The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com 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.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hold the Cheese Please!

Hold the presses, please! The very first book on lactose intolerance aimed at children has finally arrived. (I was holding this good news until the official publication date, which I then missed. Apologies.)

Hold the Cheese Please! A Story for Children About Lactose Intolerance is by Dr. Frank Sileo and illustrated by Martha Gradisher.

Product Description
Danny is tired of feeling different because he is lactose intolerant. After being teased by a classmate at lunch, Danny reacts by eating ice cream and drinking milk during a class party even though he knows he will have tummy troubles. With the help of the school nurse, Danny is able to teach others about lactose intolerance. Hold the Cheese Please! explains lactose intolerance to children between the ages of six through twelve years. The book contains an introduction to parents, a glossary, a list of non-dairy calcium rich foods and resources for more information. As Danny says, ...when you learn to accept things in your life they seem less scary... This book offers a great message for children dealing with bullying and being different due to lactose intolerance.


Hold the Cheese, Please! was published by Health Press, a publishing house that puts out a great many books for children and for parents on unusual health issues.

Sileo and Gradisher are the creators of an earlier book they published that might be of interest to readers. It's Toilet Paper Flowers: A Story for Children About Crohn's Disease:


Julia, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, explains living with this chronic and sometimes debilitating illness to her new friend. Because she uses the bathroom so often, Julia creates flowers using toilet paper. By sharing her flower creations, Julia gains support and understanding from her friend. Toilet Paper Flowers has an introduction for parents, web resources, explanations of the disease and treatments, glossary, and instructions for making the flowers. This book offers hope and validates feelings of children struggling with Crohn’s disease, as well as educating siblings and friends unfamiliar with this chronic illness.

I've both books to the Kids and Parenting page in my Milk-Free Bookstore. I also put Hold the Cheese, Please! to my Milk- and Lactose-Free Books page to make sure everybody spots it.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tracing Lactose Back to Its Source

New Zealand. It's given us the Lord of the Rings movies, the Flight of the Conchords, and lactose. And the lactose may be more ubiquitous than either of the other two.

TVNZ reported that:

A by-product of Fonterra's waste is now being sold to some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies.

Inhalation grade lactose, which is not needed in the processing of cheese, is the dairy industry's second largest product in Europe and the sixth largest globally.

Around 45,000 tonnes of high grade lactose is produced each year and it all starts in Taranaki using milk produced in the North Island.

I believe that. This statement, though, seems odd, as least as written:
The ingredient has attracted Dutch pharmaceutical giant DMV, who in 2006 paired with Fonterra to develop the product into the global market worth $US800 billion.

Maybe the total global pharmaceutical market is worth $US800 billion or maybe it's the global dairy market that's worth US$800 billion, but the lactose piece of it sure isn't.

And here's another strange comment:
Now, a third of every medicine tablet made contains lactose that produced in Taranaki.

Every medicine tablet made contain lactose. No. Don't worry about that. Lactose is just plain not in every medicine tablet made. Even if you read that as lactose is in a third of tablets made, that claim is not likely to be true. Maybe a third of the total volume of tablets made with lactose is lactose, but that doesn't seem right to me either. I find that line a mystery.

But I bet I know what happened. TVNZ got a press release from Fonterra and rewrote it as article, even though the writer had no idea of what the words meant. Depressing to find that as a problem everywhere in the world.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lactaid's 25th (and 35th) Anniversaries

When I first learned I was lactose intolerant, in 1978, I had never heard the words before. Didn't know what lactose was. Milk, well, milk was supposed to sooth the stomach. The concept made no sense.

No books were available on lactose intolerance. Almost no articles could be dug up at the library. No web, of course. I poked here and there, doing my own research.

Who doesn't know about lactose intolerance (LI) today? The phrase is a standing joke. Just mention milk and somebody will throw out a reference to LI. People think they're LI even if they're not. Consume any dairy product, suffer any digestive complaint? Boom, you're LI. See lactones on a label? Lactylates? Lactates? Lactic acid? Lactacystin? Must cause lactose intolerance. Not one of them contain any lactose, and not one of them would have been noticeable or comprehensible on a label in 1978, but today the connection is automatic. Amazing.

There were no specialty foods aimed at the lactose intolerant in 1978. What few diary alternatives existed were created for the kosher market, as a way to get around the prohibition of eating milk with meat. Today, the corner supermarket will have shelves full of milk-alternatives of all types, varieties, and bases. Some are from international food conglomerates; many are made by small firms struggling to find a niche for their products.

That's one major reason I maintain this blog, to help readers find the complete range of products and services available if you want to reduce or eliminate dairy in your life. I'm constantly passing along press releases about new foods, new companies, new cookbooks, new ways of dealing with the issue.

And by concentrating on the new, I suddenly realized how little attention I've given to the one constant in the LI world, the one that made lactose intolerance as well known as it's become, the one that everybody knows so well it's become almost the generic word. Lactaid.

I have in front of me a copy of a January 1984 news clipping announcing the introduction of LactAid brand lactose-reduced milk to Rochester. Yes, with a capital "A" in the middle. LactAid wasn't new even then. It had been introduced late in 1979. (Four years to get to Rochester. You'd think LactAid was high fashion.) New to Rochester meant new to me. No web, remember.

A quart of LactAid cost 89 cents in Wegman's then, which made it "roughly 20 to 30 cents higher than regular milk." In today's shopping trip I checked current prices. Fat-free regular milk cost 76 cents. Fat-free Lactaid was up to $2.19. We're still very much a niche market, and we continue to pay that price.

LactAid the firm had been around for a decade by then, although I didn't know that either. It's first product was a lactase powder that could be mixed with milk to remove most of the lactase. Alan Kligerman, the inventor of Sugar-Lo, an ice cream for diabetics and later Beano, introduced Lact-Aid powder in 1974, making this year Lactaid's 35th anniversary. Lactaid finally got its lactase pills on shelves in 1985.

In 1990 Dairy Ease, made by a division of a pharmaceutical giant, emerged as a competitor with its own line of milk and lactase. That energized Lactaid, which had been taken over by McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of the equally gigantic Johnson & Johnson corporation. The two companies staged massive competing promotional campaigns in 1993. They have to be among the most successful ad campaigns in history. Lactose intolerance became a household word.

Lactaid eventually won out over Dairy Ease, which no longer makes lactase and whose milk is distributed by Land O'Lakes but is much harder to find. In fact, Lactaid has no real competitors in the LI market. It just keeps rolling along. While I've mentioned Lactaid products and promotions a few times in this blog, there's never been a reason for me to do a big intro to the firm. But anniversaries count, even if they're only meaningful to me.

The company's website, lactaid.com, unfortunately requires Adobe Flash Player to see all the contents, an annoyance that is increasingly common and worthwhile only to the graphics types in the marketing department, not actual consumers.

The products are only accessible through a lot of mousing and clicking, so I'll summarize them here:

Milk: fat free, low fat (1%), reduced fat (2%), whole, chocolate low fat (1%); all except the chocolate also available calcium-fortified
Organic Milk: fat free, reduced fat (2%)
Dietary Supplements [lactase]: original, fast act caplets, fast act chewables
Ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, cookies & cream, strawberries & cream, butter pecan
Cottage Cheese: low fat
Eggnog: Christmas holiday season availability only
Evaporated Milk: available only in Puerto Rico

None of the products are truly national. The Fast Act lactase is available in the largest number of states, but many of the products can be found in fewer than a half dozen.

