Food & Travel: Understanding lactose intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from mild discomfort to severe gastrointestinal issues, prompting many individuals to seek alternatives to dairy in their diet.

LACTOSE intolerance affects millions of people worldwide, making it one of the most prevalent dietary challenges today.

This condition occurs when the body has difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from mild discomfort to severe gastrointestinal issues, prompting many individuals to seek alternatives to dairy in their diet.

Embracing possibilities

For those living with lactose intolerance, eliminating dairy from their diet can seem daunting at first.

However, this dietary shift opens up a world of culinary possibilities and encourages individuals to explore new ingredients, flavours, and cooking techniques.

By embracing dairy-free alternatives, such as plant-based milks, cheeses, and yogurts, individuals can create delicious and satisfying meals without compromising their health or taste preferences.

Creamy mushroom risotto


1 cup Arborio rice

 4 cups vegetable broth

 1 cup sliced mushrooms

 1/2 onion, finely chopped

 2 cloves garlic, minced

 1/2 cup white wine (optional)

 2 tablespoons olive oil

 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

 Salt and pepper to taste

 Fresh parsley for garnish


In a saucepan, heat the vegetable broth and keep it warm.

 In a separate large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

 Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.

 Add mushrooms and cook until they are soft and browned.

Stir in Arborio rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice is lightly toasted.

 If using white wine, pour it into the skillet and cook until it is absorbed.

 Begin adding the warm vegetable broth, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked to your desired consistency.

Stir in nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Coconut milk panna cotta


 1 can full-fat coconut milk

 1/4 cup sugar or sweetener of choice

  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 2 teaspoons agar agar powder

 Fresh berries for garnish


 In a saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, and agar agar powder.

 Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly.

 Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

 Pour the mixture into individual molds or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.

 Once set, unmould the panna cotta onto serving plates.

 Garnish with fresh berries before serving.

Nourishing body and soul

Living with lactose intolerance doesnot mean giving up on delicious and satisfying meals. By exploring dairy-free alternatives and getting creative in the kitchen, individuals can enjoy a variety of flavourful dishes that nourish both body and soul.

Embracing a dairy-free lifestyle can lead to improved digestion, increased energy levels, and a greater appreciation for the diverse array of ingredients available for culinary exploration.

Conscious consumption

When following a lactose-free diet, practicing mindful eating can enhance your overall dining experience. By savouring each bite, being present with your food, and listening to your body's signals, you can develop a deeper connection with the meals you consume. Mindful eating can help you make informed food choices, prevent overeating, and foster a positive relationship with the nourishing foods that support your well-being.

Dairy-free living

Navigating the dairy-free world can be easier and more enjoyable with the support of a community that understands and embraces your dietary needs.

Connecting with others who share your lactose intolerance journey can provide valuable resources, recipe ideas, and encouragement to help you navigate challenges and celebrate successes.

By sharing experiences, tips, and delicious dairy-free creations, you can build a network of support that uplifts and inspires you on your lactose-free lifestyle.

Sustainable living

A key aspect of sustainable dairy-free living is finding balance in your diet and lifestyle. While focusing on nourishing your body with dairy-free alternatives, it is important to allow yourself the flexibility to enjoy occasional treats and indulge in your favourite dairy-free desserts.

By striking a balance between health-conscious choices and culinary enjoyment, you can cultivate a sustainable and fulfilling dairy-free lifestyle that supports your well-being in the long term.


Living with lactose intolerance presents unique dietary challenges, but it also offers opportunities for culinary creativity, exploration, and growth.

By embracing dairy-free alternatives, such as the savourycreamy mushroom risotto and indulgent coconut milk panna cotta, you can savour the rich flavours and textures of dairy-free cuisine, while nourishing your body and soul.

Through mindful eating, community support, and a balanced approach to dairy-free living, you can thrive on a lactose-free diet and discover a world of delicious possibilities that enhance your health and well-being.

So, embark on this journey with an open heart, a curious palate, and a supportive community by your side, and let the joy of dairy-free living nourish and inspire you every step of the way.

  • Muzamhindo is a young chef with seven years’ experience in a professional kitchen and has enjoyed the concept of food since the tender age of two. She studied at the South African Chefs Academy in Cape Town and the Culinary Arts Academy in Zimbabwe to become a level three advanced chef. Her specialties range from indigenous ingredients to fine dining, gourmet food, food health and safety and food research and development. — [email protected].


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