Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Exercise and Lactose Intolerance

A question arrived in email from Ken, because he couldn't find the information on my website.

Is there any evidence that strenuous exercise can trigger LI symptoms?

I had to laugh. Not at Ken, but at the medical profession. Here's my reply.
I'm not surprised you couldn't find an answer to this question, though. It appears only on my "Questions Even I Couldn't Answer" page. Seriously.

No real medical study has ever been done trying to correlate LI symptoms with other everyday activities. Anecdotal response works both ways. People have told me that their symptoms sometimes increase or go away with exercise. It's hard to come up with a mechanism that would account for either if LI is the cause. Somewhat more plausible are conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which can be triggered by milk products, offers similar symptoms, and is correlated with body activities.

All I can say is to try taking lactase pills with any milk products you have before or after exercise, or see if avoiding milk entirely for a few days makes a difference. If the symptoms appear anyway then at least you've eliminated one cause.

Questions Even I Couldn't Answer is one of the oldest pages on my website. The last revision was in, gulp, 2000. And you know what? None of those questions have ever been answered.

Some are just odd. But most of the rest fall into the same category, the one I mention in my response to Ken. Almost all research ever done on lactose intolerance (LI) involves simple yes/no thinking. Doctors, ethnologists, medical researchers, and geneticists have all looked at individuals or populations with one thought in mind: determining whether or not the people examined have the gene for or test in the laboratory for LI.

A bit of testing has followed the progression of meals through the gastrointestinal system, so that we know that symptoms are reduced when lactose is taken as part of a meal or, to a lesser degree, when any solids are involved, even a comparison between chocolate or regular milk. The reason for this seems to be that solids lengthen the time that the lactose-containing food takes during its trip through the small intestine and that given the remaining lactase in a system more time to work.

That's it. Whether symptoms differ with sex or age, with amount or type of exercise, with time of day, week, month, or year, with the consumption of alcohol or use of cigarettes, with vitamin, mineral or nutritional supplements, or with any other factor you might think of has not been tested at all.

The reason is unfortunately simple as well. LI is not dangerous, not life-threatening, not hospitalizing. It can be mitigated with pills or food avoidance. Medical tests are costly. People have complicated lives. Trying to conduct reasonably sized and lengthed tests for foods or factors that are medically serious is a near-impossible task. Nobody will fund the dozens or hundreds of tests involving thousands of people that would be minimally required to answer these LI questions.

We'll probably never know the answers to seemingly basic questions that I keep being asked by sensible people attempting to better understand their lives. It's a pity.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lactose-free "Leche Flan"

Flan is the wildly popular milk custard dessert that is too seldom seen in the U.S. outside of Mexican restaurants.

Wikipedia tells us:

Crème caramel, flan, or caramel custard is a rich custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top.

The dish has spread across Europe and the world. Both 'crème caramel' and 'flan' are French names (from Old German flado 'cake'), but have come to have different meanings in different regions. In Spanish-speaking countries and in North America, 'flan' refers to crème caramel; this was originally a Spanish usage (from Spain, Europe), but the dish is now best-known in the United States in a Latin American context and also in the Philippines.

Photograph by Cary Bass

Therefore this article by Norma O. Chikiamco from the Philippine Daily Inquirer telling us how to make a lactose-free flan shouldn't be at all surprising.

I don't like to copy recipes without explicit permission so you'll have to click over.

And don't get thrown by the call to add "zest of dayap or calamansi." Those are fruits somewhat similar to limes and oranges, respectively. Just substitute whatever fruit zest you have on hand.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Everyone needs a little Booja Booja now and then"

UK and German consumers with a sweet tooth just got a treat.

Emma Eversham on the industry site wrote about Booja Booja.

Confectionery company Booja-Booja has launched its dairy and sugar-free chocolate 'ice cream' in a 110ml size to help restaurants, pubs and hotels boost their dessert and snack offering for allergy-sufferers this summer.

The dessert, named Stuff in a Tub Hunky Punky Chocolate, is a mix of agave, cashew nuts, cocoa powder and water and is ideal for customers who cannot eat dairy or gluten.

Booja Booja's Stuff in a Tub range includes Keep Smiling Vanilla M'Gorilla, Coconut Hllabaloo, Feisty Winjin Ginger and Pompompous Maple Pecan which are available in 500ml pots.

All Booja Booja products are organic, dairy-free, wheat-free and gluten-free and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Those are names and a half, indeed. The rest of the Booja Booja line is a bit more gourmet. Their website features loads of high-end and dairy-free chocolate truffles.

The website is also available in German for continental customers.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Planet Lactose World Roundup

The latest lactose news from the Planet Lactose World News Headquarters.

Unilever set for brand buying spree

Unilever, which owns Pot Noodle, Persil and Flora, is bidding for Alpro Soya against Nestle to take control of the dairy-free brand, according to The Sunday Times.

The Belgian-based business, owned by Vandemoortele, is expected to sell for about £200m.

Celebrity Grapevine
PEOPLE WITH sensitivities or allergies to certain foods must be careful about what they eat and drink. Television personality Einat Erlich has a lactose problem that she does not keep secret, and she was sure that production staff had made certain that the spoonful of chocolate that she was supposed to pop into her mouth during her show Something to Eat on Channel 2 would not contain any milk. Unfortunately, someone goofed, and the unsuspecting Erlich instantly developed an itchy rash and began to scratch like crazy. The alarmed crew wanted to take her to the hospital, but she said it would pass. Shooting was suspended for an hour or so until her reaction subsided.

Planet Lactose World News Correction...

