Dairy Combustion
February 22, 2006 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Cheap alternatives for the lactose-intolerant?

I'm gonna start with grocery store milk, since that's where the bullshit is most apparent: $4-5 per half-gallon? Lactose pills? 50 cents a pop. Either way, to go through a gallon of milk costs me around $10. There's gotta be a cheaper alternative.

And no, I'm not asking about dairy substitutes (soy milk, ugh). I'm looking for cheaper methods to enjoy the lifestyle I know all too well.

Also, no, I'm not looking into beating it at the physiological level. I unwittingly went through five+ glasses of milk a day back in high school (not knowing I was lactose-intolerant and thinking I just had natural gas problems), and nothing ever improved.

Please help me save money.
posted by Mach3avelli to Health & Fitness (27 answers total)
 
Where are you buying a half gallon of milk for $4-5, Draeger's and Andronico's? I live in Palo Alto too, and it's like $3.50 or something for a gallon at Safeway. And drugstore.com has generic lactaid for about 8 cents a pill, 12 cents if you want the brand name.
posted by gramcracker at 6:34 PM on February 22, 2006


Around these parts (central PA), there is a Lactaid brand of lactose free milk sold right beside the normal people milk that costs about $2.50-$3.00 a half gallon.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:34 PM on February 22, 2006


There appear to be several Costcos near you. Costco carries the Kirkland (their house brand) version of Lactaid for much less than 50 cents per pill. BJs does the same.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:59 PM on February 22, 2006


I've been using Digestive Advantage. It's about $10 for 32 tablets, but you only have to take one pill a day, rather than taking a Lactaid pill every time you want to eat dairy. I've been using it for almost a year, and it is so nice to be able to eat dairy like a normal person, without worrying if I have my pills with me. The convenience alone makes it worth the $ for me.
posted by sarahmelah at 7:07 PM on February 22, 2006


Where are you buying a half gallon of milk for $4-5, Draeger's and Andronico's? I live in Palo Alto too, and it's like $3.50 or something for a gallon at Safeway.

Are you sure we're talking lactose-free here? I shop Albertson's and Safeway, and prices were the same in Davis when I went to school there.
posted by Mach3avelli at 7:27 PM on February 22, 2006


I usually buy the large paks of the Ultra-style stuff (the ones with 9000 units of lactase). Usually, 120 pills is 10 or 12 bucks, as I recall. That's about 8 -10 cents each, and you need only one with a meal. Even if you eat dairy at every meal, it should cost you no more than thirty cents a day.

There's a slight downside in that the pills have to come in paper pouches... they're not strong enough to survive long in a normal pill bottle.

I generally need three of the regular-strength ones, so even though they're cheaper per cap, they actually cost more. The only time I use them is when I need more robust pills for traveling.
posted by Malor at 8:01 PM on February 22, 2006


Oh... and don't buy brand-name Lactaid, that's way too expensive.
posted by Malor at 8:01 PM on February 22, 2006


No, I was referring to regular milk. Yes, $4-$5 for a half-gallon of lactose-free milk sounds about right.
posted by gramcracker at 8:41 PM on February 22, 2006


Many people with lactose intolerance can eat yogurt without problems.
posted by caddis at 9:02 PM on February 22, 2006


I've been lactose intolerant for 10 years. I hate soy milk, but Rice Dream is my friend. This probably does not answer your question.
posted by u2604ab at 9:06 PM on February 22, 2006


Lactaid is my milk of choice, hasn't done me wrong since. It also keeps longer. Yay.
posted by Atreides at 9:30 PM on February 22, 2006


I gave up on buying the lactaid milk or soy milk etc and instead just use the inexpensive non-name-brand lactase pills when I'm eating/drinking dairy products.

The nice thing about the little paper pill packages is that you can keep a few in your pocket all the time and it's no big deal.

I also was a huge milk drinker before I found out. Being lactose intolerant sucks :(
posted by AaronRaphael at 9:35 PM on February 22, 2006


Can't you just not drink milk?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:15 PM on February 22, 2006


Ditto the Digestive Advantage. I take one of those a day, plus a store-brand lactase pill with any dairy-heavy meal, and it's been working pretty well for me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:25 AM on February 23, 2006


Can't you just not drink milk?

Cereal and coffee suck without milk. Plus, there is milk in a lot of products that you get out and about. Pills make it possible.
posted by qwip at 4:09 AM on February 23, 2006


Did you only notice your lactose intolerance in high school? It's possible that, by drinking a gallon of baby cow food a day (or whatever 5+ glasses means), you made yourself develop an intolerance. All the hormones and antibiotics in the milk you buy at the grocery store put a strain on your immune system (and your gut), and it reacts that way sometimes. Taking a break from dairy for a month or so and then phasing it back in slowly might be worth a try.

