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Healthy Diet & Fixing Leaky Gut Log

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#1 alexisc

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:07 PM

Hey Everyone,

Decided to start a log because my skin is at it's worst since I was in middle school but I want to show you that with a healthy diet I can clear it up. I also want to use this log as a reminder to myself of what I've tried, what works and what dosen't. I get in the habit of trying to many things at once and bombarding my skin and body, which results in breakouts like the one I am suffering with today.

Anyways, my history - Started to develop acne around age 12 and I am 23 now. At first it was just a few pustles on my chin, which migrated all around my mouth and to my forehead. I probobly had between 20 and 30 inflamed pustles at one time. At age 16 and after trying numerous things from the drugstore my Mom took me to my family doctor. He suggested antibiotics which my Mom was opposed to so he sent me to a dermatologist. After seeing my dermatologist she perscribed me Accutane, 40mg for 6 months. After the course of Accutane I was perfectly clear for a year and a half. Then the acne came back. Not as severe but there none the less. So she percribed Accutane again. And a few years later again. And again. And again. And again. And again. I have probobly been on Accutane close to 6 times. Granted I never took the full 6 month course at once. She would perscribe me 6 months, I would take it for three months wait for my acne to come back in half a year and then take the remaining pills. I may have been on Accutane more times than anyone on this site! I have been off Accutane for a year and a half now.

This resulted in a severe phobia of acne on my part because I would go from perfectly clear skin to bad breakouts very fast. After all of my friends only seeing me with clear skin I am now just accepting that the face I had with Accutane was only there because I was silencing my body's natural processes and it wasn't real. That said I have cured my acne completely through diet numerous times and plan to do it again! I will be posting pictures just so you can see what a dramatic difference it can make.

I have realized my food intolerances are: wheat and corn. I have done a test for celliac disease and it came back negative but if I eat wheat I get bags under my eyes, migraines, acne, etc. With corn I just get acne, plus most of it is genetically modified so it is good to avoid anyway. Modified corn starch and high fuctose corn syrup are in almost everything processed so in a way I am glad I can't eat those foods. I also do not drink alcohol - it resulted in horrible acne when I tried a few months ago and also because most alcohol has corn added into it. I do smoke weed on occasion but see nothing wrong with that as it is a natural herb. I am trying to heal my leaky gut and take oil of oregano and coconut oil as antifungals/antimicrobials. I also eat quite a lot of plain yogurt to try and introduce healthy flora into my body. I have been vegetarian for the past 10 years but plan on introducing a small amount of meat to my diet to see if it speeds the healing of my body.

Here is a list of things I have tried for acne:

What didn't work:
Clean and Clear
Neutrogena
Phisoderm
Proactive
Ceptaphil
Vichy
Retin A
Benzoyl Peroxide
Sulphur
Salicylic Acid
Baking Soda
Hydrogen Peroxide
Lemon Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
Body Shop products
Tea Tree Oil
Yogurt Mask
Omega 3 Supplements (resulted in horrible cystic acne)
Probiotic Supplements (worst breakout of my life)
Vitamin B5 Supplements
Vitamin A Supplements
Perfect Skin Supplements
Mandelic Acid

What does work:
Avoiding corn, wheat, alcohol and sugar
Hazelnut oil topically
Witchazel and rosewater toner
Spectrojel Cleanser
Vaseline on broken skin
Juicing vegetables and fruits
Diet high in natural foods
Anti inflammatory herbs and spices
Stress reduction, good sleeping habits
Excersize, meditation
Drinking plenty of water
Vitamin D since I am deficient
Epsom salt and sea salt baths/applied topically

So there we go! If you have any questions or comments please leave them for me because I love to hear other peoples opinions. : ]

Edited by alexisc, 07 October 2012 - 01:12 PM.