Itching? That means Ms. Erlich has dairy allergy, not lactose intolerance.

And on the lighter side:

Minor leaguer admits to shoplifting
A pro hockey player caught shoplifting on a dare a few years ago has been granted an absolute discharge.

Justin Bowers, 24, of Halifax pleaded guilty in a Fredericton court Monday to a 2005 charge of stealing from a Wal-Mart in Stephenville, N.L.

The charge was transferred to Fredericton so Bowers could enter a guilty plea.

Crown prosecutor Jeffrey Mockler said Bowers stole a disposable camera, a box of condoms and a bottle of lactose-intolerance pills while on a weekend visit to the Newfoundland town several years ago.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

How Long Does a Lactose Attack Last?

I hate getting questions that I can't answer, but "it depends" is all-too-often the only real comment that I can make.

This was in an email I recently received:

After reading pretty much everything on your website and a lot of others, I still haven't found the answer to this question: How long after you stop consuming lactose does it clear your system and stop causing symptoms? Are there any residual effects and/or damage to the gut?

There is very little that's more individual than a lactose attack. It varies not just by person to person, but every single time you take in more lactose than you can digest. How much lactose you eat, whether it's part of a meal or whether it's mostly liquid, how much lactase may remain in your system, and how sensitive your intestines are all play a major role.

The symptoms may be mild or severe and may last for a short time or for quite a while.

You cannot damage the gut by having lactose. If you are particularly sensitive or also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, your intestines may keep on spasming even after the lactose is gone. At that point taking an antidiarrheal drug to stop the spasming is a good idea. Don't take one right away thinking that you're stopping the symptoms. You'd just be keeping the lactose in you longer.

Extreme cases of lactose intolerance (LI), meaning times when someone keeps having milk despite the symptoms, can lead to dehydration from the water loss. That used to happen in the days before people knew what LI was. (If you didn't know that milk caused your problem you wouldn't think to stop having it.) I haven't heard of a case of dehydration in a very long time. Knowing all about LI is far too common in the U.S. This might be a concern in some other countries where understanding of LI is just beginning to reach our levels.

LI is uncomfortable but not dangerous. The sympotms will go away when the lactose is gone (and you make sure not take in more lactose). It just seems like forever.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Food Allergy Treatments Enter Testing Phase

"All other allergies have lots of treatments," says Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. "With food allergy, we have nothing: Avoid the food, take epinephrine (adrenaline shots to counteract anaphylaxis, a deadly reaction) and get to the hospital."

It's a little too early to run to your doctor, but a variety of treatments for food allergies - at least for the very young children who are first developing allergies - are in the testing phase, according to an article by Rita Rubin in USA Today.

Early results in tests on humans look promising for three experimental treatments:

•Oral immunotherapy. Under close supervision by health care professionals, patients swallow tiny but gradually increasing amounts of the foods that trigger their allergies, with the idea of building immunity. This method is being tested for peanut, egg and milk allergies.

•Sublingual therapy. Drops containing proteins that trigger allergies are put under the tongue, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. This method is being tested for various food allergies.

•Food allergy herbal formula-2. Known as FAHF-2, this pill (not available in stores) is based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese remedy. It contains nine botanicals, including ginseng and oil made from cinnamon tree bark. It is being tested for peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

Building tolerance can take a year or more, and parents with children in the studies must drive them to a research center every other week. For a few, the round trip is hundreds of miles — a small price, in parents' eyes.

"This is the first time that we have a number of studies going on at the same time," Munoz-Furlong says. "This is huge for the food allergy community. We finally can say that probably in 10 years, the landscape will look very different than it does now."

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Sensible Comments on Allergies

In all the morass of disinformation on the internet, it's always nice to come across sensible and correct advice.

Kate Goshorn wrote on a topic of interest to us in Nurse practitioner answers some frequently asked food-allergy questions. I especially like the first answer.

Q: How are food allergies different from food sensitization and desensitization?

A: A food allergy really happens with every ingestion. You cannot eat cheese one day and not tolerate milk the next and think it’s a cow’s milk allergy. Sensitization to food is a positive allergy test without a history of an allergic reaction. At one point in time your body recognized that as an allergen, but not to the point where it would make you ill. Sensitization is a process where people can eat the food in prescribed doses and can tolerate it, but they must eat it every day. However, if you stop eating the food, your allergy will re-emerge. That is not what we want overall for families. What we want for the children is tolerance. Tolerance means a person can eat the food in any amount at any time.

You would not believe the number of emails I've received from people who tell me they can have one kind of milk product one day but "react" to a different one the next day, even if that one has more lactose or protein than the first.

That's just impossible if you truly have a problem.

Read the rest of the article as well. It's good advice.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alpro Adds New Dairy-Free Yogurt Product

I've mentioned the UK firm Alpro several times before, notably in Dairy-Free Alpro and in More Soy Yogurt, English Style.

Apparently Alpro's efforts have come to financial fruition. TalkingRetail ("the hub for grocery retail) reported that:

Alpro soya dominates the £103m dairy free category with a 64%* share and is the only brand to have a range of products in each of the dairy free category's main fixtures, including fresh and UHT milks, cream, yogurts and desserts.

And that news is usually the prelude to expansion. Which it is.

Alpro soya is expanding its comprehensive range of yogurt alternatives with the launch of a vanilla 500g pot. The vanilla variant will tap into the buoyant ‘active health' yogurt category, which is growing at +27%* (by value). ...

The new 500g vanilla yogurt will launch in Sainsbury's, and Waitrose from April with a RRP of £1.29

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lunchtakers Database Not Always Completely Dairy-Free

This sounded like a good idea when I read the press release.

