It is estimated that more than half of the human population experiences a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. With increasing numbers of Americans going to a lactose intolerance diet, it has opened the door to the industry of dairy-free products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Although there is currently no cure for this condition, avoidance of lactose is considered to alleviate troublesome symptoms of this intolerance.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which an individual is unable to digest the lactose or sugar occurring in milk. For individuals who are intolerant of lactose, the consumption of this sugar can result in painful gut symptoms that can often occur at inopportune times such as while at the office or commuting.
Being lactose intolerant does not affect everyone the same way. For example, one person may be able to eat regular cheese and yogurt without issue but are unable to tolerate regular milk. Another person may be able to tolerate only reduced amounts of cheese and yogurt and no milk. Although milk, cheese, and yogurt all contain milk, the lactose in cheese and yogurt is often broken down in the fermentation process, which allows it to be more easily absorbed into the small intestine.
Causes of Lactose Intolerance
The limited presence of an enzyme of the small intestine called lactase is typically to blame for lactose intolerance. Those with lactose intolerance have a deficiency of this enzyme, which usually turns the sugar found in milk to two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. With a deficit of lactase, lactose from food moves through to the colon without being properly broken down or absorbed, which can result in unwanted and uncomfortable gut symptoms.
Individuals past adolescence are at a higher risk for requiring a lactose intolerance diet. Studies show the condition to be significantly more prevalent in people of African, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian descent. If an individual is already experiencing complications of the gut such as bacteria overgrowth, celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease, the risk of becoming lactose intolerant can be higher.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
Most individuals that have a lactose intolerance experience a variety of symptoms that are all related to the gut. On average, symptoms of being lactose intolerant include but are not limited to gas, severe bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
If you experience some of these symptoms thirty minutes to two hours after consuming dairy products, you may be lactose intolerant.
Getting Calcium When Lactose Intolerant
For people who cannot consume large quantities of milk or other dairy products due to lactose intolerance, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D and calcium. To help compensate for those losses, consider eating foods rich in the vitamins, such as liver and eggs. If calcium is missing from your diet, calcium rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, pinto beans, oranges, salmon, and some juices may be good to consume.
How to Streamline Meals When Lactose Intolerant
With the hectic pace of today’s life, getting a healthy meal to the table every night can be difficult and time consuming. When adding up the hours required to research the recipes, buy the groceries, and assemble the meals, time adds up quickly and can make eating out seem like a tempting option. However, ordering dairy-free meals from a healthy meal delivery service may be the perfect way to eat fast and healthy, all while putting hours back into your day.
Those that are lactose intolerant should not shy away from taking advantage of a delivery meal service. With just a few simple steps, it can be easy to choose a reputable meal delivery service that understands what it means to cook for and accommodate someone on a lactose intolerance diet.
Begin by looking for a healthy meal delivery service that focuses on using whole foods in their dishes. These foods typically have a higher nutritional value than their processed counterparts. While processed foods often have a myriad of interesting and sometimes unusual ingredients that can sneak into a very long ingredient list, whole foods have only one ingredient, with none of the mystery.
Do some research ahead of time and contact several meal delivery services online to see what kinds of dairy-free meals they offer. A company that caters to those with a variety of special dietary restrictions is likely to have a better understanding of the lactose intolerance diet and will know how to assemble a safe meal. Be sure to verify that there are several viable meal options for you to choose from when ordering.
To maximize your time and money, confirm that all meals for a lactose intolerance diet are prepared, assembled, cooked and vacuum packed before they ever arrive on the doorstep. Clients should be able to effortlessly store the food until they are ready to enjoy. The only effort required should be spent quickly warming up a meal.
No meal should require clients to sign a long-term contract. A meal delivery service should be willing to let their prepared meals speak for themselves and allow a client to choose what meal they would like, when they would like it, and with what frequency.
If you are new to being lactose free and are following a lactose intolerance diet, be assured that the sacrifice of taste is not required. Eat freely and confidently by enlisting a healthy meal delivery service that will have you sitting down to the dinner table with a smile once again.