This Runner's Trials

Tummy turmoil, solved? And other questions answered

One of my favorite bloggers, Lizzy, “tagged” me to answer some questions. I usually shy away from games like this and FAQs because… well, I think I’m pretty boring :) Truth.

But, one of these FAQs was something I planned to blog about this week, so you’re getting the answer to that plus 4 other facts about me.

1. What do you like most about blogging? It’s no secret that my favorite part of blogging is my wonderful friends. Blogging helped me connect with like-minded, awesome friends here in Charlotte and all around the country.

Well, that’s the answer I would have given you before last week. I always assumed I stumbled into blog land to make friends. But now I see why I really found blogging: I just found out I’m lactose intolerant.

Before you get all concerned that these two facts have nothing to do with each other, hear me out.

My favorite food group is dairy. Hands down. A year ago, I would have said I could not live without it. Then I stumbled across blogs and met friends who try to follow a vegan lifestyle. I had no idea people chose to not eat dairy before this. In the past year, I’ve tried many vegan recipes and- gasp- enjoyed them.

I’m not thrilled about my diagnosis at all. Pizza and ice cream were seriously my two favorite foods. But I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I thought my husband was going to die this past weekend, but instead he survived the Ironman. See? Things can always be much worse.

How did I come to this diagnostic conclusion? My doctor encouraged me to stop eating dairy. I did, to an extent. I still had yogurt every other day, milk in my coffee, and pizza the night before my marathon. I was then told to cut out all products that contained milk for a week. It took me four days to get better. On the seventh day, I had yogurt and got really sick. A few days later, I had what was possibly my last slice of cheese pizza and spent the night in the bathroom :( Blood tests also showed that nothing else was wrong with me.

2. What is your perfect Saturday?

Hmmm, that would totally depend on the season. Let’s pick summer because summer rocks. A long run followed by a nice beach day with my BFFs and hubby. If I could do that everyday, I’d be one happy- albeit skin cancer’d- girl.

3. What is your favorite meal to cook or eat?

If you couldn’t tell by the absence of food posts on my blog, cooking is not my thing. But I heart baking. Especially Christmas cookies. I bake 12 to 15 different kinds each year.

My favorite food to eat used to be pizza. But now I can't have that anymore :( So I'll go with nut butters.

4. What would be your ideal workout?

Running a half marathon on a flat course on a 60 degree, overcast day :) Oh and I’d obviously PR and place since this is “ideal” land.

My second favorite workout would be a sprint triathlon… on a flat course ;)

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you move?

I’m from NJ. My family is in NJ, my BFFs are in NJ, the Giants, Surf Taco, world’s best beaches, and most wonderful areas to run are all in NJ.

But I have always wanted to live in New England. It’s one of the few areas of the country that every time I travel there, I never want to leave. On a recent trip, my mom and I spent the entire drive home trying to figure out how we could move there. Seriously.

I’m not hating on Charlotte. I am truly very happy here and do not see us leaving in the near future.

I want to hear your answers to these questions :) More importantly, does anyone have lactose intolerance? Were you eventually able to tolerate some milk products?

Comments (26) Trackbacks (2)
  1. I am lactose intolerant too!! Your post came up in my blog reader at work and I was like ahh now those stomach problems all makes sense. Although it has been years now, I was quite upset at first about not being able to have dairy. I find that over time, I am actualyl able to tolerate less and less. Pro-biotics actually work wonders though, and I have heard that some people can tolerate goats milk and cheeses. There are also a host of great alternatives… coconut milk ice cream for one : ) Good luck on revamping all your favourites, it can be done!

  2. Jen, I’m happy for you and sorry for you at the same time. I know how hard it can be to realize you can’t eat something you used to live off of, but on the bright side you will feel so much better without dairy. I’m positive that I’m gluten-intolerant, and 90% sure dairy doesn’t do me good, either. And while I miss greek yogurt and “regular” cookies some times, I feel so much better without them that I’d never consider going back. You’ll find your stride and learn to stick with them soon enough.

