I ate lactose for a week

7 mins read

In the graceful words of DJ Khaled, I present you with: another one!

Last time, I ate gluten to test the horrors of a tiny protein in bread and starchy foods. I passed a lot less gas without it in my life, but there were so many other uncontrolled variables in my little amateur experiment, so I went back to eating gluten.

I noted that I had eaten pasta with cream sauce and promptly swelled up afterwards, thinking gluten was the culprit. However, my sauce had a shit ton of dairy in it too, which made me think hey, it’s time to check that out in another ‘mess with my system for an article’ article.

This year, it’s totally ethical as I’ve prepared the antidote: lactase pills, to see whether I am lactose intolerant, or just fudging sensitive to everything. First, I’ll torture myself a little, and if I get a reaction, trying not to expect one because the power of mind / overthinking is strong with this one, I will take the weapon into use.

Everything I eat will have lactose in some form – sometimes as part of a meal or ingredient, other times it’ll be pure dairy. A slab of cheese, a knob of butter, Alfredo sauce in a Mason jar being downed with a straw, whatever it takes to show you what a food intolerance can do to a person.

Credit: Nathalie Hollede

Day 1:

I normally do not eat lactose except for butter, and the occasional pizza craze. This week I’m putting myself in the Garden of Cheese-eden, and I’m starting it off with a cheesy bites pizza with extra cheese.

Update: now I know why everyone in old movies has red cheeks – not from makeup or pinching themselves as we have been told, but lactose. Fun fact, or not? I wish I could vlog this.

Day 2:

I forgot to mention another health hazard: I’m not supposed to eat lactose within three hours of taking my medication. I don’t know what would happen to me if I ate it right after, but I think that’s where my boundary is.

My breakfast today was my favourite thing in the whole unhealthy, sinful world: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. French accent: Two. Hours. Later – I bought a litre of water and chugged it because I felt so puffy and dehydrated. Remember I felt this way about gluten too? Maybe it’s all psychological, stay tuned. This is exciting.

Credit: Nathalie Hollede

Day 3:

Jeez, Louise, cheese, please – I’m not a rapper. I do like cheese though. Sike, wrong decision. Please tell me you know that YouTube video or you can stop reading right now.

After a bowl of Mac, my face is a beautiful, round, puffy moon. It resembles the likes of the beautiful women who have poetry and songs written about them. My toxin storage deposits on the top of my shoulders, face, and my underarms are swollen. I know – I’m turning into a goddess of cheese. What you eat is what you are so stick to carrots, boys – and maybe women should eat butternut squash their whole lives? That is one curvaceous veggie.

Another side effect of food intolerances is brain fog, which causes rambling and incoherence in thoughts. That is obviously not happening to me right now.

Credit: Nathalie Hollede

Day 4:

I don’t need alcohol, just milk. That explains why I never slept as a baby. I feel hungover – let’s do it again.

Update: Breakfast was cheese in a croissant, lunch was a meatball sub with cheese, dinner is in front of me now and consists of macaroni and cheese with a heaping, stringy mass of mozzarella.

Day 5:

I felt like I had to get something out of my system today, like I was groggy and puffy, so I worked out a little, and it was so difficult to break a sweat.

Don’t ever do this kind of experiment to yourself unless you are aware of your body and are prepared in cases of your colon reacting violently. It’s not like there is a blood sample at the doctors that can tell you if you’re lactose intolerant at all (cue sarcasm).

Credit: Nathalie Hollede

Day 6:

I really can’t do this anymore, so I’m cutting it early. I apologise for the disappointment. I went to uni today to finish editing, and I felt like I was about to pass out on the way there and back. I’m not going to the doctors to take that blood test that I’ve been dreading getting for so long because of how I got sent home last time when they couldn’t find my veins. I’m swallowing the lactase pills.

Update: I feel a little better, but that could also be because it’s now out of my system. So how do you explain these symptoms? Stay tuned for my next article: It’s all in my head.

If you have someone in your life that you call difficult for living with a food allergy, intolerance, or other disease that makes them sensitive to the things you can enjoy without thinking twice, please do just that: think twice. It can’t be true that we have to grow old, and go through hard times to learn the meaning of empathy in the bittersweet end.

Everything in moderation, is what the wise keep saying, and I’ve learned that with food sensitivities, you just have to stay away – but it’s fine to treat yo’self once in a while if you know your limits!

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Welcome to my hectic, mixed world. I lack bias like it is a disease. Former Editor at Brig Newspaper, Psychology & English student, autoimmune.

Welcome to my hectic, mixed world. I lack bias like it is a disease. Former Editor at Brig Newspaper, Psychology & English student, autoimmune.

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