So in my last post I spoke candidly about my battle with acne for most of my teenage years and how failed treatment after treatment led to me taking personal charge of my skin care needs by undertaking research on my skin’s particular concerns.
To see first-hand how my research driven findings on my skin delivered such excellent results that has kept me acne free for well over a decade (16 years to be precise) really empowered me going forward to take all things skincare very seriously.
Following on from that season of my life, quite naturally I have become very passionate about all things skin care and to this day I continue my research on what is best for my skin based on my skins needs with every passing age and seasonal weather changes .
Everything had been going really well with my skin but earlier this year, I was compelled to undertake a complete overhaul of my diet by looking critically at what I was actually putting into my body. I did this because I noticed that my skin was becoming super oily. Also I noticed that despite eating what I thought was 'healthy' food, my energy levels were waning. It took a conversation with a friend of mine who is a nutritionist to cause me to look critically at what I was actually putting into my body.
Following on from that conversation, I did some personal research into the kinds of food that was good for my skin specifically and my overall health and well-being in general. I have learnt so much about food in the last couple of months and implemented massive changes to my diet with proven results that are visible on my skin. In this post I will share some insights on what I have been doing to gain traction as far as my skin and overall health and well-being is concerned.
My philosophy concerning food has completely changed. I have come to realise experientially that when it comes to what we feed our bodies, the taste of the food we eat or the quantity of food we eat should NOT be the leading or deciding factor when it comes to our choice of meals BUT most importantly we need to look critically at the nutrients that the foods we feed our bodies contain. That’s where the SECRET lies.
Have you noticed how you can eat a pile high plate of food but just a few hours later it feels as though you have not eaten anything and your body is screaming to be fed AGAIN? This is because it doesn’t matter how much food you feed your body, if that food is lacking in the essential nutrients that your body needs to function at it's optimum best, your body will be screaming for more food regardless of what you feed it.
Thank God for wisdom. Now that I know better my aim is to do better when it comes to what I eat. Eating healthy should be embraced as a lifestyle for everyone as it's important for longevity in general and for your skin's vitality. Eating healthy should not only be embraced as a means of weight control. It's a great disservice to reduce healthy eating only as a means of weight control.
The saying that you are what you eat is really true. If you have noticed that your skin is breaking out with acne or if despite using oil-free makeup and cleaning your makeup brushes diligently your skin is STILL breaking out, it's time to check what you eat. Please don't shelve out a ton of money just to buy expensive face creams and skin lotions to deal with skin blemishes and imperfections without first looking CRITICALLY at what you eat. Some of these 'expensive' skin lotions make all kinds of claims and in 'some' cases fail to either deliver or make you eternally dependent on them. You are better off spending that money on eating healthy.
Did you know that salty or sugary foods can show up on your skin in the form of fine lines or puffiness?
Or did you know that many diary products notably milk(even organic milk) contains a hormone called IGF-1 which sends a signal to your skin cells to produce more sebum which results in your skin looking so oily and greasy?
That's why I have cut out milk from my diet altogether. Instead I substitute it with plant-based ALMOND MILK pictured below.
Also filing up on the right kinds of greens, healthy fats, and vitamin-rich fruits can deliver to your skin a healthy, youthful and glowing radiance.
I refer to my approach to what I eat as ‘The Good Skin Care Diet’. It was informed in part by an ASTONISHING discovery which I made whilst reading the Book of Daniel in the Bible. The first chapter of that book has some mind blowing insights on the kinds of food that deliver excellent results to our skin.
Here is a brief account of what I read that COMPLETELY revolutionised what I eat.
The Book of Daniel opens up with an account of when the people of Israel were carried off into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon when he declared war on Jerusalem and besieged the city during the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah.
Following the carrying away of the children of Israel into captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar,
3-5 The king told Ashpenaz, head of the palace staff, to get some Israelites from the royal family and nobility—young men who were healthy and handsome, intelligent and well-educated, good prospects for leadership positions in the government, perfect specimens! —and indoctrinate them in the Babylonian language and the lore of magic and fortune telling. The king then ordered that they be served from the same menu as the royal table—the best food, the finest wine. After three years of training they would be given positions in the king’s court.
6-7 Four young men from Judah—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—were among those selected. The head of the palace staff gave them Babylonian names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach, Azariah was named Abednego.