  3. did you ever feel bloated during all this?

    and I live in New England…right in the middle of New Hampshire. You might like the weather where you live…especially in January!

  4. I’ve been lactose intolerant since high school! Let me tell you that lactaid was the best discovery, ever. I love dairy, especially nonfat milk and ice cream. For the most part, one pill right before I have dairy takes care of things. There are days when it does not work, but you learn to listen to your body and just lay off the dairy on days you think you might have issues.

    I am actually ok with yogurt without the pills.

    The costco brand lactase pills are the cheapest and work great. Good luck! Hopefully you will be able to have dairy again!

    I do want to add that when I got pregnant, it was like a dream come true. All my stomach issues disappeared and I could have all the dairy and spicy food I wanted without repercussions! So that’s something to look forward to when you get preggo. Unfortunately, it goes away after the baby is born and you revert back to normal. :(

  5. I’m glad you were able to get answers, albeit not-so-fun answers. I am not officially lactose intolerant, but I have to be very careful with certain dairy products. I can handle most yogurt and low-lactose cheeses, but if I eat too much of anything my body simply can’t process it and I feel awful. I still eat dairy when I seriously want it. I just know to be prepared!

    Please come to New England. We will take good care of you here. :)

  6. I’m not exactly lactose intolerant. I can eat yogurt and cheese (in moderation), but if I drink straight milk or have too much ice cream (especially soft serve) I get the worse stomach cramps, gas (tmi), and worse.
    Not being able to drink milk doesn’t bother me because I hate it anyway, but it’s hard to say no to ice cream. :-( I’ll cheat and have a small kids size serving and then only eat half, and normally that keeps my tummy happy!

    I’m glad you were able to get some answers – I know it’s not an ideal diagnosis, but now at least you know!

  7. I’m lactose intolerant. Have been all my life. It isn’t so bad! I’ve slowly built up a tolerance to lactose again although sometimes, even the smallest things get me sick. Horribly sick. Just so you know, you can still have pizza. There are these miraculous pills called Lactaid pills and they allow you to eat lactose without ill effects!

  8. Apparently the New Englanders are all over your blog! Another NH person here. New England is great, but the winters can be a bit long…but I love being so close to the mountains and the ocean!

    So glad you solved your stomach mystery!

  9. THAT is what caused the tummy problems?? I’m so glad it’s nothing serious! Although, I’m very sorry there wont be any Greek yogurt, cheese, or ice cream in your future. :-(

  10. I’m mildly lactose intolerant. I can eat parmesian and I brave ice cream and pizza on occasion. I use almond, rice or soy milk when I need milk and I have recently tried hemp ice cream (it was WONDERFUL).

  11. I’m SO happy you figured out what was causing all those stomach issues! I agree with other readers – try the Lactaid pills, they are awesome!

    Massachusetts reader here – New England in the fall is GORGEOUS.. the awful winters are SO worth it when all the trees start changing! And I can’t stand super hot temperatures so the summers are perfect too :)

  12. its so exciting/relieving to know what was the problem! even if its not the ideal solution (i’ve tried to live with out cheese, and its so hard!) at least you can control the stomach issues now. i hate feeling like there’s something wrong with me when i can’t pinpoint what’s actually going on. SOOO–yay for a solution!

  13. I’m both glad and sorry that this is your answer. Glad because it isn’t something really serious (and because you finally have answers!); sad because I know how much of a life change this represents for you….and how awful it will be to give up your favorite foods. :( Have you gone back to the doctor to talk with him about how serious your issue is? Do you think you’ll be able to eat dairy in moderation with Lactaid? I know many who are lactose intolerant that do pretty well with it.