#2 chelslaw

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:36 PM

this is great! ill be following along. where/what is your acne like now?

im 28/F and my acne is on chin/jawline. i avoid gluten and dairy and caffeine. i limit corn, rice and alcohol & processed foods. i take every vitamin under the sun (c,d,omega3,folic,b6,b12,probiotics,cal/mag,zinc) and drink exclusively water (unless im having the occasional cocktail on a weekend)

#3 alexisc

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 07:56 PM

Glad that you will be following along chelslaw! My acne at the moment is moderate but any day it can range from mild to moderate. Normally I break out on my chin as well, around my mouth/nose and every once in a while on my forehead. Ususally just in whiteheads or in pustles. Right now I have a bunch of spots right between my eyes which never happens! I really believe in chinese face mapping and according to chinese medicine the area right between the eyes corresponds with the liver. This would make sense, I have been under an extreme amount of stress having just quit my job and have not been eating properly. It sounds like you are doing some great things for your body/skin so I hope it works for you too!

#4 chelslaw

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:07 PM

thanks. i havent really had any luck myself.

my skin was fine (completely clear) for the past 5 years and then all of a sudden late last year I started to get a couple cysts on my chin the week before my period, then i started to get them during the week of my period, then i just started to get more inflamed pimples on my chin etc etc

i range too, sometimes like 2 weeks ago my skin looked great. no active spots and a couple healing. right now i have 5 inflamed spots on my chin that do not want to budge.

i really hope that dairy is the issue cuz then i can just avoid it!

#5 alexisc

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:15 PM

Food: I did pretty well today! I went to my local raw food cafe and got half a litre of fresh juice with beet, grapefruit, orange and lemon. I also picked up a litre of kale, celery, apple, lemon and ginger juice. Yum! For breakfast I had organic rice crispies with almond milk. I made thanksgiving dinner for me and my boyfriend later. We had: asparagus with red onion, garlic, red pepper and tamari sauce; mini squash with butter and mashed potatoes in the middle; broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce and carrots glazed with honey, ginger and garlic. So good. For dessert I made chocolate covered strawberries with 85% pure chocolate.

Acne: I still look pretty ridiculous with so many red spots between my eyes. I have been wearing my glasses trying to take attention away from that spot on my face. Even though this has been my worst breakout in a while I'm making a point of going out and hanging out with friends and not letting it get me down. For so long I would cancel plans and bail on my friends if I looked less than perfect which only leads to me isolating myself inside a dark room and feeling worse/sorry for myself. No more! What is the point? I'm not perfect and I'm done pretending to be. My friends accept me for who I am not what I look like. My boyfriend is really supportive saying my acne makes no difference to him and I've come a long way not having to wear makeup around him all the time. We have lived together for the past 6 years.

Most of the spots on my face are just red marks/scabs now so I'll see how long it will take for them to heal. I have a serious problem with picking.

Edited by alexisc, 11 December 2012 - 05:22 PM.


#6 leelowe1

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:26 AM

Hey! I am excited to read about your journey. I, like you am a repeat accutane user with mixed views on it. It kept me clear for a significant period of time but it always comes back. I have made long lasting dietary changed for over 8 month and even adjust my skin care accordingly but it never helped my acne sadly enough.

Right now, i am back on BP and in all honesty, thinking about completing my discontinued course of accutane. I have been to 2 - 3 naturapaths and have done my part- diet, supplements but my acne is stubborn as shit. Even tested for hormones and food allergies AND intolerances and avoided those foods like the plague. Not sure what else to do.

But i love reading logs like yours - gives me hope to keep on being healthy whether or not i have acne.