That's too bad, but at least the lactase caplets and chewables are available online from anywhere in the country from such dealers as Amazon.

So happy 35th anniversary, Lactaid. Hope you stick around for another 35 years.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vegan Publishing Finds Big Market

Estimates are that only one million Americans follow a vegan diet. That's a small market by most standards and the reason why only a few cities have more than a bare handful of vegan restaurants. Yet vegan cookbooks are flourishing way out of proportion to that size. Many one reason is that the many millions who try to keep milk of their diets can also find recipes they want in vegan cookbooks. I know that's the reason why I mention so many of them in this blog.

Lynn Andriani of the trade magazine Publishers Weekly featured one small publisher that's made a good business out of vegan cookbooks.

When the Perseus Books Group acquired the Avalon Publishing Group in 2007, one of the things that came with it was a little imprint called Marlowe & Company. Marlowe had had success with diet books as well as vegan cookbooks like Sinfully Vegan, Vegan with a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Sales figures for the books went as high as 90,000 copies for one of them—pretty impressive for a cuisine that doesn’t include any animal products (that means no meat and no dairy) and is followed by about .5% of American eaters. Marlowe has since been folded into Da Capo Press’s wellness imprint, Lifelong Books. And now, two years after the merger, Lifelong has seen tremendous growth in its vegan list. It has eight vegan titles coming out this spring and fall, and three more under contract. As a result, Da Capo has emerged as one of the country’s premier publishers of vegan cookbooks.

The editorial brains behind Da Capo’s vegan operation are executive editor Katie McHugh and senior editor Renee Sedliar, formerly of Marlowe. Together, they’ve lengthened and strengthened the house’s vegan list. McHugh says that when she was at Marlowe, she focused on nutrition, especially “areas that were underserved,” like veganism. The house started its vegan trajectory in 2002 when it published Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures by Amanda Grant. It hit the target readership, and the house was on its way. Its bestseller so far is Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero; the hardcover pubbed in 2007 and to date has sold around 90,000 copies. A paperback comes out in October. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Moskowitz, Romero and Sara Quin (2006) isn’t far behind, with around 70,000 copies sold.


Most of these books are also available through my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Vegan Books and Cookbooks page.

With this kind of success you can be sure to see many more vegan cookbooks, including some by these authors, over the coming years.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Warning: Beware Homeopathic Allergy "Treatment"

Every few weeks a new study emerges from clinical physicians trying to desensitize children with allergies by giving them tiny amounts of the allergen and then building up the dosage over time. Although the studies have been of small numbers, the results have been extremely promising. See, for example, Gradual Doses of Protein Can Reduce Allergies.

I should have expected that the quacks would rush in to take advantage of parents' hope and gullibility. A press release announced the available of a homeopathic "treatment" for allergy sufferers.

Food allergy sufferers now have a treatment option that builds immunity to food allergens from the comfort of home. Allertherapy is a natural treatment that gently builds tolerance to targeted foods. The Allertherapy method is similar in concept to allergy shots. It quickly builds immunity to allergens and maintains it over time. The easy-to-use oral spray uses a low, homeopathic allergen strength of one part per million to allow for safety of use in most allergy sufferers. The food mix contains many of the most common allergy-causing foods. Users can quickly build immunity and reduce targeted allergies. Hence, the treatment may help to reduce allergic reactions and dependence on medications.

The peddlers of this bunk use a recent test on peanut allergies as a cover, even those the techniques used in that test are not at all similar to homeopathic methods. They also throw around the known use of allergy shots as relief, even though these are not used at all for relief of dairy allergies. The idea is to blind people with science, using anything scientific and vaguely similar to give their own snake oil the aura of authenticity.

You might notice that the press release never really gets around to specifying exactly what allergies their ridiculous concoction is supposed to work on. That's because it apparently works on everything. More than 100 foods are thrown in, "diluted to one part per million." That's a worthless amount except for those who truly are anaphylactic dairy. In their case, one part per million could be enough to trigger an attack.

For everybody else, the product would be worthless. They can't even define dairy properly.

DAIRY: CHEESE-AMERICAN, CHEESE-MOZZARELLA, CHEESE-RICOTTA, COW’S MILK, EGG WHITE, GOAT’S MILK, LACTOSE, YOGURT

Eggs are not dairy. They are a totally separate category in all respects, especially when allergies are concerned.

Lactose is already in cow's milk. And cow's milk is already in cheese. They're just bulking out the list to make it seem impressive and for no other reason.

Please do not fall for this nonsense. Do not buy this product. Do not let anyone you know buy this product. This is not how allergies work. There are no cures or treatments that work on dairy allergies. None. Scientists are working on the problem but it remains a hope for the future. Be warned.

UPDATE: April 7. The major media was a little slow getting on this story, but I found an article from ABC News by Radha Chitale that finally addresses this quackery. I wish that the article really sat up and attacked the product, but not much hope of that. At least the actual doctors quoted have some strong opinions.
"A legitimate [pharmaceutical company] has to spend $1 million to get a drug approved by the FDA, and these people can make these outrageous claims without any required testing," said Dr. Harold Nelson, an allergist and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver. "The system is seriously flawed." ...

"Quoting legitimate scientific studies and pretending to be in the same league is just bogus," Nelson said.

Heck, even the homeopaths can't believe this one:
"I can understand a spray for pollen but I don't understand the food allergy stuff," said Dr. Natalie Stern, a pediatric homeopath at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, who has found homeopathy useful in treating people with seasonal allergies. "I wouldn't dare be giving [Allertherapy] to somebody I know with anaphylactic shock with peanuts."

Don't use it. Don't even think about it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Hydrogen Breath Test

It makes my life easier when I get to quote from myself. I have a page on my website titled Tests for Lactse Intolerance and I'm going to quote an important piece of it everybody should know.

The Hydrogen Breath Test (HBT)

The HBT is the best around, simple, direct, and non-invasive (meaning no needles). It works because your breath normally never contains hydrogen gas. You find it there only when the bacteria in your colon ferment carbohydrates, exactly what happens when a load of undigested lactose hits.

Testing is typically done first thing in the morning after a 12-hour fast. You'll likely be asked to blow into a small mouthpiece connected to a laminated foil bag that resembles a pillow-shaped mylar balloon (although several variations may be found).

That first bag is set aside to be used as a baseline. You then drink a solution of lactose in water, although some doctors use milk itself. The amount of lactose may range from 10 to 50 grams: The larger amounts will identify a greater number of people as LI but will also cause more symptoms in those who are sensitive. (Be prepared. You may feel quite ill during and after.)

It takes time for the lactose to reach the colon and for the bacteria to build up a supply of hydrogen in the breath. Various labs will take further breath samples at intervals of 15-60 minutes and for up to two to six hours. Longer is usually better, and the use of milk requires a longer test.

