Self-diagnosis is a perilous endeavor, and it needs to be approached cautiously. All diagnosis, from all sources, should be treated with skepticism, curiosity, and exploration.

Some years ago I began to experience intermittent bouts of gastrointestinal distress. The cause was unknown. Measures such as more carefully washing vegetables, washing hands more frequently, things that could easily have been performed inadequately, were given attention. These measures made no difference at all, and the periods of distress remained unexplained.

The winter of 2014/15, when I spent the winter alone here at Mist Cottage, I enjoyed eating a bit of Ricotta Cheese each day. During that time my bouts of distress increased immensely. At the time I thought it might be the result of missing Attila so very much. But to my surprise, when I ran out of Ricotta Cheese, and ceased to eat it daily, my symptoms disappeared within 24 hours. Aha! Finally a clue to what might be going on.

Since that time, I have experimented with dairy products, and found that the gastrointestinal distress returned every time I consumed them. And so, I have diagnosed myself as lactose intolerant. The other possibility was a dairy allergy, but since my Mom is lactose intolerant, I decided to go with that as my first theory. And the results of my experiments have been consistent with the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Some weeks ago I began to make my own yogurt. I read quite a few journalistic pieces, and scientific journal articles, to determine if yogurt would irritate my system. There seemed some hope that my body might not react to the low concentration of lactose in yogurt, and that a few weeks exposure would tell all.

I have been eating my homemade yogurt every morning, for breakfast, or as a snack, for a few weeks now. My gastrointestinal system has not appreciated the experiment, and distress has been increasing as the days have passed. Over this same time period I have been experiencing short, mysterious, uncalled for, periods of mild sadness., and mild insomnia. I found this surprising. My first thoughts on this were that winter weather was the cause, or even the news of the unhappy spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Yesterday yogurt made from regular milk was removed from my diet.

Yesterday I made a new batch of yogurt. This time I used 1% lactose free milk. This lactose free yogurt was consumed for breakfast yesterday, and again last evening as a snack.

Today my gastrointestinal distress has disappeared. I slept soundly though the night. Today, thus far, I have experienced no periods of sadness. I suspect lactose as the culprit in all instances. And since I am still eating a dairy product, while my symptoms have disappeared, a dairy allergy is no longer considered a possibility.

The decision to consume fermented food daily was made last summer. Homemade Sauerkraut was a big success here, delicious, crunchy, and good for us. BUT for someone on a low-sodium regime, it gobbled up all of the daily quota, which required reducing sodium everywhere else. No, that would not do. So I searched for an alternative, and settled on yogurt, which I enjoy with a bit of syrup or jam.

Choosing milk to make yogurt has been a sequential experiment. 1% milk was chosen as it limits dairy fats and cholesterol in the diet. Regular milk was preferred, if possible, because it is half the price of specialty milks, such as lactose free milk. So the first phase of the experiment, with 1% regular milk, is over, it will not do. So far the yogurt made with 1% lactose free milk seems to have resolved the issues noted with regular milk. But time will tell.

The new batch of yogurt, strained, made with 1% lactose free milk.



Date: 10:00 AM EST Wednesday 26 February 2020
Current Conditions Light Snow
Wind: NNE 27 km/h
Wind Chill: -7
Temperature: -0.6°C
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Dew point: -4.3°C
Visibility: 24 km
Humidity: 76%


“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim that ‘a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’ So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one.”

Abraham Lincoln
16th president of US
1809 – 1865

This fails to take into account that people who are ruled by avarice and greed regard sincerity as a weakness to be exploited, seek no justice, regard reason as a flexible and useful tool, and seek no sincere friendships.

But as for the majority of ordinary people, I think Mr. Lincoln is correct.

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Joan Brennan

I’m glad it seems to be working. As you once saw with me, the attacks are not a lot of fun. Luckily I can easily avoid my triggers. Happy eating!


Not to dissuade you in anyway, but I know I would want to hear about this with milk use. I will say, however, the researchers messed up by not looking at yogurt separately in this study.

I will say, though, that once or twice a week I’ll have cereal with Fairlife lactose free milk. I almost never had milk before Fairlife became available. Not due to lactose reactions but just because I do better with fewer sugars.

I think I missed the explanation, why did you decide to start eating fermented foods?


The yogurt looks yummy. That’s interesting that higher concentrations of lactose effect your emotions. This article shed a little light although the focus was more on dairy

Joan Lansberry

Gluten IS bad for me, my 23andme confirmed it as I have many markers for celiac disease (if my own experiences with consumption and abstinence were not enough to prove it). It found I’m okay with lactose, though.

I’m sure the probiotic additions are helpful. I’ve added a probiotic pill to my diet, as I often fail to have yogurt. I like the 2% Face brand yogurt, no BHT. I’ve found that while I am not lactose intolerant, I’ve found I’m better off if I avoid consuming huge qualities of cheese. It seems a definite correlation between mountains of cheese and grotesque amounts of phlegm! But yogurt doesn’t seem to do that. Is it hard to make your own yogurt? I don’t recall seeing lactose free versions at the grocery store.