Sorry about your lactose intolerance

So I’ve recently switched to drinking soymilk rather than cow milk whenever I can, and this gets some wonderful reactions, especially in the US. It’s almost as amusing as saying you’re vegetarian, but still a man.

A few of us went to Kimball Farms near Littleton yesterday, to say farewell to some colleagues who are doing various things (one leaving the company, one just leaving the country). I ordered the veggie burger (without cheese), and skipped the ice cream (as it was, the burger bun violated my crazy diet constraints – that’s a joke, by the way). Then I went into the cafe and ordered a decaffeinated coffee. I casually asked, “do you have soy milk?”, to which the reaction was “sorry about your lactose intolerance, but no”. Followed by a mini-tirade making a variety of semi-sensical points centered around the premise that the only explanation for ordering soy is lactose intolerance.

I find it particularly amusing that I must be lactose intolerant, that this is the reason I would be asking for soy milk, as opposed to any other possibility. A reaction similar to when I order vegetarian food or buy vegan alternatives to butter in the supermarket – there must be something wrong with me because I don’t conform to what the meat and/or dairy industry lobbyists are telling US consumers to do. This country is filled with a lot of people with some very funny views, but none quite so disappointing as those negative expectations said lobbyists have set about margarine, soy, and other “alternatives”.

Soy isn’t going to kill me in my sleep, margarine (which, I believe, at one point could not legally be sold in packets over 1lb in the US due to the meddling interference of said dairy lobbyists – who are also responsible for the coloring agents added to those products) probably won’t cause an insurrection against the established order, and being vegetarian likely won’t impinge upon “God’s plan”, or whatever other bullshit. Though everyone around here has an opinion on one of these, some of it largely based upon various brainwashing done from an early age. And they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

I’m not against the dairy industry, or the meat industry per se (just most of the big corporate animal squirting into containers types), but I have a big issue with lobbyists in general, and those of these industries in particular. Cow milk is enjoyed by billions of people, as is meat, and a little soymilk is hardly going to destroy that market. There ought to be room enough for some friendly co-existence, without resorting to much of the craziness. But in the US, we attack what we don’t understand. And if that fails, we use legislation as a weapon. And if that fails, it doesn’t matter, nobody’s paying attention, and everyone’s suitably confused on what was ever real or fictitious anyway.

Please don’t think I’m trying to be offensive, I’m really not :)


2 Responses to “Sorry about your lactose intolerance”

  1. Why not follow the colleague who is “just leaving the country”?

    There were a couple of US companies that unsuccessfully tried to encourage me to migrate there. The quality of food in the US is one of the reasons. I’m not even going on any sort of extreme diet. For example Coke in the US makes me sick because of the corn syrup while Australian Coke is fine.

    Then there’s the taste of the food in the US. Sadly so few people in the US know what good food is that there is little incentive for most restaurants to even try to make tasty food.

    If you want to try to offend people in the US, the best way to do it is to quote some US citizens such as Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, or Mike Moore.

  2. jcm says:

    Can’t leave. I like it too much here compared with the UK, I’m just miserable in general :)

Leave a Reply