Living with LI doesn’t mean living without dairy

Been diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance? Don’t despair, you can still enjoy dairy like cheese, yogurt and even milk! Think you might be Lactose Intolerant – make sure you check with a doctor before self diagnosing.

You know what? Lactose-free milk taste just like real milk. It even has the same mouthfeel.
That’s because it is real milk, which means it has the same valuable nutrition just without the lactose. Lactose-free dairy products are the same as regular dairy products except the lactose – the sugar naturally found in milk – is already broken down or removed.
Lactose intolerance doesn’t mean you have to avoid all dairy. Not only are there lactose-free versions of milk, but there is also ice cream and cottage cheese that is made lactose-free. Many cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss naturally have minimal lactose. And the active cultures in yogurt help to digest lactose.

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The month of February is Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month, and it is all about educating people about what lactose intolerance is and how you can still enjoy the foods you always did while not upsetting your digestive system.
Often people will confuse a milk allergy with lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is usaully something that starts at a young age and often disappears as we age. Lactose intolerance usually develops later in life and is less common in young children. Our bodies make an enzyme called lactase that aids the digestion of lactose in dairy. As adults, our bodies may make less of the enzyme than when we were young, which can make it difficult to digest dairy. A milk allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in milk. While people with a milk allergy need to avoid dairy, the same is not true for those with lactose intolerance. If you unnecessarily cut dairy out of your diet, you are missing out on some key nutrients such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D. It can be difficult to get enough of these nutrients without dairy foods in your diet.

The National Dairy Council has several suggestions for how those with lactose intolerance can continue to enjoy their favorite dairy foods and get the recommended three servings of dairy each day without the gassy or bloated feeling.

Sip it. Start with a small amount of milk daily and slowly increase over several days or weeks to build up your tolerance.

Try it. Opt for lactose-free milk and milk products.

Stir it. Mix milk with other foods such as soups and cereal; blend with fruit as in a smoothie or drink milk with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose.

Slice it. Top sandwiches or whole grain crackers with natural cheese that is low in lactose.

Spoon it. Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt with the aid of those live and active cultures.

The National Dairy Council also offers more information, tips and recipes on its Website, www.eatconfidentlywithli.org. You can make almost any recipe LI friendly by using lactose-free dairy products or the cheeses mentioned above. The following is a recipe from that site. Children and adults will love it.

Cauliflower Cheese Puffs
1.5lb cauliflower, roasted
2 eggs
10 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, reduced fat, grated
3/4 Cup bread crumbs
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Ranch- Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce
1 packet ranch seasoning, 0.4 oz size
2 Cup Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Combine dipping sauce ingredients and let set in the fridge for 1 hour.

To roast the cauliflower – Wash and dry cauliflower and cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss with salt and pepper. Use butter or pan spray to avoid sticking. Roast cauliflower in 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Combine cauliflower, eggs, cheddar and bread crumbs in a food processor and “pulse” to combine.

Portion into .5 oz balls with a scoop.

Optional- roll puffs in grated Parmesan.

Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn each puff over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve with dipping sauce.