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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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, August 08, 2012

Lactase Powder Can Replace Lactase Drops

Hard to believe, but I started this blog seven years ago. That means I've watched entire generations of products come onto the market, leave, and come back again. It's like watching a time lapse movie of glaciers advancing and retreating.

The glaciers are back. Or let me set the scene for the new news.

Everybody who is lactose intolerant should know all about lactase. Lactase is the enzyme that digests lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. Digesting means breaking a complex chemical down to its simplest components: amino acids for proteins, fatty acids for fats, and simple sugars for carbohydrates. Lactose is a sugar, which is a carbohydrate. More importantly, it is a complex sugar, a disaccharide, composed of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. Lactose is too big to be absorbed into the body through the small intestine, but the glucose and galactose that result when lactase splits it go through easily. Virtually every human - and every mammal - is born with the ability to manufacture enough lactase to digest the lactose int their mother's milk. And most humans - and virtually all mammals - lose that ability as they age. Result: lactose intolerance, defined here as the symptoms produced by the presence of undigested lactose in the intestines.

Until the 1970s there was absolutely nothing that could be done about this. Then Gist-Brocades, a Dutch pharmaceutical firm, discovered a way to get yeast to produce their own version of lactase, which could be harvested. This wasn't artificial lactase, but the real stuff. Or at least a variant.

Quick sidenote about enzymes. An enzyme is a catalyst, a chemical that speeds up other chemical reactions without being affected itself. Left alone lactose would still break down to its simple sugars. It might take longer than your lifetime for this to happen, but chemically it must happen. Nothing stays inside your intestines for more than a few days so waiting a lifetime is out of the question. Lactase, though, speeds up the process to near instantaneously. That ability makes enzymes vital to life. The body manufactures some 500,000 of them. Without them your chemistry would simply stall to a stop. And so would you.

All the enzymes are very complex proteins. And like all very complex proteins lactase can be put together in a multitude of ways. All the lactases work at the primary task of digesting lactose but they can be engineered to work best - i.e., split lactose fastest - under different conditions. Some lactases work best at body temperature and in high acidity. These are used to make the classic lactase pills, capsules, and tablets that you chew or swallow with food. Your stomach is notoriously acidic and always at body temperature.

That wasn't the first lactase that Gist-Brocades found. That lactase worked best in cool temperature with low acidity. Those happen to be conditions found in a container of milk sitting in a refrigerator. So they marketed the lactase as a powder to be added to fresh milk or other liquid dairy products. Once mixed in, the lactase worked over a day or so inside the milk and could be drunk the next day as lactose-reduced and symptom-free milk.

Remember, you can't substitute one for the other and expect it to work very well. Don't try to mix regular lactase pills into liquid dairy. There's no harm to doing so, but you aren't going to have low-lactose milk in the end.

Powders have some disadvantages. The main one that bothered people at the time was that they sometimes didn't dissolve completely, especially if the stirring in wasn't thorough. Powders were on the market for a few years even so. The first version of what then was called "Lact-Aid" was a powder. After a few years, a liquid version was developed. A few drops of liquid dissolved much more quickly and easily than the powders.

Fast forward to 2008. (Look at that glacier melt!) Lactase drops never were a huge seller and for a time every firm in America stopped making them. Customers had to write away to Canadian firms like Lacteeze to get a supply. I called it Huge News! when a firm called Pharmax started making lactase drops available in the U.S. again, saving huge amounts on postage. As I could have told them, the market for lactase drops hadn't increased. They stopped making the drops in 2010.

Lacteeze made them available the whole time, to be sure, and other U.S. firms now also sell liquid lactase. To my surprise, Pharmax is back in business. Making lactase powder.

Product Description

Lactase Powder 1.6oz Supplement

Serving Size: 1 scoop
Servings Per Container: 75
Amount Per Serving: Lactase enzyme 12.6 mg(providing 615 LAU lactase units
Other Ingredients: Maltodextrin.
Recommended intake: Add one scoop of Lactase Powder to water or juice prior to consumption of dairy products or as professionally directed.

I'm assuming this means they've developed ways of increasing the dissolvability of the powder. The reviews on Amazon are positive. You can find Pharmax Lactase Powder on many health sites, so no need to go to Amazon. I found the image of the bottle on the site.

If you want to make low-lactose dairy products at home, probably more cheaply than the fairly expensive store brands, you should give this a try.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Lactose-Free Milk Is Real Milk

This is a blog about lactose intolerance. I need to say that upfront because I take so many detours to talk about dairy-free products and lifestyles. The problem for those of us who are LI isn't dairy, of course: it's lactose. You can have all the dairy you want if you watch your lactose content, or use lactase to break down the lactose.

So here I am again, talking about real milk. Not only that, promoting the National Dairy Council. They're not our enemy.

For the National Dairy Council, lactose-free milk - milk whose lactose has been broken down by added lactase - is as much milk as any other variety. They got Deion Branch - a New England Patriots football player - milk a cow as a promotion. Branch, who's about as expert on milking as I would be, obviously would rather be facing 300 pounds of beef across a line of scrimmage, but comes through in the end.

You can see the video at this page. And if all goes well, I've embedded the video below.