#7 alexisc

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:21 PM

Hey Sasch83! I remember talking to you in the beginning of your hollistic journey. It is so hard when you are trying your best to make so many changes and it dosen't help your acne, very frustrating. Sorry to hear that you didn't have much luck with naturopaths or diet changes. What works for one person dosen't always work for another - it is so individual. One thing I have been looking into is adrenal function and hormone levels. I always denied stress was much of a factor with my skin but after being forced to quit my job recently and having financial troubles I have noticed a big difference! Have you ever tried spiroacalone? That might be something for you to consider. I honestly am not against Accutane. As much as I would like to see as many people as possible try to cure themselves hollisticaly first, if that dosen't work I don't see anything wrong with taking it. Sure there are side effects and horror stories but you can find those with any drug. After taking so much of it I don't think it has seriously affected my health and I am so thankful I did take it to get through those years. Fighting acne is tough emotionally! If you have tried everything for the moment and you are being watched by a doctor I would go for it. For most of us it is just a band aid but sometimes that is what you need to take your mind off acne and then come back to fighting it with a new perspective when it returns. Hope that made sense. :]

#8 alexisc

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:40 PM

I had a great day yesterday even though my skin still looked like crap. I was having anxiety about seeing a friend I hadn't seen in a year because last time we hung out I had perfectly clear skin. I decided to not even think about it and had lot's of fun hanging out with him and some other friends too. So much of this battle is emotional and it's been hard to try and love myself with less than perfect skin. One way I think about it is only say things to yourself that you would be okay with your friends and family saying to you. Of course I would be upset if someone told me I looked like shit so why should I be okay telling myself that? And who really cares anyway? What I've come to realize is most people will treat you exactly the same whether you have acne or not. I'm really working on breaking down my insecurities and realizing all of my misconceptions about what my life would be like with horrible skin are all false.

Food: Ate well yesterday with lot's of fresh fruit and vegetables and have done pretty well today too. Going to make a stirfry with rice for dinner. Drank decaf coffee yesterday and today which never helps my skin and also smoked weed yesterday which dosen't help either. Oh well, as long as I keep eating well all will be good.

Skin: Just one small whitehead appeared today, probobly from the toxins from yesterday. Other than that all of my spots are healing which is good but partly annoying because they are all scabbed over. I really need to learn how not to pick.

Pictures: First one without makeup, second with makeup. Thank god for makeup haha!

Edited by alexisc, 11 December 2012 - 05:22 PM.


#9 chelslaw

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:03 PM

your skin looks flawless with makeup! and without it doesnt look bad anyways!

stress is awful and can do awful things to skin. when i was mega stressed out a couple weeks ago (from work) thats when my skin really broke out

#10 alexisc

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:31 PM

Thank you chelslaw! If you see me up close in person it looks like a big makeuped mess unfortunately but oh well.

I screwed up big time yesterday and the day before. Everything was going great and I was just left with red marks that were fading from my last big breakout. I decided to eat a protien bar one day. Woke up the next day with two new big pimples! What the hell! Also had an extremely stressful night because I found out I owe the government $1000 in back tax money from going to school last year and taking money out of my education fund. Awesome. I'm so broke as it is. Had a mini mental breakdown which also contributed to the acne. I knew it was the stupid protien bar too (which I thought were safe because all of the ingredients are natural minus the protien - must be derived from corn or wheat) but I was late for work the next day and had one left so I thought "how bad could it be?" Well, the answer is bad.

I have three huge pimples between my eyes, three next to my mouth on the left side and a bunch of small underground ones all over my chin. Awesome, I look like a mess again. Just when I was getting my confidence back. Dealing with acne is such a bipolar yo-yo ride. Oh well, I will not eat those protien bars again, or anything with fake protien in it for that matter. This breakout will pass and all will be good again. My finanical situation will also be solved because I met with a financial advisor today and figured out how to fix my situation.

I have been doing very well with food other than this mess up. Tonight I made the best anti-inflammatory indian curry! It had potatoes, cauliflower, onions, chickpeas, spinnach, tomatoes, curry powder, tumeric, cinnamon, cumin, organic natural chicken broth, sea salt, pepper and organic plain probiotic yogurt on the side. Definately have to make this recipe again! So amazing for a rainy fall day. Been eating lot's of apples and oranges to try to avoid being sick too. I have been regularly consuming oil of oregano and garlic and coconut oil to strengthen my immunity as well.

