Meanwhile, this whole time I’ve been lactose intolerant. Can you believe that?
As is the tradition in our family and in most Trinidadian families, I suspect, every morning, to greet the day, we have a steaming cup of Lipton orange pekoe tea with two teaspoons (or tablespoons, who cares?) of sugar and a healthy spoon of condensed milk or a generous pour of evaporated milk or a splash ‘water milk’ as my Mum called it, which I think would be equivalent to ‘regular’ 3.25% milk in North America. I don’t really know. The point is, it wasn’t lactose free milk and I’ve had milk most days of the year. Couple that with the milk and cheese in the weekly Trinidadian staple of macaroni pie (which is our version of baked mac and cheese), I have consumed A LOT of dairy in my lifetime. The thing is, not knowing that my body did not really care for milk and its by-products, I just pressed on with my daily tea and cheese on everything.
Flash forward to this job I’m at now where a couple co-workers are lactose intolerant. They often bring in milk for sharing for coffee and it’s invariably skim milk or lactose-free milk. Because I never thought it needed it, I have never really had skim milk before. Besides, it was too watery for my tea. Anyway, one day, my co-worker was talking about the effects of milk if consumed and I stood there, wide eyed and stupefied. It sounded like my morning routine! That was when I suspected my body had a hard time with lactose. I went out and bought a 2 litre box of lactose-free milk and ate a bowl of cereal just to see if I would notice the difference. Immediately after having that bowl of milk, I felt the difference. I didn’t feel bloated. I didn’t feel gassy or had an upset tummy. I felt ‘normal’ and then I knew! It made me think for a long time. What else have I been doing that’s not good for me but I kept doing because I didn’t know any differently? How long and in what other ways have I been ignoring my body and its needs? Hmmmm
Flash forward to December: eggnog season. Hmmm…eggnog. I’ve ALWAYS liked it. In Trinidad, we make this thing called ponche de creme, which is like three kinds of milk and eggs and RUM. I have always enjoyed sips of the drink, but because of the alcohol, I didn’t get to really enjoy it (I don’t drink alcohol at all). When I moved to North America where you can just buy litres of its equivalent with no alcohol, I was all over that like a dirty shirt! I looked forward to December where I could have cups and cups of the stuff. This time around though, I knew that while my taste buds enjoyed it, my stomach was NOT looking forward to eggnog season. What should I do?
What do you think I did knowing what I know? I bought litres of the stuff and drank it all.
The point of this story is that sometimes you do bad things to yourself over and over again without even knowing it and then wonder why things aren’t good. Then again, sometimes you do bad things to yourself over and over again fully aware of the repercussions, but you make that conscious choice! It’s called being a human.
Having said all that, realistically, I can’t live my life without cheese, so, I pick my battles and make that conscious choice to be bloated and gassy (sorry to the people I will be around). I don’t over do it. I try to have green tea at work, so I cut down on the milk consumption and I do buy lactose-free milk for home now. I will take the bullet for cheese though.
I know it’s wrong, but I don’t want to be right….