While the test itself is so simple that it can be done almost anywhere, the collected samples are usually shipped off to a specialized laboratory that can afford the several thousand dollars needed to purchase the analyzer. Don't bother to ask for exact results. All that matters is whether you are over a certain threshold. How high doesn't matter and doesn't even relate to how bad your symptoms will be.

This test is extremely accurate. It can be even be used on very young children. But it does have a few flaws.

People on antibiotics should not take it because the antibiotics may knock out the very bacteria which would otherwise produce the hydrogen. Using aspirin before the test may create a misleading rise in hydrogen. Smoking will do the same. A certain percentage of the population don't even have the right kind of bacteria to make hydrogen.

The test is also used to discover other conditions, including bacterial overgrowth in the intestines and rapid transit. Other sugars, including glucose, fructose, sorbital and lactulose, may be used in place of the lactose. You need to talk with your doctor about these if you get a reaction that is not attributed to lactose intolerance. A good article on the test is available on MedicineNet.com.

In any case, unless something disqualifies you, in the U.S. the HBT is the one you want.

The HBT has been around literally for decades. So I was stunned when I read a press release from the University of Cincinnati's University Hospital.
A person’s breath can tell you a lot of things, like whether they are garlic lovers or regularly chew gum.

But according to doctors at the University of Cincinnati, it can also help uncover problems in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Ralph Giannella, MD, and colleagues in the digestive diseases division are now offering hydrogen/methane breath testing at University Hospital to help patients discover whether they have bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines or are lactose or fructose intolerant.

He says University Hospital is the first facility to offer this test in the Cincinnati area.

The Cincinnati metropolitan area is the 24th largest in the country, more than twice the size of Rochester's. How is it possible that an area that large could have been without so simple and standard a test for so long? What other major metro areas might not give their inhabitants easy access to the HBT?

I'm glad the population of Cincinnati can now get this better test done, which may mean an increase in the number of people correctly diagnosed as LI.

If you can't get the HBT done locally wherever you live, make a fuss. Tell your doctor that the local hospitals need to offer this as a basic service. Tens of millions of Americans are Lactose Intolerant, and many may not even realize it. Stop being backward. LI is a a serious issue that is easily helped by an inexpensive pill - if you know you should be taking it. The help you need should be close at hand. Make it happen.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lacteeze Drops Now Available Through eBay

Pat Gilbers sent me an email with exciting news for the lactose intolerant. He's making Lacteeze brand lactase drops available in the U.S.

Lacteeze is a major Canadian brand of lactase in tablet form, chewable tablets for children, and drops for adding to liquids and removing the lactose. They were the only brand available to North American buyers for years after Lactaid pulled out of the market. The people at their manufacturer, Gelda Scientific, graciously worked with me to ensure that people could find their order form through my website.

Here's what I have on my website, direct from Gelda:

Lacteeze Lactase drops are very convenient to use. Just add 5 drops to 1 litre or 1 quart of milk or other fluid milk products, mix and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will convert 70-80% of the lactose in the dairy product. If symptoms of lactose intolerance persist, refrigerate for additional 24 hrs (total of 48 hours) or increase the dose to 8-10 drops. This will convert at least 90% of the lactose. If symptoms still persist please consult your doctor.

May be used to reduce lactose in fresh milk, reconstituted milk, canned condensed milk, creams, chocolate milk and any other fluid milk products.

Product Shelf Life: Shelf life of the product is 15 months at room temperature from the date of manufacturing. If the product is kept refrigerated upon receipt you can extend the shelf life by additional 6 months.

Of course, it was less convenient for those in the U.S. to have to order drops from Canada.

That's going to change. Pat is starting a website, LacteezeStore.com, so that you can order them and stay within the country. He'll be the first Lacteeze distributor in the U.S. Don't go there yet. I've been sitting on this news because the site is not up and running.

In the meantime, Pat let me know that he's put Lacteeze onto eBay. Just type Lacteeze into the search bar. You can buy it in quantities of 3, 6, 9, or 12 bottles.

I'll let you know as soon as the Lacteeze Store site goes live.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Dangers of Raw Milk

Yet another major publication has weighed in against raw milk proponents, sneakily using actual science and scientists to combat beliefs and mysticism. The last time I tackled this issue was in Raw Milk Not For "Anyone, At Any Time, For Any Reason", reporting on an article from Time magazine. This year's version is from U. S. News and World Report, which ran several articles on milk, including Kerry Hannon's Raw Milk Is Gaining Fans, but the Science Says It's Dangerous.

Although the number of raw milk drinkers is tiny, probably not more than 500,000, Hannon noted that "From 1998 to May 2005, raw milk or raw-milk products have been implicated in 45 foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States, accounting for more than 1,000 cases of illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that's probably an understatement, the report notes, since foodborne illnesses often go unrecognized and unreported."

How bad is raw milk?

"It's like playing Russian roulette with your health," says John Sheehan, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Division of Dairy and Egg Safety. The dangers, he says, range from mild food poisoning to life-threatening illness. "One complication that can arise as a result of infection with E. coli O157:H7 is hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause acute renal failure, especially in the very young or the elderly," Sheehan says. "There are absolutely no health benefits from consuming raw milk."

Hannon does a good reporting job on the article, which included quotes from actual medical studies of raw milk's potential benefits.
Indeed, it's only in the case of asthma and allergy that some evidence exists to suggest a possible protective effect. A study published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology by researchers at the University of London analyzed the diet of 4,767 children in Shropshire, England, and found that those who lived on farms and drank raw milk had significantly fewer symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Children who drank raw milk were 40 percent less likely to develop eczema and 10 percent less likely to get hay fever than their peers who didn't drink raw milk. A second European study of nearly 15,000 children published in the May 2007 issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that children who drank raw milk were less likely to have asthma and hay fever. Still, both reports warned that raw milk often harbors pathogens, and neither recommended consumption of raw milk as a preventative measure.

The important point to take away from those statistics is not that raw milk reduces asthma, hay fever, and eczema, because it probably doesn't. The important point is that more exposure to potential allergens while young, which is more likely for kids who grow up on farms, may reduce future sensitivity.

That's a point I foreshadowed a couple of days ago in 4X Food Allergies in Black Male Children, when I quoted Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky, a Brooklyn-based pediatrician and allergy expert, as saying "Some studies have shown that being on a farm has a protective effect against allergies." This is likely one of the studies he meant.

Dirt is better for you than raw milk, in the long run.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Food Allergy Labeling Not Always Accurate

One more post from last week's annual meeting of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, following A Patch for Lessening Dairy Allergies and 4X Food Allergies in Black Male Children.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), which actually went into effect on January 1, 2006, mandated that the:

presence of any of eight potential major allergens - milk, egg, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans – must now be revealed in plain English and in easy-to-see and –read form on labels.

That's why you see any dairy ingredient pointed out as MILK in capital letters on ingredients lists. FALCPA also is responsible for the "may contain" warnings or ones written as "processed on shared equipment," or "manufactured in a facility that processes."

How well have companies done in using these labels and warnings correctly? Amanda Gardner of U. S. News and World Report reported on a study that checked out almost 400 products.

