During the month of September, plus some (45 days), I gave up convenient whey protein in order to evaluate my daily nutrition, digestion, and total health. A lot of people suffer from food allergies and don’t even realize it.

Dairy, peanuts, eggs, seafood/shellfish, and tree nuts are among the most common foods allergies amongst adults; eggs, dairy, peanuts, soy, and wheat are the most common in children. I personally don’t have any extreme EpiPen like allergies to these foods, but I do have slight intolerances to certain foods that don’t make me feel good.

Intolerance symptoms include gas, bloating, stuffy nose and general abdominal discomfort.

Four years ago, I gave up drinking beer because it gave me sinus pressure, a stuffy nose, and a foggy mind. Two years ago, I began peeling the skin off of all apples and potatoes because of stomach cramps.

Recently, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, whey protein was doing the same thing but also making me super tired. In an effort to figure out what was going on, I removed it from my daily nutrition to evaluate.

Short and sweet, this is what I learned within the first ten days:

- I was ingesting approximately 30-35% of my daily protein intake synthetically, which is not good. Supplements are meant to supplement healthy real nutrition, not to be a foundation.

- My energy levels skyrocketed. Leaving out powdered protein in my shake seemed to be the trick for me. No more desire for midday naps and my productivity dramatically increased.

- My joints started feeling better.

- Mentally, I felt clearer, no more midday fog.

After 25 days I still felt great, but I wanted to figure out if I could reintroduce whey protein back into my diet; so I took a meal timing approach to further evaluate.

Could I eat it before my training?

What about after?

Could I eat it anytime during the day?

What about on training vs. non-training days?

Would it be better to eat at night?

For the next 20 days, every few days, I’d try a different timing method and slowly reintroduce whey protein powder and Quest Bars back into my nutrition.

I found that the most beneficial timing methods for me were 30 or so minutes prior to my training or as a dessert after dinner.

Prior to training I’d mix up my daily go-to shake (mixed greens, carrots, beets, banana, almond butter, blueberries, water) and dump in a scoop of whey, slug it back and get out the door to the gym. By the time I got to the gym and hit my active work up, my body was ready for action instead of sleep. Exercise stimulation is king.

At night was good too since I’ve come to know that it’s in fact a sleep aide for me. I’d throw down a cookies n’ cream Quest Bar or a vanilla blueberry shake for dessert.

Going forward, I know a lot more about my body, how it operates, what it likes, what it doesn’t like, and how and when I feel my absolute best.

Whey protein won’t so much become a thing of the past to me, as I only plan to use it at necessary times, like if I’m having trouble getting in enough calories throughout the day - I’ll most likely use the after dinner method as a supplement to supplement my already good, real food intake.

*If you experience anything of the like or notice a food doesn’t make you feel good, I’d suggest a rotation diet. This requires removing the most common allergen foods from your daily nutrition for 6-8 weeks, keeping a journal, and then reintroducing the food(s) into your nutrition to reevaluate. If problems reappear, you’ll know to exclude the foods for good.

Dedicated to your health,

Carmen

PS: Here’s a great article and resource from Precision Nutrition on this same subject, “self-experimentation” http://www.precisionnutrition.com/berardi-interview

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