There is no room for being lactose intolerant when you live in Wisconsin

The call of dairy is too much for my poor, lactose-hating body to resist

More stories from Faith Hultman



If you’re from Wisconsin then you are probably aware of the many things we Wisconsinites pride ourselves on.

Our incredible football teams at both the professional and collegiate level, our ability to not only survive some of the coldest temperatures in the nation but to thrive in them and the high ratio of bars to grocery stores in comparison to the rest of the United States.

Anyone from Minnesota can tell you that Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but Wisconsin has over 15,000 and we don’t even need to brag about it. Our claim to fame is much grander than the measly 10,000 lakes: dairy.

As someone who is mildly lactose-intolerant, I refuse to dishonor my heritage by listening to doctors, nutritionists or dietitians. Dairy is a part of who I am as a citizen of Wisconsin and consuming vast amounts of cheese curds and ice cream is my duty as a native.

You had better believe I suffer through a lot of pain to fulfil my role as a consumer of dairy products, but stabbing stomach cramps are nothing in comparison to the mental pain I would go through trying to cut myself off from dairy. Not to mention the pain I would put my humble Wisconsin ancestors through after their years of work in the dairy industry.

Recently I attempted to go gluten-free for a month, mostly so I could pretend I was actively searching for a solution to my sporadic acne. Cosmopolitan said dairy, gluten or sugar might be contributing to my breakouts, and although I am well aware of my weakness towards lactose, I chose to give up gluten instead.

I wasn’t very surprised when nothing changed, but Cosmo will just have to forgive me for refusing to give up dairy products.

You cannot go a day here in this beautiful state without encountering some kind of dairy product. People from other states don’t even know what a cheese curd is, yet we have limitless varieties of these insanely good nuggets of lactose-filled delight.

Culver’s has custard, every county has at least one cheese factory and there is no way any self-respecting, Wisconsin-bred child didn’t grow up with a gallon of milk in the fridge at all times.

As someone who lived through the golden age of the “Got Milk?” advertising campaign in middle school, I can recall my confusion with clarity. Didn’t everyone drink milk? Calcium consumption was the least of my worries back in those pure, innocent days before I realized my body was betraying me and everything I hold dear.

Recently I was forced to delete the Myfitnesspal app off my phone because it kept trying to tell me that my average daily cheese consumption exceeds the saturated fat limits of a healthy diet. I honestly cannot fathom why Myfitnesspal wants me to fall into their pit of low-fat tears.

We as a state have lead the United States in cheese production since 1910, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and I refuse to let go of my rich, dairy-filled heritage without a fight.

If you see me bent over in pain after consuming dairy, don’t be concerned. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make in the name of Wisconsin and love.

I’m not saying everyone who is lactose-intolerant should ignore their medical condition, but I am saying that I’ve been doing it for years and I feel mostly okay. I am no medical professional, but I am a proud resident of America’s Dairyland.
To all my lactose-intolerant pals out there: don’t give up; there is hope for you yet. Down that Lactaid and live life to its ice creamy, cheese-filled fullest. Or not. But think of the cows.