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the story thus far:

I'm a 22 year old thin male (5'10)who has had acne since 17. I did oral antibiotics, then Accutane (kept me clear for 6 months or so), then benzaclin + soladyn, etc. Senior year of college, I sort gave it up, partly because I was busy partly because antibiotics only kept my acne in check and I was a bit demoralized. as a result of that, during a period of high stress, I had bad breakouts before going on the regimen. My situation improved I am unable to get totally clear due to the regimen though I usually have only 3 or 4 pimples on my face. I would qualify my acne as mild to moderate on a real bad day--but my skin looks fairly bad thanks to lots of stubborn hyper pigmentation, huge pores, uneven skin tone, etc.

I recently decided to give the holistic approach a shot. The GL research seemed personally capplicable since my worst acne period (high school) I would gorge myself constantly on crackers. Bread and other refined carbs have always been a HUGE part of my diet (diary not so much)--even more so than that of other people. So I've given up wheat and all grain and dairy.

I'd like to run through my diet so you can maybe advise me on potential hazards or missed opportunities.

Vegetables:

I try to prepare these according to the World's Healthiest Food site, which I saw linked by Alternavista. I buy organic, or not, based on the dirty dozen/clean 15 study by the EWG. I may have seen that linked here.

On to the specifics:

Sweet potatoes. I eat a lot of these and I'm a bit anxious about it since I noticed that Cordain is against them--however I am a bit intimidated by the Paleo diet--I have college loans and a low paying job right now. One for breakfast and lunch--usually that means almost 1 kg a day. This seem like a potential GL problem, but they are kind of a staple. If I were to cut back to one a day, what might I do instead? I took out Quinoa and all beans because of lectins.

Cabbage -- 200g / day. I like it raw as well as cooked.

Tomatoes (organic only)-- at least 100g / day

Garlic (organic) one clove raw a day, minimum.

Onions (300g/day).

Broccoli and Cauliflower, occasionally. I eat the broccoli leaves raw too.

Spinach: a lot if I can get it organic.

Lettuce: organic, w every meal.

Carrots: organic, w every meal or a snacks.

Fresh ginger: a bit in my tea.

Fruit: virtually none except tons of lemon.

Poultry: I infrequently buy Chicken (organic).

Eggs: at least 2 and up to 4 a day.

Fish:

I eat sardines canned in olive oil, or tuna. I am looking into cheap fresh fish. I detest Salmon though = (

Oils:

Olive oil

Coconut oil

I used to eat very low fat...to supplement for lost carbs I now use a lot of organic extra virgin olive oil w every meal(recently learned not to cook w it though...what's a good alternative?) Is EVOO a potential acne problem? I entered a daily deal on Nutrition Data and my diet is like 40/40/20 carbs/fats (basically from organic Evoo) /proteins. I know it isn't Paleo but I'm not sure I can afford fresh fish/organic meat and poultry daily (is it just me or does fish slaughter the competitors nutrition wise?) I am considering making the switch to fish though.

Seeds: Flax only. I use a lot of it to balance the omega 3 : omega 6 ratio, but I've also heard that flax seeds are not optimal for that. Anyone know more?

Spices: curry, pepper, sea salt, and cayenne, all organic.

Drinks: water (bottled) and Green tea. I try to avoid alcohol, but it's hard--I'm young damnit! When drinking, I avoid beers and try to drink hard alcohol straight...does that make any sense? Someone explained to me that whiskey is virtually 0 GL but I've not confirmed it...I drink maybe once a week and in moderation.

Supplements: just a Nature's Made multi and fish oil capsules for now BUT I am waiting to substitute optizinc and Skin Eternal Plus(Source naturals) as soon as they arrive. Nutritionally I thin I am low on B vitamins and Zinc.

Other factors:

Sleep: I have real problems sleeping more than 7 hours and frequently do not get good, or enough sleep. Can someone advise foods to help my sleep or methods to improve sleep quality? I recently installed f.lux to my delight.

Stress: I stress A LOT. Again, if there are any cheap techniques to reduce that or fixes that have worked for you, I'm all ears. It's a hard time for me because I'm unsure of my future (post liberal arts college malaise) and in a new place without many friends.

Exercise: I consider myself active. I ride my bike and walk a lot.

Topical: I am afraid to go off Cetaphil/BP/Moisturizer and totally dietary. Is this advisable? I

Also, I have a chronic running nose (did I read something in the forums about that?)

Anyway: I have been on this approach about 2 weeks w out many results and only marginal cheating (recently 500g of sheep yogurt) but am willing to be patient for up to three months before I renounce it. I have not seen results but I know it Is too early to expect them. I just want to make sure I'm off to a good start.

Ciao and thanks for your input.