Knight Rose Productions, LLC launched, a site dedicated to helping promote healthy eating. Lunchtaker offers hundreds of ideas for healthy lunch foods, which registered users can combine into their own lunch combinations. ...

"We came up with the idea for this site when our daughter entered Kindergarten," says Amy Dawson, who runs Knight Rose Productions with her husband, Scott. ...

Their children helped match foods to letters, resulting in the site’s A-Z listing. You can also search for items by food type, vegan or dairy-free classification, color and nutritional value.

I always check these things out, at least to a basic level, before I post them here. And I quickly ran into a major problem.

I entered dairy-free into their "Find Lunch Foods" box.

The search returned 269 items, in alphabetical order. The default view is 10 items to a page, but you can increase that to 50.

The first few items include many a variety of fruits and vegetables. Nothing wrong there, although most people don't need a specialty database to tell them that.

Then "bagel and cream cheese" appeared. And Baked Lays Sour Cream & Onion. And Baked Veggie Crisps (Farmland Cheddar). Ingredients can be found by clicking on the picture of the item.)

I soon figured out the problem. Putting anything into the "Find Lunch Foods" box returns 269 items, which appears to be all the items in their database. You have to then narrow the search by clicking the appropriate box on the product listing page. (This may only be a problem if you are not registered with the site.)

Clicking "dairy-free" returns only 79 items. That's better, although again it is heavy with fruits and vegetables. You still need to be careful, though. Clicking on Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich yields the warning:
Choose what you like for ingredients, but if you need vegan and/or dairy free as marked on this item, be sure to choose a vegan, dairy-free bread.

Clicking on Hot Dog, however, gives no such warning although both hot dogs and hot dog buns may contain dairy. gives two specific brands to make their meal. Ball Park Lite Franks are dairy-free, according to their website's ingredients lists, as apparently all their hot dogs are, except for the obvious case of their Cheese Franks. Unfortunately, Wegmans Hot Dog Rolls, Lite, do not appear anywhere on the store's Lactose-Free Wegmans brand products page.

This is a long-winded way of reminding you that while convenience is a huge plus for hurried parents, you can never trust anyone other than yourself to remember everything or be as careful as you need to be. And that you still need to take the time to double-check everything. I wish this weren't so, but the world is as it is.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook

I mentioned Jean Duane in Jean Duane GFCF Videos, where I said that her cooking instructions were probably more valuable than the advocacy of a GFCF diet to those who may not absolutely require it.

Duane now has a cookbook out, Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook, which I hope concentrates on the recipes. From the press release:

Bake Deliciously! has over 150 mouth-watering easy-to-follow recipes completed in five or less steps. The cookbook with beautiful color photos will be welcomed by those with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, dairy allergies or intolerance, Autism, ADD, ADHD, Crohn's Disease, IBS or Aspergers. It contains a lot of useful reference information for the newly diagnosed, as well as for diet veterans. ...

Jean Duane, Alternative Cook loves cooking deliciously, even when food allergies or health conditions require cooking "without". She maintains a gluten-free, dairy-free, low cholesterol diet, and has been developing recipes for 20 years. Her passion for cooking, combined with her professional training has enabled her to create a series of full-length cooking DVDs, video streams and the Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free cookbook. Ms. Duane is a prolific writer and national presenter on alternative cooking and baking. She appears on multiple TV segments on Comcast Video On Demand and PBS's Life Wise series.

You can watch Duane's videos and get more cooking instructions at her website,

Carol Moore, of the Galesburg Register-Mail brought to my attention that this cookbook is more than what it seemed from the press release. It is intended to be wonderfully adaptable.
With helpful instructions in Duane’s book, she gives you substitutions for cow’s milk, wheat flour, gluten-free flour substitutions, starch, egg, liquids, butter, sugar, nuts and seeds, tofu and soy and oils. General guidelines and baking tips help you along, step by step.

One of the book’s more exciting features is how to help you convert some of your favorite standard recipes or family favorites

I've always contended that knowing how to substitute and adapt your everyday favorite recipes is far more valuable to most people embarking on a special foods diet that having to learn bunches of new recipes from scratch. If that's what Duane does, then I'm all for it.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Cherrybrook Kitchen Cookies

"Launched in 2004, Cherrybrook Kitchen has quickly become one of the leading brands that address the needs of people with food allergies. All Cherrybrook Kitchen products are peanut-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. In addition, the company makes products that are also wheat free and gluten free."

That's from the press release announcing that Cherrybrook Kitchens is making an Arthur Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Arthur is the PBS character.

Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur, addressed food allergies in during the 2007 PBS season. In the episode, titled "Binky Goes Nuts", Arthur's friend Binky discovers that he is allergic to peanuts. The episode addresses many of the fears, questions, and concerns that children with food allergies and their parents have when newly diagnosed. ...

The product is peanut-, dairy-, nut- and egg-free and will include an original story about Binky's food allergies. In addition, the cookie mix is all natural, kosher certified and vegan. Available now in stores where other Cherrybrook Kitchen products are sold, the product has a suggested retail of $4.99.

Find out more about that cookie mix and others of their products at Cherrybrook Kitchens

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

ZenSoy Soy Pudding

Joyce Clark Hicks is a writer at the Raleigh News & Observer as well as a mother of a dairy allergic daughter.

No, surprisingly, this is not another story about a mother writing a dairy-free cookbook. In fact she doesn't seem to be aware of how many their are. But she does pass along a review you might be interested in.

