Food intolerances are hard. While the rest of the world parties on with the deliciously illicit banned treat that tastes good but makes you feel bad, you’re stuck in a lonely space of “no, thanks” and “can I see the exact ingredient breakdown for that?”
An issue digesting lactose – a sugar found in traditional dairy products – is one of the trickiest. Because all sorts of the most divine flavours of this earth, from cheese to butter to yoghurt, contain the stuff. If it’s something you deal with, these moments will be all too familiar to you.
Soldier on, comrade.
1. Having to decline the smoothie your other half whipped up is plain unfair
Oh. It’s got a full glass of traditional milk in it. Rendering a would-have-been-perfect breakfast a no-go on this rushed Monday morning. Fantastic.
2. There is no sleepiness like that induced by a caffeine-free meeting
A two-hour strategy brainstorm and the only option is to take your brew without any milk. If that just isn’t going to work for you, nodding off every few minutes it is.
3. Before you discovered what the problem was, bloating was a way of life
Tight jeans were the sartorial equivalent of crafting a personal time travel portal. Highly desirable, totally impossible.
4. You will have to say ‘yes, even cheese’ on a daily basis for the rest of your days
Yes, even mozzarella on pizza. Yes, that fresh-from-the-oven Camembert. Yes, cheese toasties.
5. You always need to take charge of Pancake Day
Left to someone else’s devices, the third best food opportunity of the year (after Christmas and Easter, natch) may pass you by. For they’ll inevitably chug a load of traditional milk in the batter, meaning a tragic lack of lemon and sugar for you. Taking control is just self-preservation here.
6. Trips to the frozen yoghurt shop can be tense affairs
Sorbet over a pot of chocolate with whipped cream is the choice you never wanted to make. And yet, here you are.
7. Declining a slice of your colleague’s birthday cake never gets easier
Yes, getting involved with that buttercream-laden delight would be beautiful. But it cannot be done.
8. Lactose is in basically everything
Breakfast croissant? Butter. Caesar salad dressing? Parmesan. Protein shake? Whey. Sometimes it lurks in crisps, biscuits, pasta sauce, crackers and even the casing of tablets. The list is endless and our nerves are frayed.
9. The discovery of alternatives to replace traditional dairy made your Millennium
Dairy made without lactose exists in the world and it makes you Tom Cruise-jumping-on-a-sofa-circa-2005 happy.
10. Meeting a fellow sufferer leads to 20-minute conversations in which you break down your specific symptoms
You’re basically soulmates and must now detail your personal journeys as you form an intolerance bond that can never be broken.