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Look into bone broth tutorials and a source for grass-fed bones near you. Or just use the chicken bones when you've eaten all the meat off to make a stock. Quality gelatin supplements or some kind of grass-fed animal source is essential as is a good cod liver oil supplement, imo. Colostrum is another good supp I hear a lot about and have been meaning to try. Mucilaginous plants like okra, aloe, chia seeds, etc. are great for your digestive tract. Get lots of onions, garlic, and sauerkraut with each meal and take a good probiotic.

The idea is to eat as much gut-healing foods (quality animal fats) alongside as many "living" foods (fermented/probiotic) as possible. Vegetables contain many nutrients and are also good for ridding the body of toxins but you also need to be putting lots of good things back into the body. What better way to do that then drink broth, which contains everything your gut is made up of already? It only restores its natural integrity.

I've been doing this for about a week now and am seeing the most rapid improvement I have in months.

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You should take a look at list that goes beyond the dirty dozen to see what appears just a little bit further down the list. For example, Imported grapes appear in the top 12, but U.S. domestic grapes are just a little bit further down. Peaches make the top 12, but nectarines and other stone fruit are not that much better, etc. Although, from your use of grams, I gather you are either from somewhere else in the world or a scientist.

Don't worry about the sweet potatoes. Drizzle on a little oil or butter to lower the glycemic impact and sprinkle with spices that help the body deal with blood sugar. I made my own blend of cinnamon, cayenne and salt. And I often sprinkle with herbs as well.

You can cook with the coconut oil. Or butter, ghee or lard.

Flax seed makes some people worse presumably due to the estrogenic effects. And the reason they say it isn't as good a source of omega 3 is that we aren't that good at converting it. But our high glycemic nutrionally void diet habits have a lot to do with that. If you aren't eating many omega 6 sources, and are getting good eggs from free roaming and flax seed fed hens, plus eating a bit of fish, you are probably fine.

Do they farm trout (rainbow, steelhead) near you or obtain it from somewhere responsible? Is herring common where you are? Those are some other fatty fish. the trout are salmon relatives. Mackerel is another good one, but you only want the smaller species. Avoid the big ones like King Mackerel aka King fish.

You don't necessarily need more than 7, but you do need to sleep about 4 hours straight without waking to get through all the cycles. I've heard less, but I know I had a period where I woke up approximately every 2 hours and I was exhausted. Do you get outdoors into the bright light daily?

For the stress - the bone broths Corgi mentioned have helpful nutrients. There's also some breathing, meditations and other biofeedback techniques.

The same hyperkeratinization tendencies that cause acne can also cause rhinitis. I have that. Not a runny nose but an always congested feeling nose. And I haven't been able to improve it. Not with my not very strict diet. I keep thinking about getting stricter on the things that help with hyperkeratinization to see if it helps.

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Well, I'm not a scientist but I HAVE been living in Europe as an expat for the past few months. I will look into Cod oil supplements and definitely will do the broth deal as well.

There are plenty of other sorts of fish around though I'll have to look into cooking it---we don't have a proper oven, only a stovetop. I have been steaming vegetables.

Is there a probiotic that comes highly recommended?

Well, I'm not a scientist but I HAVE been living in Europe as an expat for the past few months. I will look into Cod oil supplements and definitely will do the broth deal as well.

There are plenty of other sorts of fish around though I'll have to look into cooking it---we don't have a proper oven, only a stovetop. I have been steaming vegetables.

Is there a probiotic that comes highly recommended?

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Link to a thread on biofeedback: http://www.acne.org/...nd-biofeedback/ It did get dominated for a while by a discussion about my mother's stroke, but there's some good advice in it.

Also, I meant to recommend other squashes in response to the sweet potato question.

I steam fish/poach fish. Although usually salmon. I won't be using my oven at all soon as it gets hotter. Lemons are the secret. They make almost everything better. Or limes.

Edited by alternativista

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i've been neglecting this thread since i was on a school trip (I relapsed a little bit on my diet since i was with a host family and didn't have the opportunity to prepare my own meals: i think i kind of hurt their feelings by rejecting almost all the food...they didn't seem to quite understand when i explained), but i had a question about zinc supplementation:

my zinc supplement says 15 mg zinc, 105 mg zinc gluconate. I'm wondering how many capsules are advisable to take a day-two? I'm also wondering how to deal w/ the headache that comes on when i take zinc. The directions to the supplement say to take it on an empty stomach or far from a meal, but I get a headache (not nausea, but it is kind of terrible). I chewed on some ginger root and got a bit of relief, but it's kind of rough.

