How you can achieve top performance as a professional soccer player despite lactose and gluten intolerance
The 21-year-old winger Michelle Weiß from Bundesliga club SV Werder Bremen reveals what it means to be a professional footballer with lactose and gluten intolerance and why Barni & Wilma's muesli is so special for her.
It all started in November 2022 with recurring abdominal pain in everyday life, but later the pain also appeared during training and during games. At this point at the latest, Michelle knew that she had to speak to her team doctor. After a few tests, he diagnosed the intolerances. The fact that both intolerances were discovered at the same time wasn't easy for the former U-national player at the beginning: "Unfortunately, I quickly realized that not all foods that are gluten-free are made directly without dairy products." A radical change in diet followed and Michelle had to say goodbye to old eating and shopping habits: “My first gluten-free and dairy-free shopping took an hour longer than usual. It involved constantly reading labels to see what was in each product. It was a bit of a tedious process at the beginning, but now I know how to deal with it and that gluten and dairy intolerance is not the end of the world.”
Michelle especially had to take the time to consciously deal with her own body and diet. “It can be really boring sometimes,” says the nimble wing player, who has been lacing up her shoes for Werder for two years and is also training as an e-commerce clerk. As a competitive athlete, Michelle was initially concerned about not being 100% physically fit due to intolerances: “At first I was very worried about whether it could affect my performance because I had to change my diet in the middle of the season. This is very untypical and stressful for the body and mind.” Of course, going to restaurants and eating out is not always that easy, because “unfortunately, many restaurants and bakeries do not take gluten-lactose intolerance into account.”
The most difficult thing for Michelle was giving up dairy products because a breakfast without cheese was initially unimaginable. The usual consumption of baked goods also had to be rethought. Nevertheless, Michelle completely turned her diet upside down from one day to the next. Exchanging ideas with friends who, for example, follow a vegan or gluten-free diet has helped her. This is how we came into contact with Barni & Wilma through Michelle's consulting agency 11friends, because the gluten-free “Jana Banana” muesli is the perfect addition to a healthy athlete's breakfast: “Every morning I eat a bowl of yogurt with fruit and the gluten-free Jana Banana as a topping ''Granola,” says Michelle. Her tip for all muesli fans: “Choose yoghurt and fruit of your choice, add a little almond butter and refine your yoghurt with your favorite topping from Barni & Wilma. Because yoghurt in the morning drives away hunger and worries.” Michelle particularly likes the variety of flavors about “Jana Banana”: “I think the individual components fit together so well and give your meal that certain something. It was very difficult for me to find a gluten-free muesli that didn't just consist of gluten-free oat flakes. That’s why I’m glad I don’t have to search anymore.”
Fortunately, positive effects did not take long to appear. The best thing about the change: the constant stomach pains were finally gone.