If all doesn't go well, then try going directly to YouTube.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

A new website for Gluten & Dairy Free recipes is being launched. (I told you vegans and allergy sufferers that I'd have news for you soon.)

Linda Rickman, a mom with gluten intolerant kids, is another in the long line of moms who are kindly sharing what they've learned in the kitchen over the years. Rickman's site is

And here's the press release with the details.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes, a new online business based in Colorado, today announced the launch of their website This new site aims to provide nutritious and delicious recipes for people who live gluten and dairy free lifestyles.

Recipe creator and Gluten Free Dairy Free website author Lisa Rickman decided to adopt a gluten and dairy free diet when she discovered a gluten intolerance in her children. Around this time, Lisa had a series of private tests done on each member of her family and determined that three of her family members had the Celiac gene, and the other two had a gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease is commonly characterized by a gluten and dairy intolerance in its carriers. It is a condition that prevents the small intestines from absorbing certain parts of food, specifically gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats and should be avoided by people with Celiac disease.

Recipes on the site range from smokin’ good chicken to gluten free pretzels, and also include gluten and dairy free desserts, low calorie shakes, and a bean bread recipe. Something for everyone!

“As a mom who wants only the best for her children and their health, that means knowing what goes into their food and ultimately their bodies,” says Rickman. “I am constantly cooking for them and with them. My hope is that they grow up knowing what is good for them and that healing can happen through food and taking care of themselves is the best way to honor their bodies. Oh yeah… and that gluten free food can taste amazing too!”

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes aims to accomplish the following:

• Provide recipes to the gluten and dairy free community on an ongoing basis to support this lifestyle
• Make it easy for those with dietary restrictions to eat healthy and nutritious food
• Recommend our favorite cooking products and ingredients based on experience
• Serve as a convenient, go-to website for other busy parents and individuals who strive to create the healthiest lifestyle possible for themselves and their families
• And help others enjoy their time spent in the kitchen along the way!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Low-Lactose Milk Straight From the Source

"Scientists at a north China university say they have bred the world's first genetically-modified calf that will produce low-lactose milk in two years."

That ought to make you bolt upright in your seats, and your eyeballs pop out of your head.

Imagine. Low-lactose milk, low-lactose dairy products, low-lactose everything. That's a dream come true for those of us who are lactose intolerant. (Sorry, allergy sufferers and vegans. You can stop reading now. I'll get to articles for you pretty soon, though.)

I haven't seen anything about this breakthrough in the U.S. media, but it's big news all over Asia. That first paragraph is taken from, a Chinese English-news website, under the title of "Genetically engineered, low-lactose dairy calf bred in China."

A more detailed article can be found on Pakistan's national newspaper's site, The Nation.

The technique is similar to the one that created Dolly, the closed sheep, back in 1996. Instead of making an exact duplicate, though, one gene is changed so that the cow will produce a "lactose dissolution enzyme" that will break down the milk's lactose into glucose and galactose, exactly as the lactase in a pill does.

We're still very much in the experimental stage, so don't expect natural Chinese low-lactose milk to show up on your grocery shelves very soon. Only one of the 14 modified embryos made it to calfhood. She has to grow up and start producing milk before we know for sure that the technique is viable and that's a minimum of two years. A herd of low-lactose cows is farther out on the horizon and the generally availability of the milk is in Jetsons territory.

I'm encouraged by the news, nevertheless. It means that some scientists are actually thinking about the problem of lactose intolerance. Few if any do in the U.S. Here it's a settled issue for a tiny minority and shows no signs of ever growing in interest. Not so in Asia, where several billion LI consumers are becoming a viable market.

The path won't be easy even in Asia. Any gene changes, even for something as absolutely benign as manufacturing lactase, is like waving red flags at a segment of the population. Genetically modified (GM) foods are going to be a stormy issue all over the world. The discussion of it won't be rational, because it touches on primal feelings on what people fell is "right". And it's absolutely true that GM techniques can result - inadvertently or deliberately - in horrible harm. I know that's true because everything, every single thing, every change, every advance, every invention, every policy, every law, every idea can result - inadvertently or deliberately - in horrible harm. Banning all GM because it can result in harm deprives us of all the amazingly huge piles of good that the technique is also capable of. That's bad science and bad logic. We need to examine issues one by one to determine whether their possible value outweighs the possible ills. Low-lactose cows seem to fall squarely on the side of value. We won't know for sure for many years, but I find this good news to read.

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Best Dairy-Free Summer Desserts

Consumer Reports is a noted buzzkill, so none of you should be surprised that they gave poor reviews to a couple of dairy-free frozen treats, as I recently reported. Those aren't the only treats for us in the world, fortunately. Starre Vartan, the self-titled Eco-Chick (and possibly self-named Starre, although who can tell these days?) reviewed Tofutti and several other brands on the Mother Nature Network. "Best Dairy-Free Summer Desserts" is her title for the article; I'm just reporting.

