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What's it like to live with a lactose intolerance? Erin Rodgers finds out

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Photo Credit: Black Glenn
Photo Credit: Black Glenn


A lactose intolerant student. For some, cooking is not so simple. Those with eating preferences, requirements or intolerances often venture out into the culinary world with caution.

Lydia found out that she was lactose intolerant around three years ago. As a medic, she spends most of her day on campus. She always has to prepare her lunch in advance; buying lactose-free meals on campus isn't very easy. She doesn't risk getting fast food at the end of a night out, but unsurprisingly she feels grateful for this the morning after...
The foods Lydia misses most are Ben and Jerry's ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and McDonalds chicken nuggets. Yet she's found that not consuming lactose has lost her half a stone; having to avoid certain snacks means she eats healthily. However, Lydia does have to be aware of calcium deficiency.

Does Lydia think there are sufficient alternative foods available? She noted that the 'free from' sections are usually great, particularly at Sainsbury's. Going out for meals is harder and she often find that restaurants have lots of gluten free options but not many dairy free ones. Often in restaurants, she feels that her intolerance isn't taken seriously and that staff just think she's being fussy.

How does Lydia's intolerance affect her Christmas Dinner? Well, luckily, after three years, her mum is really great at cooking with alternatives (Lactofree milk and butter), so her Christmas Dinner isn't affected at all... Phew.

It's surprising products contain lactose. Lactose-free foods can still taste pleasant, and alternatives often avoid the fattiness associated with dairy products. So give them a go and step into the shoes of a student with lactose intolerance.

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