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Otherwise, this blog and my Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse are now legacy sites, meaning that I am not updating them any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

My old website can be found at

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or or or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Can You Travel Away From Your LI Symptoms?

Over the years I received a surprising number of emails like this one I received recently:

Something very interesting happened when I visited Italy last October. I was very cautious about eating their foods, especially all the cheese--which I love. One day I ate some over there---guess what--no problem. I ate more---no problem. I was elated! I got back to the States---ate some cheese---big problems!

Milk is milk all over the world so the symptoms of lactose intolerance should stay the same no matter where you go or what your eat. Most of the time I couldn't even hazard a guess why travel should make any difference at all.

But while milk is milk, cheese isn't always cheese. By that I mean that the more you age cheese the lower its lactose content. And the more you adulterate cheese - making it into cheese product of some sort - the more cheap stuff, like lactose (usually in the form of whey), manufacturers add to give artificial cheese a more milk-like taste. I hate to tell you, but not all that cheese you find on pizza is real cheese.

Now it's true that the Italians use some less aged, or mild, cheeses. But I imagine it's possible that a tourist might find herself in places that use better and more aged cheese.

As I say, it's just a guess. But it's the only answer I could come up with.

I'd like to hear your experiences while traveling. What happened when you ate cheese in Italy? Or anywhere else?

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