Coconut Bliss (and the Trader Joe’s version of it) is a slightly-coconutty flavored, richly creamy dessert. Seriously delicious, give it a try! It's gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free and vegan, and I like to mix it with the Cashewtopia (below) for a truly decadent dairy-free experience.
Best Flavor: Chocolate (which pairs ideally with the natural coconut base)

Rice Dream makes a frozen dessert based on its popular rice-based beverage. While it doesn’t taste like rice, it definitely doesn’t have the fatty, tongue-coating richness of traditional ice cream. Like Rice Dream milk, it has a bit of a watery texture, but not in a bad way; in the summer it feels like a guilt-free and more refreshing version of a heavier dessert. I find it ideal for rich-tasting smoothies and paired with granola for an afternoon snack.
Best Flavor: Creamcicle (great for smoothies with other fruits, totally delicious on its own)

Cashewtopia Gelato, by Organic Nectars is my absolute winner in the non-dairy dessert category. Made from cashew nut milk, it has a crazy-creamy texture and a is very filling, in the way that ice cream is (if you end up eating it for a meal, don’t blame me. And since it's sweetened with agave, it won't hurt your blood sugar, it's made from all raw ingredients, so retains a ton of the natural ingredients' nutrition, and is all organic. LOVE!
Best Flavor: Chocolate Hazelnut (it's a very mild chocolate but that pairs perfectly with the abundant raw hazelnuts in each bite)

Tofutti: I don’t love plain old tofutti all by its lonesome – like the tofu upon which it’s based, it really needs to be paired with something else to really ‘pop’ – I like mine with a bunch of berries swirled in (as you can probably tell, I like fruit with my desserts), or made into an ice-cream sandwich. Or you can just buy the famous and beloved Tofutti Cuties, which are mini versions of the traditional ice cream sandwich. Truly a vegan ice cream treat.
Best Flavor: Tofutti Cuties Sandwiches

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Consumer Reports Downgrades Milk-Free Frozen Treats

It's not out yet, but you might want to keep an eye out for the July issue of Consumer Reports, which will appear on newsstands on June 5. (Magazines are always dated ahead. The idea is to make them seem fresh on newsstands. Monthly magazines appear early in the month preceding the issue date. Weekly magazines are dated one week earlier than their official publication. This system dates back many decades, to the heyday of newsstands, and now serves mostly to confuse everyone. It won't go away as long as there are print copies, though.) Anyway, the press release for the issue talked about the article on The best Frozen Treats for Summer. Non-dairy confections were also covered and they didn't rate very high.

So Delicious Dairy Free Vanilla Minis sandwiches had a mild artificial-vanilla flavor, and the wafers were soft and sticky. Tofutti Dairy Free Cuties Vanilla sandwiches consisted of gummy, artificially flavored innards between sticky wafers that tasted a bit stale.
The full report, which will also cover nutrition information and cost, is available in the magazine and on the website,, although that requires a subscription for complete access.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vegan Is Love Cooks Up Controversy

If you're a regular here, you know that I've tried to make you aware of dozens of books that could be helpful to anyone who wants to control or eliminate the dairy in their dairy. That covers a huge range, from the basics of lactose intolerance to books on keeping kosher to non-dairy cookbooks to almost anything vegan. I've been doing this forever, since the 1990s in fact, when I added the Milk-Free Bookstore section to my website. (Remember websites? Apparently I don't, given how little updating I've done of mine lately. Most of the information there remains good, though. And just browsing through the titles should give you an understanding of the incredible range of materials out there waiting to be used.)

So I'm a friend to vegans. Always have been. Except, of course, for the nutty fringes, like PETA. Or Jenny McCarthy. I hate all nutty fringes, of all descriptions and varieties.

What am I to make of what one child psychologist called "the most disturbing children’s book I’ve ever seen"?

The book in question is Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action by Ruby Roth

Book Description

Publication Date: April 24, 2012 | Age Level: 7 and up | Grade Level: 2 and up

In Vegan Is Love, author-illustrator Ruby Roth introduces young readers to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action. Broadening the scope of her popular first book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Roth illustrates how our daily choices ripple out locally and globally, conveying what we can do to protect animals, the environment, and people across the world. Roth explores the many opportunities we have to make ethical decisions: refusing products tested on or made from animals; avoiding sea parks, circuses, animal races, and zoos; choosing to buy organic food; and more. Roth's message is direct but sensitive, bringing into sharp focus what it means to "put our love into action." Featuring empowering back-of-the-book resources on action children can take themselves, this is the next step for adults and kids alike to create a more sustainable and compassionate world.

What makes the book controversial? Alyssa Giocobbe's blog, which is also where I found the child psychologist's quote, said the book:

explores complex themes like animal cruelty, big agriculture, and world hunger, and while the message is not overly heavy-handed, Roth doesn't dance around the idea that she believes eating meat will destroy the Earth and everyone we love, and soon — a heady concept for a kid, for sure.

It's unquestionably true that meat takes a larger toll on the environment than plants per unit, although it's not absolutely clear what the net result would be if we had to put many more acres under cultivation in order to go to an all-plant diet. I continue to eat meat myself, without guilt, although I try to keep portions to no more than 4 ounces at a meal. The gigantic servings that are the norm at restaurants and many homes are a waste and a recipe for obesity and health issues.