The good news is that most major companies are well in compliance with FALCPA. Unfortunately, smaller companies are less so.
"[Study senior author Dr. Scott H. Sicherer said] one thing we did notice is that products that didn't have this labeling but did have detectable proteins came primarily from smaller companies."

And people with allergies do have real concern about foods that "may" contain an allergen. The study found that 5.3% of the foods that had one of the warning labels for eggs, milk, or peanuts really did contain detectable amounts of those allergens.

More worrisomely, 1.9% of those without any warnings at all also contained these allergens, about half of these in sufficient amounts to trigger a reaction. These were mainly the ones from smaller companies mentioned previously.

Dark chocolates were a 'leading offender," other researchers at the meeting said.

These percentages are far too high for comfort. Any unreported allergens are a problem, but they do happen even in well-run companies. FALCPA was supposed to lower the risk markedly. It may have, but not nearly enough. Be sure to report any reactions to the offending companies and demand that they get their labeling right the first time.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

4X Food Allergies in Black Male Children

Another interesting result from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, held last week in Washington. I wrote about one, A Patch for Lessening Dairy Allergies on Thursday.

This one was reported by Rosemary Black of the New York Daily News.

Black male children are at an especially high risk for developing food allergies, according to a new study presented Tuesday in Washington, DC, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

They’re about four times as likely to be food allergic as the rest of the population, says Dr. Andrew Liu, a co-author of the study, which he says was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The study was an unusually large and accurate one.
The survey was the first one in the U.S. in which researchers actually took blood samples and tested them for signs of potential food allergy, says Dr. Scott Sicherer, co-author of the study and professor of pediatrics at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. The study involved 8,203 participants who ranged in age from 1 to 85 and had a food sensitivity to egg, milk, peanut and shrimp. Blacks, males and children, especially black male children, were found to have higher levels of the immune responses associated with clinical food allergy, Liu explained.

Black also quoted Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky, a Brooklyn-based pediatrician and allergy expert, as saying "Some studies have shown that being on a farm has a protective effect against allergies."

That's important, and I'll have more to say about that in a post coming up in a day or two.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lactose-Free Girl Scout Cookies

I try to avoid all human contact, emerging only into the light of the phosphors as I type, but by the jokes on the Internet it must be Girl Scout Cookie selling time again.

So which cookies are safe for those who are trying to avoid dairy?

The very prepared Girl Scouts have a nutritional information page that gives all the details about ingredients and allergens.

Four cookies are dairy-free:

Thanks-a-Lot - A shortbread cookie with a layer of fudge on the bottom and the words "Thank You" in English, French, Chinese, Swahili or Spanish embossed on the top. Thanks-A-Lots™ have been made by ABC Bakers since 2006 and were preceded by a similar cookie called the Animal Treasure.

Reduced Fat Daisy-Go-Rounds - Reduced Fat Daisy Go Rounds™ make it easy to snack by doing the calorie counting for you! Each carton contains five ready-to-grab-and-go snack packs full of crispy cinnamon flowers blooming with flavor in every bite. They are made by ABC Bakers.

Lemonades - Introduced in 2006, these shortbread cookies are stamped in the shape of a sliced lemon with a tangy lemon icing. They are made by ABC Bakers and come in a yellow box.

Peanut Butter Patties - These are round cookies with a layer of peanut butter on top, and covered in chocolate. These cookies come in a red box. Little Brownie Bakers calls them Tagalongs®, ABC Bakers call them Peanut Butter Patties®.

UPDATE: Although they are supposed to be the same cookie, the nutritional information page shows that Tagalongs have a different recipe and a different set of ingredients. Specifically, Tagalongs contain whey, a milk protein that also contains lactose. The Peanut Butter Patties do not. However, Peanut Butter Patties has a footnote saying that it is manufactured on equipment that processes products containing milk and coconut.

This appears to be a variation introduced by having two separate bakers supply the Scouts in different parts of the country.

Please note: Not all cookies are available in all areas. Girl Scout Councils work with one of the two bakers and carry that line of cookies only. Use "Find cookies now!" to get in touch with your local council.


In addition, all four also carry the OU-D label (a capital U contained in a circle, as shown on the right, followed by the letter D) from the kosher certification group, The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. On its website that group states:
An ‘OU-D’ symbol indicates:
The product is a Kosher dairy product (but not necessarily Kosher for Passover),
The product contains a dairy ingredient or a dairy derivative.
Alternatively, the product, while not containing dairy ingredients itself, was made on equipment also used for making dairy products.


Why the double warning for only one cookie? Perhaps it is made in a separate plant from the others.

In either case, this warning is not of any concern to those with lactose intolerance. Those with severe milk anaphylaxis should pay close attention, however.

Thanks to Eleanor Newman of The Chocolate Emporium for catching the discrepancy between Tagalongs and Peanut Butter Patties that I missed the first time around. I relied on the material on the Girl Scouts website. Sadly, you can't doublecheck even the original source too often.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Passover is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free - Sometimes

The Jewish festival of Passover, which starts on April 9 this year (Hurray, I'm early for writing a timely article for a change) can be a confusing time for those with food allergies. As Wikipedia reminds us:

In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons. However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover". When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also called חַג הַמַּצּוֹת (Chag HaMatzot), "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday. This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo.

Here comes the confusing part.
Specifically, five grains, and products made from them, may not be used during Passover — wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt — except for making matzo, which must be made from one of these five grains.

Got that? All specially-made Passover products are gluten-free, except for matzos themselves.

And to add another layer of complication, Jim Romanoff of the Associated Press wrote that "Many families keep their Passover Seders dairy-free." (Seders are the ceremonial meals served during the holiday.) Not everything for Passover will be dairy-free though. And here's another bit of long-standing confusion. Kosher foods are divided into those with meat, those with milk, and those that are neutral or parve. Parve (sometimes pareve) foods are completely dairy-free, so those of us with lactose intolerance and dairy allergies should look for foods that are labeled parve, with the full word spelled out. You'll sometimes see a capital "P" on kosher foods. That P means it's kosher for Passover, not that it's parve. That means P foods can have dairy in them.

And that brings us to a dairy-free - but not gluten-free - recipe for bread pudding, a delicacy that would normally be unavailable during Passover.

Romanoff gives a recipe for Baked Matzo Pudding with a Cherry-Almond Sauce, the sauce made with almond milk, a non-dairy milk substitute.

Salud! Oops. L'Chaim!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Patch for Lessening Dairy Allergies

About two years ago I posted about the Diallertest Dairy Allergy Skin Test using the Viaskin patch from DBV Technologies as an easier means of allergy testing.

The company is now using Viaskin as a way of diminishing allergies, according to an abstract published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, by Dupont C, et al., "Epicutaneous immunotherapy in severe cow milk allergy: a double blind pilot trial" J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009; 123: S183 and reported on at the current American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Meeting in Washington. John Gever, a senior editor at MedPageToday.com wrote the article.

Children with dairy allergies were able to tolerate significant quantities of cow's milk after treatment with an investigational dermal patch-based immunotherapy (Viaskin), a researcher said here.

In eight of 13 evaluable children receiving the treatment for three months in a placebo-controlled pilot trial, the maximum amount of milk they were able to tolerate increased at least threefold, reported Christophe Dupont, M.D., Ph.D., of Hopital Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris.

