How professional soccer players can perform at their best 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 soccer player with lactose and gluten intolerance and why Barni & Wilma 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 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 detected at the same time was not easy for the former U-national player: "Unfortunately, I quickly realized that not all foods that are gluten-free are also 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 purchase definitely took an hour longer than usual. It was a constant reading of labels to see what was in the respective products. It was a bit of a tedious process at first, but now I know how to deal with it and that gluten and dairy intolerance is not the end of the world.”
In particular, Michelle had to take the time to consciously deal with her own body and nutrition. "Sometimes it can be really dull," says the nimble winger, who has been with Werder for two years and is currently completing an apprenticeship as an e-commerce clerk. In the early days, Michelle was worried that as a competitive athlete she would not be 100% physically fit due to the intolerances: “At first I had great concerns about whether it could affect my performance, since I had to change my diet in the middle of the season. That is very atypical and stressful for body and mind.” Of course, going to restaurants and eating out is not always that easy, because “unfortunately, many restaurants and bakeries do not pay attention to gluten and lactose intolerance.”
The most difficult thing for Michelle was giving up dairy products, because breakfast without cheese was unimaginable at first. The usual consumption of baked goods also had to be rethought. Nevertheless, from one day to the next, Michelle completely turned her diet upside down. The exchange with friends who eat vegan or gluten-free, for example, helped her. This is how Michelle's consulting agency 11friends got in touch with Barni & Wilma, because the gluten-free muesli "Jana Banana" is the perfect addition to a healthy athlete's breakfast: "Every morning I eat a bowl of yoghurt with fruit and the gluten-free ''Jana Banana" as a topping '' Muesli," says Michelle. Her tip for all muesli fans: “Choose yoghurt and fruit of your choice, add a bit of almond butter and refine your yoghurt with your favorite Barni & Wilma topping. Because yoghurt in the morning drives away hunger and worries.” What Michelle particularly likes about “Jana Banana” is the variety of tastes: “I think the individual components go together so well and give your meal that certain something. It was very difficult for me to find a gluten-free muesli that does not only consist of gluten-free oatmeal. That's why I'm glad I don't have to search anymore."
Fortunately, positive effects were not long in coming. The best thing about the change: The constant stomach pains were finally gone.