I have been looking into adrenal health because I think that is part of my acne/health problem. There is a home test you can do to see if your adrenal health is stable. Go into a room in the dark and shine a flashlight in one of your eyes. If your pupil contracts and stays contracted you are healthy. If it contracts and dilates and contacts and dilates you have adrenal health problems. Simple enough.

Reading an article about adrenal health I found out that consuming refined carbohydrates is really hard on them. They shoot your blood sugar up where the adrenals mass produce insulin to get blood sugar levels down and then blood sugar drops past what it should, so your adrenals have to produce other chemicals to get the blood sugar back to normal after it has crashed. Most of the modern diet is focused on refined carbohydrates. Adrenal malfunction also comes from fat deficiency which is something I am definately suffering with. I need to start consuming more bone broth! Caffiene consumption also plays a part which I waaayyy overdid for the past 10 years of my life working in coffee shops. Caffiene stimulates the adrenals to produce lot's of cortisol which is hard on them.

This is the article I was reading if anyone is interested: http://www.healingna...cles/treat1.php
Makes sense that adrenal health would play a part in acne considering so much of acne has to do with blood sugar and hormones which are both controlled by diet.

This website also has some amazing information on how to heal the body that truly resonates with me.

#11 leelowe1

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:29 PM

Don't you just hate hidden ingredients! That is why i hate eating out and don't by ready made products but i know when you just have to grab something and go. Don't beat yourself up too much over it- you are doing so so well.

If you searched online, you could probably find a recipe for making your own protein bar too. I have been experimenting with paleo desserts and its been a pretty cool experience so far.

BTW, what's your skin care like?

#12 alexisc

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:43 PM

Hey Sasch83! Thank you for the encouragment, it really does suck when you eat something and think it will be fine only to find out it definately was not. Great idea about making my own bars so that I have something on the go, way healthier and cheaper. MMM dessert that is something we must all indulge in because there are so many healthy and delicious tasting things! What are some of the recipies you have been trying?

My skin care is kind of all over the place at the moment haha! The only cleanser I use is spectrojel for acne prone skin. It is amazing and helps keep the natural oils on the skin. Then sometimes I use witch hazel and rosewater toner but I'm not sure the alcohol in the witch hazel is really good for my skin. If my skin feels dry I will use hazelnut oil as a moisturizer or spectrojel moisturizer for acne prone skin but I really don't find it hydrating enough. Ceptaphil everyday moisturizer is good for my skin but it leaves it so greasy looking that I haven't repurchased. Spot treating I use benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil. If I'm having a huge breaout I soak the area in sea salt and epsom salt and then moisturize it with tamanu oil. This oil smells disgusting but it really helps fight the inflammation of the breakout. Up until a week ago I used baking soda as an exfoliant but I think it is doing more harm to my skin than good and would rather manually exfolaite with hot water and my finger. Wow that was a long rant haha, still trying to find what products best suit my skin.

#13 alexisc

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:35 PM

Feeling kind of down these past few days... It seems that it's going to take more to clear my skin that just avoiding wheat and corn like I did before. I ate a bit of sugar to test things, some gluten free cookies and vanilla flavoured trail mix, and now I broke out in big bumps all over my chin. Sometimes they just go away on their own, sometimes they need to pop but they hurt like hell! Part of me wonders if it is folliculitus because it only happens when I eat sugar. Stressing about that has also given me a few more small ones on my forhead. Sigh. I miss having clear skin.

At the same time, this says to me that I've hit a wall and have to amp up my healing regimen. I need to start getting more good fats and eating meat. I've been vegetarian for 10 years but not anymore! My boyfriend and I made some beef bone broth soup last night so I'll eat lot's of that and also some green smoothies. I will stay away from all sugar and do more oil or oregano/coconut oil.

Anyways, here are some pictures of the last couple of days:

Edited by alexisc, 11 December 2012 - 05:22 PM.


