A Beginner’s Guide to Living with Lactose Intolerance

Note: This sponsored post was written while participating in my partnership with National Dairy Council and One2One Network, but all opinions are my own.

I love breakfast foods, but rarely eat any of them for breakfast. When I first wake up, I can’t handle a heavy meal, so I rely on my daily bowl of cereal. So when I was a teenager & discovered I was suddenly lactose intolerant, I had no idea what to do!

Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal

Luckily, I quickly discovered that lactose intolerance is a very common condition {about 10% of people have some degree of it} &because of that, options were available. Many dairy products are available in lactose-free versions, such as LACTAID milk {which is what allows me to still wake up to a bowl of Captain Crunch whole wheat cereal}. You can even use LACTAID just like traditional cow’s milk in recipes so you don’t have to give up any of your favorite dishes, either.

Lactose intolerance is not always something you are born with- like I said, I developed it as a teenager. Since it’s not an actual allergy but rather an inability to digest the lactose in dairy products, there is a whole spectrum of levels of sensitivity. I find that I can not tolerate cow’s milk, but that I have no problem with yogurt. I can have cheese and ice cream, but not in large quantities. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, the National Dairy Council suggests some steps you can take to make sure you can still enjoy your favorite foods:

A Beginner's Guide to Lactose Intolerance

• Try It. Opt for lactose-free dairy milk and milk products. They are real dairy milk products, just without the lactose. They taste great and provide the same nutrients as regular dairy foods.
• Sip It. Start with a small amount of milk daily and increase slowly over several days or weeks to determine tolerance.
• Stir It. Mix milk with other foods, such as soups and cereal/oatmeal; blend with fruit or drink milk with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose.
• Slice It. Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby,
Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss. These cheeses contain small amounts of lactose.
• Shred It. Shred your favorite natural cheese onto veggies, pastas and salads. It’s an
easy way to get the nutrients and benefits of dairy and it contains minimal amounts of
• Spoon It. Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt. The live and active cultures in yogurt – both
regular and Greek style – help to digest lactose.

If you’re just developing your intolerance, it might also help to keep a food journal {download one for free here} to track what symptoms you get after eating certain foods. You don’t need to cut out dairy entirely- and shouldn’t, because it’s important for a balanced diet and most dairy products are a great source of calcium & several different vitamins. {&A world without ice cream is not one I want to live in!}

Lactose Intolerance: 5 things you need to know

{Click to enlarge}

To learn more about lactose intolerance, be sure to check out the National Dairy Council’s resource page!

Do you know someone who is lactose intolerant?


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  1. says

    AS I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that I have slight intolerance for lactose and have greatly reduced the amount of dairy I consume, otherwise, depending on what I eat, I fee l miserable afterward. I’ve never really tried any of the lactose-free dairy products because I was under the assumption they weren’t “real” dairy, but after reading your infographic, I might try something like Lactaid and see how I like it.
    Audrey at Barking Mad! recently posted..Johnny’s Not a Bad Kid, He Just Wasn’t Diagnosed Properly #preventFASD

  2. says

    I avoid milk and try my best to avoid anything with milk in it much as possible. I’m very lactose intolerant – I break out really bad and get so bloated – definitely not fun! Like you, I developed this when I was a teenager (used to love the heck out of milk). The same goes for soy products, but I have found that flaxseed milk works the best for me.
    HilLesha recently posted..Wanderlust for “Tropical” Pies

  3. says

    This is really great info! I’m a labor doula, and I find that a lot of my clients, even though they aren’t lactose intolerant, when they breastfeed, they find out their little ones are, so they have to cut back. Thank you for posting this!

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