None of the seven children in the placebo group showed that high an increase in tolerance, he said here at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology meeting. ...

[T]he improvements seen in most participants were enough to prevent them from reacting to foods with trace quantities of milk proteins.

The patch contained 1 mg of milk protein or placebo and was applied every other day to children in the study. Participants were from three months to 15 years of age and underwent oral milk challenges at baseline and after two and three months in the trial.

The mean maximum tolerated milk dose at baseline was 2.1 mL (SD 2.6) and 4.4 mL (SD 5.9) in the active-treatment and placebo groups, respectively.

After three months, the mean tolerated dose tended to increase to 21 mL (SD 24.3) in the active-treatment group compared with 5.4 (SD 5.9) in the placebo group (P=0.37).

While these are positive results, the study group was extremely small. The full study has not been reported and peer-reviewed. The treatment is only available for clinical testing, not from any doctors. And note that the study was funded by DBV Technologies.

So, some possible good news, but good news for a distant future day.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Last Lactose-Free Yogurt Disappears

The last time I checked I could find only one true dairy-based lactose-free yogurt. That was Continental Yogurt, made by Continental Culture Specialists of Glendale, CA.

Then I got an email informing me that they haven't been able to find any Continental Yogurt for a year. When I checked I found that the company's website was abandoned and its phone number disconnected. That's good confirmation.

A search didn't bring up any other brands of real milk dairy-free yogurt. Lots of soy-based brands, to be be sure. You can find a number of brands listed on my Nondairy Milk Alternatives - Other Nondairy Products page in my Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse website. It hasn't been updated in a while because I make all my announcements here on my blog, though. If I get a chance I'll do some catching up, so if you know of brands that aren't listed there, post a comment or send me an email.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

What could be more appropriate for a St. Patrick's Day than an Irish Soda Bread recipe? Not just any recipe, of course, but a dairy-free, gluten-free recipe I was alerted to it by Suzanne, a blogger at the Albany Times-Union.

She got it from the Living Without website. Here's the original.

Living Well is the website of the magazine by that name. You may want to check it out.

Fresh. Vibrant. Inspiring. Delicious.

Celebrate spring with Living Without, your guide to healthy, happy allergy-friendly living.

Take a look at what’s inside our April/May 2009 issue by clicking here.

Living Without welcomes the season of renewal with easy recipes for scrumptious cakes. Say good-bye to deprivation and hello to sweet indulgence. Now you can make your cake – and safely savor it, too. These tempting confections offer great taste and good looks, without gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts.

This issue contains an abundance of other wonderful new recipes. Wake up to our morning all-stars, standard breakfast fare (flavorful pancakes, quiche, sausage and more) with a gluten-free, dairy-free twist. We’ve also got you covered for Passover with tasty special-diet options, including gluten-free matzo. And for people with a sensitivity to onions, garlic or peppers, we’ve included recipes for America’s favorite dinner dishes created especially for you.

If you’re seeking information, answers and inspiration, look no further. Does your food-allergic child want to attend summer camp? Check inside our pages for guidance, support and helpful tips to ensure success. Want to ward off asthma risk inside your home? We’ve got the information you need to clean up your indoor air quality by greening up your cleaning supplies. Could your dog have a food allergy? Learn what signs to look for – and the best treatment.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Flourishing with Food Allergies

A. Anderson is another is the long line of mothers of children with food allergies who plunged into research on the subject and wound up writing a book it. The book is Flourishing with Food Allergies: Social, Emotional and Practical Guidance for Families with Young Children. Unusually, this isn't a cookbook but an instructional and reference book about all aspects of food allergies.

Product Description
Flourishing With Food Allergies: Social, Emotional and Practical Guidance for Families With Young Children is an empowering guide for those who are coping with a food allergy in today s world. By sharing her own personal experiences and successes, as well as those of numerous families, doctors and teachers, author A. Anderson has provided an immense and invaluable compilation of practical experience. The book begins by showcasing fifteen case studies of families who have successfully handled food allergies in their young children. These case studies offer parents and caretakers an opportunity to learn about social, emotional and practical aspects of raising a child with food allergies. Seven additional interviews from a variety of doctors and teachers are provided for professional perspectives, advice and positive support. They describe different experiences, attitudes, and beliefs about the increase in food allergies in children and other disorders that might be affected by food allergies such as asthma and ADHD. This practical and positive guide is not just for parents, Grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, caretakers, pediatricians, therapists, school cafeteria and restaurant workers will learn valuable information about how to handle food allergies and support these children. The book also provides a number of other tools, lists of food ingredients and additives to avoid, school and travel preparedness checklists, and discussions of myth versus fact relative to food allergies. Further, the pros and cons of a 504 Disability Plan are explored and compared with a less formal Action Plan for handling food allergies in children attending school. In addition, Anderson relies upon her personal experience in finding food-free activities and handling food-filled events to further empower families and children cope with food allergy-related issues. All of these tools seek to educate and prepare caretakers both in practical and emotional terms and avoid scare tactics sometimes found in other sources.

The book has its own website that has a huge amount of information on the book.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Science Whiz Kids Whiff on LI Answer

If there's one thing I've got to be rooting for, it's a team of math-science whiz kids. A neat article by Anne W. Semmes in the Greenwich Citizen talked about a test competition featuring a group of "rising science and math stars [getting ready] for the March 21 Northeast Science Bowl's grueling 12-hour 'Jeopardy style' competition hosted at the UConn School of Engineering at Storrs."

One of the questions in their trial was on chemistry:

"For individuals who are 'Lactose Intolerant,' the reason for their gastric distress is the production of methane, or acetic acid and nitrogen, or lactic acid and carbon monoxide or acetic acid and methane?"

"Lactic acid and carbon dioxide," one boy fired off.

Oops. Bad answer. In fact, it's the worst answer of the four possibilities.

As I've explained many times, undigested lactose that reaches the colon is fermented by bacteria that naturally live there. The result of the fermentation are a number of gases and what are called short-chain fatty acids. And those cause the distress.

The double jeopardy question therefore is: which gases and which fatty acids?

For an excruciatingly technical answer, let's turn to a technical article, Colonic Fermentation May Play a Role in Lactose Intolerance in Humans by Tao He et al. American Society for Nutrition J. Nutr. 136:58-63, January 2006.
During colonic fermentation, lactose is first hydrolyzed to glucose and galactose, which are subsequently fermented, leading to the production of a series of intermediate (e.g., lactate, formate and succinate) and end-product metabolites [i.e., acetate, propionate, and butyrate, gases (H2, CO2 and CH4), and biomass].

First the gases. They are H2, hydrogen, CO2, carbon dioxide, and CH4, methane. Not carbon monoxide, CO. Carbon dioxide is the common gas exhaled by the body in every breath. Carbon monoxide is deadly. I hope that no chemistry student would ever confuse the two.

Part two are the fatty acids. Technically, the list of metabolites He's team found are salts of acids. And lactate is the salt of the fatty acid that is lactic acid. However, lactate is not just one of the six salts. It is an intermediate product, not an end product. It's the end products that give us the distress. Butyric acid, from butyrate, is probably what causes the distinctive awful smell of gas produced by lactose intolerance, although propionic acid and acetic acid are also both smelly. Lactic acid isn't, which should be a giveaway.

