Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dairy Tales

One night, I decided to order fries for dinner.  While not the best choice, I wasn't exactly hungry and just wanted something to pick at while "The Ukrainian" ate his meaty dish.

The fries were supposed to come with ketchup and garlic aioli, which is essentially mayo.  Mayonnaise is a friend of mine because although it does contain egg, it doesn't contain any dairy/lactose, which results in this situation:

About half an hour into my fry-eating and dipping, I suddenly got familiar stabbing pains in my stomach.  I actually had not had this happen in quite a while, in spite of consuming things like:

- cheddar, gouda, swiss, and other such cheeses
- pizza slices
- pancakes and other baked goods I'm assuming were prepared with dairy
- cakes (though I usually don't eat all the cream in my lactose fears), even tiramisu and cheesecake
- butter on my bread, buttery things, etc.

Yes, the "aioli" did seem a little runny... and did taste a little like buttermilk ranch or sour cream.  I should have asked but was being careless.  I didn't even eat a whole lot of that dip, maybe a tablespoon in total.  Sure, I didn't take my Lactaid, but it doesn't really stop this kind of reaction, anyway.

I spent the rest of the night laying and feeling like someone was blowing up balloons in my gut.  Each time I do this to myself, I feel somewhat resentful that I am one of the few Asian-Americans I know who can't chug a boba milk tea, when supposedly 90% of Asians have lactose intolerance.  And outside of my race (including my milk-drinking husband), it's pretty much unheard of.

I remember having a lot of stomachaches as a kid, sometimes wasting half the night in the restroom cramping and accepting that this is just happens once in a while.  Sometimes, I'm in denial -- "If I can eat cheese sometimes, I can't be lactose intolerant."  "If it takes so long to digest food, how could I feel pain so quickly after eating dairy?"  "Maybe it's all in my head." (e.g., the smell of milk disgusts me)

Of course, things could always be worse -- at least a night of pain and my stomach vocalizing itself is my main side-effect and not something life-threatening or permanent.  However, I do hope that none of my potential children inherit this cursed condition that I haven't even figured out completely. (Though I did read that pregnancy may temporarily stop this condition... it's not a very effective solution, of course.)

In the past, I had decided that because of these problems, I should just cut dairy out completely.  After all, it IS the most ethical thing.  However, since I keep coming back to it, I know that I am not ready for my full moral aspirations just yet.  So I try to keep my dairy consumption low in lactose, per a lactose reference chart I referenced in a previous post.  Overall, I think using that chart as a guide has helped me avoid episodes like this by and large.... though as I said before, I got careless this time.

I think some part of me keeps hoping that the exposure to small amounts of lactose has increased my tolerance over time.  Apparently not!  I have other reactions to things such as certain fruits and acne medications (which was horrible because I definitely needed those as a teen!), but none other comes to mind and stomach more frequently than dairy.

On that note... enjoy the rest of the holiday season, and savor your dairy if you can eat it without adverse reactions!

1 comment:

  1. My middle son, daughter and wife are all lactose intolerant. Thank goodness I can go get ice cream with my youngest!