I steamed a whole, organic chicken last night (I'm very proud as I'm not used to preparing chicken) and then made a broth from the bones--that means a soup sometime in the future! I used to hate chicken because my father always broiled it and I hated the consistency--this is sooooo much better, yay. Cooking more elaborate own meals gives me something constructive to do.

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The same hyperkeratinization tendencies that cause acne can also cause rhinitis. I have that. Not a runny nose but an always congested feeling nose. And I haven't been able to improve it. Not with my not very strict diet. I keep thinking about getting stricter on the things that help with hyperkeratinization to see if it helps.

You ever try eating things to improve thyroid function? I've been doing a lot of reading from a guy named Ray Peat, and he stresses the importance of the thyroid when it comes to normal shedding of skin cells. He had this to say in regards to acne

"Yes, vitamin A and estrogen are antagonistic, and while estrogen promotes keratinization (shedding of skin cells), vitamin A opposes it. Since vitamin A is highly unsaturated, in excess it suppresses the thyroid, so it has to be balanced with the thyroid; the combination is effective for increasing progesterone and decreasing estrogen, slowing the turnover of skin cells, and making the skin cells function longer before flaking off. Plugged pores, combined with a local shift toward synthesizing inflammatory substances, foster bacterial infection. Bright light stimulates the production of steroids, and consumes vitamin A very quickly, but when the balance is right, the acne clears up in just a day or two. Cream, butter, eggs, and liver are good sources of vitamin A. When people supplement thyroid and eat liver once or twice a week, their acne and dandruff (and many other problems) usually clear up very quickly. It was acne and dandruff that led me into studying the steroids and thyroid, and in the process I found that they were related to constipation and food sensitivity."

He also believes thyroid imbalances are much more common than we think (long, but interesting read, imo)

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/thyroid.shtml

My nose is usually congested too, for no reason. I've been making additions according to Peat's philosophy with good results so far. My nose has opened up, and my body temperature is warmer. I used to have cold feet and hands all the time.

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My nose is usually congested too, for no reason. I've been making additions according to Peat's philosophy with good results so far. My nose has opened up, and my body temperature is warmer. I used to have cold feet and hands all the time.

That's interesting because I definitely have cold hands--I went on a school trip to a science center w/ my students and when we stood in front of the infrared camera my hands were clearly colder than anyone else's. I'll look into this.

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My nose is usually congested too, for no reason. I've been making additions according to Peat's philosophy with good results so far. My nose has opened up, and my body temperature is warmer. I used to have cold feet and hands all the time.

That's interesting because I definitely have cold hands--I went on a school trip to a science center w/ my students and when we stood in front of the infrared camera my hands were clearly colder than anyone else's. I'll look into this.

Yes, you should look into the symptoms and nutrients for thyroid function. and adrenal health as it can cause low functioning thyroid. And one of the most important things you can do for adrenal health is manage stress.

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Uh oh, I'm a high-stress person typically.

It seems like for thyroid I'd take magnesium, but I checke it out and I'm getting 400mg daily from food.

I wanted to update this since I recently went off of all topicals and my face is real dry and peeling. I got some sun yesterday but I wore SPF 120 non-comedogenic sunscreen so I'm not sure how to account for it: I haven't had skin this dry since Accutane. I am wondering if it is all the dietary vitamin A I am getting: I don't take retinol but I entered my daily fare in Nutrition Data just to see and lo and behold I am gettinlist least 60,000 mcg of Beta Caroteine, mostly from sweet potatoes and carrots (aso vitamin a is fat soluble and fats have become a dominant source of calories). I'm a bit worried about toxicity although it seems there are few documented negative effects (some stuff on cancer w heavy smokers but I don't smoke and rarely drink anymore).

On the plus side, you can bet that I haven't got any pimples right now, after a breakout last week, just PIH.

I have been doing the broth too.

I started taking Zinc glucosinate (I know, not the best) 100mg twice daily but I will scale it back soon when my better supps arrive.

According to Nutrition Data, my typical daily fare gets me at least 100% of everything except Zinc, which I'm supplementing, vitamin D (that's what sun is for), and Calcium. I think bone broth will get me there on the Calcium front though. So I stopped my multivitamin.

Should I supplement Chromium? I read some studies that said it does nothing for blood sugar, despite having a reputation to the contrary. I can find the link if you like.

A few deals: I am having trouble sleeping for longer than 7 hours: go to bed at 10pm and I'll have to wake at 5 am. I also have had to get up to pee in the middle of the night recently. Any suggestions aside from drinking less before bed?

My dreams have been vivid lately...6 months ago I could never even remember them.

I feel great.

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Your body will use the beta carotene to make only as much A as it needs.

Your thyroid needs quite a few other nutrients. And the RDAs are not right for many nutrients. Too low for things like C and D. Too high for Calcium, etc.