So which of the remaining three anwers is correct? Let's take them one at a time.

Methane? Methane is a correct as one of the gases, but no fatty acid is listed.

Acetic acid and nitrogen? Acetic acid is a correct fatty acid but nitrogen is not one of the correct gases.

Acetic acid and methane? Both are part of the total picture so this has to be the answer the judges were looking for.

Remember that these are high school students. No disgrace in not knowing every answer to unusual chemical problems. I'm pretty sure most doctors would get this question wrong as well. Give the team a few more years and who knows how much they'll know.

What a pleasant antidote to the vast amount of ignorance on the internet.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vegan Soul Kitchen Cookbook

Remember when vegan food used to bland, uninteresting, and distinctly non-ethnic? Those days are long gone. Each month appears to serve up a new cuisine made over into vegan acceptability.

The latest is Vegan Soul Kitchen (VSK): Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by by Oakland-based eco chef, food justice activist, and author Bryant Terry. His website says:

In this deeply personal and cutting-edge cookbook, Terry revisits his Southern roots and offers innovative, animal-free recipes mostly inspired by African American and Southern cooking. VSK includes a foreword by cookbook author Myra Kornfeld; beautiful full-color photographs; an original song written by singer-songwriter Don Bryant (the author’s uncle); new poetry by Michael Molina; suggested soundtracks for each recipe; and book, art, and film recommendations.

VSK recipes use fresh, whole, best-quality, healthy ingredients and cooking techniques with an eye on local, seasonal, sustainably grown food. Reinterpreting popular dishes from African and Caribbean countries as well as his favorite childhood dishes, Terry reinvents African American and Southern cuisine—capitalizing on the complex flavors of the tradition, without the animal products.

Includes recipes for: Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce; Double Mustard Greens & Roasted Yam Soup; Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits; Citrus and Spice Pickled Watermelon Rind; Caramelized Grapefruit, Avocado, and Watercress Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette; Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits; and Molasses-Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Walnuts.

You can find a recipe for those Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce on the site as well.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

More Gluten-Free Products Coming

Siel Ju, a lifestyle writer at the Mother Nature Network, has a massive case of ignorance about our corner of the world. She just can't figure out why so many gluten-free products are entering the market.

Fortunately, she doesn't have to know what she's talking about to make a list. She provides a lengthy set of names of gluten-free product manufacturers exhibiting at the "Natural Products Expo West — an annual event [that] showcases 'the newest and most innovative products in natural, organic and healthy living,' which attracted 53,000 attendees last weekend."

That means a helluva lot of gluten-free pizzas, pizza shells, and pizza dough mixes. Venice Baking Co, Ener-G Foods, Gluten Free & Fabulous, Conte’s Pasta Company, French Meadow Bakery, Barkat, Chebe Bread Toro, Kinnikinnick — Those are all companies eager to fill your need for gluten-free pizza.

Then you’ve got gluten-free pastas, breads, cookies, pastries, cupcakes, chicken nuggets, and much more. Hain Celestial has an entire new line called Gluten Free Cafe — featuring a bunch of gluten free ready-made meals! ...

>> Chebe Bread. No gluten, yeast, corn soy, potato, rice, nuts.
>> Lucy’s. No gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, milk, butter, or wheat.
>> Nickanedit. No gluten, dairy, soy, potato, corn, processed sugars
>> 1-2-3 Gluten Free. No dairy, soy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sugar.

Given the massive amount of ignorance and worse spewed onto the internet, I'm sure she's right about the existence of confused people who are eating gluten-free foods because they imagine they have wheat sensitivities or somehow think these foods are "healthier." Let's try to educate them if we find them.

In the meantime, enjoy the additional variety of choices finally available to gluten sufferers who have been limited in their purchases for too many years.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Milk

"Know your enemy" is one of those old adages that live up to their reps as sage advice. I try to preach knowledge and understanding of all things related to food, nutrition, digestion, regulation, merchandising, and a whole lot of other heavy topics.

What's the one most majorest enemy to deepen your knowledge of? How about milk itself?

There aren't too many good resources on milk. Nor are there any good readable full histories of milk in our culture.

Anne Mendelson's Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, despite the title, isn't that good history we've been needing. It's barely a history at all, but a variety of text surrounding 120 recipes, all of which, naturally, contain milk or milk products.

Oh well, it's an interesting oddity with the kind of background material the internet seldom bothers with.

Product Description

Part cookbook—with more than 120 enticing recipes—part culinary history, part inquiry into the evolution of an industry, Milk is a one-of-a-kind book that will forever change the way we think about dairy products.

Anne Mendelson, author of Stand Facing the Stove, first explores the earliest Old World homes of yogurt and kindred fermented products made primarily from sheep’s and goats’ milk and soured as a natural consequence of climate. Out of this ancient heritage from lands that include Greece, Bosnia, Turkey, Israel, Persia, Afghanistan, and India, she mines a rich source of culinary traditions.

Mendelson then takes us on a journey through the lands that traditionally only consumed milk fresh from the cow—what she calls the Northwestern Cow Belt (northern Europe, Great Britain, North America). She shows us how milk reached such prominence in our diet in the nineteenth century that it led to the current practice of overbreeding cows and overprocessing dairy products. Her lucid explanation of the chemical intricacies of milk and the simple home experiments she encourages us to try are a revelation of how pure milk products should really taste.

The delightfully wide-ranging recipes that follow are grouped according to the main dairy ingredient: fresh milk and cream, yogurt, cultured milk and cream, butter and true buttermilk, fresh cheeses. We learn how to make luscious Clotted Cream, magical Lemon Curd, that beautiful quasi-cheese Mascarpone, as well as homemade yogurt, sour cream, true buttermilk, and homemade butter. She gives us comfort foods such as Milk Toast and Cream of Tomato Soup alongside Panir and Chhenna from India. Here, too, are old favorites like Herring with Sour Cream Sauce, Beef Stroganoff, a New Englandish Clam Chowder, and the elegant Russian Easter dessert, Paskha. And there are drinks for every season, from Turkish Ayran and Indian Lassis to Batidos (Latin American milkshakes) and an authentic hot chocolate.

This illuminating book will be an essential part of any food lover’s collection and is bound to win converts determined to restore the purity of flavor to our First Food.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coping with Allergies Guide for Restaurants

The prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) (yeah, go ahead and make the jokes: they've heard them all) has a multi-page guide for dealing with allergies and intolerances on its web site. It's good reading for anyone connected with running a restaurant or other business that deals with serving food to the public. The guide is itself a summary of information but it's still much too long to summarize here. Please take the time to read it through.

A few statistics quoted were so interesting that I have to share them with you, though.

Three Dangerous Myths

In a 2006 survey of 100 dining establishments, researchers at the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine identified a list of commonly-held misconceptions among restaurant operators that could prove dangerous. Among them:

24% believed that consuming small amounts of an allergen is safe. It isn't. Even minute quantities can cause a reaction in sensitive individuals.

35% believed that fryer heat destroys allergens. It doesn't. Allergic-provoking substances can remain behind in fryer oil to contaminate foods, for example.

