Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?

Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
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Let’s talk about a very important topic: recognizing food allergies, specifically a dairy allergy.

Over the past few weeks, milk & dairy allergies has been at the forefront of many conversations with clients to colleagues to a guy at the car dealership. (I know, crazy, isn’t it!?)

One thing was clear from all these conversations. Distinguishing an allergy from lactose intolerance is not as easy or as talked-about as it should be.

Let’s consider this very common scenario: After explaining your or your child’s allergy to milk and dairy, the friend/hostess/colleague replies with an understanding nod and “oh, you’re (your child is) lactose intolerant?”

Until recently, the only physical response to milk that made the news was indeed lactose intolerance, so we can’t blame the friend/hostess/colleague for assuming she was understanding and empathizing properly. She really doesn’t know the difference between an allergy to dairy and an intolerance to lactose, and it’s important we understand the basic science, symptoms and solutions of each as they become more prevalent.

Here’s the skinny on how to recognize an allergy vs. intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance
Symptoms: gassy, digestive tract discomfort, diarrhea, abdominal pain within a short time of consuming the food ( 30 minutes – a few hours)

Potential Solutions: Lactaid, Lactose-free milk, Lactase supplement, dairy-free diet, milk alternatives

Lactaid products, lactose intolerance, health coach, gluten free, food allergy, kid with milk allergy, milk allergy, health coach atlanta
A Variety of Lactose-Free options

The Story: As we age, our natural production of lactase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk so that it may be digested, declines.

If we can’t produce the lactase to break down the lactose, then the lactose stays in the digestive tract, acts as a laxative, and results in gas and loose stools within a few hours of intaking dairy. This is why Lactaid or lactose-free products are more easily digested by those who are lactose intolerance; a lactase insufficiency can be eased by lactase-enriched products, like Lactaid.

Milk Allergy, on the other hand, is a bit different.

Milk Allergy
Symptoms: Rashes, congestion/runny nose, itchy mouth/throat, hives, abdominal pain or any other combination of an immunological response

Solutions: Steer Clear of Dairy! And don’t fret, there are a variety of milk alternatives that will allow you or your munchkin to still enjoy cereal, ice cream and mac n’ cheese!Dairy free, allergy to dairy, milk allergy, gluten free, health coach atlanta, kids with food allergy, kid with milk allergy

The Story: Food allergies involve the body’s immune system, which is the body’s way of fighting infection and invaders. However, if you or your child is allergic to a particular food, the immune system sees that food as a danger to the body. The immune system then overreacts to proteins in that food, causing an allergic reaction and a release of histamine. Tingling in the mouth, swelling lips, hives and itchy ears are often symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction.

This type of reaction, in contrast to the digestive reaction to a lactose intolerance, can happen within moments with potentially far worse consequences. Any time you, your child or your guest starts “feeling funny” after consuming any foods, particularly the Big Allergens like gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, eggs, etc., get medical attention immediately.

As with any food allergy, it’s always best to steer clear of the food/drink and see your doctor.

For more information on dairy allergies and lactose intolerance, visit the NIH website for lactose intolerance or Kids Health’s article on milk allergies.

As always, we love to hear your questions and comments, so leave us a note below!

Fear, that Fickle Mistress

Fear, courage, reframe, positive thinking, parenting
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Stress. Anxiety. Worry. Whatever you name it, however you frame it, wherever you feel it, fear can wreak havoc on your life and your health. Consider a few of the classics: Fear of aging. Fear of loneliness. Fear of not having _(fill in the blank)_. Fear of losing _(fill in the blank)_.

Fear is one fickle mistress who can certainly work to our benefit at times, compelling us to action or helping us avoid real danger, but more often than not, it is nothing more than us simply dreading the worst case scenarios that may, let’s be honest, never happen. Even so, fear can leave us, at minimum, dejected, at worst, paralyzed by the anticipation of losing something important to us or not receiving our desired outcome, object or relationship in some arbitrarily self-imposed timeline.

