicts that I am lactose intolerant and the chance of exhibiting symptoms of that increases with age. This makes sense, as I never had issue with dairy until I was in my 40s. But, I am noticing that it is getting worse. Cow milk has been a problem for a while now, so I have avoided it. I also have not been able to drink whey protein for several years, and I now know that it’s high in lactose! Over-indulging in ice cream has become a known culprit in recent years, as well. I have been able to make peace with that by buying pints of ice cream and only having a few bites every now and then. However, cheese hasn’t been much of an issue until recently, or at least I wasn’t aware of it being a problem.
I was beginning to worry that pizza and tacos were going to end up off-limits. I was concerned that the problem may be due to my favorite toppings, such as roasted garlic or fresh Serrano peppers, and was thrilled to find out it was mozzarella. Last week, a pizza with veggies, chicken, Serrano peppers, and fake cheese cause no issues whatsoever for me, both when I initially enjoyed it and again when I ate my leftovers! Similarly, a bean and cheese taco that contained more cheese than usual caused me all kinds of stomach problems. Luckily, this morning, a bean and potato taco did not cause the same stomach problems. Now, I’m not saying a bean and potato taco (that also had chorizo – cough cough, confession time) is the ultimate in healthy eating, I’m just excited to report my stomach didn’t revolt!
I haven’t tried harder cheeses that are known to contain less lactose, such as aged cheddar or parmesan, but I am hopeful that these will work for me. I am not interested in feta or what the link below refers to as “fully mature cheese” or Swiss cheese, all considered to be low in lactose. Butter seems to be a viable possibility, as much of the lactose is removed during the process of making it. I’m also happy to see that dark chocolate is low in lactose, as I had previously suspected that chocolate may cause problems for me.
If you are interested in the lactose-content of various foods, please see this link from the Food Intolerance Network.