As the mother of a severely milk-allergic child, I'm often at a loss for finding truly dairy-free treats to serve my daughter. Enter the ZenSoy soy pudding line. Made with certified organic whole soy beans, the line is devoid of lactose and milk protein, making it a safe treat for vegans and those allergic to milk. The pudding comes in four flavors: vanilla, chocolate, banana and chocolate/vanilla swirl. The smooth texture makes it appear almost identical to dairy pudding, and the chocolate and chocolate/vanilla swirl flavors taste surprisingly like their dairy counterparts. I have no food allergies and I found these two puddings to be more than a mildly suitable substitute. Most important, ZenSoy passed the food safety test with my 2-year-old. She quickly licked the container and spoon clean and declared the pudding "dewicious" before asking for more. My son found the banana pudding equally pleasing. The vanilla pudding was more of a stretch. It had an odd aftertaste that I'm not quite sure how to describe. Still, three out of four isn't bad, especially when your options are limited because of allergies or other concerns.

ZenSoy makes puddings in Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana and our Chocolate/Vanilla Swirl flavors.

They also have four flavors of soymilks: Vanilla, Chocolate, Plain and Cappuccino.

They are all "free of any lactose, dairy, cholesterol, gluten, eggs, casein, peanuts or MSG" as well as kosher and parve. They are also "suitable for vegans." That's an odd phrasing and it only appears in the answer to a letter rather than as a claim on the main pages, which uses vegetarian several times but doesn't specify vegan. Probably just a quirk since I can't figure out any reason why they wouldn't be vegan.

f you'e looking for dairy-free desserts to make for your kids, take a look at the Parenting, Kids, and Special Diets page, the Milk- and Lactose-Free Books page, or the Allergy Books and Cookbooks page in my Milk-Free Bookstore.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos

No matter what the calendar says, you know summer is around the corner when the stores are full of bathing suits and the bookstores start pushing frozen treats.

Julie Gilkay of the Appleton, WI Post-Crescent alerted readers to 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos: The Only Ice Cream Compendium You'll Ever Need.

An ice cream companion? Who needs that? It's that "500" in the title that makes all the difference. To bulk out the book the author, Alex Barker, includes:

gelatos, sorbets, granitas, water ices, frozen concoctions, sundaes, sodas, slushes, bombes and terrines. Dietary limitations are addressed in dairy-free ice creams and low-fat, sugar-free ices.

Sorbets, granitas, water ices, and slushes are sugar and water and fruit.

Bombes are made in a rounded mold and so sometimes are called domes. The layers are often ice cream but can be fruit ices.

A terrine is a kind of molded dish usually used for baked foods or pates. You can use a mold to make layered frozen desserts as in this Frozen Apple and Blackberry Terrine dessert recipe.

You can find it on the Frozen Desserts page in my Milk-Free Bookstore.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

When Are "Facts" not Facts?

I don't usually comment on other blogs. Search on "lactose" and you get almost nothing back for the time and effort you expend. Every once in a while, though, I stumble over a load of such concentrated ignorance that I need to contain it before it spreads further.

The home page of dietblog appears at first glance to be a source of reasonable health information. Closer inspection reveals the hidden truth. Each entry is from anyone who registers and is only as good as the knowledge and opinions of the blogger. That means readers are likely to fall immediately into an abyss of food nonsense.

What caught my eye was a post It's Easy to Eat Right and That's a Fact! by a blogger named ej.

Everything I have said here, and everything else that I'll say on this site is fact, so don't have a go at me because none of this is my opinion - it's fact.

Did somebody wave a red flag?

Here's one of ej's "facts:"
Humans have been consuming fat since the year dot. Therefore our bodies know the fat and it can use the fat accordingly. We find it hard to eat too much fat because our bodies have an 'off switch' for fat - it detects when we have consumed enough fat and we feel full. ... Full fat milk is fine to have in moderation, as lactose is detected by the enzymes in the liver, so the body can deal with it.

What in world could ej possibly have meant by those sentences?

First, our bodies don't have an "off switch" for fat. Fat can, well, make you fat, just as sugar can. All sources of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are broken down by the body into their components. If they can be used by the body or burned as fuel they will be. If not, they will be stored. As fat.

Lactose is, of course, not fat. It is a sugar. It is not "detected by the enzymes in the liver" whatever that means. Lactose gets digested by the enzymes in the small intestine, specifically the lactase enzyme. Those of us with lactose intolerance make little to no lactase, so we can't digest lactose. It doesn't matter in the tiniest whether that lactose is wrapped in whole milk or skim milk. The body doesn't notice, and the liver never sees it at any time, in any way.

Everybody about ej's approach to sugar is beyond odd. Take these statements:
They say there is a lot of sugar in fruit so it's bad for you. NO. Fruit has natural sugar, yes, but it also has fiber and nutrients in it that counteract the sugar when we eat it, so the sugar is still there, but our body can use it positively.

Here's one thing most of you probably don't know. Our bodies can't detect fructose...

What is the sugar in fruit? Right. It's fructose. Until the past few thousand years, the vast majority of the sugar that an adult human would encounter would be fructose. Natural honey is a physical rather than chemical combination of fructose and glucose. A few vegetables, notably sugar cane and sugar beets, are predominantly sucrose, itself a complex sugar made out of fructose and glucose, but those had limited range compared to fructose-heavy fruits.

BTW, it's fructose, not lactose, that is metabolized by the liver. The Wikipedia page on fructose has a jumble of contradictory and inconsistent statements on fructose digestion, but check Figure 6 Metabolic conversion of fructose to glycogen in the liver. Maybe this is what ej has read about once and misinterpreted. Saying our bodies "can't detect fructose" is sheer nonsense no matter how one interprets it.

