January 30, 2014

5 Steps to Clear Skin & Why Nutrition is Everything. ~ Sarah Clark

My destiny was set when I was born—or so it seemed.

When my mom looked upon my new born face, to her horror she saw pimples on my chin.

Now, every mother thinks her newborn is a beauty, and although she says I was, she couldn’t help but focus on those little pimples. You see, she had suffered with rosacea for years and dreamed of a clear complexion for her daughter.

Well, it seemed that her dream would come true, for a while.

During my teens I barely had a pimple. I never even thought about my complexion. While many of my friends struggled with teenage acne, I barely had a zit. Then, suddenly in my early twenties I developed adult acne. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, and while my acne was not severe, it made me self conscious. Like everyone, I was staring at my blemishes.

Fast forward, twenty years, (because it took me that long to figure it out), it turns out I had food allergies.

The underlying cause of my adult acne was a food allergy to gluten, dairy, corn and chocolate. This caused an overgrowth of yeast in my system and lead to many health conditions such as chronic bladder, sinus and yeast infections.

I spent loads of money on cleaners and creams with the hope I would wake up one day with blemish free skin. But we don’t need to wait; clear skin can be ours today. 

Here are five tips for clear skin:

1. Determine if you have food allergies. The top food allergens are wheat, dairy, corn, citrus, eggs and chocolate. Try an elimination diet and see if your acne improves.

2. Dairy is often an allergy that aggravates acne. The Nurses Health II study was established in 1989 and followed 47,000 women. The women were asked about daily consumption of dairy when they were teens, particularly about the milk they drank.

They discovered that women, who drank more than three servings of milk per day, were twenty-two percent more likely to have to severe acne as teenagers. Those that drank skim milk were 44 percent more likely to have had severe acne as teenagers. When milk is filled with hormones and antibiotics, it begs the question: does it really do a body good? The decision is yours. My favorite non dairy alternative is almond milk.

3. Give up the processed foods. Yes, that’s right, no more eating food with ingredients that can’t be pronounced. If it has a health claim or comes from a box, don’t eat it. Opt for whole foods instead, such as fruits, veggies and whole grains. These are packed with inflammation fighting ingredients and antioxidants. As Michael Pollan says, don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.

4. Cut out the processed sugar and high glycemic load foods. These spike our blood sugar and drive up insulin, which contributes to acne. Time to eliminate the refined carbohydrates such as breads, muffins, crackers, cookies and pancakes (just to name a few). I know when I eat processed sugar, it causes my Candida to flare up (sugar is fuel for Candida) and out pop the blemishes.

5. Consume Omega 3 fatty acids in, foods such as wild salmon, ground flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed or oil, walnuts. These help to reduce inflammation. I toss hemp hearts and/or ground flax seeds and walnuts on my morning gluten free porridge or in my smoothie.

I have now returned to the glowing skin of my youth—albeit with a few more laugh lines. If I indulge in the foods that I am allergic to, the acne returns and this helps me stay the course.

So, is our food healing or harming us? The solution to clear skin is not in a bottle; it’s in our refrigerators.

We are what we eat, so what are we putting in our bodies?


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Assistant Editor: Kathryn Ashworth/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: elephant journal archives

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