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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

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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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Steve. I just found your site, and it's great. I wanted to congratulate you on your 1,000th post.

I, too, am LI, and was searching for some info on yogurt, which I find I can tolerate in small amounts, and ran into it. And got stuck here for two hours, reading everything. I'm planning to blame you when I'm late with dinner... :-)