As an adult, I can make these choices for myself. Children cannot. I've listed many books that give parents help in putting and keeping their children on vegetarian or vegan diets. You can do this safely and healthily for a child, but you need to be even more vigilant than normal. As Giacobbe wrote:

John Bagnulo, PhD, MPH, who teaches nutrition in Kripalu Healthy Living programs, says that kids can be very healthy as vegans, but it's important to remember that it's not as simple as "just eat plants." For example, a vegan diet for children that is mostly grain, flour, and fruit juice is much more unhealthy than one that's mostly fruits and vegetables with, say, small amounts of fish, he says. "So many vegetarian and vegan parents embark on this journey with the misconception that kids have the same nutritional needs as adults," says John. "Nothing could be further from reality. Kids' brains are developing so fast and there is clear evidence that high-quality essential fatty acids, like those found in oily fish, are a factor in brain development. You can also get these nutrients in raw walnuts, raw pumpkin seeds, freshly ground flax seeds, and power-packed specific greens such as purslane." But getting them is essential. B12 and zinc are also critical.

This is a New Age-oriented site with heavy amounts of woo making these cautions. I'm quoting it in the hopes that the words coming from her have more of an impact than a warning from an old-fashioned carnivore like me. No matter how you raise your child, do your research. And keep away from the nutty fringes.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Delicardo Foodcards

Delicardo alerted me to a great deal. Because this is the season of allergy awareness weeks worldwide, they are giving discounts of their allergy foodcards as celebration. They're a German company but they have an English-language website.


DELICARDO Foodcards are food allergy and intolerance cards, also known as chef cards, dietary cards or restaurant cards, which were made to help people who suffer from adverse food reactions while eating out at home or traveling abroad, the ultimate form of eating out. DELICARDO Foodcards are currently available in Spanish, German and English meaning that most popular destinations are covered and, in the case that cards aren’t available in the desired language, specially translated cards can be ordered in the online shop.

With your cards you won’t have to eat at the hotel or go through long and complicated explanations with restaurant staff that may or may not understand what is being said.

For information about the range of cards available click here.

Standard DELICARDO Foodcards can be found here.

To create a personalised DELICARDO Foodcard click here.

The site now says that the cards are available in French and Italian as well. The exact nature of the discount isn't clear at a glance. It may be added when your order is calculated. Poke around the site to see what works best for you.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Food Allergy Awareness Week

This week is FAAN's Food Allergy Awareness Week

FAAN is of course the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxsis Newtwork, who is the leading advocacy organization for allergy awareness in the U.S. They do tons of good work and just as importantly make it easy for you to go out and advocate for your needs on a state and local level. The page I linked to in the first paragraph has a variety of links on it that will lead to activities, projects, and materials that will help you.

Allergy awareness isn't limited to the U.S. either. April saw the World Allergy Week sponsored by the World Allergy Association.

Anaphylaxsis Australia has its own Food Allergy Awareness Week starting May 14.

Allergy New Zealand follows with its Allergy Awareness Week from May 20-26.

Not all the attention is on food allergies and less is focused on milk allergy specifically, but all the fuss is worthwhile. Allergies are increasing everywhere and nobody really understands why. The consequences of allergies, especially in children, are severe and real, even if some people make light of the excesses that any movement is heir to. I've written dozens of entries about parents who used their own experiences with their own children to start businesses or organizations to help others. It's a great way to pay forward for the help that all of us have already been given by caring others.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Omira Oberland-Milchverwertun lactose-free cheese

Another lactose-free product announcement from that I somehow managed to overlook when it first appeared.

Omira Oberland-Milchverwertun lactose-free cheese
In Germany, Omira Oberland-Milchverwertung GmbH, a dairy that developed the Minus L Laktosefrei line of cheese, fluid milk and yogurt a few years ago, continues to grow its dairy products line, as well as expand use of its lactose-free dairy foods into other products. Most recently, the company debuted mascarpone cheese, vanilla sauce and ready-to-eat pudding, all made with its lactose-free milk. There’s also a new instant cappuccino mix based on a dried milk powder derived from this milk. In addition, Minus L Laktosefrei mozzarella cheese is being used on a namesake line of frozen pizzas.

That's not much information and the Internet for once fails me when I look for more. German speakers can check the company's MinusL lactose-free products website for all their lactose-free milk products.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pierre's Lactose-Free Ice Cream

As you might imagine, I get a ton of unsolicited email because of this blog. People want to sell my lactose all over the world. Or sometimes they want to ship me lactose in bulk. Or a factory's worth of machinery that could be used to make, well, probably not lactose. Probably not anything I could spell or pronounce.

And much, much more. invited me to subscribe. Yeah, I laughed too, for a second. Then I realized what a wonderful opportunity that was.

You see, lactose-free milk products are dairy foods. I suddenly had an inside source that gave me announcements about new lactose-free products to share with you. High five.

The latest that popped up over there is Pierre’s Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream. It's not exactly breaking news, since apparently it's been available since early this year. I apologized in the last post for not getting the word out about a product as soon as it arrived. I feel a nice sense of warmth knowing that my little one-man tucked-into-holes-my-schedule blog is actually posting new things faster than the leading magazine in the dairy trade industry.

Anyway, I found the Pierre's website and everything about their new product line.

