Students can’t resist milk consumption despite intolerance

Alex Lisa | Staff Writer

Most students would not flirt with the line of food intolerance, and yet others prefer to milk it for all it’s worth.

Many students– in fact many people –with lactose intolerance make the decision to have dairy products anyway. Lactose intolerance is not an allergy, like people who are allergic to the proteins in milk, but rather an inability to digest lactose. This means consuming lactose products is is not life threatening in any way. It can, however, cause discomfort ,such as from stomach aches to intense pain. Despite that result, lactose intolerant students like Melissa Beckman often ignore their pain in favor of in-the-moment satisfaction.

Sophomore Ava Scherocman consumes dairy products despite being lactose intolerant.

“Every morning, I have a cream cheese bagel for breakfast, and I mean I have pizza all the time,” Beckman said. “It’s not too bad, unless I’m out with friends and they’re all having pizza and ice cream, and in the moment I’m just like ‘why not?’ And then later I remember why not.”

When it comes to dairy intake, there is a definite line between an amount of dairy intake that makes someone uncomfortable and an renders them immobile for a few hours. Beckman said she has yet to perfect finding that balance.

“I know there’s a limit to how much I can have without really bad pain,” Beckman said. “But I can never tell how close I’m getting. I just kind of hope for the best and wing it, for the most part.”

Beckman said that one reason she ignores her intolerance is to avoid being seen as needy.

“I don’t necessarily think anyone would judge me,” Beckman said. “But I also don’t want to be that person. Like, I don’t want [having] to replace milk with almond milk [to get in the way or get annoying], so I’ll kind of go with it.”

“Every time I go too far, I tell myself ‘this is it, I’m going to start watching how much dairy I eat,’ and then I don’t.”

Ava Scherocman

Sophomore Ava Scherocman, on the other hand, said even though she knows refusing dairy products would not bother anyone, she does not want to do so.

“I’ve eaten like half a thing of ice cream in the past three days, and mac and cheese is my favorite food,” Scherocman said. “Every time I go too far, I tell myself ‘this is it, I’m going to start watching how much dairy I eat,’ and then I don’t.”

Scherocman said the worst experience she ever went through was when she ate an entire box of mac and cheese in one sitting.

“There was no one in the house, so there was no one to stop me,” Scherocman said. “Normally it takes like an hour before I can tell it’s affecting me, but this took less than twenty minutes before I felt it, and that was when I knew I was in trouble. I posted some of it on Snapchat, I was just on the floor, crying, couldn’t move, it was really awful, a really bad decision. I’ve only done it twice since then though.”

Sometimes lactose intolerance can be outgrown, so some people believe if they test themselves they’ll be able to see if they can have dairy again. Scherocman, however, said this practice is ridiculous.

“That’s just an excuse, one that I’ve used before,” Scherocman said. “When [lactose intolerant people] eat dairy, it’s because they wanted to, not to see if they outgrew it. It’s just that afterwards, to avoid looking stupid, we try to come up with a reason. It does happen to some people, they just outgrow it. But if they do, they discovered it by accident, not because they were checking.”

Though Scherocman deliberately chooses to have dairy out of momentary satisfaction, there are times when she said she eats it accidentally as well.

“My mom will sometimes make me coffee the way she makes hers, just out of habit,” Scherocman said. “Sometimes we catch it, and sometimes we don’t. And ice cream is worth the pain, but creamer-filled coffee is not.”

Sophomore Maddie Polto said she has been served dairy products a number of times, as well.

“One time, right before my finals freshman year, I had a brownie,” Polto said. “I thought it was dairy free, I’m pretty sure I was told it was, but it definitely wasn’t. That final didn’t go well. Between the stress and the pain, I couldn’t focus, it was just bad.”

Polto said these kinds of incidents have also happened at restaurants in the past.

“Either places won’t have a dairy-free option, or they’ll mess up sometimes and give me something with milk in it anyway,” Polto said. “I don’t think anyone has ever done it intentionally, but that doesn’t exactly help me in that situation. Sometimes I have to say it’s an allergy, because when people hear that word then they kind of take it more seriously.”

Scherocman said that, whether by accident or intentionally, she fully expects to eat dairy products in the future.

“I just don’t want to cut it out of life,” Scherocman said. “There’s no serious reason for it, but I don’t think I need one. I just eat dairy for the sake of eating dairy, and yeah that might sound stupid but honestly if I don’t care about being in pain why would I care about what other people think?”

Photo by Tanner Pearson.

Graphic by Ryan D’Souza.