Sunday, July 11, 2010

Food Sensitivity and Acne

I suffer from bloating, belching, gas (haha- sooo attractive), irritability, fatigue and acne. As far as I know, I'm not allergic to anything;however, I do think that I have some unknown food sensitivities or intolerances. For simple articles on how these terms are different go here or here. Basically, an allergy triggers an immune system response and causes your body to fight the substance you came in contact with. In contrast, a food sensitivity or intolerance is a digestive system issue in which a person cannot properly break down the food, causing all sorts of issues like nausea, stomach pain, gas, cramps, bloating, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, headaches, and irritability. Allergic reactions happen soon after ingesting the food, while sensitivity and intolerance reactions can happen up to 5 days later! Because of this, doctors are hesitant to acknowledge food as a cause for acne.

For awhile now, I've suspected that my acne is related to the things I put into my body and my hormones. My parents are both sensitive to wheat and gluten. My dad is also sensitive to grapes and corn. All his life, my dad has had digestion issues....after he stopped eating these foods, they completely went away!

The food sensitivity test is way out of my price range, so I can't know for sure, but I think that genetics and food sensitivities are playing a HUGE role in my acne prone skin.

In the weeks to come, I'm going to try to eliminate some common foods that cause sensitivities, including the foods my dad is sensitive to.

My skin has improved over the past few months as a vegan,/whole-foods eater, but the dermatologist still classified me as having moderate acne. Also, I plan on taking pictures of my skin for you guys to see and hopefully, I can document some change and progress.

For an interesting article about food intolerance and skin conditions (including cellulite!) please go here.


After a few days of over indulgence in things like alcohol and sugar (happy bday to me!) and a general intake of too many processed foods, it's time for a detox.

Vegan Monkey's Detox Rules:
  • ALL vegan, as much raw as possible
  • water with lemon juice every morning
  • amazing grass or greens first every morning
  • source of life vitamins (every other day?)
  • no processed snacks- only whole, real foods
  • green smoothies
  • gluten and wheat free
  • No corn chips- LOVE tortilla chips but I eat WAY too many.. I never like to be addicted to a certain food
Meal Plan- Day 1
I really like to plan my meals because it helps me stick to veganism and not binge on too much.

Breakfast: banana with peanut butter

Lunch: salad with any veggies we have! and Oh She Glows' better than bottled balsamic dressing

Approved Snacks: veggies (carrots, bell peppers, green beans, etc...- all raw), fruit (yumm we have cherries and blueberries currently), swiss chard smoothie

Why I Became Vegan

For me, the quest for clear skin seems to be a never ending road. The last 10 years of my life I have been battling acne with everything imaginable and a few things have worked, but most have not. There was a brief period in high school where my skin seemed to like me- a result of going monthly to the dermatologist and getting glycolic acid peels. That could only last so long and eventually stopped working. I went to a new derm during college and she put me on Accutane. Worst few months of my life. Yes, the drug cleared my skin a bit but my skin was flaky, I was depressed, and as soon as I stopped taking it my acne came right back!

The second time my skin was relatively clear (minus pesky blackheads on my cheeks and nose) was when I was taking the Yaz birth control pill. That also came with side effects- crazy mood swings and generally blahness about life.

The primary reason I'm adapting a vegan lifestyle is to hopefully clear my body of toxins and clear up my unhappy skin. I also believe that it's something I'm eating that causes me to break out...along with my female hormones, of course. :) More on food allergies/acne in a later post.

So, for now I'm 98% vegan and 2% vegetarian (no dairy, though). I do that mainly for social reasons and as a way to slightly ease myself in to this lifestyle. Hopefully, by the end of summer I'll be 100% vegan and LOVING every minute of it.

I'll dedicate future posts to digestion/acne/overall health, I promise.

A secondary (but not any less important!!) reason is the impact of animal products on the environment and my love for all of mother nature's creatures. I've never been a HUGE meat eater, but when I found out that they cut down rain forest to build cow pastures, I just knew I had to stop eating those poor cows.

Anyway, enough about me for now.

Why did you become vegan? Or, Why are you thinking about becoming a vegan/adapting a healthier lifestyle?