It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I have acid reflux and am lactose intolerant. Do you have recipes available for me?
All of my recipes are individually labeled as to whether they are safe for those with acid reflux or GERD, who have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, are lactose intolerant, need a low-sodium diet (under 1,500 mg/day), or are taking Coumadin (warfarin) and need to manage their Vitamin K intake.
For both reflux and lactose intolerance, start with our index of GERD-friendly recipes then make sure the recipe you're interested in is safe for you. Bear in mind that although we label our GERD recipes according to whether they contain common triggers, only you know which foods are going to be triggers for you.
Some people can handle chocolate, for example, while others can't. Well cooked onions can sometimes be tolerated, but others have found that they can have absolutely no onions whatsoever, no matter how well cooked. We have noted common triggers in those lists of recipes and where some possible triggers are present (like the cooked onions I mentioned), they will be noted as well. Generally we err on the side of caution in our labeling.
Similarly, as lactose intolerance is so different from person to person, we have three levels of recipes for those who are lactose intolerant, and the labels will read as follows:
"Safe for those who are lactose intolerant" - No lactose-containing ingredients (remember that butter contains no lactose).
"This recipe contains cheese, and some of those who are lactose intolerant may be able to tolerate it" - This is a gray area where you will have to apply your own judgement. Some people can tolerate a little cheese, others a lot more. Older, harder cheeses (like Parmesan) will have less lactose than younger, softer cheeses (like brie). Some people can tolerate goat cheese just fine, but not cheese made from cow's milk, while others can't tolerate goat cheese, either.
"This recipe is not safe for those who are lactose intolerant." - A lot of lactose in these recipes. Try at your own risk.
At some supermarkets you will see lactose-free cow's milk on the shelf next to the regular cow's milk. That will work just fine in our recipes that call for milk. We have not, however, tested other "milks" like almond milk or soymilk in our recipes.
A lot of people also have good luck taking a lactase supplement, like Lactaid®, when they consume products containing lactose. It is safe for you to take at every meal, if it works for you.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
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