Not Milk (aka: 80s Girl Meets Lactose Intolerance)

lactose intolerance stomachaches

I consider myself a super-healthy person. But sometime during the past few months, something changed. It started with a few minor tummy-aches, which made me question everything. Was it something I ate? Was I drinking too much coffee? Was it stress? Then, over time, the discomfort increased. Before long, my body was in constant turmoil. No one knew it, but I was walking around feeling as though my stomach was full of Pop Rocks mixed with Coke, constantly on the verge of explosion.

Yeah, I know. Go to the doctor, dummy. And if I had medical insurance, then I totally would have.

Luckily, I had a light bulb moment a couple of weeks ago. What if my chronic stomach-aching had something to do with dairy products? I did some Googling, and learned that lactose intolerance is something that commonly develops during the adult years; not during childhood as I’d thought.

Could I be lactose intolerant?

It was unthinkable.  After all, I was a child of the 80s. From early childhood, we were force-fed the idea that dairy products were the healthiest thing in the world. Milk does a body good! Cheese, glorious cheese! If I just kept ingesting milk (flavored with Nesquick), then my outside would catch up with my inside, and I would grow from an invisible girl with a crush to a strong, confident woman who has outgrown Michael Martin.

dairy products cheese milk butter Still, I had to find out. So for a few days, I cut dairy out of my diet. Or, tried to. I switched to almond milk cream in my coffee, and gave up my beloved cheese (very hard to do when you are an almost-vegetarian). But the war inside my abdomen didn’t cease. Then I learned more — lactose can be hidden inside many non-dairy foods, like breads and cereals. Noooo!! I would rather live with the chronic stomach upset than give up my favorite foods.

Then I remembered something I’d once seen on a TV commercial. There is an over-the-counter drug called Lactaid, which contains an enzyme that helps the body to digest lactose. Could it work for me, too? In desperation, I raced to the drug store and bought a box of Lactaid chewables. Just before my next meal (spinach and mushroom quiche with swiss cheese), I popped one in my mouth. It was like eating a piece of vanilla-flavored chalk. Then I ate my cheesy dinner, and waited.

Ta-daa! The months-long battle in my gassy, bloated stomach came to a screeching halt. All was quiet on the southern front. I couldn’t believe it! The next day, I chewed a Lactaid before each meal, and the seas continued to be smooth and calm. Same for the next day, and the next. In fact, since I began taking Lactaid, I have returned to my usual, 100% healthy self, and it feels wonderful.

Yes, I know. I am starting to sound like a total drug commercial. Even worse, I can’t think of some clever, humorous way to wrap up this post. I’m too busy thinking about the yummy Garlic Alfredo sauce I plan to cook for dinner, and all the cream and parmesan cheese it will require. But thank goodness — I will be able to sit with my kids and enjoy every bite. Because for the lactose intolerant, Lactaid does a body good. Pass it on.




Not-So-Average (aka: Bra-Shopping Woes)

I finally broke down and did it. It was something so hard to do, that I kept putting it off. But today, I decided that I could not wait any longer. It was time to face my fears and jump in with both feet. So, I did it.

I bought a bra.

so many brassieres for other peopleYes, yes, I know. You are probably frowning right about now, and wondering how on earth shopping for a brassiere can be such a difficult task. In that case, you probably belong in one of three categories:

  1. You’re a dude.
  2. You are so flat-chested that bras are optional.
  3. You have an average-sized bust

The world of women’s fashion was created for the average female bust size. It’s true. All those cute, sexy Victoria’s Secret Miracle push-up bras? No miracles there for me. And those Target and JCPenney racks (pardon the term) full of adorable, lacy things in every color of the rainbow? Nope, can’t wear those either. Oh, how I long to be able to walk into any lingerie department and find a dozen $30 bras to try on – ooh, maybe even with matching panties! But alas, it is only an unattainable dream. bra shopping sucks

Truth: If your cup size is somewhere in the B-D range, and your band size is 34 or higher, the world of lingerie is your oyster. You are the gem of Bali, Playtex, and Vanity Fair. You could probably breeze through the bra section and happily spend less than $50 for a couple of those foamy padded things I now see filling the underwear section of every store. Even “normal-sized” overweight or full-figured women can find a delightful and affordable selection.

Truth: We *ahem* bustier women, and/or we women who learned our true bra sizes, thanks to Oprah, have a tougher time of it. Especially those of us who not only have a rather large cup size (let’s say more than a DD), but paired with a rather small band size (let’s say smaller than 32). Yes, we do exist. No, I did not achieve this type of figure by surgery (nor do I judge the women who have). But to buy something as simple and necessary as a well-fitting bra is CRAZY HARD TO DO! Not to mention expensive. But once we find a bra that actually might work for us, we are willing to pay almost any amount of money.

Truth: Most well-fitting bras for large cup, small band-size women cost somewhere between $50-$80. I am not even exaggerating. Oh – and most of those bras are made in the U.K. Because apparently, here in the U.S., all women with large breasts are overweight. Or nonexistent.

Truth: Getting properly fitted for a bra is an embarrassing experience. Especially for those of us who are shy about our bodies. But knowing and wearing the correct bra size can make a huge difference in our appearance and comfort. Plus, it’s totally free.

bras are a difficult fittips on finding the right bra

But anyway, I bought a new bra. A $63.83 new bra. From on online shop somewhere on the other side of the world. So yay. For the moment, I can relax, and hope that it will fit. And I will   try very hard not to think about the swimsuits that have begun to appear in the department stores .