25% believed it was safe to remove an allergen such as shellfish or nuts from a finished meal. It's not. Trace amounts left behind when food or plates have made contact with allergens can cause trouble.

Ignorance about allergies is unfortunately rampant in this country. Heck, in all countries. Ignorance is dangerous. Bad enough when you apply it to yourself. Far worse if you spread it to a vulnerable public. Read and learn.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ron Paul Introduces Raw Milk Bill

I've written many times before about raw milk, milk that has come straight from a cow without being pasteurized. The last big post was titled Raw Milk Not For "Anyone, At Any Time, For Any Reason", quoting an FDA spokesperson. A Bush administration FDA spokesperson, so hardly an anti-business activist.

Ron Paul, the Republican Representative from Texas who is the most libertarian member of Congress, has introduced a bill to rescind current federal regulations against the transport of raw milk. According to the Organic Consumers Organization:

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has introduced HR 778, a bill "to authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption."

Under the bill, the federal government could not "take any action ... that would prohibit, interfere with, regulate, or otherwise restrict the interstate traffic of milk, or a milk product, that is unpasteurized and packaged for direct human consumption solely on the basis that the milk or milk product is unpasteurized."

You can find a number of people commenting favorably on this proposed law in response to Jennifer Lance's column on the bill at Red Green and Blue.org, an environmental site that purports to assemble opinion from the right and left. The commenters give the standard libertarian view that everything should be legal and it's up to consumers to make their own decisions.

What's my take? Well, first of all this is pure political posturing by Paul. As a Republican - and a maverick Republican with no clout even within his party - he knows there's no chance at all that this bill will even be considered, let alone passed. That leaves him totally free to pander to his libertarian fan base with no risk of real world consequences.

Second, except in a very few instances of border areas, this bill would affect almost no raw milk sales in the real world. It would allow for interstate shipment of raw milk, but not change its legality in the many states in which it is banned outright. Even those states that have legalized raw milk allow farmers to peddle it only under extremely restricted conditions. Raw milk is so inherently dangerous that no one takes the chance of shipping it any distance. If the bill were magically to become law raw milk sales would increase hardly at all.

You won't find any of this in the articles themselves. Lance is totally ignorant of any the issues. Her support of raw milk consists of a quote from a 1938 medical journal article. I guarantee you that there are more recent articles to cite.

The other site leads you back to mercola.com, the website of Dr. Joseph Mercola, an anti-pasteurization nutcase, whose rants about the subject are mostly unconnected to reality. (See Oops. The "American Dairy Board" Doesn't Exist.)

One actual microbiologist managed to sneak past the libertarians at RedGreenandBlue and his comments are even more pointed than the FDA's.
That guy over there in the corner bent over vomitting [sic] into a garbage can with bloody diarrhea running down his leg is a libertarian.

Me, I like food regulation. So would those who died from raw milk contamination. So would those people who died during the recent outbreaks of salmonella poisoning. So would... You get my drift. Fortunately, Dr. Paul won't get to kill others because his silly bill will itself be killed. His anti-governmental rants and popularity remain a danger to all.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

A "Lactose Intolerant Friendly" Frozen Dessert?

Another day, another frozen dessert. Everybody loves ice cream, yet everybody and their diet guru friends are looking to avoid the very things that make ice cream so delicious: the fat and the sugar and the carbs and the milk and the cookie fudgey syrupy stuff they add to make ice cream even higher in fat and sugar and carbs and etc. So company after company puts out a variation that knocks out one of those goodies and hopes that it can compete.

The latest is Arctic Zero, whose press release makes the standard claims of delight.

At Only 136 Calories Per Pint, It's Just What The Nation Ordered

A protein shake in an ice cream form with 136 calories and 20 grams of whey protein concentrate per pint. Targeting the childhood obesity epidemic with a delicious all natural dessert product that is both fat and gluten free, lactose intolerant friendly, and has no sugar alcohols.

Cool, that's... Wait a minute. "Lactose intolerant friendly?" Suddenly, my antennae have gone up. What exactly does that mean? How much lactose is there in Arctic Zero exactly?

You're not going to find out from the press release and I don't see any nutritional information on the Arctic Zero website.

There is a clue, and it may not be the one you think. "Whey protein concentrate" is an obvious warning sign for those who know that the whey portion of milk is where the lactose can be found. I usually tell people to avoid whey protein concentrate because of its high lactose percentage. However, there are many varieties of whey protein concentrate and some are as low as 10% lactose. That's still high, especially when you consider that milk is only 5% lactose.

The clue you probably won't recognize - unless you're a dedicated follower of this blog, which puts you into the info elite - is the sweetener Arctic Zero uses.
How is Arctic Zero™ sweetened?
Arctic Zero™ uses the patented all natural sweetener Whey Low® (nothing to do with whey protein). Why did we choose Whey Low® Sweetener? ...

We wanted an all natural sweetener that had all the benefits of low calorie and low glycemic, without any weird flavors or side effects.

Sounds good, although the benefits of low glycemic is an odd phrase. But what about Whey Low?

You dedicated readers may remember back to 2007 when I posted Beware Whey Low.

Why beware? Because, as the Arctic Zero site acknowledges, "Whey Low® is a scientific blend of three natural sugars: fructose, sucrose, and lactose monohydrate." A lactose-containing sweetener? Of course, the amount of lactose in a package of Whey Low used as sugar substitute is too small to matter. I'm not sure that still holds true when lots of it is added to a food as the main sweetener.

So I would hold off on Arctic Zero unless you're in the mood for a trial and error experiment.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Another Helping of Goat Cheesy Ignorance

The folks at Montchevré Handcrafted Goat Cheese may make tasty cheese, but I'll never know because their science comes from the bottom of a dunghill.

Strong words? Well, read this and listen to your stomach curdle:

Q. Why is a lactose intolerant person able to have goat cheese products?

A. Most lactose intolerants who can't have cow's milk will be able to digest goat's milk and goat's milk products.

The fat particles in goat's milk are 1/3 the size of the fat particles in cow's milk, and in fact similar in size to those in mother's milk. Goat's milk products are said to be "naturally homogenized" and therefore easier to digest for lactose intolerants.

Lactose is sugar. It does not matter what package the lactose comes in. Homogenized, non-homogenized; fat-laden, fat-free; cow's milk cheese, goat's milk cheese. It doesn't matter. All lactose is identical. Your body treats it identically.

Your mind is a different creature. Treat it well. Don't fall for this self-serving ignorance.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's Flu Season. Stomach Flu Season.

I hope you all understand that the term "stomach flu" is a horrible misnomer. Both parts are equally wrong. It's not the flu and your stomach has little to do with it.

The disease is properly called gastroenteritis. The influenza virus does not cause it, although a whole host of other virus types can.

So why "stomach flu"? Vomiting is often a symptom, along with diarrhea, so the name is catchy and seemingly descriptive.

The affected person may also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps ("stomach ache"). In general, the symptoms begin 1 to 2 days following infection with a virus that causes gastroenteritis and may last for 1 to 10 days, depending on which virus causes the illness; however, most episodes last from 1-3 days.

