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How to continue a healthy lifestyle while living abroad?

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I have recently been presented with an incredible opportunity: to intern with a company in Germany for 6 months (I'm from the US).

However, I have also recently developed a very strict regimen of diet and supplements that has me 90-95% clear for the first time in over 10 years. I buy very high quality, mostly raw food, and I cook almost everything myself (most times I breakout now are a result of eating out at a restaurant). I'm very susceptible to sugar, wheat, and dairy, and I take glucomanan, cinnamon, gtf chromium, and taurine to keep my blood sugar down.

Now I'm faced with a tough decision. I know living in Germany would be an unbelievable experience, but I'm worried about maintaining my system that has kept me clear. I know people will say to just go and not to worry about my face, but I'll be miserable over there if my skin looks terrible. Also, I've noticed that my face has begun to scar very easily lately (I'm in my early 20's), and I worry about the permanent impacts of any future acne on my face (I already have mild-moderate scarring and can't afford any more damage).

So my question is, does anyone have recommendations for living overseas for a long period of time on a VERY tight budget while still being able to keep up my success?

Should I just buy 6 months worth of supplements before I leave? Find a place that ships overseas? Go grocery shopping and make sure I live in a place with a kitchen?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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I'm always scared when going away, even on simple overnight trips, that I won't be able to keep up my skin regimine. But maintaining your regimine overseas should be do able. Only eat food you make yourself, and take with you everything you will need as far you regimine goes. Chances are you can buy everything you want off of the internet anyhow, and if not, have someone from back home periodically mail you everything you will need. Good luck!

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The best thing you can do on this end before leaving is bringing about 2 months of what you'll use with you on the plane and then packing a box to send surface mail with everything else you'll need for the rest of your stay. Surface mail a lot cheaper than ordering online from the US will be but it takes a while.

Second, make sure to learn all the vocabulary you'll need to decode product ingredients. Even going from the US to the UK, ingredients have different names. Once you move into a whole new language, it just gets that much more difficult. Keep in mind that in most of the EU, food is quite a bit more expensive than what you'll be used to over here in the US. Eastern Germany tends to be cheaper, but either way you'll want to live somewhere with a kitchen where you can cook your own food.

Even doing that, I think you'll probably break out due to the added stress of living abroad. It's just inevitable that certain things will stress you out. I know when I moved to Japan, my skin was a wreck in the beginning because everything was so new and exhausting to deal with. When I moved to London it was not so bad but I still had stress-related breakouts from time to time.

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From what I've read, Germany is better in terms of organic and "natural" foods than the US. That is, they're more readily accessible in markets and grocery stores. GMOs seem to be very strongly opposed in Germany.

Here are my tips:

1. Just make sure you get your shopping done by 17:00 (5 in the evening) and on any day except Sunday, which is when most shops are closed.

2. If you're planning to stock up on supplements, check with German customs to see if you need to fill out any forms, and, of course, to see if any of the supplements or any ingredients within the supplements themselves are illegal over there.

3. NEVER, NEVER cross the road when there is a red light--even if there are no cars around. It's one of those cultural quirks the Germans have. If you break this taboo, you'll most likely get lots of mean looks and stares.

4. Don't get loud on Sunday. Sundays are quiet days--by law.

5. Be polite and try not to be "very friendly"--by American standards. That is, say "please" and "thank you," but don't call people your "friend" if you don't consider them good friends and don't smile and laugh unless you're being sincere. Supposedly, Germans think being "friendly"--as described by Americans and people from the UK--is the same as being fake. Basically, Germans respect honesty in speech and manner.

6. Get acquainted with the recycling and trash regulations. If you make a mistake you might get fined, or someone (the neighbor(s)?) will dump your litter on your doorstep to teach you a lesson.

Also, Germany is one of the more Anglophone-friendly countries in Europe. Lots of Germans can manage to get by with the English they learned in school, but if you're having a hard time with your German and you happen to be speaking with a German who knows English, you'll have to force it out of him/her since they're generally shy about making mistakes.

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I was in Germany a few years ago and you should have no problem getting good organic fruit and veg...infact you'll probably find it difficult to be unhealthy! The German diet is very good....

You didn’t say if you are currently using any topical cream for your skin i.e. Retin A, Hydroquinone...etc.... I should probably warn you that if you are using these or thinking of using anything like this you might want to stock up before you leave because here in Europe these creams/lotions are only available from a dermatologist....to see a dermatologist is Europe you must first get a referral from a doctor, both visits could end up being very expensive.

Also, I’m new to this site and I’ve literally spend the last week reading about the great over the counter products that people on here are using like Clinique skin tone corrector(and many others), but when I went to buy them I was told there only available in America (I live in Ireland) because some of the ingredients it contains are not licensed for sale in Europe.... So I would recommend that you check the availability of any products you are currently using before leaving....

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i am german and it's definately easy to get organic food here but if you're looking for supplements you better bring your own;-) it's hard to find specific supplements ad they prices are very high!

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Hey Drainer15,

I just recently came back from a long vacation over-seas in Asia. Now Germany will most likely carry anything you would need. You'll just need to find the right places. I would suggest to research a bit on if your vitamin websites will ship to Germany. Or, what I've done is to buy an approximate amount before hand and taking whatever I needed with me. In Asia I had a very hard time finding what I needed, since everything was different and I didn't know where to get anything.

But you know what the most important thing is? This trip over-seas has taught me something of extreme value in life... which is to take balance. Life is all about balance. Money, relationships, egos, self-value, family, work, stress, and health. Acne has caused some extreme problems for me, even though I had very mild acne. Just the fact that nobody will understand what you're going through when you are stuck with these nasty things on your face.

Yet I realized that this problem was only created by myself, and if you view it from another perspective, it really isn't necessary. I was very depressed at one point over-seas...and I was having a horrible time. Then I realized I have to stop focusing on this right now and focus on other things in life... take balance. I quickly and temporary halted my search for the 100% cure to acne, and started to enjoy my time there. It was the most remarkable summer ever for me. I started getting new friends, an amazing job, started travelling and actually seeing the place that I should have been doing in the first place.

I wish you the best of luck and really enjoy your stay over-seas. Do not let acne screw your life in your travels. We will beat this thing when we come home... ;)

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Thanks for all the tips. You all have been a really huge help.

As far as supplements go, buying in bulk ahead of time and then shipping them via surface mail seems like the best way to go.

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