I’ve had problematic skin for a while now, whilst it isn’t severe enough to be called acne it is a nuisance. I’ve tried many things and they seem to be working, but it is an ongoing process. This series will set out what I’ve done and how you can do the same. The things suggested in the following post will seek to address the root of your skin problems. There are many remedies to use, from medicine to lotions that promise clear skin but they merely mask the symptoms. Find the root cause and heal it.
What Not to Eat
Gluten/grains – I love my carbs from pasta to rice and being tall and tight with my money they fuel me on a budget. The sad
fact is that when you eat a wheat based carbohydrate it causes damage to the small intestine (take a look at my previous post on gut health). When you eat any type of carb it creates blood glucose, the body then releases insulin to tackle this, stimulating the production of insulin-like growth factor-I, this stimulates the production of sebum and we’ve all heard about this bastard. Your cells can become insulin resistant, insulin is important for many bodily processes including how you use glucose. When you become resistant to insulin your pancreas creates more insulin to get the required effect, until it can’t supply the adequate amount for the demand – that’s when your blood sugar rises – high blood sugar = inflammation – which contributes to acne and other immune problems.
Ergo, reduce your grain intake and keep your blood sugar low, reduce your acne – in theory. You can get your carb requirements out of fruit and veg and unlike the carbs supplied by grains you also get a lot more vitamins, mineral, phytonutrients (good stuff). However, that being said, be cautious when eating fruit and sweet veg (think carrots, sweet potatoes and peppers) as these can also cause blood sugar to spike. Also while we’re here anyone who loves juicing be careful – try not juice sweet things, juicing means there is no fibre, so sugars cannot be slowly released with fibre, it’s hitting your system hard and will spike your blood sugar. Also try mono juicing – just juicing one type of veg at a time. When you juice two types of veg (a carrot and an apple for example) the different pH values of the digestive enzymes means that they effectively attach each other and you’re left with a nicely coloured sugary drink.
Milk – milk contains a lot of sugar and hormones, these things are needed for baby cows to help them grow quickly, alas we
are not baby cows. The sugar and hormones contained in the milk is doing us no good. Also cows are fed all kinds of rubbish to increase their yield, and yup this stuff finds its way into the milk that we pour down our throats. And we wonder why men have breasts and girls are starting puberty earlier than ever (three years of age if you can believe the Daily Mail – you can’t, so don’t). It’s estimated that even in your organic and bovine growth hormone free milk there is over 60 hormones in it.
Milk causes blood sugars to rise and helps create sebum, high blood sugar + sebum = sad and bad times.
If you’re struggling to cut it try goats milk – unhomogenised, homogenised basically means that the milk has been forced through a sieve to break down the fats to make them more digestible (hence why we don’t get a build-up of cream on top of the milk anymore L anyone remember the foil lids?). Sounds nice and cute but this is actually creating a problem, people who were previously okay to digest milk now have problems, before the fats and sugars couldn’t be digested and just passed through the system, now that they have effectively been broken down it’s getting digested and boom – making people intolerant.
The Nightshade Family – potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco, all types of peppers (excluding black pepper) and aubergine (eggplant) belong to this family, and while I’ve had limited success cutting grains and dairy, cutting this shower of bastards has led to a huge difference in my skin. I’d already worked out that tomatoes were a trigger and everything was going fine, until I turned vegetarian. I couldn’t work out what had gone wrong. Until I stumbled across an article that blacklisted these foods and I realised I’d be going hard with the aubergine. These plants contain glycoalkaloids which basically protect the plants from pests by killing them. These are concentrated in the leaves and stems of the plant but there is also smaller concentrations in the fruit/veg themselves, particularly in the skin. Glycoalkaloids are not usually a problem, however, if your digestive system is compromised, then it’s going to have troubles with these plants, the cell lining can begin to be attacked and leaky gut can ensue, they also promote inflammation. I cannot stress enough how important your gut is for clear skin! Cut them out, and if you can’t live without them (missing tomatoes big time) slowly reintroduce them. Things that might catch you out – potato starch is in a lot of things from the sticky bit of an envelope to many readymade sauces. Also potato = vodka, sorry to blow that one out of the water as we are approaching the weekend.
Sugary Shit – Coke, Redbull, sweets, doughnuts – whatever your addiction – sort it. These contain a pile of nasty chemicals, most of which we don’t know the long-term implications for consuming them. Also can you even trust the companies who label the products? What really is in our food? Coke (and most drinks) contain aspartame – a chemical which basically excites brain cells till they burst. This is your only body, respect yourself, why are you giving your taste buds a higher preference over your liver which has to deal with all the junk you eat? Listen to your body – if you have acne it is clearly saying that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
What to Eat
More good fats – coconut oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds. Omega 3,6 and 9 play a huge role in our bodies, one of
those roles is skin maintenance. If you are lacking in fats it will have a knock on effect on skin – particularly if you’re short on linoleic acid, which goes hand in hand with acne. You can find this in nuts and seeds (please soak before you eat them – article on this coming). If you go to the bathroom and after you’re finished ‘stuff’ floats (sorry to be vulgar) then you could have a problem utilising your fats – take chromium, a deficiency in which is common, it basically helps you metabolise and store fats effectively. Eating as clean as possible is only going to benefit your skin, try eating only organic food or as much as you can – this is going to reduce the toxic load on your body and reduce the toxins that your liver has to process.
Foods containing Pantothenic Acid and L-Carnitine – Pantothenic Acid (B5) also helps with fats. Studies indicate upping your dose of this can help with acne, either through supplementation or eating foods that have high levels – shiitake mushrooms, avocadoes, eggs, sunflower seeds, sweet potato (to name a few). L-Carnitine transports the fats around the body this combined with B5 has had noted success rates ‘in reducing or eliminating acne. An added advantage is a good cosmetic result with smaller pore size and smoother skin. The vitamins are safe with no adverse side effects noted.’ A good brand for supplements is Viridian – the ingredients are non-GM, non-irradiated and nothing artificial.
Hopefully I’ve given you some new ideas and methods to help you on your way to beautiful and clear skin!
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As usual you are responsible for your own health, I am no expert in this field.