No one diet is right, and by that I mean no one type of diet is right. You can lose weight on every type of diet. Empty sugars, which are sugars without good supporting nutrition, the nutrients found mainly in, um, fruit, do contribute to obesity. Too much fat also contributes. Too much food period is a cause of obesity. Cutting calories will help you lose weight when accompanied by an increase in exercise. Eating healthy, sensible foods is a must.

So is understanding a few basics about food, digestion, and nutrition. Everything poor ej doesn't know.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post Number 1000!

Before 1978 I had no health insurance. That meant that, like too many other Americans, I didn't go to the doctor unless it was an emergency.

I suffered from terrible gas and cramps and flatulence and diarrhea. I didn't know why. It would never have occurred to me that milk might be to blame.

But in 1978 I got a job that included health coverage. I could go to a clinic and get tested. The doctor who treated me was young, probably recently out of medical school. That meant he was familiar with the newest bits of medical advice. He told me he thought I had lactose intolerance and wanted to test me for it.

I had no idea what lactose intolerance was. Never heard the term before. Knew no one who had it. I found out afterward that even those in the medical community had only learned that it might be a common condition a few years earlier. I was probably fortunate that I went to see a young doctor rather than a seasoned elder.

The lactose intolerance test consisted of... drinking a lot of lactose. A nurse drew blood every half hour or so. In between I spent all my time in the bathroom. I looked so green around the gills at the end of the testing period that the doctor told me the actual laboratory review would just be a formality. I should stop drinking milk. In fact, I should stop eating any and dairy products entirely.

That changed my life. This was 1978, remember. Today everybody seems to be avoiding some type of food. In those days avoiding all milk made me, shall we say, a very unwelcome guest. I had little to no idea what foods dairy came in even though I made it my business to check out every product in the grocery store. Friends and relatives were freaked by the thought of trying to serve milk-free meals.

I wound up doing so much original, primary, research on lactose intolerance that the thought inevitably occurred to me: I'm a writer. I should write a book on lactose intolerance.

So I did. No Milk Today: How to Live with Lactose Intolerance, published in 1986. In it I told people that they didn't have to give up all dairy if they didn't want to. You could still have some, especially if you had yogurt or other low-lactose products, ate small amounts of lactose, or took lactase pills, then just coming onto the market. Good news for all.

The years rolled by. I learned a lot more about lactose intolerance. The rest of the world began to become familiar with it. For most people it was a funny thing that late night comedians made fun of. For some of it having LI was a lot more serious. And for those who had dairy allergies, a group that seemed to increase wildly in number every year, the issue was more serious still. I put out a second and much more complete book in 1995, Milk Is Not for Every Body: Living with Lactose Intolerance.

Living with lactose intolerance meant living with reduced-lactose and non-dairy products and medications. Those seemed to change practically daily. I needed a way to update information in a way impossible for books. So I started a website on LI, Steve Carper's Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse, the name an indication that I hoped that lots of people would write in and share information about products and problems. This was 1997 so I may have been ahead of my time. I wound up doing all the work myself.

Too much work. By 2005 the site was so big and had so many corners to it that I couldn't find the find to keep it up properly. By then a better solution had arrived. Something called a blog. Something that I could post to once a day without having to go back and update 20 pages whenever I made an entry.

I started this blog on June 25, 2005. On August 15 I had a stroke and lost the ability to type with my right hand.

Fortunately, I don't believe in signs. I do believe in physical therapy. I regained strength and coordination in my right side. On December 20, 2005 I resumed posting.

That was 975 posts ago. This is post number 1000. Almost one a day for over three years. That's a little bit like having homework to do before you go to bed every single day of your life, holidays, birthdays, sick days, vacation days, every day. I do because there is so much information out to share with you. And so much misinformation to correct and debunk. Wait till you see the choice bit of idiocy I have for you tomorrow.

Hope you'll be here. I certainly will. That's a promise.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Four Types of Allergies

True allergies are reactions of the IgE antibody system. But there are other antibody systems in the body too and they can produce their own sets of usually different symptoms, creating much confusion. The two types of reactions are sometimes both lumped together as allergies, but they're better thought of separately as allergies and hypersensitivities respectively.

I have a page on my web site, Lactose Intolerance versus Milk Allergy, talking about this. I've posted about it before as well, in The Different Types of Dairy Allergy.

I thought about those when I ran across a column by Dr. Jeff Hersh on the Norwood, MA Daily News Transcript website. He answers a pertinent question from a reader.

Q: My daughter had a blood test which showed she has a delayed IgG egg allergy rather than an immediate IgE (immunoglobulin E) allergy. Can you tell me what this really means?

The whole column is too long to quote here but has a good number of technical details in it that may help people, especially parents, understand allergies better. A few excerpts:
1. IgE helps defend against parasites. It also binds to allergens (things that trigger allergies) to trigger histamine release from mast cells, although how this helps defend the body is not understood.

2. IgG and IgM help "tag" many types of infections, with IgM forming during an acute infection and IgG serving as a "memory" to fight a future similar infection. ...

The types of hypersensitivity are classified according to the part of the immune system causing the problem (although other classification systems exist):

Type 1 is an immediate reaction (usually within minutes to hours) due to IgE and is very common, affecting 50 million Americans. It may be due to foods, environmental allergens (pollen, grasses, etc.), insect stings, medications or many other causes. Typical symptoms include rashes (such as hives), gastro-intestinal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea), swelling (angioedema) and/or respiratory symptoms (such as runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, or even asthma). An estimated 500 people die each year from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction where symptoms are so severe breathing may be compromised and blood pressure can drop.

