Treating inflamed and congested skin can sometimes be frustrating. In my 10 years as a licensed skin therapist I have healed some of the worst cases of cystic acne, eczema, & sensitization. External professional treatments are always helpful, they help to regulate sebum production, kill bacteria, smooth out scarring & post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation, & relieve itching and irritation. The same principles apply for at-home regimen.
Why does what I eat it matter?
Here's the deal. Years ago I received my certification as a nutritional counselor so I could guide my clients on how to achieve overall skin health. As much as I didn't want to admit it, early on in my career I realized that your level of skin health has a direct correlation to your diet. Drink lot's of wine? You may experience tiny bumps underneath the surface of the skin, very red and irritated throughout the chin, jaw, & cheek area. Are you a lover of rich creamy foods, pustules and under surface congestion is likely smack dab in the middle of your forehead or right between your eyes. The list goes on.
Are you a baby cow? Nope! If you are, I'm impressed that you can read and scroll. If not, you shouldn't be drinking cow's milk and/or eating dairy. I wrote an article for our client new letters back in 2012. With several clients complaining that they HAD to continue eating dairy because they needed the vitamin D. Here was my rebuttal:
Vitamin D can be found in abundance in fortified foods like orange juice and cereal. Vitamin D is found naturally in the flesh of fatty fish, in addition to weakening your bones, dairy can cause digestive disorders and allergies. Most adults are unable to properly digest milk sugar (lactose). The enzymes needed to digest lactose typically phase out of the human body around age seven, when they would no longer be needed in nature. Your body responds to undigested lactose with mucous and inflammation.
Excess mucous in your system will clog up your digestive and respiratory tracts. The common results are frequent colds, asthma, allergies, sinus problems, tumors, cysts, constipation, colon trouble, Candidiasis, and excess weight. People suffering from these conditions often experience a “miraculous” recovery when they eliminate dairy from their diet or find a healthy milk substitute.
Eating dairy products also contributes to an acidic condition in your body. An acidic body is the perfect environment for a wide variety of diseases. Regular dairy consumption has been linked to each of the following diseases:
- Low Immune
- Ear infections
- Heart Disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Breast, prostate and ovarian cancers
- Sinus infections
I can't have gluten either?
The short answer is NO. Here's why. Gluten is toxic, it is a protein in wheat that is very hard for the body to break it down when consumed. You don't have to have a severe response such as Celiac's disease to have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. If you experience persistent acne, including cystic, bloating, the runs, abdominal cramping, then BABY YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY. You gotta start listening to your body, it's trying to speak to you & tell you what it needs to thrive. Those symptoms mean that your small intestines are having an inflammatory response when you consume it. In addition to the above symptoms, gluten consumption can cause headaches, brain fog, depression & joint weakness. If this isn't enough to either stop completely in your gluten consumption or cut it WAY WAY down, then let's just chat about what it does to your skin...
Gluten alters the integrity of the gut, creating cracks in the gut lining that allow toxins to recirculate back into the system. Because gluten-sensitive people (most people) cannot properly digest gluten, these large molecules enter the bloodstream, and the immune system recognizes them as invaders, activating an immune response that increases inflammation, this in turn can result in acne. This kind of immune response also triggers the release of insulin, which results in raised hormone levels, another cause of acne.
The Sugar Trap
When you ingest sugar, your body breaks these Carbs into glucose which raises your insulin level. Simple Carbs like refined sugar, white bread, soda, juice, candy, & cookies etc. cause your insulin levels to spike which leads to a BURST OF INFLAMMATION throughout your entire body.
Inflammation causes both acne & rosacea flair ups, it produces enzymes that break down collagen & elastin. Not to mention, the more sugar you eat, you'll develop insulin resistance which can manifest
into excess hair growth on the face. You could also experience dark patches on your neck and body." This is a lot I know, but if you take anything away from this, know that simple Carbs are both your skin & body's worst enemy, simple Carbs are considered "pro-inflammatory": Cookies, pastries, white bread, fired food, candy, ice cream, fruit juice, soda, all packaged snacks.
So what you're saying is, I CAN'T EAT ANYTHING...
No Silly, there's plenty of delicious foods you can eat! Check out some
1. Dairy-Free Milk
Even if you're not a big milk drinker, you may be accustomed to adding milk to drinks, cereal or sauces. Many recipes call for milk. Depending on the extent of your lactose intolerance, you may want to eliminate milk from your diet completely.
If you are in the habit of drinking milk and are looking for a replacement, look for milk drinks made from rice, soy, almonds, oats or hemp seeds. To make sure you are receiving the calcium in regular milk, look for calcium-fortified products. You can find a variety of flavors, such as vanilla rice milk or chocolate almond milk.
