What is Lactose Intolerance? I’ll be exploring the topic and sharing the information as part of a sponsored program through The Motherhood. I have been compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Melissa dArabian Celebrity Chef and AuthorWhile I was away at a conference last week, I missed the chance to talk with celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian and registered dietitian Michelle Harrington.Thankfully I got a copy of the transcripts because I didn’t want to miss out on the critical information they both had to share!

You may recognize Melissa. She’s the author of the best-selling cookbook “[amazon_link id=”0307985148″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ten Dollar Dinners[/amazon_link],” a  TV host, a mom, and the Lactaid Regulatory and Nutritional Affairs Manager.  Michelle is a pediatric dietitian at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and she’s passionate about helping busy families find great nutritional solutions.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

I’ve become lactose intolerant now that I hit my 50’s. In the past I thought I might be anytime I had a little stomach distress after eating a dairy product; however, now that I’m truly intolerant, I know it’s much more.

Lactose intolerance can happen at any age and like me, you may have enjoyed dairy products with no problems for years and even decades. Michelle shared that Lactose is the major carbohydrate found in milk and many other dairy foods and that it’s a milk sugar that is broken down into glucose and galactos in the intestines in order to be absorbed.

For most people their naturally produced lactase enzyme does that breaking down process, but everyone has a different level of lactase available, and that’s why lactose intolerance can be mild, progressing to a severe, over time. Like me, many people get progressively intolerant as they get older – just one more joy along with gray hair and wrinkles – and find that the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance are so painful that they give up dairy products altogether.

Celebrity Chef Melissa d'Arabian shares her Lactose-free Blue Berry Muffin Recipe on the Today Show

Celebrity Chef Melissa d’Arabian shares her Lactose-free Blue Berry Muffin Recipe on the Today Show

Tips for eating with Lactose Intolerance:

But does that mean that I’ll never get to enjoy the dairy products I love ever again? Kind of. Michelle shared some eating tips for people like me. The first is that if you’re going to eat an item that may cause you problems, don’t eat it on an empty stomach. Instead, enjoy it with other foods that will help you digest it.

Another suggestion is to find alternatives for your favorite dairy products. She shares the example that if you enjoy yogurt, which already has the benefits of live and active cultures which help to digest the lactose, consider Greek yogurt with double the protein and fewer carbohydrates which means less lactose to break down.

When it comes to cheese, choose hard cheese because they contain less whey – aged cheese like Pecorino, Aged Cheddar, Gruyère, and Swiss cheeses should all have less lactose in them. Before you commit to a large serving, try small amounts of cheese in your diet to see how much you can tolerate.

Lactose-Free Products

Lactaid Products

Another option is to switch to lactose-free products. Lactaid Cottage Cheese can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Its neutral taste lends itself well to vegetable dips, lasagna (combine it in a blender with an egg for a richer experience more like Ricotta cheese), and even enchiladas while it also fits right into desserts by adding fruits like peaches or berries to it.

Lactaid milk can be used like any other dairy milk because it is real milk. It’s just been infused with lactase to help your system break down the lactose. You can bake with it or enjoy it on your cereal. Because it’s a real milk product, it’s got the calcium you need, but even better, they’ve boosted it so you’ll get 500mg in each glass instead of the 300mg in regular milk.

Lactaid also makes ice cream and even eggnog during the holidays. In fact, it’s the #1 lactose-free brand on the market. The current ice-cream flavors are Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Strawberries & Cream, and Butter Pecan. Most are gluten-free.

I admit I’ve not tried any of the products yet because I ASSUMED they used chemicals and I try to lead a chemical-free life. Now that I know better I’ll be looking for some of their ice cream! It’s been ages since I could eat a bowl of ice cream with fruit and I can’t wait to enjoy it again!

Find Out More About Lactaid

Find out more about the Lactaid products and recipes for using them on the Lactaid website and their YouTube channel. Also, check out this video of  Melissa sharing a recipe for lactose-free blueberry muffins on the Today Show. I