In my previous post, I discussed how common vices may impact the health of our skin – but what about our daily eating habits? Let’s discuss.
“All disease begins in the gut.”– Hippocrates
Science is becoming more and more aware of this age-old wisdom, and studies have shown that the link between our gut, brain, and skin health is so strong that the term “Gut-Brain-Skin Axis” was coined. In short, if there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria within the gut, mental health is likely to suffer, but our mental state can also have a negative effect on this delicate balance, so whether the “chicken or the egg” came first, no one’s a winner, and our skin can suffer right along with us.
Before the invention of the refrigerator and food preservatives, humanity relied on freshly hunted, picked, or fermented foods for sustenance. In modern times, however, we have grown accustomed to being able to eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We fall into ruts because we like the way certain things taste and we don’t have to think about it too much. These options are usually quick, pre-packaged, and dead. As a society, we simply do not consume enough live, whole foods, and that diversity is what is required for a healthy gut microbiome.
Unless we’re regularly eating fruits, veggies, and kimchi or sauerkraut, it’s likely that our beneficial gut bacteria is not as diverse as it should be. doTERRA PB Assist+ promotes a positive balance and proliferation of beneficial bacteria within the gut. dōTERRA recommends taking one capsule with each meal for ten days to help jumpstart gut health. You may then choose to take one capsule daily after that, as I do, to help maintain a healthy balance of good vs. bad bacteria; this may help support a healthy immune and inflammatory response within the body, boost your mood and promote a healthy complexion. Yes!
But what about foods that could be harmful to our skin if we’re blemish-prone?
There are several theories based on research that indicate many of our blemish woes could be due to the consumption of dairy. Lactose has nothing to do with it, so please don’t think that if you’re not lactose-intolerant that you are safe. This was one of the last puzzle pieces I discovered in my skincare journey because I never suspected dairy as an issue since it has no noticeable effect on my digestion. So, if not lactose, what’s the issue? Answer: other proteins.
Cows produce milk to feed their calves so they can grow big and strong. Proteins within the milk, namely whey and casein, promote the development of growth hormones (and don’t forget the synthetic bovine growth hormones dairy cows are injected with so they can produce more milk, faster) within the calves bodies, and ours too – and whether you’re a child or an adult, the likelihood that you need additional growth hormones is slim to none – we make enough of our own, thank you. Additionally, in the process of digesting these proteins, they release a hormone known as IGF-1 (similar to insulin) which is known to cause breakouts. Eek!
I was never a big fan of milk, but I do love ice cream, and I did use milk in my coffee and over cereal. I have since switched to either almond or coconut milk (my favorite is the unsweetened vanilla flavor). For creamer in my tea (since I no longer drink coffee) I use an unsweetened coconut or almond milk creamer. Be careful of the “dairy-free” creamers on the market, as some of them still contain either whey or casein as a thickening agent – check those labels! Sorbet is a great alternative to ice cream and there are some pretty good vegan cheese-substitutes out there now too, but I usually just skip it.
I noticed such a huge difference in my skin once I had eliminated dairy from my diet. I was very strict for several months, but there are times now when I do indulge a craving, or I’m a guest at someone’s home and there’s cheese on the salad or they’ve ordered pizza. For those times, I am truly thankful for doTERRA TerraZyme. It’s a blend of 10 essential enzymes that help the body properly digest any combination of foods, but the enzyme Protease specifically can help break down proteins such as whey and casein. I tend to take 2-3 capsules anytime I eat a meal that contains meat or wheat, but especially dairy. I feel it significantly reduces my chances of breaking out when I’m unable to avoid the foods that irritate my skin most.
It isn’t any secret that here in the United States we consume way too much sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, which can be found in just about any pre-packaged food or condiment, even if they’re not outwardly sweet (such as bread and crackers), so it’s a good idea to check those labels before purchasing.
Concerning our skin, the main issue is increased insulin production, which often leads to insulin resistance, increasing our risk of serious conditions like PCOS and type 2 diabetes, not just blemishes. Insulin resistance is when our body stops responding appropriately to insulin, which is responsible for moving glucose out of our bloodstream and into our cells so it can be converted into energy by our mitochondrion. The more sugar we consume, the more insulin our pancreas feels the need to make, and the more our cells become numb to or ignore the signals they’re receiving. In an effort to bring insulin levels down, our bodies produce more androgens (another acne inducer), and…you get the idea. It’s a perpetual cycle that must be broken by reducing our sugar intake and supporting our bodies in a way that helps them relearn the appropriate way to respond to the signals they’re being sent.
With a name like “Slim & Sassy” this may seem like an odd choice for someone who used to be clinically underweight, but the beauty of this product is that it helps promote a healthy metabolism and reduce cravings for empty calories and sugar, which in my opinion, everyone can benefit from. I prefer the Slim & Sassy Softgels (I take one softgel before each meal) but the oil is versatile in that you can take internally as well as apply topically (diluted) to troubled areas, and the gum is great to have around for those weak moments when a donut sounds like the. best. idea. ever! I promise you, it’s not.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”– Hippocrates
We should all strive to eat a well-balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins, but the reality of our modern times is that no matter how hard we try, it’s unlikely that we can diversify our diets enough to get the nutrition required to feel our very best. That’s why I love dōTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack (LLVP). It contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants that we may not be getting from our daily diets. Once I started taking the LLVP religiously for about a month, I noticed a significant reduction in my joint discomfort, the texture of my skin improved, I found it easier to fall asleep, and therefore my energy and mood improved as well. Winning!
My skin still isn’t perfect, because healing is a journey, but it has improved so much since implementing these practices. Please keep in mind that we are all special snowflakes, so what bothers my skin may not bother yours, and vice-versa. But, if you’ve tried everything else without success, and if my suggestions make sense to you, they may prove helpful.
I’ll be addressing external skincare in future blog posts – enjoy our other great bloggers’ insights in the meantime, and I’ll see you later!
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