Think too much and you'll create a problem
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Lately, fear has been a big thing for me. I’ve been stumbling upon blog posts or conversations around fear, which was quite timely, I must say, as I have been picking my own fears apart as of late. Most recently, my fear flaunted its cagey nature, and I found myself in the throes shortness of breath, anxiety, impatience, general discontent, and emotional eating. And like most of you are probably also familiar, I noticed this antsy discomfort leak into other areas of life and start to take a serious toll.

Here’s the sitch: Four months ago, a pipe broke and a moderate flood ensued; the necessary repairs have only just kicked-off. Then, the dishwasher broke. The vacuum died. A sliding glass door was in such dire need of replacement that tending to it could no longer be postponed.

These projects require financial outlays, as well as emotional, mental and time investments. (Not to mention a good bit of emotional support from family & friends, and maybe a little, ahem, wine… Just sayin’)

With all of these events, I felt … off.

If we pick it apart, we can easily see that most of my frustration lie in having no control. I had no control over the contractors who, only in my perception, should have moved a little faster; of course, the actual expenses of the work, though affordable,  still caused me worry, and I heard the all-too-familiar voices pipe up, “what if something else happens, will you have enough? You won’t be able to have all the other things & experiences you want to have. You’ll be trapped by lack of money. What if you’re always trying to catch up? What if it’s not good enough? You’re supposed to be farther ahead than this… etc. etc. etc.”

Worry, fear, spinning, emotional, sprout and rosebud, maytag man
Should’ve had this guy on speed dial! (photo cred:

You might as well have called the Maytag man because I was on a non-stop spin cycle, worrying, and with no end in sight!

Yet, as I waded through the muck, I was <gasp>  in complete denial about my level of stress and fear! Can you believe that?!

It wasn’t until I began experiencing irrational anxiety in other unrelated areas (work, relationships, self-image), and my chiropractor voiced her concern  over my obscenely tight shoulders/upper back and severe adrenal dysfunction, that I knew I really was in the midst of a fearfest.

So, I had to wonder: What can I do? What can any of us do when the inevitable weight of life bears down? It’s inevitable, so how do we cope for a healthier, happier well-being?

First thing’s first, BREATHE. When fear catches you on our heels, breathe. Recognize fear is not reality, but a defense mechanism – often driven by our ego – to protect us. Pause, acknowledge your feelings, realize this reaction is in some ways a blessing, and carry on.

parenting, healthy, breathe, cope, coping, namaste
photo cred: SUALIZE.US

Journal. Explore your fears through writing and see what comes up. Whether you write a letter to yourself offering advice, or writing to yourself from your Higher Power reassuring you that you are cared for and provided for, grab a pen and see where the words take you!

Meditate. For those of you who enjoy sitting quietly with your thoughts, update your mental talk-track with mantras like those from Martha Beck found here. Replace any fearful statements with loving-kindness wishes & blessings for yourself and breathe easier with some of the weight lifted from your shoulders.

Choose different words when thinking or talking about your fear – whether self-talk or commiserating with friends. Our fear is a story we tell ourselves. Substitute the all-too-common “why is this happening to me” with “why is this happening for me?”  What can I learn from this challenge, or what can I  learn about myself by looking at why I may fear the outcome? Reframe, reframe, reframe.

Fear, curiosity, breathe, curiosity, parenting
photo cred: imgfave

For those of you with kids, here is an opportunity to help them expose their fear for what it is, like a monster in the closet. Ask questions, like What color is it? Does it have a name? Where do you feel it? Encourage them to look at the fear in the face and experience it, knowing they are safe, supported and out of harm’s way. This exploration is like peeking behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz. It removes the veil of mystique, dissolving the fear in most cases… Come to think of it, shouldn’t we all do this, no matter what our age?

Fear, uncertainty, disappointment, unpredictable twists and turns, they’re all part of the show. The up’s and down’s are inevitable, and we have very little control over much more than how we respond. That FDR knew what he was talking about, “the only thing to fear, is fear itself.”

Why not lift the veil off our fears, let them unravel, and allow ourselves to be joyfully & fearlessly surprised by the adventure as it unfolds?

Stop thinking, peace, calm, namaste, fear, breathe
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