8-10 But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God’s grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, “I’m afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he’ll have my head!”
11-13 But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.”
14-16 The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables.
17-19 God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. At the end of the time set by the king for their training, the head of the royal staff brought them in to Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, he found them far superior to all the other young men. None were a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
19-20 And so they took their place in the king’s service. Whenever the king consulted them on anything, on books or on life, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom put together.
Daniel 1:3-20(The Message Bible)
So you can see from the account above how shunning a ‘royal diet’ of sumptuous food and rather choosing to embrace a diet of vegetables and water for just 10 days caused Daniel and his friends to look better and more robust than their colleagues who were on the ‘royal menu’.
Verse 15 says ‘At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu’’
It’s this scripture that has for the most part informed my approach to what I call ‘The Good Skin Diet’’ coupled with some other research findings which I will share below.
Let’s now look specifically at the kinds of foods that we should fill our plates with if we are committed to maintaining good skin and improving our overall health and wellness.
Fill Your Plate With…
Foods with ‘healthy fats’ (a.k.a omega-3 fatty acids) such as avocados, chai seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and wild salmon are anti-inflammatory. This means that eating them helps halt the breakdown of collagen which is a skin-firming protein responsible for your skin looking healthy and naturally plump. This in turn prevents fine lines.
You should aim to have at least two servings of fish a week (salmon is the best source of omega 3-s). Mackerel, herring and tuna are also sources of omega 3-s. Egg yolks also contain omega 3-s.
If you are not a seafood fan, don’t you worry. You can eat a snack with healthy fat such as a handful of walnuts daily (unless you have a nut allergy in which case you will have to avoid eating any form of nuts). In that case chai seeds, flax seeds and natto’s will do the job equally as well.
*Natto’s are a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis.
Vitamins A and C in particular counter skin-damaging free-radicals in our bodies but that’s not all.
Vitamin A (which is found in butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes) can help reduce inflammation and encourage cell turnover, thereby reducing your risk of skin breakouts.
Depending on ones age and physical condition, the amount of Vitamin A and C that needs to be taken varies.
Consider slicing kiwi into your yogurt for breakfast. One whole kiwi fruit delivers 100 percent of most people’s daily value of vitamin C. As for Vitamin A, try half a cup of cantaloupe melon a day.
Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and spinach contain a phytonutrient called sulforaphane which can stimulate liver detoxification of hormones. This process helps eliminate excess storage of the hormone oestrogen which may lead to blemishes.
If you can aim for a salad the size of two open hands containing the aforementioned veggies every day, that will be excellent!!! If the monotony of eating them every day wears on you, steam them, blend them and toss them into a smoothie; the ground greenery will add thickness if not flavour plus it is so yummy too.
Eating lean meat from grass-fed animals, organic chicken, and wild-fish helps stabilize blood sugar levels by combating insulin spikes that jump-start inflammation.
The more inflammation in your body, the more prone you will be to acne and collagen loss. Loss of collagen is what causes your skin to loose it’s plump and supple look.
Though the amount of lean protein your body needs varies based on your weight, health goals and physical condition, it is recommended that you aim to get 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories from protein. You can incorporate protein shakes, but try not to offset the good you’re doing with a sugary or too-rich dairy base.
Do also definitely go green by drinking lots and lots of green smoothies every morning. I tend to blend kale, cucumber, green apples, celery in almond milk and it’s so good for your skin. Leafy vegetables also stimulate detoxification prompting that make-up free glow. Carrots, orange, pineapple, ginger and tumeric also make a vibrant orange smoothie when blended together.
In my next post where I will continue this conversation on ‘The Good Skin Diet’, I will talk specifically about which foods to avoid completely or eat in moderation to avoid breakouts and blemishes.
Until then…thank you so much for taking the time to read my article. I hope it encourages you to also incorporate some of the foods mentioned above into your diet. Just try it for the next 10 days like Daniel did in the Bible and you just stand back and watch in amazement the visible difference and results that will appear on your skin.
Cheers to healthy eating!!!
Lots of love,
*Research credit: InStyle USA August 2016 issue
*Special thanks & gratitude to 'Love Life Food Inc' for providing me with some of the pictures that were used in this post (www.loveandfoodinc.com)