Surviving Without Ice Cream: All You Need to Know About Milk Allergy
Milk is vital for the manufacturing of most food products. It provides mothers alternative to breastmilk. Milk is also one of the baker’s best friends as one might find it difficult to create delicious cakes and pastries without cheese, cream, and butter. Without milk, ice cream, which is everybody’s favorite treat, would have not been invented a few decades ago. Not all people, however, have the privilege to enjoy various dairy products.
When people with adverse immune reactions to milk and other dairy goods consume such products, they usually experience various health problems. This is called milk or dairy allergy. While most people confuse milk allergy with lactose intolerance, the two are quite different from each other. In milk allergy, our body’s immune system attacks food proteins that enter our digestive tract by producing an antibody called Immunoglobulin E or IgE, mistaking them for harmful substances. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is the body’s inability to break down sugar from milk because of the absence of the digestive enzyme lactase. While it may cause some abdominal discomfort, symptoms of lactose intolerance are not that severe compared to milk allergy.
Like with other food allergies, people with abnormal immunity response to dairy products develop eczema, hives and severe cases of skin rashes when milk proteins enter their body. They might also experience gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. In certain instances, milk allergy could cause difficulty in one’s breathing and anaphylactic shock.
Such health problems, however, could be avoided with discipline and vigilance. The best way to prevent allergy attacks is to avoid milk-based food at all cost. These include pastries, milk shakes, cheese spreads, yogurt, butter, and salad dressings. Always check the label of certain products to see if they contain milk, or when dining out, always inform and explain to the waiter your health condition. But if you find food lacking in taste because of the absence of dairy, you could always look for alternatives to cow’s milk. Try experimenting with rice, oat, almond, soy, or coconut milk. Researchers said that such substitutes are also high in calcium and good on sauces, cereals, smoothies and other drinks. Milk alternatives could be easily purchased from supermarkets and health shops.
Goat’s and sheep’s milk might also work but you might want to consult the doctors first before trying them. For babies with milk allergies, couples might consider giving soy milk to their children instead of infant formula. It should be noted that families should follow doctors’ recommendations first.
Most people, however, are reluctant to leave milk-based products alone, fearing that they might not acquire their daily dose of calcium if they do so. Do not fret because according to experts, a person can still maintain a balanced diet without a daily supply of milk and dairy. Take the Chinese people for example. Reports said only a small percentage of China’s huge population is diagnosed with osteoporosis despite the Asian country being one of the lowest consumers of dairy products.
Aside from milk, we can get our daily calcium requirement from other foodstuffs such as fish, fruits and vegetables. They are also rich in magnesium, which the body needs to easily absorb the bone-strengthening substance. Carrots, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers, kidney beans, and even seaweeds are great sources of calcium. You could also try nuts, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts, and fruits, including apples, kiwi, melon, and pears, if you are not a fan of the “green” diet. Apart from giving us protein, sardines and salmon can also prevent teeth and bone disorders.
Knowing what food to avoid can really make a difference for people with milk allergy. Surviving with such a condition will not be difficult if we just take the time to read related materials and observe discipline when it comes to the buffet table. Consulting experts is also the best way to prevent life-threatening episodes. While people with allergic reactions to dairy might not be able to taste ice cream, they should be thankful that there were given the chance to experience all the beautiful things life has to offer. So smile and enjoy life!