“Stop using milk.”
It’s often the first advice you get from doctors when dealing with a reaction to foods.
But be careful, removing dairy foods from your diet can mean that you miss out on important vitamins and minerals – it’s always best to have professional guidance.
Milk is the major source of cheap and digestible calcium for most people, aside from numerous other benefits.
However milk can also be a big source of health difficulties, particularly for infant children.
You can be milk intolerant or you could be allergic. Experiencing problems in your breathing or skin and not just your stomach may well mean it’s an allergy.
Lactose intolerance is the commonest genetic disorder. If you can call it a disorder – it affects over 50% of the world population.
An allergic reaction won’t be caused by lactose sugar however but by a reaction to proteins. People can be allergic to whole milk, or to casein or whey.
If you are going to stop drinking milk there are plenty of alternatives.
Many people try goat’s milk which still contains lactose but in a more digestible form.
But coconut milk is gaining popularity because of its creamy texture and distinctively sweet taste. Kara reinforce their drink with calcium and you can now get organic coconut milk from What On Earth or reduced-fat organic coconut milk from Biona. There is a misconception about coconuts containing dangerous saturated fat but the medium-chain fats in coconuts are easily digested for use as energy for the body. It is not stored like long-chain animal fat.
Soya milk is another alternative which comes in many forms: some sugar free, others enriched with vitamins and minerals. Soy is good for lowering cholesterol, it provides antioxidants and may help prevent cancer.
There are grain milks made from oats or quinoa, or nut drinks. For example a new almond drink, made by EcoMil, comes with added calcium, but you can also drink almond milk in natural form without sweetener if you simply love the taste of almonds.
Rice milk not only has a clean taste for drinking or putting on cereal but is also good in cooking as a thickening agent. Look for ones fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A.
Finally it’s helpful to know that some people will take lactase capsules which supply the enzyme needed to break down lactose in the first place. If you are just lactose intolerant these will help you to carry on drinking milk without discomfort.