I grew up eating dairy. I was raised on milk and yogurt. I never even thought about lactose intolerance until college. 

My whole childhood I struggled with stomach issues. I consulted my pediatrician who sent me to a gastro endocrinologist, but still no idea what the issue was. 

This isn't to say that all my issues miraculously went away when I started taking pills to help with digesting dairy, but it did improve drastically. 

Still, I love dairy, and as a picky eater, I can't afford to cut it out completely. Luckily there are ways to deal with being lactose intolerant without giving up your favorite dairy products. 

Carry lactose digestive aid pills.  

coffee, tea, beer
Sam Davis

While these pills aren't a final solution, they do help digest lactose. Depending on the brand the directions vary, but this one instructs the user to take a pill with their first bite of lactose. I try not to pop them with everything I eat, but they have become an important part of my daily routine. 

Drink almond milk.

cake, tea, pizza
Sam Davis

Pills that help your body digest lactose are great, but another way to help your body is simply to cut back on lactose intake. One main source of lactose in people's every day diets is milk. 

While I never drank milk alone, I regularly used it in cereal. I thought milk would be easy to switch out, but it takes a little bit of experimentation to find the right substitute. After trying a variety of almond, rice and soy milks, I found my personal favorite: unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I found it to have the best taste with cereal, but also great for baking.

Change your coffee order. 

ice, tea, liquor, alcohol
Sam Davis

Another crucial thing to figure out when you are trying to limit your dairy consumption is your coffee order. A fair amount of people put milk or cream in their coffee, which is something you should avoid. Of course, more and more coffee places are offering almond milk and soy milk options, and those are always a safe bet.

There are several ways to go about changing your coffee order, and some more drastic than others. The easiest shift to make involves ordering your coffee with "light milk," simply meaning you are putting less milk in than the milk in coffee ratio. It may taste different at first, but after some time you are sure to get used to it. 

If you order your coffee with flavor (hazelnut and vanilla for example), another option is to cut out the milk entirely and get a little more of the flavor. This will still dilute the strength of your coffee, and you don't have to sacrifice flavor either.

Frozen yogurt > ice cream.

chocolate, ice, cream, waffle, wafer
Sam Davis

Some people cannot have dairy full stop. However, if you can bear it—or take lactose digestive aid pills—some find that frozen yogurt is easier to digest than ice cream. This is normally because frozen yogurt is less rich than ice cream, and so easier for your body to break down. 

Luckily, frozen yogurt is super popular and easy to find. Not only are their a multitude of frozen yogurt shops, but more and more grocery stores are now selling pre-packaged froyo by the pint.

Being lactose intolerant is by no means easy to get used to, but it is manageable. So go out and embrace your lactose intolerance, because you can.