If like me you suffer from hay fever, the only thing faster than you on your outdoor runs is your runny nose. Plus in my case the uber-fit lady twice my age training for her marathon – but that’s another story. And most of the time I don’t notice her anyway, because I’m way too busy itching my red and watery eyes.
Being a fitness athlete I try to spend as many of my cardio sessions outdoors as I can during summer time, but in the past “good old” hay fever would always get the best of me: frequent sneezing, a (never ending) runny nose, itchy eyes and a not-so-pretty coughing made it almost impossible for me to sustain any sort of activity longer than 10 minutes.
Up to this year I never paid any attention to my diet and how it might affect the symptoms of hay fever. Year round I’d follow the typical fitness-lifestyle diet consisting of lots of meat, poultry, veggies, some fish, oats, pasta, rice, nuts, whey protein and dairy like milk, quark, cottage cheese etc. Living a pretty busy lifestyle, I’d always have a hard time finding the time for cooking and preparing meals, therefore I’d get most of my protein through whey protein and cottage cheese/quark – talk about convenience.
Whey protein and hay fever
Three months ago one of my friends, who’s got his PhD in Nutrition Science, talked me into eliminating all of my dairy (milk proteins) during the hay fever period to decrease (eliminate) all of my pretty hefty symptoms. He told me that dairy products can cause mucus and congestion around the nose and throat. And for some people dairy products can ‘sensitise’ the tissues around the nose and eyes and make them more susceptible to pollen (and/or house dust mites, animal dander etc.).
Beef Protein, Brown Rice Protein and Pea Protein
To trial this, I ditched my beloved whey protein and cottage cheese. At first I was really afraid of losing some of my hard-earned gains by missing out on my convenient meals. So I had to look for whey protein-alternatives. That’s when I bumped into beef protein, brown rice protein and pea protein. I must say that the results were absolutely incredible.
After only five days of replacing the whey protein with the beef, rice and pea protein the symptoms had been reduced significantly – no itching eyes and a ‘totally clear’ nose. It was an amazing feeling – I could finally smell ‘summer’ and I was so close to beating the marathon-lady on one of my runs…well, not really.
It has now been over two months on my dairy-free regimen and pretty much all of my symptoms are gone – my nose still runs every now and then, but my eyes are completely normal; no itching, no tears (unless I watch “the Lion King”) and no drama. With that being said, I will stick to these alternatives until August and then bring back my beloved whey protein in the autmumn.
Next time you feel like sneezing…
First use a tissue for its intended purpose (finally). Then take a closer look at your nutrition and eliminate all dairy products. If you are addicted and/or dependent on whey protein like me, look into beef protein, rice protein and/or pea protein for the PERFECT alternative to whey – this will ensure that you’re getting in enough protein for your gains. And last, but not least: if you can, overtake that marathon-lady.
BULK POWDERS™ sell flavoured Beef Protein Isolate 97 (HydroBEEF) in Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut and Banana Fudge flavours if you don’t wish to use Unflavoured. Alternatively, you could buy unflavoured and add LiquiFlav™ drops.
Written by BULK POWDERS™ athlete Alex Brechtl.