Anything that affects the intestines is a concern for those of us with lactose intolerance, and for many who aren't. Remember that few people manufacture no lactase at all. Most of us just don't make enough at the best of times, although most of us normally can have some dairy products without symptoms. Reduce lactase production and trouble can follow. Same is true for those who ordinary have no problems at all with dairy. A temporary (also called secondary) lactose intolerance can result.

That's what brought to my attention this Daily News article by Rosemary Black. She noted that "stomach flu" cases appear to be increasing this year and devoted an article to what to do and not do. She included this pertinent point:
The myth: Cheese is binding and a good food to eat after the stomach flu.

The reality: You may want to avoid cheese and ice cream. "Whenever you have an intestinal inflammation, the enzymes that break down the lactose aren't functioning all that well," [Dr. Christina Tennyson, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Center] explains. "So stay away from dairy products for a couple of days."

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Organic Lactose-Free Baby Formula

The Nature's One company has introduced what it's claiming to be the only organic lactose-free baby formula on the U.S. market, Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free Formula.

Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free is the ONLY organic milk-based formula on the US market that does not contain lactose.* This formula is intended for babies who are lactose intolerant and is the perfect alternative to parents who wish to avoid soy protein† in their baby’s diet. Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free is a milk based formula, but the lactose or milk sugar has been removed using a special enzyme process. Additionally, Baby’s Only Organic® formula does not contain corn syrup as found in all other lactose free formulas. Instead, we use organic brown rice syrup as a healthy and well tolerated carbohydrate for babies. Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free is scientifically designed to address common digestion problems that result in fussiness, diarrhea, gas and bloating. ...

Baby’s Only Organic® is labeled a toddler formula because Nature’s One® believes breast milk is the best organic choice the first 12-months of life.

Baby's Only also makes a Soy Formula.

Baby’s Only Organic® SOY formula is appropriate for babies with a lactose intolerance, cow milk allergy or when parents prefer a vegetarian diet. A baby with dairy protein or lactose sensitivities may experience unusual fussiness, diarrhea, excessive spit-up, skin rash/eczema, gassiness or frequent ear infections. If your baby exhibits any of these symptoms, discuss using Baby’s Only Organic® SOY Toddler Formula with a health care professional.

Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free Formula is so new that it's not yet available in stores, but can be purchased online through the company's www.NaturesOneDirect.com.

Both formulas are kosher, under OU supervision. The soy formula is also parve.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Healthy Ideas Nutritional Labeling Program

Peapod.com, the online grocery shopping and delivery site, announced that it has joined in Healthy Ideas, making it part of its NutraFilter selection sorter.

NutriFilter acts as a virtual nutritionist, reading product labels and highlighting items that fit a shopper's specific health and nutrition needs from categories like Gluten-free to low-sodium. With the introduction of the Healthy Ideas labeling plan, Peapod shoppers can quickly identify foods that have less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Healthy Ideas items are also guaranteed to be a good source of at least one nutrient, including protein, fiber, vitamins A or C, or the minerals calcium or iron. ...

NutriFilter is available to anyone who visits Peapod.com. Shoppers simply choose from nine programs including Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Healthy Ideas, Peanut-free, USDA Good Fiber, USDA Low Fat, USDA Low Sodium and Weight Watchers(R). Shoppers search and shop on Peapod as usual, and the items in each category that meet the selected program's criteria will be displayed at the top of the list and clearly identified by the plan icon.

Healthy Ideas was instituted by the bricks and mortar real world supermarket chains Stop and Shop and Giant Foods, sister chains that have 561 stores in the Northeast U.S. Their parent company, Netherlands' Royal Ahold, also owns Peapod. Peapod is similarly limited in its distribution to the Northeast and a few other metro areas.
Founded in 1989 as a smart shopping option for busy people, Peapod today stands as the country's leading Internet grocer, serving the metro areas of Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Milwaukee, New Haven, Providence and Washington, D.C., Suburban New York City and communities in the states of Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Timothy W. Martin wrote about Healthy Ideas' introduction in the Wall St. Journal
The "Healthy Ideas" system will distinguish more than 3,000 of the stores' products and fresh produce with a bright green-and-blue symbol signifying they meet U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal guidelines defining what makes a food healthy. That represents about 10% of the store's total inventory and includes items ranging from dairy products to pancake mix to frozen Brussels sprouts....

Healthy Ideas is one of several new food-labeling programs that attempt to simplify the identification of nutritious foods. The more-detailed nutritional labels required by the Food and Drug Administration have confused some consumers who might not be able to parse the differences between the benefits and drawbacks of reduced fat versus reduced sodium. And not everyone agrees on what makes a food healthy, leading to criticism of the programs over which items get included....

The new programs try to distinguish which products in a given category -- cookies, for instance -- are healthier than others in that category. "Not all cookies are created equal," says David L. Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook

Vegan cookbooks continue to appear at an astounding rate. Just published is The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook: Florida's Ultimate Destination for Vegan Cuisine, by Nanci Alexander.

Product Description
The flavors of south Florida's award winning Sublime Restaurant's most famed culinary creations can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. From Asian, Latin, or Mediterranean influences to more typical American fare, these recipes are delightfully conceived, beautifully presented, and yet surprisingly quick to prepare. Completely vegan, these dishes redefine what plant-based cooking can be like.



Cooks of all skill levels will enjoy this adventurous foray into fusion cuisine that will please family and friends. Color photos illustrate how sumptuous the food is.

About the Author
Nanci Alexander built Sublime in 2003. It is a shining example of culinary art, with a completely vegan menu and decor. In 1989 Nancy founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, ARFF, which has enjoyed several successful campaigns on behalf of farm and zoo animals. Nanci also donates her time and resources as an outspoken activist for many national and local animal organizations. In 2005, she was the first recipient of the PCRM Art of Compassion Award. She is a brilliant visionary, working tirelessly to build a more tireless world.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook

Here's a new cookbook aimed at those who have milk allergies, and so also valuable for those with lactose intolerance. The Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook, by Juventa Vezzani.

Product Description
The Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook is a wonderful guide and cookbook for those who have a milk allergy or who know someone with one. If you're tired of cooking two separate meals to accommodate a milk allergy, then this is the cookbook for you!

With over 11 years experience and 2 years in test kitchens, the Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook can help you make tasty meals using normal ingredients that the whole family can enjoy. Inside you'll find over 175 tested recipes, amazingly all dairy-free, a shopping and eating out guide, a list of hidden sources of dairy, ideas for nursing moms who have to go off of all dairy, ideas for birthday parties, school, and other special occasions, quick meal ideas and a list of dairy-free snacks, as well as tips and tricks for cooking dairy-free. With The Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook, you can embrace and savor life, in spite of your milk allergy. For more information, visit: www.milkallergycompanion.com

About the Author
Juventa Vezzani has had over 11 years experience in dealing with the milk allergies of four out of five of her children. She has extensive knowledge in how to adapt recipes, shop, and cook dairy-free. This cookbook is a compilation of recipes from friends as well as from her own kitchen. Each recipe has been tested and approved in multiple test kitchens. She has a BA in Latin American Studies and loves cooking, scrapbooking, music composition, and spending time with husband and children.

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