#14 chelslaw

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:42 PM

hang in there. i think the skin takes a long time to repair itself. its our biggest organ after all!

i had a wicked bad breakout this week. the week before my period, without fail.

but just keeping on, doing the same good stuff and i hope it clears up fast. i have been taking saw palmetto for over a week now, im not going to judge it until 4 months as hormones take forever to change.

i have been off dairy now for about 2 weeks, and havent seen a change, so im going to eat some dairy this week and see how my skin reacts. i only eat gluten once a week (one cheat meal, otherwise no gluten since jan 2012)

i started using the clinidsol cream i have in the mornings and just bp in the evenings (BP twice a day was way to harsh on my skin)

#15 alexisc

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 11:31 PM

Sorry to hear you had a bad breakout chelslaw - unfortunately I can second that as well. Gluten free is so good for you so I'm sure that is helping internally. How did your skin take the dairy?

Confirmed that what is going on with my chin is a form of folliculitus, I keep pulling out really tiny hairs in the center of my pimples. What I can't figure out is if what is going on is bacterial or fungal. I've tried bp in the past, polysporin, tea tree oil, head and shoulders, nizoral etc. I'm leaning towards fungal that is now resistant to everything I have tried. I'm afraid to try anything else on it because everytime I do it just results in more painful under the skin bumps which never come to a head (and I squeeze them like an idiot until I eventually break the skin off in desperation and end up with a huge scab) or these pimples with hairs in them. Sigh.

Something is also going on with my forehead it keeps breaking out in some sort of rash and my whole face has been itchy.

Anyways, I'm trying to just breathe and stop caring about the way I look. In the end it is less important what is actually going on with my face and much more important what is going on with my body and what my face is trying to tell me. Obviously I still have a lot of healing left to do internally, but mentally as well. I know this is all happening so that I face my fears of acne. It has to be one of my biggest fears - having horrible skin. It's such a insecutiry and it's such an irrational one at that. When I was younger I always believed if I didn't have acne my life would be perfect and I let it hold me back for so many years. Since not having it (most of the time) the past 8 years I've gained confidence, found out who I am, learned how to get over my shyness and be more secure with myself. Why should having bad skin erase all that I have learned? Part of me wants to shy away like who I was in middle school and try to just "blend in" so no one can hurt me. Why should I even be afraid of being hurt? People can only hurt you if you let them. I have acne. It is not a big deal. A huge part of the population gets acne. It dosen't make me any less of a person than someone with perfect skin. It means my body expresses it's illness though my skin. That's it. I should be thankful I can walk and I'm young and I don't have a terminal ilness and I have a loving boyfriend and Mom. Instead of focusing on the negative I am trying to change my perception of myself and my life. My Mom and boyfriend are so unbelievebly supportive, my boyfriend has already quashed my fear or losing him over my skin. He says it makes no difference if I have acne for the rest of my life. He is not the type to say something he dosen't mean, if anything he is the type to say something so blunt that it hurts unintentionally so I know his heart is in the right place.

This is all well and good but I have many moments of weakness where I just want to take my leftover months of Accutane and be done with it. Yes that would be much easier but it wouldn't serve my soul and that is why this has and is happening to me. I need to let go. Only until I let go I will never be clear. Taking Accutane the last time I had huge dark cirlces under my eyes and looked like I was on deaths door. My body cannot handle it anymore.

Stress is such a factor too. My acne bothers me so much it gives me panic attacks. It makes me feel like I'm going to die. How irrational is that? I'm going to start doing yoga again and meditation and epsom salt baths. Taking care of myself emotionally and physically. I haven't been eating enough lately either because all my stress has made me exhausted. I developed an eating disorder in my teens because I felt like if I couldn't control my skin at least I could control how much I eat. (Or rather not eat.) I do not have these destructive thoughts or habits anymore and I am glad.

