When the body is nourished with low toxin, nutrient rich foods and the heart, cardiovascular system, muscles and bones are stimulated with the type of exercise that makes them strong and healthy, the skin will respond by becoming vibrant and healthy. People often ask me which aging cream or lotion they can apply to look younger – but the answer is not in a bottle!
Skin Deeper Nutrition Plan – Replace toxins with nourishing (and delicious!) food – inspired by the ancestral way of eating
Everyone will lose unwanted fat, look younger, experience improved health and feel better!
You should expect an improvement in your overall health – here are some of the conditions that can be dramatically improved (to name just a few):
* Inflammatory skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis
* Skin cancers and pre-skin cancers
* Autoimmune conditions including lupus, dermatomyositis, fibromyalgia, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, hypothryroidism
* High cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar
* Depression and anxiety
The first step to healing your skin and body is to remove as many toxins from your diet as possible, so that your skin and body can heal from the inside out. This is especially important for those with active skin rashes, skin cancers and pre-cancers, acne and autoimmune problems, but it will benefit those who want to improve their health overall and experience younger looking skin.
Let’s get started!
Section 1: a description of the plan
Section 2: a shopping list and sample plan
Section 3: more details, trouble shooting
Section 4: Science and research
Step 1: Aim to reduce inflammatory foods from your diet and replace them with foods that nourish and protect you from disease. Make a commitment to do this for 30 days. The more committed you are, the better your results will be.
* At the end of these guidelines you will find a complete and detailed list of foods to include in your diet, along with a sample meal plan. I will also include links to other websites where you can find recipes and advice.1. Fat: out with the bad, in with the good (it’s not what you think!)
vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, margarine, all other “spreads” such as promise and other butter replacements
coconut oil (Spectrum is organic and has very little taste), olive oil, butter from grass-fed cows (Kerrigold is affordable and tasty)Hidden sources of inflammatory oils:
all fried food from fast-food establishments and restaurants (make your own at home with the oils above), processed / packaged foodsWe have been told for numerous years now that butter and saturated fats are bad for us and that vegetable and seed oils are healthy when, unfortunately, the opposite is true. Study after study has proven that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease or cancer, but, unfortunately the oils that we have been using instead are problematic. Vegetable and seed oils are loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, which quickly become damaged both during processing, on the shelf and then in the body when consumed. These damaged fats are like shards of glass, wreaking havoc all over the body, including damage to the blood vessels, heart, other internal organs and yes, the skin. They can make acne, eczema, psoriasis and autoimmune diseases worse and suppress the bodies natural defense against skin cancer.
Healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil and olive oil are low in fragile omega-6 fatty acids and are instead high in healthy fats and vitamins. Coconut oil immune enhancing lauric acid, and butter contains Vitamin K2 (not to be confused with Vitamin K1 involved in clotting), which has been shown to improve and prevent degenerative bone disease. Although saturated fats have recently been demonized, they’ve been eaten in large quantities for centuries by people with little to no cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. In fact, numerous papers have been published in the medical literature showing that there is no association between heart disease and saturated fat. Such fats are likely to be protective against disease. And, furthermore, adequate healthy fats in the diet helps to lead to a healthy hormone balance and help to combat dry skin and eczema.
Gray area: although nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans do have a high omega-6 fatty acid content, they do have other health promoting qualities when eaten in moderation. One handful is plenty. And remember, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes that carry on them toxic mold (aflatoxin) that has been linked to cancer and they also contain anti-nutrients that bind to any nutrients that they contain, thus causing them to lose much of their potential nutrient value.
2. Fructose: it’s not just sugar – it’s often more like fat!
Avoid: soda, juice, candy, processed / packaged foods especially sweets, agave syrup
Eat instead: fruits and vegetables (in moderation)
Many people think of fructose as the sugar that is contained in fruits and vegetables, although in reality, fruit and vegetables actually a combination of fructose and glucose. Fructose is found in many foods including fruit, cane sugar, honey, agave, and, of course, corn where it is processed into “high fructose corn syrup”. Glucose, once absorbed, can be utilized directly by your body, but fructose, on the other hand, must first be processed by the liver. If you have not recently performed strenuous exercise (such as lifting weights or sprinting), your body will convert this fructose into triglycerides, a type of fat that circulates through the blood stream until it can be used. Unfortunately, high triglyceride levels are associated with heart disease and stroke – even more so than LDL or “bad cholesterol” (though LDL is not actually bad unless it is damaged by inflammation in the body – more on that later). These triglycerides increase inflammation and damage all over the body, including inflammatory skin conditions and skin cancer.
