I’m a snacker. The recommended small 6 meals a day is what I try to follow, and my body thanks me for it. I never feel over-stuffed and I try to avoid feeling painfully hungry. I do it by eating healthy snacks.
But recently, one of my snacks and I had a bit of a falling out. I love low fat string cheese, but I noticed I had not been feeling very well. I was baffled at what it could be. I slowly started taking the regular things out of my diet, and lo and behold, my cheese was making me sick.
As devastated as I was (I really do love string cheese), it only confirmed my discord with milk products. My mom is lactose intolerant, so while we had some milk in the house, I did not drink it often. Which turned into a general distaste (except if it was laced with chocolate), but has become a intolerance to milk. Small doses, sure, but nothing more.
Not being able to drink milk affects me more than just turning down a bowl of ice cream. I am losing out on the essential vitamins and nutrients that I am missing. As I was flexing my low cost health insurance and taking a visit to the doctor, she noted that I was calcium deficient.
So what do you do if you are like me and can’t drink milk?
My doctor suggested a calcium supplement to take each day to up my vitamin count. But if eating a bowl of dry cereal without milk is not for you, there are still some options.
Soy milk is a favorite for vegans and others (like me) who cannot have milk-based dairy. It has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk but if you want the essential nutrients, you must get it fortified. Soy milk might not be for everyone. With high levels of estrogens, it can change hormones in your body, so do not take it if you have breast cancer in your family history.
Almond milk is a low calorie alternative to cow’s milk. It is exactly what it sounds like- milk from almonds. If you are allergic to nuts, almond milk is not for you. While fortified almond milk can provide many of the nutrients you need, it lacks protein, so do not rely on it for that.
Rice milk can add moisture to your cereal or provided ample dipping for your chocolate chip cookies, but it provides little to no nutritional value. Only drink this if you can’t drink the other kinds and need to add it for taste.
Realizing my milk indigestion is all about knowing my body. Knowing what my body was telling me helped keep me healthy and to avoid food that was bad for my body. Avoiding milk in any form, while annoying, has saved me from more potentially dangerous allergic reactions.