By Laura M. Howell
New Year, New Goals. New years can bring up many feelings, good and bad. Even if you're someone who is unlikely to set concrete "do-or-die" resolutions you probably decided to spend extra time in the new year focused on a few areas of your life that you wanted to improve on in 2018. As a personal trainer, asking my clients about their New Years resolutions is a natural question. I start asking a few weeks leading up to the calendar change. It's always interesting the responses I get. A few examples of resolutions from this year were: "exercise even when I don't see you (no trainer)' or 'clean-up my diet' and my favorite 'stop being so hard on myself." All good changes and all changes that will have positive effects on my clients inner and outer health, win-win. Listening to my clients and their positive affirmations helped get me prepared to take on my goal for 2018: get control of my acne. The only route I had not surrendered to was to change my diet. So, with much resistance I am going gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin (hopefully). Cheers to 2018 and the possibility of clear skin by eliminating dairy and gluten.
I am 35 years old and have been struggling with my skin for 20 years and counting. A month ago my acne reached an all-time high level of breakouts, which meant my self-esteem reached an all-time low. I honestly cannot recall a day when I didn't wake-up with a new mark on my face. The idea of NOT wearing makeup when I left the house was always a nightmare I never cared to visit, but now the idea of not wearing makeup in the house was also becoming a fear. My acne was so bad I didn't want my husband and 3 year old to see me without makeup on. With this reality sinking in, I started to warmup to the idea of going on accurate for a third round (intense oral acne medication with bad side-effects). Yes, you're only supposed to have to do one round, but my skin is stubborn. Going on Accutane two times is alot, but going on it a third time is rarely needed. Unless you're me... My dermatologist was on board, she could see the tears of frustration and knew by her notes that I had literally tried every other drug and cream that she knew to offer, so she gave me the paper work and sent me off. I was on my way to Accutane. But, the idea of going on Accutane a third time was almost as depressing as my skin that day. I was willing to try the drug again, but there was still one area that I needed to attempt, going gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin (hopefully).
To find out more about Accutane follow this link: http://www.aocd.org/page/Accutane
The Plan: Going Gluten and Dairy Free to Clear Up My Skin (Hopefully)
My 2018 plan of going gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin wasn't something I was excited about. In fact, the week prior to making the concrete decision I was trying NOT to think about it because I was dreading the change. I knew going gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin would mean these things: more cooking, more grocery shopping, more work at restaurants and a few awkward social conversations. But, I also knew I could do it. As a personal trainer I knew exactly where to go to get information on meal ideas and I knew from my past fitness competitions if the goal was big enough I could stick with it. But, there was one thing that made this diet change of going gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin different than fitness competition prep; I did NOT want to lose any weight. Nope, not even a pound. I am happy with my current weight of 150 lb. and I know I can maintain that even with a diet change. Hey, if my abs were magically more visible, I wouldn't hate it. The goal is to clear up my acne not lose weight or valuable muscle. I have worked too hard for my muscle and acne was not going take that from me too.
I like having guidelines. The one dietary gluten and dairy free method that stands-out and that has countless resources is the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet gained popularity when Crossfit hit mainstream in the early 2000's. Paleo encourages natural food sources, if it was made in a factory it's not paleo. Like with any dietary change there is always room for modification. I am eating rice (daily) and incorporating a free day when needed. I am also eating all variations of potatoes (true Paleo only allows yams). Again, the goal is to go gluten and dairy free to clear up my skin clear up my acne but not lose any weight in the process. Therefore, having a free meal will offer sanity and extra calories but not be frequent enough to create havoc on my skin. Bring on the almond butter!
Love coffee creamer but trying to AVOID dairy? Check-out this article in the "Learning Center": 5 Healthy Alternatives to Creamer That Actually Taste Good.
Basic Paleo Food List
- Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork and others.
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, etc. Choose wild-caught if you can.
- Eggs: Choose free-range, pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, avocados and more.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and others.
- Salt and Spices: Sea salt, himalayan salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.
Cheers to more nut butters, freedom from any notion of tracking food and eating whole eggs all the time!
Have you ever dealt with adult acne? If so, what worked for you and what did not work? Have you ever ever tried diet changes? If so, did you get results?