Lactose intolerance stems from an inability to properly digest lactose, and many adults struggle to deal with this condition. Since adults generally have less lactase (the enzyme that digests lactose), milk products are much more difficult on their stomachs and digestive system. If you find that you and lactose don't agree, follow these guidelines on how to live with lactose intolerance.
Stay away from milk. This is going to be a tough one for ice cream lovers, but if you are lactose intolerant, you need to stay away from milk and milk products. Avoid eating anything made with milk, including ice cream, cheese, milk (cream), yogurt and even milk powders. All of these products contain lactose, which will cause your lactose intolerance to flare up.
In addition, don't eat anything that is made with whey or curds. These are products made from cheese, which is made from milk. To be safe, just avoid anything made with milk or its byproducts.
Be a conscious consumer. When you're doing your grocery shopping, you may come across certain items that are labeled as ‘dairy free'. Before you fill your cart with them, take a moment to read the ingredients on the label. You may be surprised to find that some of these products still contain milk products. Two examples are creamers and whipped toppings. Know what you're consuming, and don't be quick to accept what the label tells you or your digestive system will be suffering.
As well, see what your medications contain. Few people think about it, but over-the-counter and prescription drugs can also contain lactose. Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist to ensure that your medications aren't going to aggravate your lactose intolerance. (This goes for vitamins and supplements too. Look for lactose-free brands.)
Alter your shopping list. If you miss having milk and milk products in your diet, you don't have to do without - at least, not entirely. You can still find lactose-reduced milk at your supermarket, and it should quench your thirst for a cold glass of milk. You might also try making the switch to soy milk. It doesn't taste exactly the same as cow's milk, but it won't wreak havoc on your digestive system either. If you're not sure whether your grocer carries it, all you need to do is ask a store clerk and he or she should be able to direct you to the many food items aimed at those with lactose intolerance.
Take a lactose enzyme. Finally, if you're preparing to live with lactose intolerance, it's always a good idea to keep some lactose enzymes with you at all times. These are simply pills that you take before you eat that will help your body to digest lactose. These are available without a prescription (such as Lactaid), and will allow you to keep some milk products in your diet. By keeping a stash of these pills in your purse or car, you can take them whenever you're eating out. It's a sensible way to live with lactose intolerance.