Between thirty to fifty million Americans are lactose-intolerant, this writer included. What does that mean exactly? The clinical definition is that lactose-intolerant individuals cannot digest lactose-containing products (lactose is milk sugar) such as ice cream and cow's milk, because our small intestine no longer produces lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest these products. When we do indulge, symptoms range anywhere gas and cramping to uncomfortable bloating and diarrhea. Not pleasant. Thankfully, Lactaid came on the market many years ago, and we lactose-intolerants can enjoy dairy with the best of them. The pills come in chewable pill form.
One of the problems we face during the holidays is that we don't get to indulge in the wonderful tastes of the season, like creamy, rich desserts and yummy eggnog, unless we happen to have the Lactaid pills (which to be honest, are kind of icky) handy; not always the case if you don't have your handbag or husband around (or significant other--you know what I'm sayin'). Here is just a partial list of milk-containing products that you probably cook with and that we will have lactose issues with:
- Milk and milk based beverages (like eggnog)
- Heavy cream and half & half
- Ice cream
- Soft and processed cheeses
- Puddings and custards
- Cream soups and cream sauces
Not good--well, obviously it's all yummy and good, but all these products can cause major problems for us. Yet, there's great news on the product front from Lactaid: as any regular lactose-intolerant customer of Lactaid will tell you, they finally, finally now have eggnog-- yes! and it's really, really good (and has way less fat, too)! This is just so exciting for us--we were relegated to drinking just the brandy, which wasn't that bad come to think of it, but I digress. If you have any friends who suffer from this particular form of fun, now you can be sure to provide them with a nice surprise when they come to your house for holiday cheer.
Lactaid also now makes ice cream, chocolate milk, organic milk, and even cottage cheese. Any of these products can easily be used in place of their regular lactose-containing counterparts for your lactose-intolerant guests and everyone will be happy and comfortable. The taste is virtually identical; the milk is just a tiny bit sweeter.
If you yourself are lactose-intolerant or have family members that are, or if you think they may be, there's a handy, simple test on the Lactaid website to see if you are, indeed, lactose-intolerant. These products can make such a huge difference in your life (if you are a fan of milk), and are a great way, especially for kids who are lactose-intolerant, to enjoy milk and cream products and not feel left out.
Click here for some great holiday recipes or more information on Lactaid products. Most grocery stores in the OC carry the Lactaid milk product line; eggnog is available only in December.
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