Yogurt is more acceptable because it (usually) contains "good flora" that help your digestion - the same that are damaged by overconsumption of antibiotics, sugars, etc. Have you ever tried taking live capsules of acidophilus/bifidus? The ones that are refrigerated are supposed to be the best.

I would also add that you're lucky your body is telling you so clearly what it needs (i.e., for you not to put dairy in it), and be glad it's not wheat you're allergic to, or worse. Simplify, instead of taking a bunch of pills and complicating things down there. Black coffee tastes better anyway.
posted by xanthippe at 4:31 AM on February 23, 2006


I used to buy the lactose drops (seems like I had to put 3-5 drops in 1/2 gallon milk) from a Canadian pharmacy by internet / mail for my mother -- way less expensive than anywhere in the US
posted by orlin at 5:35 AM on February 23, 2006


People are going to jump all over this idea, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

Often, people who can't drink regular milk can drink raw (unpasturized) milk. Seeing as you're in California, you might be able to get clean, tested raw milk at the store. Here's a list that might help you find it.

I'm not saying raw milk is right for everybody. I'm not even saying it's right for you. I'm just saying that you might look into it.
posted by Alt F4 at 5:55 AM on February 23, 2006


I really like the raw milk idea, but if you decide to pursue it PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you're getting your milk from a farm that gets regularly inspected by your state agriculture department. Don't sign up for a fly-by-night cow shares program.

(A bunch of children in my town recent got very sick, some near death with renal problems, after drinking raw milk from a dairy that did not have any state agriculture permits and was allegedly grossly violating basic hygene problems. People could have died.)
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:31 AM on February 23, 2006


Most people who become lactose intolerant do so because their body stops producing the enzyme lactase. Raw milk contains lactose and will likely still result in explosive diarrhea. Stick to Lactaid milk, take the cheaper generic version of Lactaid pills, or learn to do without. I became lactose intolerant in college and it is a downer, and those pills do get expensive and are a pain to carry around all of the time. I've cut dairy out of my diet except for the occasional treat. Those drop things that orlin mentioned might work, though- I haven't heard of that before.
posted by emd3737 at 7:19 AM on February 23, 2006


Try eating cereal with water. It's not gross, it tastes just the same as with milk just without the milk flavor. You might even drain the water after letting it set for a while if water seems to weird to eat cereal with, so the cereal is still moist.

If you think about it on the technical side, eating cereal with water is less gross than eating cereal inundated with bovine mammarial excretions.
posted by vanoakenfold at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2006


fly-by-night cow shares program

This must be a phrase that had never been written before csf wrote it.
posted by kindall at 8:44 AM on February 23, 2006


I gave up on trying to fit real dairy into my life. There really was no point.

Drink soy milk? It's kinda chalky and not for everyone, but real milk isn't all that great for you either, so I dropped all forms of milk entirely. Soy cheese can be ok, but I don't need it often. I order pizza without cheese (it's better!). I buy soy ice cream (small tubs and ice cream sandwiches). I know that certain foods with dairy in them have no/minimal effect on me (Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, the 'cheese' on McDonald's burgers and other fast food). I buy Cool Whip instead of whipped cream. I prefer dark chocolate anyway but occasionally sneak some milk chocolate.

The one thing I have yet found is soft-serve chocolate-dipped ice cream. Nice to have, but this isn't life altering.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:59 AM on February 23, 2006


"Try eating cereal with water. It's not gross, it tastes just the same as with milk just without the milk flavor."

Just thought that was funny enough to repeat.

I have a friend who is intolerant (to lactose), and he eats his cereal with applejuice.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 10:08 AM on February 23, 2006


Most cheeses shouldn't be a problem for lactose-intolerant people, since the lactose is removed or converted in the cheese-making process.
posted by philscience at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2006


Try a mix of cereals+yogurt+fresh fruit.
posted by Sharcho at 12:58 PM on February 23, 2006


Most cheeses shouldn't be a problem for lactose-intolerant people, since the lactose is removed or converted in the cheese-making process.

I don't know it that works out so well in practice, even if it is sound in theory (which I know not). I do know that my wife can not eat too much cheese made from cows milk. Goat milk cheese and goat milk present no problem for her lactose intolerance. Viva la Feta!

Unfortunately I am finding that I am starting to become lactose intolerant as well. Luckily(?) I don't really care for cheese all that much, but I miss milk in my cereal something bad. I'm gonna try the rice milk that was suggested earlier, as the lactaid type milk tastes like ass to me. And soy milk is for painting barns with, no drinking (I know, people love it. Just not me).
posted by qwip at 4:01 PM on February 23, 2006


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