Monday is not my easiest day, so true for almost many of us, right? This particular one was a typical, “bad luck comes in 3’s” kind of day. The first two were work related – I won’t bore you with the details. The 3rd was the results from my recent York Food Scan test.
A bit of background to fill you in, I’ve suffered from bad skin for years. How bad? As expected during teenage years, my skin then decided to grow up and for a while was quite lovely if I don’t say so myself. All of a sudden, it started going downhill. Breakout city, population me.
Why would this happen when I feel like I eat so well?
I eat no processed foods, no junk, 95% Paleo inspired and after changing my diet to be this way, I saw lots of benefits though my skin still broke out. For me, it was worse than when I was a teenager. Not just how my face looked but how blue it made me feel. ‘You’re approaching 30 and just look at yourself!’ I would unhelpfully and repeatedly think, amongst other unhelpful and negative comments.
During teenage years you can’t help it as you’re experiencing a somewhat hormonal assault, at least I know I did, moody and oily. Moving on swiftly to what happened before deciding to take a food intolerances test.
Was I wrong in thinking that eating a Paleo style diet would keep my skin free from outbreaks?
It’s so popular for many wonderful reasons, not only skin care. Paleo has been useful for me for food education, energy levels, clarity of thought and it’s simply by eating real food. Why would my skin suffer? Reading up on the subject of food, nutrition, skin, health, I introduced a few changes to my diet and the way I considered food choices. Instead of eating a strict Paleo diet I tried:
- Mixing up starches to include basmati rice, rice noodles, kidney beans and white potatoes. The result? More energy, no bloating, more flexible eating choices, and no change in skin. No change in the sense of it wasn’t worse.
- Increasing calcium intake from non-dairy sources. What does this mean? More fish, more spinach and more nuts. Again energy went up! Tick! No change in skin.
- Cutting dairy completely. Now here I did see change. I’ve always said I’m ‘95% Paleo, I love milk in coffee and tea’. Several sources focused on dairy being a high negativity factor for skin, so I cut it out to see what would happen. A couple of weeks after a dairy hiatus, I drank some milk, I ate some cheese, I had gelato. It’s a factor for me. Bingo!
- The final idea surrounded tackling sugar. Sugar doesn’t exist in our house so I would only eat it when a friend or colleague went to the trouble of buying or baking a gluten/dairy free cake. That once in a while indulgence needed to stop. I had to see if sugar was a catalyst for skin issues. What happened was as expected – everything the experts told me would happen, happened. Skin started to clear up. Wondrous!
Changes made – some positive outcomes but nothing table. It had been January to May with basic improvements but nothing to write home about. A Food scan test seemed like a good idea, I’d read reviews and also found a video review talking specifically about the York test. The results came back and that was my 3rd bad thing to happen that Monday. See below…
Yeast, gluten, milk – I don’t eat these anyway, no tears shed.
Eggs! Coconut! Cashews! Wtf!!
Instantly I considered it to be bullshit! After getting over a sulk, I came to realise there’s nothing to lose by trying life without these for a few weeks. So what has week 1 been like, here’s thoughts and findings…
- I miss eggs
- I miss coconut water in my smoothies
- I miss coconut oil to roast sweet potatoes
- I think about eggs a lot
- Why coconut? (Followed by a huff and another sulk)
- Cashews – dammit I forgot that one, there goes a favourite snack
- Eggs are used in making homemade: lamb burgers, onion bhaji, Paleo nut bread… Got to stop thinking about eggs
- The coconut non-dairy ice cream is out of bounds, accept it
- General mumblings about eggs
- Zero outbreaks – my skin is already clearing up, can this be true?
- Energy levels have been a bit stumped – but there’s been a heatwave up to 33C!
- A bit bloated – with no change in the number of starchy foods consumed. Could this be down to lack of coconut fats keeping my system going?
- A total surprise – I haven’t had headaches. For the past few years, I’ve had a headache at night for 5 out of 7 nights a week on average. I thought it was from stopping caffeine in the early afternoon or back pain pushing up into my head. When reading about coconut intolerance symptoms, one stood out: headaches. Why? Who knows yet, more time and investigations needed.
Like all food intolerances having something from the above list wouldn’t kill me, of course. I won’t give these up altogether as there are occasions… but could they be the catalysts causing issues? Being aware is just the start. It strengthens my belief that diet is personal and I question a ‘one size fits all’ approach to food and well-being.
We’ll see what week 2 brings.
Books and audio books I’ve found helpful:
- Nutrition Made Clear, Audio Download – by Professor Roberta H. Anding
- Clear Skin Forever
- Nutrition: A Very Short Introduction
- Clear Skin Forever – on dairy
- Reddit community