One thing that many celiacs and gluten free people discover upon becoming gluten free is other food intolerances. If you have eliminated gluten from your diet but still have discomfort and other gastrointestinal symptoms, maybe it’s time to consider that you have another intolerance. I know, it’s the last thing that you want to hear, but this could finally be the key to getting rid of your stomach aches and acne. In celiacs, lactose intolerance is common, because there has been a loss of the lactase enzyme in the lining of the small intestine, which digests milk sugar. After many people begin strictly following the gluten free diet, they may be able to reintroduce lactose and dairy into their diet once their gut has had time to heal.
Think you may be lactose intolerant? Here are the common symptoms.
- Stomach aches
- Gas and bloating
Lactose intolerance can also be tied to acne and skin problems. Upon removing lactose or all dairy entirely from their diet, many people report clearer skin.
What can you eat on the lactose free diet?
- Many hard and well-aged cheeses contain minimal amounts of lactose, so things like parmesan, cheddar and swiss are easier to eat.
- There are now a lot of products out there like lactose free milk (Lactaid) and lactose free coffee creamer, as well as soy cheeses (these are often not completely dairy free or vegan, as they contain tiny amounts of casein (milk product) to create).
- Soy milk and almond milk. In addition, there are now soy and almond coffee creamers by Silk (found in the creamer section) and non dairy Silk yogurts as well. Daiya makes a boxed mac and cheese found near the Annie’s brand, and Annie’s makes vegan mac and cheese shells. Daiya also makes packaged cheese and Amy’s in the frozen section makes vegan and lactose free mac and cheese entrees as well as dairy free burritos and other dishes. Trader Joe’s has lactose free soy slices, so there are lots of great alternatives out there!
- Non-dairy sources of calcium: salmon (with bones), broccoli and spinach, soy beans and soy products (tofu, soy cheese), kale, bok choy, collard greens, almond or rice milk, soy milk (just to name a few). The calcium amounts in these foods varies.
It is important to still get an adequate amount of calcium in your diet, so if you think you are not getting enough you should talk to your doctor and consider taking a calcium supplement.
Many people are still able to eat dairy and lactose by taking a lactase pill right before eating. These can be found over the counter at any pharmacy store. Lactose intolerance can be confirmed by a breath test, however some doctors do not recommend this because of the length and cost of the test. Because lactose intolerance is not as serious as celiac disease (you won’t cause any internal damage to your body or intestine if you eat dairy, aside from some discomfort) the test is not necessary and is up to the patient.