Living in Toronto, we have felt the beauty of Canadian nature: the summer’s humidity (feels like 37° C) and the cool winter’s windchill (feels like -25° C) effects. Our skin too had felt it, we just reacted to it in a different way. While we were melting in the summer and our teeth chattered in the winter, our skin showed odd dry patches, specifically on the forehead and cheeks. So we blamed the weather: “Oh it’s just too humid, I feel like am going to melt” or “Oh my, I think Frosty the Snowman would have frozen solid, it’s too cold”. Even though we were always careful to use the season-appropriate moisturizer (light one in the summer and serum + rich cream for the winter) the results consistently disappointed us: dry skin patches all year round. We had enough of this and decided to test out theories on how to improve our skin condition.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the Master Cleanse, it is a regime that permits you to drink a mix of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup up to six times/day for ten days (up to 30 days, depends I guess on personal preference). We tried it and lasted for no more than 48 hours. This cleanse detoxes your body, tests your endurance (hats off to the brave-hearts who lasted the 10 day stretch), sharpens your taste buds, and you slims your waistline. What we did discover took us by surprise: our skin changed from dull to picture-perfect-no-makeup-or-airbrushing-effect flawless. Amazing, right? It was an excellent consolation prize for the two days we lasted with no solid food. But this joy was short-lived.
Fast forward to present time. Our mom had bought a magazine with Dr. Oz’s Total Ten diet on the front cover. This diet didn’t ask of us to sacrifice the entire spectrum of food groups. It only asked to avoid certain carbs (bread, pasta and rice), meats (no pork, no red meats) and dairy products (bye, bye 2% milk and old cheddar cheese). The three of us made a pact to test this theory for ten days straight. What surprised us the most and made us stick to this diet was not the weight loss itself (Go Mama!), but the overall natural glow that we are now proud to show off.
The point of this post? You CAN have flawless skin if you hold on to certain eating principles.
We stopped eating bread and pastries, and started eating Melba toast and gluten-free cocoa puffs after the initial 10 days. We switched the 2% milk with home-made almond milk, and the only dairy we eat now is yogurt and cottage cheese. We avoid eating rice and pasta as much as we can (rediscovering the taste of quinoa and kasha a month later was a dear event). The sources of protein come from lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables (mostly legumes and kale) and the pea protein combo we use in the morning shake. Our diet is not gluten-free, but more like “gluten-reduced”. And as a result, for the past three months we use less time fussing about the new flaky patch on the forehead, and we don’t look bloated in the morning. The skin doesn’t break out if we over-eat (or eat very late).
Many studies have confirmed what we thought was a novelty: certain foods do cause odd reactions to our bodies, and even more so on the skin. I read a recent publication that featured a number of studies with acne patients and their diet. In their conclusion the authors stated the presence of a strong link between what we eat and our skin condition. More specifically, how often we ate refined carbs replicated in the number of breakout episodes we had to suffer (in our case, we also had a problem with how flaky our skin became each time we wanted to indulge). We’re not saying that refined sugar is bad. But we’re also not denying the possibility that it had caused the uneven skin we have been trying to avoid.
This post might be considered as our unofficial statement that we simply cannot continue to be in denial with what all the scientists and beauty gurus have been telling us: it is not healthy to continue to aggravate a condition we are trying to cure. Eating refined carbs (for us is the white bread – we simply can’t get enough of it) was only making things worse in the long run. It became so obvious when we tried separating from each other for 10 days. The texture of our skin improved dramatically, and this has made it easier to let go of the idea that we absolutely needed bread to survive each meal. We are embracing this change and willing to try the same magic with the desert part of our menu. This is difficult only because we have known this Sweets guy for most of our life. However, we are trying to discipline ourselves with tricks such as eating a chocolate bar broken into squares, the gluten-free cocoa puffs I mentioned earlier, making one special desert every other week with low fat ingredients and hunting for the best frozen yogurt place (a habit we picked up not too long ago). Why bother? Because for some reason we want to have that skin that looks radiant and feels plump to the touch (not the sandpaper we’ve had over the last decade or so).
Until next time, be happy you beautiful people.