My favorite foods include, but are not limited to: mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and black cherry ice cream. Sensing a theme here? Unfortunately for me, and 70 percent of the world, apparently, ice cream and other dairy products do not love me back. While some people suggest giving up dairy altogether, I believe they just haven’t found an ice cream worth fighting for (e.g. Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or Häagen Dazs’ Coffee). To be clear, I’m not saying the three-day-old chocolate ice cream in the Deece is necessarily the hill that I want to die on, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to spending 87.6 percent of my day at Sweets investigating the latest ice cream flavors. Clearly, I take my doctor’s recommendation of eating 3 daily servings of dairy very seriously. To accomplish this noble task, there are some necessary precautions that one in a predicament such as mine must take. Without further ado, here are my tips and tricks for navigating a dairy-filled world.
- Let me introduce you to Lactaid. These small, expensive and chalky tasting pills will be your best friend and life saver. Always have them on hand––not just on hand, but in every jacket pocket, backpack pouch and desk drawer. You never know when the Deece is serving tortellini or your department luncheon features caprese sandwiches, piled high with mozzarella. Plus, do you really want to turn down your roommate when they offer you the rest of their Twisted Soul bubble tea? The obvious answer is no, and the solution is simple: invest in Lactaid and buy your way to happiness and freedom. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness clearly never knew the joy of discovering these magical little pills. Side note: Be sure to throw away the wrappers immediately after use because there is nothing worse than rummaging through the pockets of your pants, jacket and backpack only to pull out an empty, half-ripped-open lactaid packet that has likely gone through the washer and dryer more than once. As an extra precaution, I recommend hiding Lactaids across campus so that you, or a fellow dairy non-digester, can enjoy their ice cream in peace. This article isn’t sponsored by Lactaid, but I wish it was, because at $18 a box, I spend more money trying to safely eat ice cream than I do on textbooks in a semester.
- My next piece of advice is simple: switch it up. Add a splash of oat milk to your tea, or grab a coconut-based yogurt from Oasis once in a while. Your stomach will thank you and perhaps show its gratitude by being slightly less agitated the next time you try to eat pizza and mozzarella sticks without a Lactaid (or two) on hand. Have I mentioned how important those are? Reread Point 1 for a reminder.
- Similar to Lactaid, it is crucial to have a handful of Tums floating around. I highly recommend the Assorted Berries container, not the smoothie flavored one––unless you want to be chewing strawberry-banana flavored dust while your stomach is already furious at you for getting that fifth serving of baked ziti from Home. Tums, unlike Lactaid, can be snagged from the vending machine in the Old Bookstore and for the low price of $3.99. Plus, you can use VCash, which I like to tell myself is Monopoly money that doesn’t count.
- Another viable option? Simply convince your body that you aren’t actually lactose intolerant. If you’re unlucky enough to share this struggle, I guarantee family, friends and especially siblings have joked that lactose intolerance isn’t a real thing. At this point, there’s only one thing left to do: embrace it. Just tell yourself you can eat dairy, and do it. I’d like to say this is tried and true, but in my experience it has been tried and untrue more times than I’d like to admit. But who knows? Maybe you’ll have more luck.
- Lastly, if you’re going to eat dairy, make it count. Forget the clumpy-looking banana cream pie ice cream from the Deece or the bright blue, artificial birthday cake flavor that the corner store sells in pints. When you’re at the Deece waiting for your extra cheesy quesadilla to finish pressing, don’t forget to add a dollop of sour cream on top. But don’t stop there. While you’re at it, get yourself ice cream sundaes piled high with whipped cream, chai lattes from Crafted Kup and a whole margherita pizza. You deserve it.
Next time you’re hesitant to go for your third ice cream cone of the night, I say pop a Lactaid, say a prayer and start scooping before the Deece runs out of mint chocolate chip ice cream again and tries to pass off rum raisin as an acceptable ice cream option.