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Celiac Disease

When Dairy Intolerance Joins Celiac Disease

When it comes to the primary deficiency, Green sees a fundamental digestive issue at play: humans are the only mammals to continue to drink milk after they’re weaned. In Africa, Asia and the Middle East, he says, dairy products are not common to the diet so that when they are introduced into it, the body is not prepared.

As well, as people age, their digestive systems tend to become more sensitive in general, reacting to spicy foods or dairy products with some level of burping, bloating and discomfort.

Fortunately, replacing or reducing dairy has become easier these days and lactose intolerance seldom requires complete avoidance (as is the case with milk allergy). Dennis, who is co-author of the book Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free, says that if you need to replace cow’s milk, try a milk alternative made from almond or hemp. Some people will be able to tolerate whole (cow’s) milk.

Other foods rich in calcium include fish such as salmon and perch, leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach and sesame seeds, while vitamin D is found in fatty fish (think salmon again), beef liver and egg yolks. And don’t forget vitamin and calcium supplements.

“You need to make sure that you’re making up what you lack, especially when you’re talking about kids,” Dennis says. “While their guts will heal much faster than do those of adults, they’re also growing and need the protein, vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and calories to thrive.”

“The good thing,” she continues, “is that we know so much more today. When I was diagnosed, I had a sharp learning curve to follow all on my own.”

Dairy: Not All or None

Many people who are lactose intolerant can to eat hard cheese and yogurt without symptoms. Others may have to take a lactase pill to aid digestion.

Consult with your doctor if you suffer with the following after eating dairy-based foods:

•           abdominal pain
•           gas
•           diarrhea
•           bloating or nausea

A breath test, simple and non-invasive, may be recommended.

Next: Living with No Gluten, Little Dairy

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