Pierre's introduces Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream

     Cleveland, OH – January 18, 2012 – Pierre’s Premium Ice Cream’s signature rich and creamy taste is now available – lactose free! Pierre’s is adding two flavors of Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream – Vanilla and Chocolate – to its famous assortment of delicious and innovative ice creams and frozen treats…satisfying even those who typically avoid ice cream due to an intolerance to lactose. Lactose intolerance is caused by a body’s inability to break down the natural sugars or lactose naturally contained in dairy products. Pierre’s Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream is made with the freshest, finest ingredients along with a lactase enzyme, which breaks down the lactose in the ice cream. Pierre’s Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream, available at most stores where Pierre’s products are sold, is packaged in specially designed red Pierre's Premium Ice Cream containers. The containers feature the words Lactose Free printed in a pattern along the lid rim along with a bright yellow Lactose Free logo located just above the scoop.The new flavors join the lineup as Pierre’s celebrates its 80th year in 2012. The Cleveland-based ice cream company first opened in 1932. Beginning with three flavors, French Vanilla, Swiss Chocolate and Strawberry, Pierre’s now produces over 55 unique flavors and sells over 235 different products.
I don't know in what stores you can find Pierre's Lactose Free Premium Ice Cream. Probably at least in Cleveland, since that's where their factory is. You can get an order (minimum three) sent overnight by calling their 800 number. Details can be found on their Gift Shop page.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kozy Shack Lactose-Free Dairy Pudding

The good people at Kozy Shack sent me an announcement for their new lactose-free dairy pudding, and I've been dilatory in posting it. So let me make up for that right now.

Fact Sheet

 Kozy Shack® Makes Classic Pudding Available For Consumers Affected By Lactose Intolerance

* * *

The News: A first-of-its-kind, wholesome dairy dessert without lactose

Kozy Shack® Lactose Free Dairy Pudding in three delicious varieties: Rice; Tapioca; Chocolate

Consumers affected by lactose intolerance will be delighted to spot a new dessert with real dairy milk, but without the lactose. Kozy Shack® Lactose Free pudding is an indulgence made with wholesome natural ingredients delivering the same great taste and quality the brand is known for.

The Product: · Lactose Free · Made with Natural Ingredients · Good Source of Calcium · Made with Real Milk · No Artificial Preservatives · No Hydrogenated Oils · No Artificial Colors or Flavors · 130 Calories Per Serving · Kosher Dairy · Gluten Free

 Price: Suggested Retail Price $4.99/6-pack

Availability: Nationwide supermarkets

Kozy Shack® Noted as a “Supermarket Gem” by The New York Times for its ready-to-eat wholesome and delicious taste, Kozy Shack® traditional products meet today’s consumer lifestyle. For more than 40 years, Kozy Shack® has been providing the finest quality, ready-to-eat refrigerated desserts. Packaged for convenience, the products are available in ready-to-serve portions in the dairy cases of food retailers across the country. For this and other Kozy Shack® products, visit us at or become a fan on Facebook.

Now the frustration. You can see a picture of the Lactose-Free cartons on the home page at But there's nothing about it on the Products page or anywhere else on the site. You may think this is weird behavior for a major company, but it's all too standard. I'm used to getting an announcement for a product and then not being able to find information about it on the company's own site. I still thank the people at Kozy Shack for thinking about me, but I need to remind them that getting the word out to their consumers directly is far more important.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ötzi the Iceman Was Lactose Intolerant

Hey all of you out there reading this who are lactose intolerant. Whenever anyone makes fun of our shared condition remind them of one big thing: We're normal, they're mutants! [Cue scary music]

As I've written over and over again - here's a post from 2005 - most adult humans in the world are genetically unable to produce the enzyme named lactase, which digests the milk sugar lactose. For most of us, our parents were lactose intolerant and their parents were and theirs and so on all the way back to our earlier ancestors.

A couple of years later, big news hit the scientific community that shouldn't have been news at all: "Just 7000 years ago, Europeans were unable to digest milk, according to a new analysis of fossilised bone samples..." Most Europeans today are lactose tolerant - they produce lactase all their lives instead of stopping at some early age - because they are heirs to a long tradition of domesticating animals that produce milk. Milk is good for you - remember than every time someone claims that milk is poison - and people who could drink milk as adults had a small but significant advantage in living long enough to produce healthy babies. That allowed the mutation that kept the lactase going for life throughout European populations and their descendents, including many in the U.S. and Canada. Being able to use DNA to check on the actual genes of individual humans who lived thousands of years ago is a scientific marvel of the first order, but it has just confirmed what earlier scientists had been saying all along in this case.

And now similar DNA testing has been performed on the most famous neolithic European, to my knowledge the only one who has a name: Ötzi.

Ötzi the Iceman is a mummified body of a man who lived about 5300 years ago. Because he was buried in ice, he's much better perserved than almost anyone else from that era and scientists have jumped at the chance to examine every aspect of his being. He's known to have died at around the age of 46 from an arrow wound and had knee problems that may have made it harder for him to escape his enemy.

To get yet more tantalizing info, scientists have been working feverishly to decode his DNA to see what it tells them. And no surprise, no surprise, one of the obvious things that pops out is that he was lactose intolerant. As this story in the New York Times, Lactose Intolerant, Before Milk Was on Menu by Sindya N. Bhanoo reports:

[R]esearchers have sequenced the complete genome of the iceman, nicknamed Ötzi, and discovered even more intriguing details. They report in the journal Nature Communications that he had brown eyes and brown hair, was lactose intolerant and had Type O blood.