You might not need more than 7 hours. Also it doesn't really matter if you wake up once during the night. That's actually natural and was very common before artificial light. What does matter is that your sleep comes in blocks that are long enough for you to get through all the sleep phases. I think that's about 4-5 hours. I've hear other numbers including 2, but I went through a period when I was waking about every 2 hours and I was exhausted.

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Your body will use the beta carotene to make only as much A as it needs.

Your thyroid needs quite a few other nutrients. And the RDAs are not right for many nutrients. Too low for things like C and D. Too high for Calcium, etc.

In that case, I guess I will continue my multivitamin for awhile (it doesn't have a very high dose of Vitamin A and 60% is Beta Caroteine). I am already getting a hefty dose of vitamin C from diet though.

I slept better last night...I think that getting more sunlight during the day helps a lot. And the program Flux (http://stereopsis.com/flux/) that I mentioned earlier seems very useful because I am often on the computer around 9pm...I haven't had any problems falling asleep. I have been following advice from this forum (I may have read it in one of your threads, Alternavista) and sleeping in total darkness (shutting the blinds and turning off all light) and that works well.

I'm still shopping for a probiotic--there are so many to choose from!

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I just read up on Biphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods and will be searching for Sardines and Tuna w/ out BPA in them...as well as Coconut milk (I know I can get it in larger quantities at the Asian food store around here). Apparently BPA mimics estrogen or something like that: I imagine that can't do me any good on the hormonal front! This is kind of a disappointing discovery since I have been eating a lot of canned coconut milk and canned fish (both are to be avoided in BPA-lined cans).

http://www.ewg.org/node/20936

http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/canned-foods-with-most-bpa-phthalates

http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=13

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^Good, but you might not have much luck with that. Avoid other sources of plastic such as canned acidic foods like tomatoes and other fruits. In fact avoid just about any other canned food. I can't think of anything that has much value besides the fish.

And avoid drinks in plastic. Get a filter for your tap water and steel water bottles. Get glass or ceramic dishes to carry with you for meals at the office or whatever. Eat and drink only out of nonreactive materials like glass, ceramic and steel.

also, some probiotic strains have been identified as being able to help with BPA. I don't recall how. I think I posted something about it in the last few pages of my Good Things thread.

Edited by alternativista

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Will do! I found it is very easy to make your own coconut milk from shredded coconut--this evening I made some from shredded organic coconut from the local organic store. Apparently this is a good way to avoid BPA as well as guar. I don't have a blender so I kind of kneaded the pulp, but the end product was still very delicious and creamy.

http://chriskresser.com/3-reasons-why-coconut-milk-may-not-be-your-friend.

I bought a BRITA water filter the other day and I plan on using it only to filter the tap and then storing the water in glass bottles or drinking it immediately. I have plenty of glass bowls around but not a lot of glassware to take food w/ me. I will check the flea market.

I'm going to try to avoid all canned food, but I'm kind of stumped on the canned fish alternative...Obviously it would be best to go for fresh fish anyway though!

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Can somebody recommend a probiotic type? I'm clueless there.

I'm at about the 1 month mark now and I woke up today to the unpleasant feeling of a big whitehead on my upper lip---I haven't had pimples there for awhile but I did shave a few days ago...I'm a bit disappointed as there were no warning signs and it developed quickly. My face is doing fine--no worse since I stopped topicals, anyway, but I keep getting new pimples. The worst is my neck--they have been large and inflamed! This is actually new, but I'm perplexed---I change my pillowcase daily.

I feel like I have not seen tremendous results and I am wondering how I might optimize. I am starting to eat more fish--aiming for about 200g of small bottom feeders a day. They sell smoked herring everywhere --is smoked fish bad? I will steam mackerel, sardines, etc.

Coconut oil has basically replaced olive oil for me, and I eat a lot of coconut and drink the milk.

Food: sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, spinach (when I can get it organic), lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower, tomatoes (occasional).

Less chicken lately.

Fish: Sardines--I can get them grilled, smoked herring (still has omega 3), occasional salmon, it was so good!

Coconut milk.

Does anyone see any obvious sensitivities here?

Drinks: Tons of Green tea. I also use the leaves on spots.

Nutrients:

I was pondering thyroid more--is it possible I am low on iodine. I use sea salt and there is no indication of iodine in it...

Supplements:

I have a B-100 complex that I'm afraid of--apparently B-12 in high amounts can make acneiform breakouts.

I have been doing Nicotinamide 1100mg a day in /two doses and Zinc 2x/day for almost a week; I recently started supplementing Selenium, Chromium, and E too. I have been getting more D since it has been nice out.

Anyway, just an update. I will definitely keep going for a few more months.

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