Type 2 is due to IgM, IgG and/or complement, and includes conditions where the body's immune system attacks normal body cells such as in autoimmune hemolytic anemia (the red blood cells are attacked), Goodpasture's disease or others.

Type 3 is due to immune complex, IgG and/or complement and can lead to serum sickness or other conditions. It may also lead to allergy symptoms similar to type 1, however with delayed (usually within hours to days) onset.

Type 4 is also delayed onset, but is due to T-cells. It is responsible for contact dermatitis (such as poison ivy), as well as other conditions.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Lacteeze Store

I posted about a month ago, in Lacteeze Drops Now Available Through eBay, that Pat Gilbers was planning to be the first U.S. distributor for Lacteeze brand lactase, formerly available only in Canada. Lacteeze is an important name because it makes the liquid lactase drops to be used directly in milk and other liquid dairy products to reduce the lactose content as well as the solid lactase tablets.

I also promised then to let you know the minute Gilbers' Lacteeze Store website officially opened. That's today.

The site is pretty straightforward. There are three products: Lacteeze Drops (in two sizes), Lacteeze Tablets, and Lacteeze Chewable Children's' Tablets. The children's' tablets are strawberry flavored.

You order them through the website.


Let me know if you try the site.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dairy-Free Oreos and Oreo Substitutes

Back in the olden days of lactose intolerance, everyone "knew" that Hydrox sandwich cookies were to be preferred over Oreo's because Hydrox cookies were parve, meaning they contained no milk products in the creme filling. While that was true, part of the confusion may have been because Oreo's used to contain lard, making them non-kosher. I don't honestly remember whether they ever contained a true milk product, but note that they officially had "creme" filling and not "cream" filling.

Well, Hydrox cookies died several years ago and today's Oreos have no milk products in them. But they're not the healthiest cookies around either. Melissa Morrow's Boulder Organic Food Examiner column talked about some dairy-free healthy alternatives.

#2: Newman's Own Organic Cookies - Yum, yum. With several flavors to choose from, including original Crème, Chocolate Crème, Mint Crème, Crème Filled Ginger Cookies, Wheat Free Dairy Free Crème, and the new Peanut Butter Crème Filled Chocolate Cookies, you are sure to get your fix. Super tasty, crispy cookies, creamy cream filling. It's good stuff. On top of being delicious, they are kosher and vegan.

Here we go again. From the name you might think that only the Wheat-Free Dairy-Free is truly dairy-free. Nope, all of them of are. Of course, that's what vegan means.
#1: Country Choice Sandwich Cremes - Coming in at first place is my absolute favorite cookie ever. There are six flavors to choose from: Chocolate, Chocolate Creme, Vanilla, Ginger Lemon, Duplex and Mint Creme. I've tried them all, many, many times. The creme filling is actually creamy. The cookies are crispy and powerbursts of flavor. The only problem is that they taste so good that it is sometimes hard to stop eating them. They, too, are both vegan and kosher.

All are indeed kosher, but Country Choice's FAQ page is a bit more particular about their vegan and dairy-free status:
Milk Free: Soft-baked Cookies - Oatmeal Raisin and Old Fashioned Oatmeal. Note: all are processed on shared equipment with dairy.

Non-Dairy: Oatmeal - Instant, Old Fashioned, Quick and Steel Cut, and Multi-grain Hot Cereal. Sandwich Cookies - Vanilla, Chocolate, Duplex, Chocolate Crème, Ginger Lemon, and Mint Crème. Note: all are processed on shared equipment with dairy.

Canisters Oats (all), Instant Oatmeal (all), FIT KIDS Instant Oatmeal (except Chocolate Chip), Sandwich Cookies (all), FIT KIDS Snackin' Grahams (all), Oatmeal on the Run (all). Note: Cookies are processed on shared equipment with dairy and eggs.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lactose Not a Cause of Arthritis

Dr. Robert Shmerling's column, which I found in the Baltimore Sun, addressed the kind of basic question about lactose that I also get frequently.

Q: Does the lactose in dairy products cause pain and stiffness in the joints of people with arthritis?

The first part of his answer is a direct no.
A: There is no known association between lactose in dairy products and arthritis;

He does a careful qualification:
however, our understanding of the causes of and effects of diet on most types of arthritis is limited. At some point in the future, researchers could discover an important role for lactose or other nutritional components in the development of arthritis.

This is an entirely reasonable admission. We just don't know much about the issue and it's fair to say that someday lactose may be implicated. I just want to emphasize that absolutely nothing known or suspected today gives even the slightest hint of a connection with lactose. More than that:
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and for most there is no known dietary connection.

I'm getting signs of arthritis as I age just like almost everybody else. But I'm positive that lactose doesn't play a part. Maybe the world of science and medicine will surprise us all one day, but I'm going to assume not.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Bridge - Italian Non-Dairy Drinks

FoodBizDaily printed a press release from the Italian firm The Bridge that lead me into an entire world of non-dairy drinks for the European market.

Bio Avena Cuisine is an oats cream, 100 % vegetable, lactose free, animal fats free and hydrogenated fats free. It can be used as an alternative to the traditional milk cream. The particular formulation makes the product delicate, light (less then 10 % of fats) and rich of fibres.