The lactose intolerance makes sense, said Albert Zink, an anthropologist at the European Academy of Research in Bolzano, Italy, who was one of the study’s authors.

"In early times, there was no need to digest milk as an adult because there were no domesticated animals," Dr. Zink said. "This genetic change took hundreds of years to occur."

The original study appeared in the journal Nature.
"New insights into the Tyrolean Iceman's origin and phenotype as inferred by whole-genome sequencing," by Andreas Keller et al., Nature Communications 3, Article number: 698, doi:10.1038/ncomms1701

The Tyrolean Iceman, a 5,300-year-old Copper age individual, was discovered in 1991 on the Tisenjoch Pass in the Italian part of the Ötztal Alps. Here we report the complete genome sequence of the Iceman and show 100% concordance between the previously reported mitochondrial genome sequence and the consensus sequence generated from our genomic data. We present indications for recent common ancestry between the Iceman and present-day inhabitants of the Tyrrhenian Sea, that the Iceman probably had brown eyes, belonged to blood group O and was lactose intolerant. His genetic predisposition shows an increased risk for coronary heart disease and may have contributed to the development of previously reported vascular calcifications. Sequences corresponding to ~60% of the genome of Borrelia burgdorferi are indicative of the earliest human case of infection with the pathogen for Lyme borreliosis.

Hmmm. I'm blood group O and I'm lactose intolerant. But I have blue eyes, the result of a different mutation. We're all mutants, just in different ways. And yes, I mean you too.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Intolerance Myths

So much misinformation out there. And so many phony tests being pushed by the Internet.

I like this article, Common intolerance myths by Julie Deardorff of the Tribune Newspapers. I've cited her articles before and I'm happy to see that she's still on the job.

As always, I'm quoting selectively from the article for fair use. Please click on the link if you want to read the whole thing.

Claim: Food intolerances are caused by eating a repetitive diet; this overloads the immune system and the body responds by rejecting those foods.

Reality: "The gut-associated immune system is well-equipped to deal with loads of antigenic material, and there is just no evidence that it may become overloaded by exposure to large amounts of the same antigen," said Stefano Guandalini, founder and medical director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. Although the amount you eat never causes food intolerances, "if you are intolerant you will clearly have more symptoms if you eat more of that food," added Robert Wood, professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins.

Claim: Hair sampling is a safe and noninvasive method of revealing nutritional deficiencies.

Reality: Hair is made up of a protein, keratin, that can be analyzed to determine its mineral content. That data can be used to find out if the body is lacking in certain minerals, but it can't tell you whether you have food intolerances, allergist Lee Freund wrote in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Food Allergies." Double-blind studies haven't shown any diagnostic value for this test.

Claim: The IgG blood test is 95 percent reliable.

Reality: The test is prone to false positives and not considered reliable by any U.S. or European allergy or immunology society.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Miley Cyrus' Lactose "Allergy"

There are days when I long for the time when nobody knew what lactose intolerance was. Sure, that era was terrible, but no information is higher on the scale than bad information. Today lactose intolerance is an all-purpose joke that the ignorant trot out when they have nothing better to say.

Miley Cyrus is now nineteen, which means she's old enough to know better and old enough to take responsibility for her words.

Images like the above have appeared on the net, which show Cyrus as being disturbingly thin. Naturally, rumors about her having an eating disorder or anorexia sprang up. That's a serious subject and worthy of a serious response. Could be we so lucky? No, of course not.

Here's her actual twitter posts:

I hope I don't need to remind anyone reading this that lactose intolerance is not an allergy - it is, in fact, totally different in almost every way from true milk protein allergies. Gluten intolerance, more properly called celiac disease, isn't a real allergy either. Both are effects of food not being digested properly rather than immune system responses.

You, and by you I mean everybody out there within reach of a normal supermarket, can thrive on a complete, healthfilled, calorie-laden, and satisfying diet even if you can't have gluten or lactose, although the earliest parts of the transition period may be rough until you learn how to adapt. Glucose and lactose intolerances should never be excuses for poor nutrition, bad food habits, or losing excess weight.

Can Ms Cyrus make things even worse? You'd think not, and you'd be wrong. Among her many tweets was one showing her holding a bag of burgers from the popular California chain Carl's Jr. Her caption: "I can’t eat it. So I’m just gonna smell the shittttt out of it! My mouth is LITERALLY watering."

That's an eating disorder. That's the definition of an eating disorder. Or else that's stupidity of a magnitude that not even spoiled pop princesses should ever be allowed to get away with.

Me, I vote both.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Lactaid Discontinues Half-and-Half

It was less than two years ago that I made a big deal about Lactaid introducing a lactose-free true milk version of Halk-and-Half.

Oops. In our tiny niche of the supermarket world, products come and products just as quickly go. The disappearances are made with far less fanfare than the appearances, of course.

In case you blinked, the news was made public on Lactaid's Facebook page:

Erika Onorato
Why was lactaid half and half discontinued! I loved being able to have half and Half in my coffee everyday! Will it ever be brought back?
March 21 at 10:26am ·

Erika, we're sorry we discontinued your favorite LACTAID® product. Unfortunately, it was a business decision we made. At our next brand meeting, we'll be sure to bring up that our loyal fans are asking for it. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.
March 21 at 12:11pm

Lactaid still has more lactose-free true milk products than anybody else, to be sure. If you want them to continue you need to buy them. Every time my wife and I go visit her mother we take her shopping - she uses a walker now but zips around the store using a grocery cart faster than we can keep up - and always gets a couple of quarts of Lactaid ice cream. Let's hope she can always find it.

