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  • Pooja Addala

A Not So LegenDAIRY Story

I am not a Dairy Queen. I always have had a love-hate relationship with milk. When I say love-hate, I mean that my tastebuds love milk, but my stomach hates it. When I was in kindergarten, I remember going to a doctor who said I had milk sensitivity — not lactose intolerance, not an allergy, but a milk sensitivity problem.

She recommended that I replace cow’s milk with goat’s milk to get the necessary protein and calcium. Yes, goat’s milk! Goat’s milk contains less lactose. It is also more easily digestible than cow’s milk.

At first thought, I was horribly disgusted and frightened by drinking milk from another animal. My mom introduced me to goat’s milk but decided to lie to me and tell me it was the same old 2% cow’s milk.

I thought it tasted different, but it has been twelve years since, so I honestly do not remember clearly. Eventually, even after my mother revealed her lie, I only consumed goat milk products such as yogurt and even ice cream!

Despite feeling betrayed that I had been in fact drinking goat’s milk, I found it somewhat enjoyable and persisted to drink only goat’s milk in the morning. My mom had to go to Mom’s Organic Market in Silver Spring in order to buy this specific milk, likely quite a hassle considering that we lived in Potomac.

However, when I reached third grade, my mom stopped buying me goat’s milk and transitioned back to regular cow’s milk. Other than being unable to drink pure milk, I still could have regular ice cream and yogurt. I was living life the milky way up until high school.

Towards the end of sophomore year, however, I started having trouble drinking my regular Starbucks Chai Tea Latte. My stomach would grumble and be uneasy for a while. However, I ignored it and attributed my stomach pains to my term paper-induced stress.

Fall of junior year swung around, and my stomach grumbles turned into nausea and pain. I still decided to associate this pain and nausea with the SAT, AP Core and trying to maintain a social life. I have physically made myself sick because of stress before, so I did not think this was any different.

The year progressed, and my stomach pains became worse and worse. I still decided to eat ice cream and drink my lattes despite me starting to connect the dots, but I still needed to stress eat. When the problem became undeniable, I went to the doctor, who affirmed that I was lactose intolerant.

Despite being lactose intolerant, I still do eat my strawberry ice cream quite frequently and just take many Lactaids before going for a chai latte. My friends get mad at me for complaining about my lactose intolerance. What they don’t understand is that struggling for a few hours is much easier than giving up pizza and ice cream. Also, dairy free products simply lack flavor, and I do not want to eat fake cheese! I still do try my best to pick the dairy-free option in most cases.

Be honest, however; have you met a lactose intolerant person who actually gave up dairy?

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