Ok so you have just figured out that you are lactose intolerant, and you are having somewhat of a meltdown because you do not want to say goodbye to sweet sweet dairy. I have been there. I have had the meltdown. There are some people who chose to completely ignore their lactose intolerance, and continue to order quesadillas from Mexican restaurants and eat nightly bowls of dairy filled ice cream. I, however, can share what it's like living with lactose intolerance while abiding by the typical lactose intolerance rules. Fortunately, a life of avoiding dairy, while unfortunate, is very doable. 

Eating Dairy

If you are like "omg totally not going to happen i legit need cheese all over my face" then you may actually be okay. There are lactaid pills which provide your body with the lactase enzyme required to breakdown lactose, which is the sugar present in milk and dairy products. For some people, taking a lactaid pill may help them enough to enjoy their dairy within about 30 minutes to an hour of taking the pill without any bloating, discomfort, or upset stomach. For other people, the lactaid pill doesn't quite do the job. 

Dairy Alternatives

What is honestly the saving grace of all lactose intolerant and non-dairy eaters is all of the dairy alternatives that are available. Especially in recent culture with less and less people consuming dairy, there are so many alternatives out there. Beyond the fact that there is almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, oat milk, hemp milk, etc, there are also cheeses, ice creams, and yogurts made from these other plants based sources. I have had cashew milk snickerdoodle flavored ice cream that is legit the best ice cream I have ever had, dairy or non-dairy. Just because it isn't dairy doesn't mean it isn't good, so don't be afraid to experiment.

water, tea, milk
Alex Frank

Ordering in a Restaurant

Something that is especially difficult for me being lactose intolerant is going out to eat. A ton of foods are cooked in butter, flavored with buttery sauces, or contain cheese. I typically ask for no cheese on my dish (if it is listed with cheese on the menu), and ask for my food not to be cooked in oil. This may not be a huge problem for some people, but food cooked in butter really kills my stomach, so I would rather avoid the stomach ache.

butter, box, carton
Caroline Ingalls

Life Without Quesadillas 

I try and avoid real dairy as much as I can, and at this point it's not super hard to do. There are so many recipes out there for yummy meals and snacks that would originally contain diary that use yummy substitutes. I'm not going to lie though, sometimes when my friends go out for ice cream and there's not non-dairy kind, or I go to a Mexican restaurant and there is cheese everywhere, I want to eat a whole pack of lactaid pills and curse my body for making me unable to digest lactose. It is an adjustment, but I feel so much better when I don't eat it.

ice, cream, ice cream, waffle, strawberry
Amelia Hitchens