An Interview with Rachel who is Lactose Free

The next interview in the series is with Rachel who is in her early 20s and has recently discovered she is lactose intolerant. Thanks very much for taking the time to do this interview for dairy free kids Rachel.

When and why were you first put on a lactose free diet? 

I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) before I discovered I was lactose intolerant. Maybe about a year ago I started getting severe bouts of IBS symtpoms that would come on very suddenly and last for up to an hour. I couldn’t understand why as it didn’t fit a pattern of being stress-related. Then one day about 6 months ago I’d say, a family member suggested I may be lactose intolerant. So I started eliminating dairy from my diet. I was feeling much better so I just stayed off it then. Then I discovered lactose-free milk by Avonmore. It’s cow’s milk just without lactose. I started taking it and I was fine so I knew it was lactose intolerance that had started to bother me.

Did you visit a gp or an alternative health practitioner to receive a diagnosis or did you discover by an elimination diet?

I had been to the doctor several times about IBS but I discovered I was lactose intolerant myself through an elimination diet.

Is it difficult to have to change your eating habits at this stage in your life? 

Yes! Not eating ice-cream when I’m out and my friends are getting ice cream is disappointing. Chocolate is fine to eat mainly but chocolate products with a higher percentage of milk are problematic so I can’t eat things like chocolate Fingers for example. It is hard when you see people eating things you used to like to eat and knowing that if you do, it will just make you sick. Also, discovering (the hard way after I had a reaction!) that Pringles have lactose in them broke my heart a little bit! It is also an adjustment just to be aware that I should check labels for everything, even products I’ve had in the past, in case they have lactose in them and would cause me to have an intolerance reaction.

How has being on a lactose free diet changed your life? 

I think the time when I would be in contact with dairy products most is taking milk in my tea. I use lactose-free milk by Avonmore at home now which is great because it’s cow’s milk just without lactose so it was very easy to switch over. When I’m out I have to take soy milk or almond milk which I don’t really like the taste of too much but it has to do! I can’t eat yoghurt now which doesn’t really bother me that much. Overall, it’s just nice to finally know that I can manage my symptoms by avoiding dairy products as well as some other foods which I have intolerances to.

How do you find eating out? 

I just ask for soy milk in my tea. Other than that I haven’t really found that it has made much of a difference. Of course, I can’t eat ice cream out either. My reactions to foods which I am intolerant to are getting worse though so in future I plan to mention it to the waiter/waitress and make sure I ask about all the ingredients in anything I am ordering to prevent an inconvenient and undesirable reaction when I am out!

What have you found most difficult?

When I get sick because I have eaten something with lactose in it that I wouldn’t have thought to check the label for e.g. Pringles. When I get a food intolerance reaction,  I just have to go to the bathroom and wait ‘till it passes. This can be for up to 2 hours where I just feel really ill, uncomfortable and extremely nauseous. This is very difficult, inconvenient and disrupts normal life.

Are your family and friends supportive?

Yes. We get lactose-free milk in at home. My family especially are very supportive and are there for me when I get a reaction. They have also made a real effort to keep the house stocked with foods I can eat and cook my dinner separately if there are vegetables I’m intolerant to in the meal or if the sauce is made with ordinary milk for example. My friends are also supportive and have been there to comfort me when I’ve had reactions while out and about, even when I was on inter-rail a couple of years ago in the airport waiting on the flight! I was on holidays with my friend’s family last year, at that point I was not lactose-intolerant yet but my IBS was pretty bad and they even got in brown bread for me especially which was really nice of them!

Any tips for parents of lactose / dairy free children or indeed for other lactose or dairy free adults?

Check the labels of EVERYTHING!! You don’t want to get a reaction from a food you wouldn’t have guessed had lactose in it. If your child gets a lactose intolerance reaction, it is very helpful to pat your childs’ back or chest to help help bring up all the trapped air and ease the bloating. Alternatively pressing the tummy or rubbing the tummy in a circular motion or pressing with your hand in a fist in an upward motion along the oesophagus can help. Keep doing that until you can visibly see their stomach is back to the normal shape and the belching stops. Also, bending over while standing or getting into the foetal position (I used to do that with my head hanging over the bed) can help physically push the air out and let gravity help to get the air out. Encouraging or helping your child to change around between these different positions may help them too.

What is your favourite lactose free product? 

Avonmore lactose-free milk.

What do you most miss and have you found a decent alternative?

Being able to eat whatever kind of ice cream I want! Swedish Glace soy milk ice cream is good. But as far as I know, it only comes in vanilla flavour. I miss being able to eat different chocolate-coated ice-creams, different flavours of ice cream etc..

Rachel Murray
Rachel Murray


Rachel says:

My name is Rachel Murray. I have been writing songs with piano accompaniment since I was 9 years of age. Songwriting has always been an integral component of my life and part of how I function as a human being! I also like to do cover sing cover songs and play the piano. Be sure to check out my music videos here.


Drop me a line..