A Day In The Life Of A Lactose Intolerant
There is a wide range of milk free and lactose free food available nowadays, but when it comes to visiting friends or dining out, it can still be tricky to eat and drink ‘normally’. We’ve asked one of our customers to share her own typical day of meals, explaining how she overcomes the problems associated with lactose intolerance while ensuring she doesn’t miss out.
It’s 6.30am on a Monday morning and my first thoughts are coffee. Now.
I do enjoy black coffee, but when it’s this early I prefer something smooth and milky to ease me into the day. I’ve been lactose intolerant for about five years now, so I’ve had plenty of time to discover which products work for me. I used to try my morning coffee with soya milk, but without the foaming device that proper baristas use, it always curdled and left me disappointed. I soon swapped for a lactose free milk, which does the trick. The taste isn’t quite the same as a normal cup of coffee, but it’s delicious once you get used to it. Plus when you’re lactose intolerant, you soon forget what real milk tastes like anyway.
If I’ve stayed away for the night, breakfast is the most difficult meal of the day. Not only does it rely heavily on milk, yoghurt and butter, but many popular cereals contain dairy in some shape or form. Because of this I tend to skip breakfast altogether, hoping a glass of fresh orange juice will tide me over until I get home.
Fortunately, this morning I’m in my own environment and I have plenty of choose from. Today I have a soya based yoghurt with dairy free granola, fruit and honey, topped off with a few mixed nuts. If it was the weekend I’d make even more of breakfast, enjoying bacon or smoked salmon and scrambled egg (scrambled with lactose free milk, of course). I also love toast with jam, and I needn’t scrimp on butter now that I’ve discovered Pure’s tasty sunflower spread.
By half past ten I can manage black coffee, so I’ll have a small cup before switching to herbal teas. I fancy a biscuit or a cereal bar, but these are definitely off the list as they so often contain traces of lactose. Fortunately I love baking, so I’ve always got something to hand, like dairy free brownies or ginger buns. Today I have a batch of dairy free fudge in the freezer, made with blitzed up dates, cacao and almond butter. This fudge is perfect for mid-morning cravings, and it’s so tasty that you forget it’s healthy!
While most people stick to sandwiches or pasta pots, I’ve got my own portfolio of lunch options. Today I have chorizo slices, avocado, rocket and a poached egg on soya and linseed toast, which I love. When the weather gets colder I’ll have a big bowl of soup or a toasted sandwich, made with lactose free cheese and a dairy free spread. If I’m especially hungry there are a few brands of crisps I can enjoy, though a lot of flavours involve dairy. The safest lunchtime snack is carrot sticks and cucumber with hummus – I make my own sometimes, but most shop bought versions are dairy free anyway.
I’d kill for a big mug of Yorkshire’s finest, but I settle for a cup of peppermint tea. At home I can have tea with lactose free alternatives such as soya, rice or oat milk, but if I’m visiting a friend or in a meeting then the chances are these aren’t available. I fancy a chocolate hit, and while everyone else munches on chocolate chip cookies I have a dairy free, gluten free snack bar. It’s made entirely of fruit, nuts and raw cacao, so I’m safe… though those cookies do look tempting!
Pre & Post Gym Snacks
Before I go to my weeknight class I try to have a mixed bag of carbs to keep me energised. One of my favourite snacks is wholewheat toast with banana on top. Now and again I’ll add peanut butter, but most of the time I stick to a thin spread of dairy free butter before the fruit. After the gym, I treat myself to a lactose-intolerant-friendly milkshake, blitzing up almond milk, ice and a squirt of chocolate sauce. It tastes just as indulgent as a normal milkshake, but with a quarter of the calories! It’s also a great way to replace fluids, as well as containing plenty of protein, calcium and sugar.
It’s 7pm and time to head out for dinner. I’m feeling a little anxious as we’ve never visited this restaurant before, so I’m not sure of the options for specific dietary requirements. Fortunately the menu is available to browse online, so I spend some time looking over it. There are over thirty dishes, but I’ve whittled it down to a small handful that I can eat. Thank goodness I’m not vegetarian, as I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a single dish!
At the restaurant I mention to our waiter that I’m lactose intolerant, and I’m so relieved when he explains the chef can alter pretty much anything to suit me. I opt for garlic prawns to start, cooked with oil instead of butter, and then chicken wrapped in parma ham with vegetables for my main course. Unfortunately I can’t have the creamy mushroom sauce as an accompaniment, but the chef makes me a tomato based alternative. The sweet menu is a definite no-go but I don’t mind indulging in a liquid dessert instead!
Since I’ve missed out on pudding at the restaurant I whip up a lactose free dessert at home. I top a meringue nest with a scoop of dairy free ice cream, slices of fruit and some passion fruit coulis. For an extra bit of creaminess I splash on a soya cream, which is surprisingly tasty, though coconut cream is my favourite.