I'm not going to pick. I'm not going to look in the mirror. I'm going to act like I have perfectly clear skin and not give a damn! I'm going to just wash it and leave it alone. No moisturizers, no oils, no anything.

That's my rant for the day!

#16 chelslaw

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

how is your skin doing today?

i removed dairy for 3 weeks and had no change in my acne. im eating dairy this week when i want to (not forcing it or anything) to see if i have any reaction, so far i havent. but its also the week i have my period which is usually my clearest week.

im not having any gluten at all for 2 solid weeks, ive been GF since Jan but I always have one cheat item a week (sat night i ususally have a gluten snack) so I want to give it a couple weeks with zero gluten to see if that makes any difference.

im thinking that mine is hormonal and that mostly the food stuff doesnt make a giant different, im sure it helps a bit (and its helped a few other things) so ill keep it up but not worry so much if i slip up.

im hoping that the saw palmetto will help but i have to give it at least 3-4 months to judge. it will only have been 2 weeks on friday.

something my mom always tells me is that things could always be worse. acne is superficiail (it pains me to say that but it is)

and we all perceive our own skin as worse than it is because we look at our faces so often and so close to the mirror. my husband says he doesnt even notice my acne.... and to be honest, when he has a couple zits, i dont even really notice either...

#17 jarrit

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:12 PM

Can you list your exact carbohydrate intake, as well as calories for a given day?

What exact foods are you consuming?



I have found keeping a food log helps me track this once and for all, instead of relying on my short-term memory.

#18 alexisc

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:25 PM

I haven't updated in quite a while because my skin has been doing so much better than I haven't come online recently! I decided to delete the pictures I posted because I'm just too paranoid someone I know will see them. When my skin is 100% clear again I will post a before and after picture just so everyone can see the difference that diet makes.

I am no longer a vegetarian! I have been eating small bits of meat and it's making me feel great. My skin has a few red marks right now because I indulged in lindt chocolate balls which have barley malt in them.. either wheat or corn for sure. I was also taking vitamin D that had corn in it so that didn't help things. Everything is healing though and I have no more bumps just a few fading red marks.

I am going to start taking vitamin D and a regular dose of vitamin B5 because I believe I have weak adrenals and this will help me. I was taking B5 before in a standard (and not megadose!) and I reduced my oil production dramatically but I was breaking out a bit which I didn't realize at the time was from the vitamin D. When experimenting on yourself stick to one experiment at a time so you can control variables. I'll do the vitamin D I know has no corn or wheat for a week and if all is clear then I'll start back on the B5 which is also corn and wheat free. I am also taking flax seed to help with proper elimination and increase estrogen. It really helps me!

Topically I have just been washing with spectrojel, using with hazel and then either leaving my skin or applying a drop of hazelnut oil if it feels dry. I bought an amazing concealer by MAC (I have tried every single concealer of theirs now) and it is the studio finish long wear concealer. It is magic!!! Erases all red marks and makes my skin look great!

Hope everyone is doing well! I promise to update more regularly.

#19 chelslaw

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

thanks for the update! glad to hear you are having success! i too have had major success.

completely removed gluten from my diet 8 weeks ago. no cheats, no nothing. i also started taking saw palmetto 8 weeks ago. I was my face with cetaphil twice a day, in the morn i follow with prescription clindisol and then moisturizer, in the evening i follow with some bp on my skin and moisturizer.

my face hasnt been this clear in a very long time.

i also take (and have always taken) vit D, C, B complex (6,12,folic) and a probiotic (anywhere from 6-12 billion/day)

Yay us!

#20 alexisc

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:10 AM

Awesome Chelslaw!! That's such great news!! :D How do you like taking the Saw Palmetto? Any side effects? I always have considered taking something for hormone balance but Im so terrified it will break me out. Did you get an initial breakout?

Cutting gluten was the best thing I ever did for my own health. I am intolerant to it and once I stopped eating it, it felt like I had the energy of a kid again! Do you feel a lot better not eating it anymore?