• Health

    Treating My Skin with Food

    Over the Summer I did my second round of Whole 30 and, if you’ve been around since then, you know that I’m a huge fan of it.  It’s funny that I thought I’d never try it about a year ago and now, I’ve done two rounds and don’t find it so crazy after all.  It does wonders for resetting your body in so many ways but the one I noticed the most was my skin.  It is so clear when I’m doing Whole 30.  I’m not talking breakouts though, but that is something I was clear of too.  I’m talking about my skin condition, tinea versicolor*.  It was GONE.  So I’ve decided that, for the most part, I’m going to start treating my skin better with the food I eat.

    *What is tinea versicolor? It’s a common fungal infection that occurs when the body has an over production of the yeast/fungus that our bodies naturally produce.  Flare ups can be small discolorations on the skin, to larger patches that appear scaly.  Mine have even been mistaken for an allergic reaction.  It’s not contagious and you can be perfectly healthy and have this condition.

    Treating my skin with food

    I had no idea before Whole 30 that my skin condition was being effected by food.  It makes sense now of course, but it just never dawned on me.  I pride myself on knowing a good bit about nutrition and health for someone who doesn’t have any formal education so the fact that I’m just now figuring this out is crazy.  Anyway, after this revelation, I decided that I wanted to make a permanent change to my diet but I wasn’t quite sure what was causing the flare ups to come back.  There’s a period of time after Whole 30 called the reintroduction phase but I didn’t notice flare ups until after that time.  So what was it?  Gluten? Dairy? Sugar? Time to do a little research*.

    Turns out that it’s most of those things, not just one.  Yay for me right?  It’s also a number of other factors too, such as humidity, excessive sweating, oral contraceptives (something I’m NOT willing to change at this time of my life), and hormonal changes.  The hormonal changes definitely explains why it’s worse in my postpartum life than when I was younger.  As for what I can control and am willing to change, I had to decide what was worth it for me to keep and what I felt effected my skin the most.

    Treating my skin with food

    Let’s cut to the chase…

    What can’t you eat?  The answer here is best given as a list of what I CAN eat with little to no risk of flare ups.

    • Whole Grains (foods with no yeast)
    • Vegetables
    • Vegetable Oils
    • Eggs
    • Poultry, Beef, Pork, and Seafood

    Yeah…that’s it.  But why?  Because with this condition, my body over produces this natural fungus and it reacts with many common ingredients in food, even naturally occurring ingredients.  That includes fruit!

    So, is that all you eat?

    No.  I ate a ton of fruit on Whole 30, aka natural sugar, and my skin was still clear so that’s one food I can keep.  Vinegar is also a food to avoid but, again, I had balsamic vinegar dressing while resetting.  But the most problematic foods I have definitely cut out (with a few exceptions).

    Treating my skin with food

    Sugar, added and otherwise, alcohol, baked goods, and dairy are the main things I try to stay away from.  It’s also advised that I stay away from coffee and opt for teas instead.  Not happening.  It’s all about finding a balance and figuring out what’s worth it for me.  (Food Freedom Forever is a great book to read on that topic!) If I’m going out to dinner, or having dinner with family, I’ll have a glass of wine but I’ve decided to not have it in my house.  Too tempting.  I eat gluten-free items and stay away from cheese/milk products but I’ll eat a little ice cream or fro-yo with the boys on the weekend if we happen to be doing that.

    I totally have my weak moments, I get stressed and completely fall of the bandwagon.  What happens then? I get flare ups.  It is what it is.  My condition does not have a permanent solution so I have to do my best to keep it from flaring and keep my anti-fungal cream handy.

    If you have a health/skin issue (non life threatening), I highly recommend trying Whole 30 as a way to discover what you’re body is reacting to.

    *Articles: whole30.com / livestrong.com  / healthygoods.com / tineaversicure.com / mayoclinic.org