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

81-Year-Old Founder of Lactaid Still a Dynamo

I finally met Alan Kligerman two years at the NIH State of the Science Conference on Lactose Intolerance. Kligerman is the founder of Lactaid and the man responsible for the current public awareness of lactose intolerance. (Almost to a fault. The other day I saw yet another supposedly authoritative source recommend that people get Lactaid pills rather than lactase pills to alieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance. If they're not careful, Lactaid will lose its trademark.) I called him a ball of fire in that earlier post and I meant it: he exuded more energy during that half-hour sitdown lunch than I do all day.

Kligerman sold Lactaid many years ago and his big second product, Beano, in 2001, but still runs his pharmaceutical firm AkPharma, and is committed to introducing new products to the market even after 61 years in the business. An article in the pressofAtlanticCity website, Made in South Jersey: Developer of Beano testing product to heal wounds faster by Kevin Post, gave some details.

Today AkPharma is focused on research and development, but still manufactures one product — Prelief, which when added to coffee takes the acid out of it and provides calcium, a nutrient coffee drinkers lose. ...

Kligerman, 81, sees the company’s future in potential medical uses for the active ingredient of Prelief. ... he suspected that the active ingredient — calcium glycerophosphate, or CGP — was doing more than just removing food acid.

Preliminary studies suggested it was having an effect on the bladder cell walls, he said, so he commissioned studies confirming the bladder effects and also showing promising benefits of applying the compound to skin. ...

The study was conducted on 20 patients who were getting both knees replaced, with the CGP preparation applied to the surgical incision on one knee and a preparation without CGP to the other. ...

A report on the trial, published this month in the Journal of Wound Care, said the treated knees showed less swelling and inflammation, particularly in the first two weeks when the incisions were closing. The overall assessment of CGP-treated wounds was significantly better.

“The results of this study demonstrate that topical CGP application might speed wound healing,” the report said. ...

Such product development is a long way from the original Kligerman Dairy founded in 1918 in Atlantic City.

“This is thrilling to a kid who would go into a store and if they put two quarts of Kligerman milk in the dairy case they were doing him the biggest favor in the world,” he said.

The company today also has a pet milk called CatSip, produced and packaged in a Western dairy and distributed from there and from the Egg Harbor Township plant. CatSip is a fortified milk that is digestible by adult cats and dogs, which can be lactose intolerant, he said.

Even after working for 61 years, Kligerman said he’s still fired up by the creative potential of what has become a research and development firm.

“I’m probably the only member of the family who had fun in the dairy business,” he said.

I'm thrilled that's he still part of the business and still striving to do good. I hope that both of us get to have fun doing this for another 61 years.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Scream Lactose-Free Ice Cream

Barry J. Beran, the President of No Scream Ice Cream and Dessert Company, LLC, kindly sent me an e-mail to give me the good news that his company is introducing a new brand of lactose-free true milk ice cream. is the website and it contains the basics.

No Scream Ice Cream is a manufacturer of lactose free, dairy-based ice cream. We are dedicated to making delicious regular ice cream that can be enjoyed by those who experience digestive problems due to lactose intolerance, such as cramping, nausea, diarrhea and gas.

We use only the finest lactose free ingredients in all of our products. Our ice cream has no rice or soy and we are gluten free. Our goal is to make an ice cream which is extremely delicious and not just "tolerated" by those with lactose intolerance. We want those who avoid regular ice cream due to lactose intolerance to choose our ice cream because of its wonderful taste and not due solely to its lactose free feature. We are confident that No Scream Ice Cream will more than satisfy the most discerning ice cream connoisseur, whether lactose intolerant or not, because we strive to make a great ice cream which just happens to be...lactose free.

We currently offer five flavors: vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip and cookies and cream, with more flavors in development.

The company is frankly just getting started. Beran told me that samples have been "extremely well-received by several small stores in the South Jersey, Delaware and Maryland area" but I couldn't tell you exactly where to find it today. However, they'll be going into full-scale production shortly, he said.

If you're in the area keep an eye peeled for No Scream. Or maybe bookmark the webpage and check back in periodically. I'll certainly update you with whatever further news Beran sends me.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Allergy Videos

Kathy Martini joined the long list of mothers who started specialty companies because of their children's allergies. And, as always, "Not finding the teaching tools she needed, Martini decided to create them herself."

An article, Mom's Videos Teach Kids About Potentially Deadly Food Allergies by Vickie Jurkowski in the Orland [IL] Patch gave the details.

With Martini as president and [Beth] Kingsbury-Puscas as director, the KatieCare Productions team also includes Martini’s husband Rob as well as a Web designer, photographer, editor, graphic designer, music producer, videographer and children.

Through song and dance, the Safe Food Friends – Katelyn and other current students or graduates of St. Mary Immaculate Parish School – teach kids about allergic foods, safe and unsafe snacks and the importance of reading labels. Scenes were filmed in the Plainfield area.

