Categorized | Lactose in the News

Heritage clashes with stomach: Lactose intolerance can be challenging – Baraboo News Republic

When you have a Spanish heritage and your favorite food is enchiladas, the last thing you want to find out is that you�™re lactose intolerant. That is exactly what happened to Martin Canales. He wasn�™t surprised because he knew people of Spanish and Mexican heritage are more likely to be lactose intolerant.

As that he spoke from the bridge of the Colsac III free ferry in Merrimac, which Martin has operated as driver for the past six years, he talked about his favorite foods. He also discussed the challenges lactose intolerance brings, and found some humor in the condition.

�œYes, lucky me, I love Spanish and Mexican food, especially enchiladas with lots of cheese, and guess who finds out they�™re lactose intolerant? I love enchiladas so much though that I try to put a little less cheese in and take pills to try to avoid the discomfort cheese and dairy food cause. ”

Born and raised in Portage, but now living with his wife Brenda in Poynette, Martin loves to cook. �œI love to barbecue and make brisket, really cook a little bit of everything, including meatballs. But the best is definitely my family recipe for Spanish-style enchiladas. ”

Brenda and Martin have two grown children. She is a caretaker for others including her father, so Martin helps out in your kitchen. �œNow that we have two grandchildren, we love cooking for them and spending time with them. ”

Martin is not alone in his struggle with lactose intolerance, with over 50 million Americans being affected. Lactose intolerance is most typical among Asians, Africans, Mexicans and Native Americans.

Lactose is a sugar that is found in dairy food. Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not make enough of a digestive juice (enzyme) called lactase. Lactase is needed to break down the lactose in food. Lactase allows food to be absorbed by the body. Unfortunately, those who are lactose intolerant have many unpleasant symptoms ranging from stomachaches, headaches, bloating, diarrhea and gas.

Most lactose intolerance is hereditary. It usually develops when, over time, the body makes less and less lactase. Most hereditary cases start having symptoms as teens or even in adult years.

There are tests for lactose intolerance. One is a test to check how lactose is absorbed by the digestive system. You don�™t eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to the test, and then your medical team will ask you to drink a liquid that has lactose. Blood samples are taken over two hours. These will check your blood sugar (blood glucose) level. If your blood sugar do not rise, you may be lactose intolerant.

There is also a hydrogen breath test, where you drink a liquid that has a lot of lactose and then your breath is checked several times. High levels of hydrogen in your breath may mean you are lactose intolerant. In infants and young children excrement acidity test may be used. If someone is not digesting lactose, their stool will have lactic acid, glucose, and other fatty acids.

If you suspect you or your child is© lactose intolerant, you need to see a medical doctor. Dairy foods are a major source of calcium necessary for bone growth and health, especially for children and teenagers. While there is no treatment yet that will help the body make more lactase, symptoms can be managed by diet.

To learn more about lactose intolerance, visit the National Institute of Health at

You can find varying degrees of lactose intolerance with many people able to tolerate certain types and amounts of dairy products. As for Martin, he is not going to stop eating one of is own favorite foods �” enchiladas.

�œI just limit the cheese on my enchiladas even though I still have some symptoms, it�™s worth it. I just love my homemade family recipe for them too much to give them up. ”

+4 Lactose intolerant people need not give up enchiladas with this Easy and Delicious ChefDocs Cheese-less Chicken Enchiladas recipe.

Yield: Four servings

Pre Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground chicken

½ cup chopped yellow onion

1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1 chopped poblano pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 6-ounce can organic tomato paste, plus 2 cups of water

6 ounces of chicken stock

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 cup cooked rice

10 small corn tortillas

1 bag frozen corn (optional)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 green and 1 red chopped pepper

1 cup chopped iceberg lettuce

For sauce:

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large skillet, heat the oil and add the ground chicken, onion, hot peppers, and red and yellow peppers, garlic powder, salt and pepper. When chicken is browned, add all other dry ingredients.

In a medium saucepan, add tomato paste, 2 cans of water, a cup of chicken stock, whisk together and add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and frozen corn. Cook on medium heat until bubbly and hot then remove from heat.

Add one cup of the tomato/enchilada sauce and 1 cup of the cooked rice. Stir together.

Spread spoonfuls of the chicken and rice filling and roll the tortillas up and place close together in a glass-baking dish.

Pour the remaining tomato/enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped lettuce over the top of the enchiladas before serving. Serve with other Mexican favorites such as for example guacamole and chips and refried beans. Serve sour cream in a separate container so lactose intolerant friends and family don�™t need to suffer.

Note: If you are not lactose intolerant you can sprinkle your choice of cheese over the top of the enchilada sauce. I usually use Queso Blanco in moderation, about ½ cup.

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