If you have recently performed strenuous exercise such as weight-lifting, sprinting or other high-intensity activity, the energy from the fructose will first fill up the stores of energy in your muscle and liver called glycogen. Any left over fructose that is turned into triglycerides will then be used during activity, so active people can tolerate more fructose than sedentary individuals. Still, it is best to limit your fructose consumption by avoiding processed foods, sodas and juices and instead enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables as these offer the body valuable vitamins, antioxidants and fiber that promote health.
Gray area: A small amount of sugar on occasion is fine, preferably from something that you have made yourself. Some people like a little sugar in their coffee, a little treat occasionally is fine. It’s really about moderation. Honey has the same amount of fructose as sugar, so it’s not a free pass, but honey also has some additional health benefits that make its consumption, in small quantities, potentially beneficial. Agave has a higher fructose content than sugar, so it is best avoided. Please avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, splenda, and saccarine. These are toxic. Some people also avoid starches such as yams (also called sweet potatoes), potatoes, and beets. However, all of these vegetables, when grown in organic soil, have vital minerals and vitamins (yes – even potatoes!), so I include them in moderation.
3. Soy: a hidden toxin
Avoid: processed foods with “soy protein isolate”, tofu, soy milk, soybean oil, soy flour
Consume instead: unprocessed fruit, vegetables, eggs, fish, and meat (vegetarians, see special note below)
Hidden sources of soy:
Soy is used as a filler in many processed foods including packaged breads, cookies and sauces.
Although soy products have been consumed in Asia for several hundred years, they have traditionally been used as a condiment or a side dish in combination with nutrient rich broths, fish, and vegetables. The estrogen-like compounds in soy have can have a powerful effect on the body, altering the natural hormone balance and even leading to depressed thyroid function. In addition, soy contains a very high level of anti-nutrients, and can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies including calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc, B12 and vitamin D. Soy milk is a highly processed food that, unfortunately, can cause as many problems as the dairy that people are trying to replace. Try coconut milk instead.Gray area: Asians have traditionally consumed on average two teaspoons of soy a day in the form of fermented soy (soy sauce, tofu, natto, and tempeh.) Some people do fine with a small amount of soy – it’s best to eliminate it for 30 days then add in again to test your tolerance. Soy sauce can be replaced with “coconut aminos”, a delicious fermented salty sauce derived from coconuts. Look for it at your local health food store. In addition, “soy lecithin” is another ingredient you may encounter. It is a binder that is found usually only in trace amounts. I tend to allow this on occasion as it’s quantity is so minimal.
4. Gluten: not guten (translation – nasty stuff)
Avoid: wheat and all products containing wheat including most breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, many cereals etc; other gluten containing grains such as barley and rye; read labels – many sauces, processed foods, and cereals contain gluten
Eat instead: vegetables (corn is not a vegetable – it’s a grass), fruit, small amounts of rice and moderate amounts of gluten-free bread and crackers made with rice and starches (but NOT soy!)
Hidden Sources: Unfortunately, wheat and gluten is a hidden ingredient in “rice” cereals (such as Special K), sauces (including soy sauce), and many other prepared foods. Be sure to read labels (or better yet, don’t buy them).