Furthermore we choose not to use any ingredient like soya or colza lecithin, neither xantan gum, in order to be sure to have a healthy product, GMO free. Bio Avena cuisine is excellent for preparation of salted dishes as pasta, for seasoning vegetables and for preparation of tasty desserts.

•0 % lactose
•0 % cholesterol

Oats "milks" are not new, either in Europe or the U.S., but they haven't made as many inroads into the market as soy "milks." But The Bridge has that covered as well. They make both soy and rice drinks and have since 1994.

Unfortunately, their site doesn't say exactly where their products are available. In Europe, presumably, yet the site is entirely in English. I hope somebody can find them.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Lucy Waverman's Chocolate Easter Eggs

Lucy Waverman is "a chef, the food columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail and food editor of Food & Drink, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's glossy magazine" as I wrote in Rethinking Recipes for Allergies.

She's been making recipes, like this Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake recipe, available on the EpiPen of Canada website for those who register there.

And in a timely gesture, I've been given permission to post another of her recipes here, one for Chocolate Easter Eggs. You can also find this on the EpiPen of Canada site.

This new recipe contains no common food allergens like peanuts, milk products or eggs.

Chocolate Easter Eggs

With a little work these eggs are great fun for allergic children who have not been able to have Easter eggs in the past.


You can change the colour and the taste of the marshmallow by adding in peppermint essence, orange essence or unsweetened cocoa. Beat in a little food colouring to dye marshmallow yellow, pink or green.

You can make these eggs and not fill them, if desired or make another filling that your child is not allergic too. You can make whole eggs by sandwiching the two halves together.

The eggs are a bit fragile because the chocolate is not tempered (a professional technique that keeps the chocolate from melting on your hands).

For children who are not allergic to eggs, the easiest way to make them is to use real eggs as the mould. The plastic peels off easily from them.

If the child is allergic to eggs, plastic egg moulds are available around Easter at grocery stores, bulk stores, dollar stores and toy stores. Spray with baking spray before wrapping in plastic to make them easier to separate.

Leftover chocolate can be poured onto a sheet of parchment paper, let dry and broken up into pieces to use in other recipes or for eating out of hand. You need the extra chocolate in case some chocolate shells break.

If you do not have a sugar thermometer, drop the sugar syrup into a bowl of ice water. It should form a soft ball.

Special Tools:

12-16 plastic egg moulds
Plastic wrap


1 lb (500 grams) dark chocolate, chopped*
*always read the label carefully to ensure chocolate contains no dairy ingredients

Marshmallow: ½ cup (120 mL) water, divided

1 package unflavoured gelatine (equivalent to 1 tbsp or 15 mL)

½ cup (120 mL) cold water, divided

½ cup (125 mL) sugar

½ cup (120 mL) corn syrup

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Wrap 12 large egg moulds or eggs tightly with plastic wrap, leaving plastic twisted at one end to make a kind of handle.

Place chocolate in a small, deep heavy pot over low heat and melt stirring occasionally until liquid. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Holding plastic handle, dip eggs into chocolate until coated half way up each egg.

Carefully place eggs (chocolate side up) in a mini muffin pan or egg carton and put in refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until chocolate has set.

Remove chocolate covered moulds from mini muffin pan or egg carton. Carefully ease plastic and chocolate from moulds. Next peel plastic from the inside of the chocolate to leave a chocolate shell behind. Set shells into mini muffin pans or egg cartons and chill while you make marshmallow fluff.


Pour ¼ cup (60 mL) cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and sprinkle with gelatine. Let stand.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) water in a pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to high and boil syrup until it reaches 240ºF (118ºC) on a sugar thermometer.

With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour boiling sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the gelatine mixture. Turn mixer to high and beat for 5 minutes or until mixture is white and shiny. Beat in vanilla.

Transfer fluff to a large clean piping bag and pipe into prepared chocolate eggshells. If you do not have a piping bag, cut a corner off a baggie, add the marshmallow fluff and pipe it in through the corner. You can also spoon it in but it doesn't look as pretty. Sandwich egg halves together if desired.

Leave to set at room temperature until firm. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 12-16 filled eggs.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Strengths and Weaknesses of Milk Alternatives

I admit that when this article first appeared my eyes glazed over it because I didn't think it had enough new information. But I keep seeing it reprinted in paper after paper, so I'm going to defer to the collective judgments of the newspaper editors of America.

The original article, Giving up milk? Try these instead was a Julie Deardorff column that appeared in the March 29, 2009 Chicago Tribune. She examines the strengths and weaknesses of soy, almond, coconut, hemp, oat, and rice "milks" as well as goat milk.

The whole article is not long enough to do justice to seven types of products, any of which can have large amounts of variation within the group. And she repeats the nonsense that goat milk is "often suitable for those with lactose intolerance." No, it's not. It's sometimes suitable for those with cow's milk protein allergies, but never for those with lactose intolerance. That's the major season I didn't post about it in the first place.

However, if it's getting this much attention far better for me to point out the nonsense and make sure you're aware of it. The rest of the article seems sounder on the facts and may help point some of you toward different alternatives.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

LI Celebrity Alert: Kate Moss

Kate Moss, the famously dysfunctional size 2 supermodel, is writing a kosher cookbook.

[Looks at date on calendar. Nope, not April 1st.]

But the New York tabloid, the Daily News, much more plugged in to the affairs of supermodels than I, reported that:

According to the insider, the super-skinny Moss has already been testing out hearty kosher favorites including chicken noodle soup, salt beef, potato latkes and non-dairy pareve carrot and honey cake on her rocker boyfriend, Jamie Hince.

