March 8, 2023
Vegan Olympian Dotsie Bausch on Empowering the Next Athlete Leaders
Dotsie Bausch, vegan olympian, Switch4Good Founder, and animal lover-activist, takes us for a ride in her cruelty (and dairy!) free life.
Meet Dotsie! She is the epitome of achieving impactful goals - no matter what age you are! From winning her first silver medal in the 2012 Olympics in London women's track cycling at the age of 40 to saving lives by educating us about dairy’s effect on our health, animals, and the planet in the Switch4Good podcast. Ride along as she shares her vegan adventure in this blog.
What made you go vegan? How long have you been vegan?
I went vegan in 2010 after coming to the full realization of what it means to eat animal-based foods. A friend sent me a horrifying video of a slaughterhouse and that tumbled me down the research rabbit hole. Once I realized atrocity was the norm when it came to animals raised for food, I decided I no longer wanted to contribute to this system of abuse.
Dotsie giving her adopted rescue dog Chula some love! | Photo from IG @veganolympian
What vegan success looks like. | Photo by Dotsie Bausch
What do you typically eat on any given day? What do you have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I like a savory breakfast—I’m not really into sweet things at all. In the morning I’ll make a tofu scramble with veggies if I have time, but lately, I’ve gravitated to the ease of using JUST egg. I’ll have that with a cup of coffee with a splash of Silk vanilla creamer. Lunch and dinner are iterations of the same concept: greens, grains, beans, nuts, or seeds—all drizzled with a yummy sauce like tahini in a big bowl. I call it my trough bowl.
During your professional cycling career, did a plant-based diet properly fuel your performance?
Definitely. I had been competing professionally for about ten years before adopting a plant-based diet, but when I finally did (3 years before the 2012 Olympics), it felt like rocket fuel. I was more energized and able to recover from workouts so much faster than ever before. As the oldest person on the podium in my sport, that recovery factor really helped me pursue and earn a spot on the Olympic team.
Dotsie in the most-fulfilling ride of her life. | Photo by Dotsie Bausch
Empowered and Plant-powered athlete | Photo by Dotsie Bausch
What advice would you give someone who is considering switching to a vegan diet?
Know yourself. If you’re an all-in person, go ahead and do it overnight, but if that is too intimidating to you, take it in more manageable steps. You don’t have to give up animal foods all at once, just start incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet and eventually they’ll make up your entire plate!
What has been your biggest personal triumph? What are you most proud of?
I am super proud to be working in a way that will make a difference for good. An Olympic silver medal is definitely up there, but that doesn’t save lives. The work we do at Switch4Good is saving the lives of animals, humans, and the planet. It’s creating a better world to live in on so many levels, and I’m so proud to be a part of that.
Educating people on the benefits of living dairy-free,
one episode at a time!
Dismantling how dairy can affect athletic performance and recovery Photo by Dotsie Bausch
What inspired you to start Switch4Good –– please share your journey!
The deliberate misinformation spread by the dairy industry has always frustrated me since I learned the truth. Most people think dairy does a body good, but the truth is the exact opposite. Human or animal, the only body that thrives off cow’s milk is a baby cow. I saw a milk commercial while watching the 2018 Winter Olympics that made my skin crawl. It stated that 9 out of 10 Olympians grew up drinking milk. Well, 10 out of 10 Olympic athletes also grew up drinking water, but that’s not what got them to the Olympics. I quickly brought together five other dairy-free Olympians and Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos to create our own Olympian-driven commercial that aired on NBC. I thought that would be it, but my need to reveal the truth about the dairy industry wasn’t satisfied, and I believed I could do more. That spring of 2018, Switch4Good was formed.
Why is dairy bad for your health? How can it affect an athlete's performance?
Dairy is detrimental to health for a number of reasons, but in specific regards to performance, it can inhibit recovery, increase mucus production and restrict airways, and make athletes—particularly those who are lactose intolerant—sick. Several components that make up dairy—such as IGF1 and Neu5gc—make dairy a highly inflammatory food. Athletes experience enough inflammation as it is through intense exercise—the last thing they need is more inflammation. No matter how much grit you have, if you’re inflamed and not properly recovered, you can’t perform at your best. Athletes who consume dairy aren’t competing at their full potential.
Thank you, Dotsie! We just have to ask - which fashion items make you feel the most empowered and confident?
A fab pair of cutoff jeans and a baseball hat :-)