Unfortunately, wheat and “whole grains” have been touted as a health food for many years now, when, in fact, the gluten and other inflammatory proteins in wheat has been a major contributor to our rapidly declining health. Numerous studies have linked gluten with autoimmune disease (where the body begins to attack itself), and gluten intolerance is now a well-known entity affecting at least 30% of people. The symptoms area many and include skin conditions including eczema and acne, and other problems including fatigue, joint pains, headache, depression, insomnia, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies including osteoporosis to name only a few. Gluten is inflammatory in the gut even for those without symptoms, and each time the immune system is occupied with cleaning up the mess that gluten has made, it is not occupied with important tasks such as repairing damaged cells that may cause skin or internal cancers or fighting off viruses and bacteria.Furthermore, even if you are not concerned about inflammation, wheat – even when whole grain – is able to induce insulin spikes that are above and beyond what is already expected of this high glycemic index food. This easily leads to weight gain, as it causes hunger and intense cravings for yet more sugary foods. This can cause worsening of diabetes as well. Finally, wheat contains very few nutrients, and even when fortified with synthetic vitamins, can lead to mineral imbalances and nutritional deficiencies, including osteoporosis.Gray area: There is really not a gray area in terms of gluten. If you are able to tolerate it without symptoms, you will have to weigh the potential health problems that it can cause with your desire to consume it. As a rare treat, it may be tolerated by some people. Grains in general do not contain many nutrients when compared to fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat and fish. However, some grains do contain fewer toxins and can therefore be consumed in small quantities without causing inflammation. White rice is the safest (brown rice contains toxins and anti-nutrients which cancel out it’s potential benefits) and organic corn products if you are able to tolerate them (no signs of inflammation on the skin or body – rashes, pain, etc). I recommend eliminating other grains including oats, quinoa, and millet, etc.5. Milk: great for calves, not always great for people
Avoid: especially pasteurized non-fat and low-fat milk – all other milk for 30 days
Eat instead: coconut milk; also cream and butter from grass-fed cows is usually fine (although if you still have problems, you may need to eliminate it for a while.
Milk can be problematic for a number of reasons. First, milk causes a rise in insulin levels, which then leads to hunger, additional food consumption, and weight gain. Furthermore, even if you aren’t concerned about gaining weight, these insulin spikes can also lead to exacerbation of acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. Second, milk contains the protein casein, which can be inflammatory for a number of people, leading to heart burn, stomach cramps, and even lethargy. Lactose, which is primary sugar found in milk, can also lead to stomach cramping and diarrhea, though some people do carry the gene that allows them to digest lactose. Finally, most commercially available milk comes from cows that are constantly stressed. They are given hormones to increase milk production and antibiotics for frequent udder infections. Because milk is essentially filtered cow’s blood, the poor health of the cow is reflected in the contents of the milk, including unhealthy levels of estrogens and stress hormones are passed on to you in the milk.
Gray area: Some people who have difficulty with milk can consume yogurt, cheese and still others are able to digest milk just fine and do not notice any signs of inflammation (acne, eczema, joint pains, fatigue). However, the insulin spikes caused by milk can be problematic for anyone who is not at their ideal body weight, so keep this in mind. Still, ultimately, you may choose to add milk back into your diet. However, I would urge you to choose high quality milk, yogurt, and cheese from grass-fed cows, preferably full fat so that you can enjoy the many health benefits from the nutrients stored in those fats, including the fatty acid CLA, which is a potent anti-cancer fighter that can also help to control excess body fat.
6. Legumes (beans, lentils) – not as good as you think
Avoid: all beans, lentils, and peanuts
Eat instead: vegetables, meat, fish, eggs (if you are a vegetarian, see the special note below)
Hidden sources: Just remember – peanuts are legumes (not nuts), and the same rules apply. Except, peanuts are also known to carry toxic cancer causing molds – even more reason to limit or avoid exposure.
Beans and lentils have been touted for their health benefits, but in reality that are not particularly high in nutrients. This is because there are compounds (phytates) present in legumes that bind to most of the vitamins and minerals, making them inaccessible to the body. Furthermore, legumes can cause in inflammatory response in some people that can lead to a variety of problems. Even the fiber in legumes, which has been promoted as a healthy part of the plant, can put considerable stress on the digestive system. For this reason, legumes are best left out of the diet to leave room for more nutritious foods.
Gray area: Legumes, when properly soaked and prepared, can be consumed by many people without problems. If you are a vegetarian, you may want to keep these in your diet, though eggs from pasture-raised hens will provide a better source of complete protein. For non-vegetarians, remove these foods from the diet for 30 days then re-introduce properly prepared legumes if desired. However, keep in mind that when compared to vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, these have far fewer nutrients.