    On a more positive note, please move to New England!! NE would suit you so well, I just know it! I know the hubby is the real person I need to convince, so maybe we can get him into some winter sports?? :)

  14. Happy and sad for you. After you told me no chocolate I wanted to cry for you!! I am def glad u got it figured out though.
    I feel very blessed that I have a stomach of steel and never have had any issues, and I def don’t take that for granted. I hope eventually u will be able to enjoy some of your fav foods!!

  15. I’m lactose intol. too. Have been for about 6 years now. I can tolerate a small amount of dairy now and again and I have learned through experiementing how much I can have without feeling sick and bloated.

    I still eat pizza, I just order it with no cheese. I don’t miss the cheese at all and they put extra sauce on so the toppings stick. I do a lot of my own baking so I can have sweet treats and desserts that are dairy free. Almond/soy milk and vegan butter are your friends! Super dark chocolate can be low in dairy and you can get dairy free chocolate. I order soy milk coffees and I can’t even tell the difference anymore. Asian restaurants are great to eat at because a lot of their food is dairy free because apparently Asians are more likely to be lactose intolerant.

    Oh! I have heard that greek yogurt is good because it only has a small amount of lactose in it!

    Good luck and remember that there are a lot of subsitutes out there for you to try! You are lucky to live in such a big country with lots of options, here in NZ we are very limited.

  16. Hi!
    Oh gingerbread :-)
    Do you think you would have realized you were lactose intolerant if you were not a runner?

  17. I am so relieved that you have finally found some answers and I hope that the transition to a dairy-free diet isn’t too tough for you. Just make sure you are still getting your calcium and vitamin d in! :D

    And I agree…holiday baking is the best!

  18. It’s great that you finally found out (hopefully) the main cause of the tummy problems, though I’m sure the adjustment to cutting out some of your favorite foods will be hard. I know it’s not the same, but there are some really tasty non-dairy cheeses out there (Daiya), and the selections of non-dairy yogurts and milks is a lot more than it used to be. Hopefully this means no more races sabotaged by the stomach :)

  19. That sucks about lactose intolerance :( But on the bright side 1. you know what it is 2. it could be worse as you said (I think lactose is probably easier than gluten-free bc its easier to spot on an ingredients lsit) 3. there are a lot of lactose-free products out there and vegan products. 4. Your stomach will not bother you at your next race!

  20. Hi Jen! I’ve been lurking for a while, but wanted to weigh in. I am completely, 100% lactose intolerant (meaning my body doesn’t produce any lactase enzyme; my mom, for example, produces some and can have bites here and there and be okay, whereas I can’t). I tried to ignore it for 18 years and basically had a disastrously upset stomach most of the time. Honestly, as good as dairy products are, feeling good is so much better, and since I stopped, I’ve never gone back. The idea of “cheating” sounds terrible—like taking poison on purpose. Life without dairy is totally doable, I promise, it just requires some work—baked goods virtually always have milk or butter, pretty much anything at a restaurant is soaked in butter, etc. But feeling good (and running races with no problems) is just SO much better that I think you’ll find its worth it! Welcome to the ranks of the dairy disadvantaged…!

  21. A diagnosis, that’s great! I mean, it’s obviously not great that you’re lactose intolerant, but now you know what has been wrong with you and can move forward. I’m glad you got it all figured out and hope you quickly find lots of delicious, dairy-free treats!

  22. New England is great and so pretty with all the different seasons. There’s a great marathon or 2-5 person marathon relay in Burlington, VT in May – there’s tons of spectators, runners, and the course is beautiful and fun!

  23. I’m glad you figured out what’s wrong at least.

    I always see myself living in New England too. Too bad I own a house in Georgia!

  24. How did I miss this?? NOW move to New England. Specifically in a house next to me in MA! That would be awesome.

    I’m sorry to hear about your tummy. But hopefully it will just be something that will be temporary. There are also some cheeses that don’t contain lactose too… and you can eat coconut ice cream!

    Thanks for filling this out friend!

  25. hey, I don’t know if you can have milk products or not, but my friend is lactose intolerant and she still has pizza- just with no cheese. She says they are still awesome!

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