by Brittany Warly
I remember the days of feeling congested, drowsy and low energy, dragging just to get through the day. I used to struggle during the hard workouts especially, coughing up mucus, suffering from bronchospasms, in which I would then go into a panic unable to breathe. My skin was all puffy, covered in cystic acne on my jawline, shoulders, and back. I tried topical treatments as well as medications I needed to ingest, and the acne didn’t go away. I felt irritable and my stomach felt heavy and bloated much of the time, making it uncomfortable on long runs especially. I probably had five or six sinus infections per year, which would wipe me out for a couple of weeks.
We wondered if it was a food allergy, hormonal or environmental. I started working with an immunologist in high school who suggested allergy shots. I went into the office on a weekly basis to get these shots, only to realize they didn’t make much of a difference to me, nor did I want to put in the two to three years they suggested I consistently get the shots for them to be effective. We knew I was sensitive to many of the grasses, trees, and pollens in Colorado, so I figured the way I felt was simply due to environmental reasons. I had people suggest I eliminate dairy from my diet, but I grew up in a house in which we loved full fat yogurts, milk, and cheese so I was in denial.
I started up with an immunologist again early into my professional athletic career in 2018 to see how we could maximize performance by improving my allergies and breathing issues caused by them. The immunologist then put me on many different medications including pills and multiple inhalers. I remember feeling even worse than before, drowsy, in a brain fog, and my body felt consistently inflamed. I had always been the kind of person wanting to take a holistic approach to things, and my gut told me to stop the medications and start an elimination diet. I knew it didn’t need to be this complicated, and I really didn’t want to be on allergy medications my whole life. I went through the different phases of eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, corn, etc. With dairy, at first I did not notice anything. It took about a month of eliminating dairy to notice my skin had drastically improved, as did my breathing. I went through denial, given I love the taste of dairy products, and would sometimes cheat, only to have the symptoms come back. It has now been a few years and I am completely off all allergy medications, my skin is much clearer, and no GI distress.
When Enduro Bites reached out to me in 2019 about a partnership, I knew this was the right fit for me. Given their products are 100% dairy-free and made with the best ingredients, I was sold. I love the quality and taste of their bars. My favorite is Enduro Bites Cinnamon Blueberry and I consume these during or after most training sessions. It has also been difficult finding a dairy-free protein shake that tastes good, does not contain soy, and is effective in promoting muscle-tissue repair while helping build lean muscle mass. Thankfully, Enduro Bites released their plant-based protein powder, Recovery Protein, and I love the vanilla flavor; whether mixed into a smoothie or simply mixed with water on the go, it tastes great! I’m learning that there are dairy-free options that taste great and I can enjoy without the negative side effects.
Seeing the positive changes in my body and performance by cutting out dairy, I never see myself going back to the full fat milks, cheese and yogurts on a consistent basis. If you are struggling with exercise induced asthma, brain fog, fatigue, muscle aches, I highly suggest you give dairy elimination a try. It has been a game changer for me! Such a simple change, but it has made a world of difference for me, so I recommend you stick with it.