Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Lactose Intolerance

HIGH: Finding a "cure"

Last year I found a product to help ease my lactose intolerance. The brochure used the word "solution," so of course in my mind it meant a cure. (yippee!) I spent $150 and did the 38-day program in which I had to ingest powder every day and abstain from any form of dairy. It wasn't easy because dairy is in EVERYTHING we eat: spaghetti bolognese, eggs with hollandaise sauce, salad dressing... I was down to noodles and crackers. Then my stomach started reacting (bloating, cloggage) and before you know it I was spending Saturday nights alone in my room.
But after 38 days I had my first Chai Latte with real milk and felt A-OK! "Wow, it actually worked," I thought, and continued along the high road of dairy tolerance. That is until....

Low: A year goes by and I can't digest dairy anymore =(

It crept up slowly, but surely. Now I'm back to square one. The thing is, I love dairy. I still buy milk, but I sip cautiously.

HIGH: Saying "screw it" and going to a MILK event.

This week Chef Bret Thompson, along with people behind the GOT MILK campaign, threw a dairy food promotional (read as 'orgy du la creme') . I threw colon-caution to the wind and decided to go. My two robot friends were getting a last-minute lube job so we were incredibly late, but there was still a lot of good stuff left, plus I got to talk to the chef.

That Bret is a swell guy. He may be high-profile, but he's humble enough to man his own cash register. That's where I found him the first time I visited MILK, last year. Julie Delpy had come in with some friends and Bret was taking their order en francais. Little did I know, world-famous designer Phillipe Starck was part of the entourage, as Bret excitedly pointed out. I had no clue. Both of us were star-struck that evening but for different reasons. Fancy that.

You can see Bret in this picture:

He's not always that blurry 'cept for when the focus is on the sweets. From left to right: a mini cone with banana ice cream, savory butternut squash soup, an ice cream sandwich sprinkled with rice crispies, and a 'tres leches' berry cake. I settled in by popping a Lactaid. The body tends to build a tolerance against it, but since I'd been away from pills for a while it seemed to do the trick. Hallelujah.

All the desserts were heavenly, especially the banana ice cream with its nutty hard shell. The robots loved the soup and cornbread (not pictured).

Here's another shot:

The day ended well and my colon was hanging in. I'd been taking the Activia challenge this week, eating yogurt to regulate my system. So maybe it was working? =)

The Final Low: Getting bad news from the doctor.

I had a physical exam this week. They took x-rays, drew blood, and made me pee in a plastic cup. During the doctor's consultation I asked if lactose intolerance was curable and he gave me an emphatic but regretful "no." "But you can still maintain your digestive system by taking things containing acidophilus," he added. So I left the office somewhat optimistic. So as long I continue eating yogurt and popping pills regularly I should be okay.

A few hours later, the doctor called with the results from my blood test. He said my cholesterol was high and that I needed to cut back on high-fat dairy. Do'h! I was speechless. For the past year I'd worked to get back something only to be told it was never meant to be. How depressing.

Cheese. Ice Cream. Milk. I miss you already.

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Jeni said...

Hey girl...I missed you. :(


Chubbypanda said...

I'm in the cholesterol club too. *sigh* Why do so many good things have cholesterol in them?

H. C. said...

I too am cursed with lactose intolerance (though not officially diagnosed) -- I can probably do two servings of dairy a day (a milkshake, or half a pint of ice cream) -- but any more and I get really uncomfortable!

H. C. said...

Oh yea & too bad I missed you at the event!

teenage glutster said...

I never really eat dairy myself but I went berserk here, 2-3 things of everything (free food for a starving student!?!)...and yet, I was o.k, I did feel like a got hit by truck though because of the sugar crash afterwards, it was still worth it.

heard you were there, too bad we didn't get to meet.

That Saddity Chic said...

What about lactaid pills? I keep some in all of my purses. I like the chewable kind :)