She was last in the news in 2007 when videos surfaced of her using cocaine. Cocaine, remember, is often cut with lactose, rendering it neither non-dairy nor pareve. Therefore you should always wait at least six hours after having meat before you snort cocaine. The carrot and honey cake can be had anytime.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzazz

The Denver Decider webpage looks like a web version of an alternative weekly paper. Maybe the article on frozen pizza was the tipoff. Home slice: The pizza world's frozen best by Janelle Zara.

Rather than succumbing to the shtick, here’s Decider’s rundown of the best pizza options available in your local grocer’s freezer aisle—all for under $7.

Somewhat stunningly, even for a paper with a decided slant toward vegans, the top mention went to our old friend Tofutti.
Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzazz
At first glance, this vegan option looks reminiscent of something you’d pop in the microwave every afternoon after coming home from middle school. It boasts a wholly unappetizing appearance—like someone melted some rubbery cheese on an orange cracker. Yet, for a dairy-free slice that bases its single topping on soy bean curd, it tastes surprisingly like the real thing—especially at $3.29 for a box of three slices (which you’ll likely eat all at once). Just think: With all that money you’re saving, you can buy yourself a new pair of leather-free shoes.
For: Vegans who haven’t moved out of mom’s house yet.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

April Is Soy Foods Month

April is:

African American Women's Fitness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Amateur Radio Month, Autism Awareness Month, Cancer Control Month, Car Care Month, Celebrate Diversity Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, (International) Cesarean Awareness Month, Couple Appreciation Month, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, Fair Housing Month, Financial Literacy Month, Fresh Florida Tomatoes Month, Global Child Nutrition Month, Grange Month, Holy Humor Month, Home Improvement Time, Informed Women Month, International Customer Loyalty Month, International Pet First Aid Awareness Month, International Twit Award Month, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, Keep America Beautiful, Month of the Young Child, Month of the Military Child, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Card and Letter Writing Month, National Decorating Month, National DNA & Genomics & Stem Cell Education & Awareness Month, National Donate Life Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Kite Month, National Knuckles Down Month, National Landscape Architecture Month, National Occupational Therapy Month, National Parkinson's Awareness Month, National Pecan Month, National Poetry Month, Nationally Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, National Youth Sports Safety Month, Pharmacists War on Diabetes Month, Physical Wellness Month, Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month, Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, Rosacea Awareness Month, School Library Media Month, Straw Hat Month, Stress Awareness Month, Southern Belles Month, Women's Eye Health & Safety Month, Workplace Conflict Awareness Month, World Habitat Awareness Month.

Where do I find the time?

And with all that going on, how to make time to tell you that April is also Soy Foods Month?

Well, the easy way for me to do it is to tell you to go over to the SoyFoods Association of North America (SANA) and let them do all the work.

Even better, SANA members are offering coupons for their products.
•Hain Celestial Group - Offering coupons on WestSoy soymilks

•House Foods America Corp. - Offering coupons on Tofu

•SOYJOY - Offering coupons on Soy Bars

•Soyatoo! - Offering discounts on soy whipped cream. For more information please contact 801-461-3396 ext.101

•TofuXpress - The new gourmet food press that helps you prepare tofu and other foods! Press the water out and add flavor! Eat green protein! •Turtle Island Foods - Offering coupons on Tofurky and other Meat Alternatives

•WholeSoy & Co. - Offering coupons on Soy Yogurt and Soy Frozen Yogurt


Click on links at that page to get taken to the sites.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

LI Celebrity Alert: Julio Lugo

Learning that he was lactose intolerant seemed to have been a boon for Boston Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo.

He's been through a bad year, with an injury, a lawsuit, and his wife's miscarriage. This is the year he hopes it will all get better, according to an article by Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe.

The athleticism was evident.

So, too, was the added weight, the added strength. As Rocco Baldelli, also a teammate in Tampa, said, only half-joking, "He looks like someone drew his body on like a cartoon character that has those rippling muscles like a superhero."

That began last season, when all Lugo could do was work out, and has left him nearing 188 pounds, after being listed at 175 a year ago. It helped that he found out in the offseason that he was lactose intolerant, helping him quell his stomach discomfort and allowing him to train without distraction.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Kids with Food Allergies Celebrates Passover and More

The organization, Kids with Food Allergies is a major resource for parents. You can find large amounts of information on their website, including a convenient page that summarizes US FDA and USDA food allergy recall alerts. (You can also subscribe to get the recall info sent to you.)

Another free resource is a 24-page .pdf titled Passover: Celebrate with Food Allergies and Have Fun, Too!.

Other resources are reserved for parents.

More than 14,000 parents have joined Kids With Food Allergies, a nationwide nonprofit organization offering online food allergy support groups for families raising children with food allergies.

The Value of a Family Membership: Parents love our online food allergy support group, information, news and allergy-free recipes. We invite you to become a KFA Family Member and gain the special privilege of full access to our services:

± Support forums for Parents of Food Allergic Kids

Online support groups connect you with other food allergy families nationwide. Our peer-to-peer support will help you adapt to the food allergy lifestyle. Do you have questions about school allergy plans? How to use food allergy recipes? How to breastfeed with food allergies?

± Our growing Safe Eats ™ food allergy recipes database
Search our database for hundreds of recipes free of milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nut, sesame and other common allergens. Receive cooking support and recipe help in dedicated Food & Cooking forums.

± Food allergy articles, FAQs, publications, and other resources

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Why I Didn't Post on April 1st

If you type Hell into Google Maps it sends you to Pinckney, MI 48169.

This is true. If I posted it yesterday, you wouldn't have believed me.

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