2. Dairy-Free Cheese
For cheese lovers, being lactose intolerant can be a challenge. You have many cheese substitutes from which to choose. Many grocery stores and most health food stores carry cheese made from rice, soy, almonds and hemp. The flavors are generally labeled to resemble what you may already be used to. For example, you can find cheddar cheese made from rice. Soy cheese is available in cheddar, provolone and mozzarella.
When you buy these alternative cheeses, be sure to read the ingredient labels. Some contain casein, which is a milk protein that causes issues for some people who are lactose intolerant. For some people whose lactose intolerance is not extreme, cheeses made from sheep's milk or goat's milk may also be an option. Goat cheese or feta cheese made from sheep's milk tend to cause fewer problems for some people.
3. Dairy-Free Butter
Dairy-free butter options are useful for spreading on toast, baking and mixing into recipes. Look for dairy-free butter and margarine made from coconut oil. Ghee is also an option. It's a form of butter that is free of casein and lactose.
4. Dairy-Free Yogurt
Yogurt is usually a good low-calorie dessert. In the case of some people with lactose intolerance, yogurt is not problematic. However, if it causes problems for you, you don't have to give up this dessert option because yogurt comes in dairy-free varieties. Many health food stores sell yogurt made from rice or soy. In some cases, you will find these yogurt options with added fruit flavors. You will also find dairy-free yogurts in a plain flavor, which is particularly useful for Mediterranean diets that use plain yogurt as a side dish.
5. Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Ice cream can be one of the more difficult milk products to give up. However, you have access to milk-free varieties made from soy, rice, hemp and almonds. Sherbet is also an option because it usually doesn't contain milk.
Try Ripple! Plant-Base dairy free milk that contains 8g Protein per serving. Half the sugar of Milk, 50% more calcium than milk. Nut Free, Gluten Free, 100% Free. Almond & Soy milk are also dairy alternative. *Note-soy milk has been linked to causing hormone imbalances in some.
7.Beans,Seeds and Nuts
Beans, nuts and seeds are also good sources of calcium, though not as good as soy products and leafy green vegetables. If you grab a handful of almonds as an afternoon snack, you'll get 188 mg for a half cup. Trading in your peanut butter for almond butter will give you 86 mg in two tbsp.
Collards, kale, mustard greens and turnip greens all are excellent sources of calcium
Many vegetables are calcium powerhouses. People who eat several servings of vegetables per day may not realize that they're getting as much calcium as they are. For example, a cup of broccoli has 94 mg. Turnip greens are also impressive, with 249 mg per cup. Cooked kale and okra both have around 179 mg per cup.
Living Without Milk...…is not as hard as you might think, especially with a good milk substitute. If you choose to take a break from dairy as part of your detox diet plan, you’ll get a chance to try it out. Your body will still need plenty of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.The good news is that these nutrients are readily available in healthy, detoxifying whole foods. Dark leafy greens not only provide lots of calcium but many of the other micro-nutrients needed for building healthy bones, as well. Sesame seeds and tahini are exceptionally high in calcium. Seaweeds, quinoa, raw almonds and beans are other plant based sources of calcium and the nutrients that support its assimilation. Eating these foods on a regular basis during your detox will help reduce dairy cravings by giving your body the nutrients it truly needs.
Replacing your dairy habits with a healthy milk substitute is another important aspect of living without dairy.
Milk Substitutes: Nut milks, rice milk and hemp milk provide a healthful milk substitute that you can purchase at the store or make at home. Check out: http://www.barefruitsoul.com/ For additional alternatives & recipes.
The above milks can be used in place of cow milk for cereals, beverages, and baking. You can use coconut milk for baking if there’s a need for a thick and creamy milk substitute or to replace heavy cream in recipes.
Avoid using soy milk (and its by products). Soy products are the most popular dairy substitutes on the market and the least healthy. Soy is only healthy when it is traditionally prepared and fermented. Modern processed soy products are linked to hormonal issues including hormonal cancers, PMS and menopause complications.
Cheese Substitute -Cheese is the hardest dairy product for most people to give up. It’s easy to fall in love with its gooey, sticky, fatty, creamy texture. Unfortunately what is delicious in your mouth is not always good for your gut. The sticky "gooiness" of cheese increases the mucous forming effect of the dairy. Natural dopamines are released in your system when you eat cheese, making it physically addictive.
The good news:
is that once you get over it, you’ll never miss it. You’d be surprised how you can live without cheese. Burritos are just as good without it. Pile on the avocado, beans, salsa and veggies. If you get a pizza just ask them to load it up with veggies and sauce.
My advice start with a 1 item and begin the elimination process from there. Look up fun & easy meals you can prepare. Begin to detox your body, I'd recommend Turn Up Tonic Herbal Remedy to get you started. Like any new journey, be patient with the adjustment, & your reward will be healthier skin, body, & mind.