The videos, My Peanut Allergy Video with My Safe Food Friends, My Milk Allergy Video with My Safe Food Friends and My Egg Allergy Video with My Safe Food Friends, are recommended for ages 2 to 7. Each DVD/CD combo sells for $19.99 at

To kick off 2012, Martini partnered with to market the videos. The site gives 40 percent of purchases to a school or education foundation.

The My Milk Allergy Video has this info on it:
* What milk looks like & where it comes from.
* How to recognize some of the foods that are NOT Safe Snacks™.

* Ask if this is a Safe Snack™?
* Can you please read the label for me?

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Allergy

Having trouble finding Healthy Recipes for your Multiple Food Intolerances?

Do you need 100 cookbooks because you can only find 3 appropriate recipes in each?

Stop wasting time with fruitless searching!

We’ve made it easy for you at The Allergy Menu.Com. A Global Online Community with access to:

‘The World’s First Customized Recipe Search Tool" for

‘Foodies with (Multiple) Allergies and Intolerances’.

Take a ‘Free Tour” or try it out for a week for just $5!

Let's start with the press release. goes beyond the top 8 allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy & wheat), and allows users to customize their recipe search to eliminate over 20 different items, such as fructose, corn, amines, salicylates, oxalates, fructans, polyols & glutamates. The website also caters for specific diets such as the GAPS diet & the Gluten Free, Casein Free diet which are commonly recommended for children with Autism & ADHD.

"With our site you can focus again on what you would like to eat, rather than on what you can't eat", says Pauline. Everyone's dietary needs are different, so you will find a wide variety of foods on our site (including nuts for celiacs and eggs for vegetarians). If you can't tolerate these ingredients, the search function will eliminate them from your selection in one easy search.

"There are hundreds of beautiful recipes that we have carefully adapted to be safe and taste great too", says Michelle. "And we add new ones constantly. We are so proud of what we have achieved together. It has been a labour of love, and we are confident that it will help many people."

Visit The Allergy Menu at

The spelling should offer a clue: the site is actually based in Australia and I assume that the fees are in Australian dollars. They talk about a global community, though, and recipes are usually easily adaptable to local products. It may be worth a look.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Yoplait to Launch Lactose-Free Yogurt in Late January

Hey, everybody. We've been noticed!

Kendall J. Powell - isn't that the perfect corporate executive name? - is the CEO of food product behemoth General Mills, the $15 billion giant that owns practically every other brand you see in a supermarket. One of their more than 100 brands is Yoplait, which General Mills bought out last May. And Ken - yes, he's called Ken, just like a normal person - has big plans for the yogurt. Plans that include us.

CEOs have to prime investors of their plans and expected earnings on a regular basis because this affects the predictions of their stock prices. So they do quarterly conferences in which they lure in the suckers with glittery promises of good times ahead. The investment site put up a transcript of their General Mills Second Quarter F '12 Earnings Results Conference Call.

And here's the part that concerns us:

We've got some good innovation coming on Yoplait in the second half. We'll introduce Greek yogurt and granola parfaits and new flavors of our Greek yogurt in multipack formats. We're also launching a new line of lactose-free Yoplait yogurt. Studies show that around 15% of U.S. consumers are lactose intolerant, and the percentage is higher among the growing multicultural populations. Dairy products that provide a lactose-free benefit are growing at a double-digit rate, so our retail customers recognize the increasing importance of this trend. We think this is a good innovation for the Yoplait brand, and we'll support this new line with couponing, digital advertising and in-store sampling.

More digging found out that the lactose-free yogurt will be in stores at the end of January. You should see four flavors. Cherry is obviously one of them, since that's the picture they sent out, but I haven't found the other three. This is so new that nothing about it is available at the Yoplait website yet. Keep checking there, though. You'll sure to find coupons for these new products as they get rolled out.

Other lactose-free real milk yogurts exist now, of course. Lactaid has a line of them in four flavors, strawberry, vanilla, peach, and blueberry. Green Valley Organics has even more flavors: peach, plain, honey, blueberry, vanilla, and strawberry.

Brands go out of the lactose-free business quickly, though. The Continental lactose-free yogurt I wrote about in 2007 is no longer available. Neither is the company. If you really want lactose-free yogurt, be sure to buy it and keep it in business.

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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Does Quitting Dairy Makes You More Intolerant?

Kudos to The Toronto Globe and Mail for a solid answer to a question that I've gotten many times, If I quit dairy completely, will I become more intolerant?

Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe breaks the bad news:

Given the large number of individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance, the possibility of developing a tolerance over time would be quite welcomed. Unfortunately, the body’s ability to produce lactase cannot be changed, so quitting dairy altogether does not increase intolerance as the amount of the enzyme remains the same.

The brainy doctor does understand the other side of the equation equally well and has some encouraging words:
Every individual is unique and has different amounts of the enzyme which is why certain people with lactose intolerance can take in larger amounts of dairy products than others. While you cannot build it up, you can test your tolerance level by gradually introducing small amounts of lactose containing products to see how much your body can handle.

Introducing small but constant amounts of lactase-producing probiotics, such as those in yogurt and other dairy products with live and active cultures or pills that contain the same, should increase tolerance as well.

A good answer, from one of the world's leading newspapers.

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