Lactose Intolerance and Raw Cow’s Milk Yogurt

I recently received a newsletter from Dr. John Douillard that cleared up something that has long confused me:  I have a pretty severe lactose intolerance, but only sometimes.  Weird, right?  When I was a kid, after I had stopped nursing, I couldn’t tolerate any dairy at all, even though I would beg for grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream.  By the time I was in grade school I was eating whatever dairy I wanted.  Then, around the time I turned 20, I started having a reaction to dairy again: painful stomach cramps, gas, bloating, ouch!  When I got sick with Candida in my mid twenties I started eating full fat Greek yogurt and found it to be very soothing.  A few years later, the yogurt was hurting my stomach but high quality cheese was fine.

How can lactose intolerance come and go?  The following article by Dr. Douillard who runs an Ayurvedic Clinic in Colorado helped me to answer this question.  It’s also a good way to test if you are actually lactose intolerant.  After reading the article, I have started to include just a teaspoon of Dana’s homemade raw cows milk yogurt into my breakfast.  Little by little, I am enjoying this healthy probiotic food again!

Raw cow's milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek.

Raw cow’s milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA.

Here’s the full article by Dr. Douillard:

Ayurveda addressed lactose intolerance thousands of years ago in a way that can still be used today, by determining whether the problem lay in lactose intolerance, issues with fat metabolism, or a weak digestive fire.

How to Determine If It Is Actually Lactose Intolerance

1. Take organic heavy whipping cream and dilute it with 2 parts heavy cream to one part water. Drink this in replacement of milk.

If you have issues with digesting the heavy whipping cream, you likely have an issue with fat metabolism, and perhaps some bile congestion in the liver and/or gallbladder. The cream has no lactose or casein – the hard to digest sugar and protein in milk – so if you have issues here, you may not actually be lactose intolerant.

2. Drink a glass of skim milk.  (I’d recommend less than a glass, just a few tablespoons should be enough, especially if you have a reaction!)

If you have issues with the skim milk, which does contain lactose and casein but almost no fat compared to the whipping cream, then you may be lactose intolerant or have a weak digestive fire (decreased production of stomach acid [HCL]).

In Ayurveda, these two parts of milk were used for different purposes. The cream was diluted and used for drinking or in soups. The skim, which had the tough to digest lactose and casein, was made into yogurt and cheese rendering both the lactose and casein much easier to digest through the process of culturing.

Grow New Lactose Eating Bacteria

According to Richard Grand, MD of Harvard Medical School, the bacteria in the gut can learn to grow new lactose-loving bacteria even if you are lactose intolerant.

Here is how:

Start by drinking 1 teaspoon of milk or high quality yogurt a day and build up to one glass over a six week period of time.
It’s best to use non-homogenized, vat pasteurized milk, or raw milk, which is much easier to digest as it is a non-processed product. Look for the Kalona brand of milk – now sold in Whole Foods Markets.  Or get raw milk fresh from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown.

Read more about dairy and lactose intolerance.

1. Early man “couldn’t stomach milk, 27 February 2007, Retrieved on 21 July 2009. 

2. Stone Age Man Drank Milk”. Retrieved 2010-08-28.


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