By: David Lester, General Manager
I have noticed in my years of being a Co-op member that a number of folks who shop at co-ops are more than eager to talk about their personal health issues in great detail.
I have never really been one of these people.
At the Oneota Community Co-op we are not in the business of diagnosing health related issues, but we do take a lot time to help our customers figure out potential solutions to their health problems. Sometimes they bring us a list of foods or supplements from their health care provider and we carefully go over this list and try our best to get them what they need and give some advice on how to cook or use it. We also take great pride when individuals make progress in their health journeys and come back to tell us about it. I’ve just never enjoyed the gory details involving bathroom visits and such. And then, I became one of those people.
My particular story began about four years ago when I noticed my stomach didn’t feel so great after eating desserts with heavy cream. Things really came to a head when my family and I were in Door County for a summer trip and we went to the famous Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor for triple scoops. After our ice cream, we went to a drive in movie-theater. Let’s just say – I didn’t see much of the film. So, I began experimenting a little bit with my diet. Coffee with half and half, no problem. Cereal with milk, problem. What was becoming very evident to me was that my body was fine with most milk products by themselves, but adding sugar to the picture was not good.
The more I read about my situation, the more I learned about the connection between keeping my gut healthy and having better long term health. My gut instinct (pun intended) was to eliminate these much beloved food items from my diet. Whipped cream with apple pie, nope. Chocolate milk after a workout, no way. Whippy Dip…done. NOOOOOO!!!
I tried almond and coconut milk but missed the creamy texture I was use to. I tried obstinacy which I found wholly ineffective. I tried taking different supplements before consuming some of these dairy products but nothing ever really helped my gut fully digest dairy and sugar.
I still to this day don’t fully understand what exactly is going on with this particular issue, but it probably has something to do with my aging body and producing smaller amounts of the enzyme, lactase, therefore, suffering from lactose intolerance. There, I said it. No gory details, just the facts.
And then I met the Lacto Angel. Many of you likely remember the delicious pie and fresh made whipped cream we served at the Co-op’s recent annual meeting. I made the comment that I would love to pour at least half the bowl of whipped cream onto my slice of pie, but that I had not consumed whipping cream for about four years. Luckily, Lacto Angel happened to overhear my comment and shared with me a product called Lacto, which is now found on our shelves in the wellness department by a company called Enzymedica. Lacto Angel had also suffered from lactose intolerance and had tried many products before discovering Lacto. Lacto Angel pulled a capsule from his private stash and gave it to me to try. After swallowing the capsule, I piled on the white, velvety cow nectar and watched my slice of pie disappear. Incredibly, my stomach felt completely normal. And, actually, I felt more energized than I had in a long time. Instead of eating a dessert and worrying about the consequences, I was able to enjoy something delicious that took me back to my childhood. I closed my eyes and was transported back to my grandmother Mary Helen’s kitchen table eating her homemade French silk pie with fresh cream. Then, there I was hand-churning a frosty-steamy cold steel cylinder of homemade ice cream in a salty ice bath to the rhythm of the drone of a thousand cicadas on my grandfather Oak’s porch on a humid day in Richmond, Virginia. I opened my eyes and said, ahhhhh.
For some reason, Lacto works for me at this moment in time and I can, on occasion, join my family devouring a quart of Talenti Sea Salt Carmel ice cream instead of sitting on the sidelines with my sorbet. It’s a tiny win on the surface but goes much deeper for me. Here’s to our health, the journey it takes us on, and the angels that help us along the way.