Conclusion: All of the foods above cause inflammation in the body and have the potential to suppress the immune system. This then causes skin conditions to worsen, including acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. It will also exacerbate any autoimmune conditions on the skin and elsewhere including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. To make matters worse, while the immune system is occupied inflammation, it is less likely to fight off things like HPV, which can lead to warts or worse yet, cancer. Furthermore, when it’s not doing it’s job repairing cells in the body, the resulting DNA damage then leads to cancer. I recommend avoiding as many of the toxins above for 30 days to let your body rest from the inflammation that it has been constantly combatting. Once the 30 days is up, you can add back things that you miss to see how they affect your body. Even if you do not notice a difference when you add the toxic foods back in (though most people do), I highly recommend making an anti-inflammatory diet part of your lifestyle, as you will be reducing your change of heart disease and cancer in the future. And remember, no one is perfect. Aim to eat healthy most of the time, and given yourself a break occasionally.
* A special note to vegetarians: Protein is essential to life, and getting adequate high quality complete protein on a vegetarian diet can be a challenge. Legumes may be helpful, but I still do not recommend soy. Eggs are very nutritious, but only buy high quality eggs from pasture-raised chickens. I will continue to post on this topic.
List of approved foods
1. Good fats
- Coconut oil
* Best: organic extra-virgin or expeller cold pressed coconut oil (look for Spectrum for neutral taste)
- Olive oil
* Best: Extra-virgin, best when used for salads or cooking on low to medium heat (though can damage your oil somewhat)
* Best: Kerrigold or Organic Valley Pasture Butter (green label)
- Cream (if tolerated)
* Best: Organic Valley or other cream from grass-fed cows
Fruit / Vegetables
- Focus on what is in season
- Get organic or locally grown without pesticides when possible – pesticides contain many toxins and can be incorporated into the plant and cannot be washed off
- Cook vegetables with healthy fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins
* Best: Eat wild salmon when possible – canned, fresh or frozen. Wild salmon contains many more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and far fewer harmful omeg-6 fatty acids. Other beneficial fish include mackerel trout and sardines. Limit large fish like tune, swordfish, and shark due to mercury.
* Best: Be picky about your eggs. Eggs from sick chickens will may you sick. Get eggs preferably from chickens raised on pasture, free-range and/or fed organic feed. These are now available at most supermarkets. They are more expensive, but your body is worth it.
- Beef and lamb:
* Best: Though red meat has recently gotten a bad reputation, meat from animals that are grass-fed and kept free of hormones and antibiotics is one of the most nutritious food that you can consume – even more so than chicken or pork.
- Pork and chicken
* Best: Get naturally raised and/or free range when possible
* Best: Milled white rice is best. Although brown rice has been promoted as a health food, the bran binds the nutrients in the rice, making them unavailable to the body. Furthermore, it can be inflammatory to the gut, causing problems as mentioned above. Still, white rice in a nutrient poor food and should be eaten as an occasional treat with a nutritious meal. I do, on special occasions, use rice flour, combined with other starch flours, to make treats such as cookies and cakes (recipes to follow!)
* Best: Corn is best avoided except on rare occasions and only if it does not cause problems for you personally (skin rashes, joint paints, fatigue, etc). When it is consumed, you should get organic, non-genetically modified (GMO) corn. A few times a month I make corn tortillas, popped corn, and eat corn chips – all nonGMO.
- Other non-gluten containing grains
* Best: I do not recommend consuming other gluten-free grains. They are nutrient-poor. Some, such as millet, suppress thryoid function, and others, such as oatmeal, can spike your blood sugar higher than expected for many hours. Still others can be inflammatory for some people. Use at your discretion.
* Best: It is best for most people to avoid for a long, healthy disease-free life.
I have received invaluable information and inspiration from the following books and websites. Please check them out!
* Coming Soon: Sample meal plans, recipes, books and links, research summaries and links, children and optimal nutrition, sun and sunscreen, washes and lotions, acne, eczema, psoriasis, optimal exercise for healthy skin and body, plastics, water safety