November may be best known for Movember but – on top of the moustache growing – it’s also Moovember! This month is dedicated to promoting awareness of the allergies of the protein in cows’ milk.
What is CMPA?
Did you know that Cows' Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) is the most common food allergy amongst children? Affecting up to 7% of infants, it's an immune system response to casein and/or whey (the two proteins in cows' milk).
How does CMPA Differ from Lactose Intolerance?
Whilst CMPA is an immune system response to one, or both, milk proteins, lactose intolerance occurs when people are unable to digest the carbohydrate in milk (milk sugar). Be careful not to confuse the two if you are talking to clients about food allergies and intolerances.
Foods to Recommend to People Allergic to Milk Proteins
If you have clients (or friends) who have CMPA, arm yourself with the knowledge they'll be looking for. These folk won't be able to use milk, dairy products or even whey and casein protein powders. They will need to read food labels very carefully for traces of milk proteins, and be aware that whey and casein are present in many processed and packaged foods bought in the supermarket. Most shops now have a "free from" range, which is great news for anyone with CMPA.
Milk Alternatives for Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition
Here's what you could recommend to people looking for pre and post workout nutrition which is free from whey and casein:
Potato, sweet potato, plain oats (not the instant pots, which often have milk powder), baby rice (most brands are free from milk, but check the label), rice cakes. Most bread, wraps and bagels are usually OK, but advise your client to read the label carefully.
Meat, fish and eggs are a safe bet as they are one-ingredient foods. If your client wants a protein powder, advise them to use a vegan protein powder: brown rice protein, pea protein or hemp protein (or a blend).
Cheats and Treats
Advising a client on a high-carb, low-fat treat meal? Pink Wafer biscuits are free from milk protein and a great source for fast carbohydrates after a big training session. Lots of people like to indulge in boxed breakfast cereal for a carb-up. Many will contain traces of milk proteins, but there are a few which are safe for CMPA: rice cereals, wheats and Weetabix are a good bet (but again, check the label).
There are replacements for cheese, milk, cream and butter, too. Vegan cheese products (like Cheezly and Sheese) use soya, rice or potato starch. Oat milk and cream, cartoned coconut milk, soya milk and nut milks are a great option with cereal, oats and in hot drinks, but don’t forget to advise your client to keep an eye on sugar levels in these products.
Training clients with food allergies can be a great opportunity for Personal Trainers to expand their own knowledge about immune responses, digestive issues and the food industry. You could even develop your own database of recommended foods and brands for clients - a great way to add value to your services.