My life is a pastiche of dairy-related trauma. Like every lactose-intolerant person, I remember the moment I put two and two together. Some normie complained about digestive troubles, and I scoffed. Duh, that’s life, I thought. When you drink a milkshake, God punishes you. Then a light bulb went on that changed my grocery shopping forever.
My bowels felt relief, but my soul knew nothing of the sort. It was never cool to go without dairy. One time in college, the whole party laughed at me for pulling a Lactaid pill out of my purse, just as my crush was pouring Bailey’s shots. Oatly Ice Cream is plant-based vindication. Take one look at it and you’ll go, “Damn, that was totally designed by someone sitting on a yoga ball in an open-plan office.” The carton’s rim is covered with the slogan WOW, NO COW!, stylized so that it looks like it was sprayed on by a tiny vegan graffiti artist. I bought the coffee-flavored kind, which I assume was modeled off a specific single-origin pour-over at a Brooklyn cafe.
It used to be that the grocery store freezer section was crammed with ice creams full of crack-like junk — Reese’s pieces, M&Ms, Oreos — and one variety of deeply uncool Lactaid® Lactose-Free Ice Cream that looked more like Metamucil than dessert. Now there’s a whole array of dairy-free stuff, everything from “dairy-free sorbetto” and “superfood ice treat,” but the Oatlys are undoubtedly the sexiest of them all.
A pint of Oatly says, I’m woke. I’m cool. I practice self-care. A pint of Lactaid Lactose-Free says, I’m constipated. That’s because there are lactose-capable people who choose Oatly over Edy’s, whereas you know every person carrying a Lactaid-brand product has had at least one traumatizing bowel-related incident, such as holding up the bathroom line during a middle school field trip, or farting loudly in church. These people have been overlooked for too long. Not a moment too soon, our sweet relief comes in six flavors.