For decades, dairy ads have captured the American audience by pulling at their emotions. These commercials aim to evoke a sentiment of family, love, and nourishment, combined with a sense of strength and grit presented by the athlete-driven campaigns. During the 2018 Winter Olympic trials, one particular commercial roused very strong emotions within Dotsie Bausch, an Olympian herself. However, what she felt was far from sentiment—it was shock and anger.
Appalled, Bausch watched from her living room couch as the ad declared “9 out of 10 Olympians grew up drinking milk,” as if cow’s milk played a decisive factor in these athletes’ success. She earned a silver medal in the 2012 Games and was already frustrated by dairy’s infiltration of Team USA. This was the last straw. She felt she could no longer stand by as the industry pushed its products on athletes at national training centers or used these athletes’ platforms to sell dairy to the American public by way of lucrative athlete sponsorships.
Bausch sprung into action. She gathered together a crew—helmed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Louis Psihoyos—plus five other dairy-free Olympians. This passionate group would film their own commercial in response to the misguided pro-dairy ad.
This revolutionary commercial—which featured these six incredible athletes proudly declaring they had “made the Switch4Good” to improve their athletic performance—aired during both the 2018 Winter Olympic Closing Ceremonies and the pre-and-post-show Oscars. Fueled by the positive responses of other dairy-free athletes around the world, this tiny team of elite athletes blossomed into a full-blown, women-led, nonprofit organization. Now over 400 athletes and medical experts strong, Switch4Good represents not only the elite, but the everyday athlete who just wants to live their best life.
At Switch4Good, everyone is welcome to the team, whether they’ve been dairy-free for years or are simply curious about what it means to ditch cows’ milk. The goal is to provide a community and a platform for people to share their dairy-free stories and help motivate those who have not yet made the switch, knowing we are right here beside them the whole time. Everyone who is a part of our community comes from different skill levels (some of us have won Olympic medals whilst others are training for their first 5K), different sports affiliations, different backgrounds, and different paces of life, but we can all come together under our common bond: to live better and do more. Going dairy-free is how it all starts.
Why We Care So Much
We believe in the power of the team. We also believe that a team can only be as strong as its weakest player. We know that cow’s milk is not a health food, and we have seen and suffered from the detrimental effects dairy foods have on our bodies. We have done our research and consulted with medical experts, read the studies, and experienced the dramatic improvements in overall health and performance once we made the Switch4Good. We want everyone on our team to experience this radical and uplifting shift—we cannot excel as a team if others are dragging behind.
Cow’s milk and other dairy foods have been linked to obesity, hormone-dependent cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Beyond these life-threatening illnesses, 65 percent of the global population is lactose intolerant, meaning their bodies cannot properly digest the lactose present in dairy. This results in bloating and other digestive issues, ranging in intensity from severe to mild discomfort. Further, cow’s milk has been shown to inhibit recovery in athletes, therefore decreasing their capabilities and overall performance. And yet, dairy is constantly touted as a health food for growing children, healthy adults, and aspiring athletes—effectively limiting their full potential while promising the exact opposite. Cow’s milk is not a health food unless you’re a baby cow.
Everyone has the ability to live better and do more, but dairy is not the answer. We want to live in a thriving, healthy, and prosperous community (or team), and while achievement takes effort on the individual’s part, the easiest barrier to overcome is by going dairy-free.