• Mrs. Ortiz

Living with Lactose-Intolerance

February 12, 2021

I have been married for a year to a wonderful, thoughtful, handsome hubby who listens to me and understands me. However, with marriage also comes challenges. The most challenging part of being married to my hubby, I have learned, is simply figuring out what he can and cannot eat. I myself have never had allergies of any kind, so meeting him and finding out everything he was allergic to was eye-opening for me. Whenever I am shopping, meal planning, or ordering out, I am constantly going through my mental checklist to see if any of the ingredients in the food will adversely affect him.

Here (just for the shock factor) is the list of things he is allergic to or can’t have: avocado, anything with lactose (and I do mean anything), mangos, melons, pork, walnuts (deathly allergic), pistachios (basically every nut except almonds), and sesame oil (weirdly enough, he can have peanuts).

I’m sure I must be leaving something out. And before you tell me about how short this list is, I must ask—do you realize that nearly every thing you order in a restaurant has some type of milk product in it?

Even though I was unable to find a statistic, in my estimation, 75% of things. And most things he orders he usually has to ask for without cheese, and half the time the cook forgets and puts the cheese on anyway.

It can be quite stressful. Also, I must add that I have never met anyone with such a severe lactose intolerance as my husband. Every person I know that has a lactose intolerance can still eat the occasional ice cream cone, maybe have a slight tummy ache, and be fine the next day.

If Alex accidently eats cheese, or something with dairy in it, he has horrible, debilitating stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, maybe even a fever from anywhere between 1-3 weeks (sometimes longer).

His lactose intolerance wasn’t always this bad. When he hit 25, he noticed that he couldn’t have as much dairy as he normally consumed, lest he get a stomach ache (like normal lactose-intolerant people). When he hit 30 he realized he couldn’t have dairy at all. Though, when we got married, I managed to find a “lactose-free” cheese that he was able to eat for a few months with no consequences. But, after those few months, he couldn’t even eat that.

He also reacts to pork in an even worse way. Before he discovered that he couldn’t eat pork, one of his ankles would swell up and become so extremely painful that he could barely walk on it, along with the stomach cramps, the vomiting etc. His ankle would always look like a sprain, but he would not have sprained it. This condition would simply develop overnight, his ankle stiffening up and becoming veritably useless. It’s been one of the stranger health issues I’ve seen. And, for all my researching, I’ve not been able to find anything to compare it to. For all apparent reasons, pork should not have that affect on him and I’ve not found a report online stating that pork ever had this affect on anyone. But, since he’s stopped eating pork, this has ceased to occur. Do you know how difficult it is to find an Asian takeout place with chicken-stuffed dumplings or steak-stuffed dumplings? Virtually every gyoza dumpling made in most Asian restaurants is made with pork.

Before I wrap up this post, I would also like to share this story: Alex and I were discussing what to eat for dinner on a Saturday. I suggested Chicken Parmesan, as it’s one dish we have not made together since we’ve been married. I could put cheese on mine, but not on his. Alex was so excited to make this dish, stating he had only had it twice at Olive Garden maybe 10 years ago, but absolutely loved it. He ran to the store to grab the ingredients. As he has a night job, and sleeps during the day, I decided that I would get a head start on making dinner before waking him up.

I got the flour ready and the eggs, and made sure that the frozen chicken was finally thawed enough to use.

I checked the recipe how much of the Panko crumbs I would need, and opened up the can. As I poured the Panko crumbs into a bowl, the smell of Parmesan cheese hit me.

The Panko crumbs were made with cheese.

Frustrated, as I had just been to the store 10 minutes before, I hopped into the car and drove back. I found the aisle where multiple varieties of Panko crumbs were stored.

I read every single label on every single variety, and found that all of them except one had been made with dairy. And the one that I had found that was made without dairy was the most expensive.

I resigned myself, and paid for the dairy-free panko crumbs.

Alex and I managed to make a delicious (and dairy-free) Chicken Parmesan. But it took a lot of effort! To all of you who have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, I empathize with you, and can’t imagine what it must be like if you want to go out to eat.

Do any of you suffer from some type of diet restrictions as my beloved hubby does? How has it affected your life? I’ve found that I have become hyper-aware of every single ingredient in anything I cook or bake. If any of you have a severe lactose intolerance, please let me know. It would be such a relief to me to know that Alex is not the only one.

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