I was a spotty teen. Pimples everywhere. At one point my forehead was at 100% saturation with pimples. Let’s call that point “ages 12 through 17”. Even in my twenties and, now, my thirties, I have had problem skin. It’s one thing to have blemishes during puberty, but you expect to have outgrown that delightful stage by your third decade of life. My skin certainly let me know this was not going to be the case when, on the morning of my thirtieth birthday, I woke up and found a pimple in a wrinkle!
Obviously I tried every remedy, both store-bought and home-derived, one time making my face puff up to twice its size when I mistakenly believed that the sap of a garden weed used to treat warts might help to eradicate spots (it didn’t).
I would sit in my apartment eating bagels or doughnuts while reading beauty magazines trying to find the miracle cure, not knowing that I was making the problem even worse with my comfort food.
I have recently, at the behest of the DDP Yoga program guide, cut gluten out of my life. I did it to avoid inflammation in my knees, lower my overall cancer risk, and improve my digestion, but little did I know I was helping clear up my skin too. I am a month or so into being “Gluten-free”, and having read this article at NPR, and this one at WebMD, I realized that I haven’t seen a spot on my face in a while.
Here’s why: going Gluten-free more or less means that you are going to a low carb diet. It certainly means hacking sugar and refined/processed carbohydrates like white flour out of your diet. I have never been a fan of buying replacement foods: anything with “dairy-free”, “sugar-free”, “fat-free”, “gluten-free”, or similar terminology on the label, so I didn’t immediately take to filling up my shopping cart with gluten-free cereal, bread, salad dressing, and other high-glycemic index substitutions. Instead, I changed the foods on my menu. For example, out went the Cheerios for breakfast, and in came the quinoa and blueberries. Basically, if you vegan up the paleodiet, you have what I eat! The studies seem to show that having your blood sugar suddenly spiked by sugar, gluten and refined carbohydrates, and the subsequent inflammation increase acne-producing hormones. That inflammation also puts you at risk for diseases like cancer, so it’s worth lowering the glycemic index of your diet, even if you aren’t a slave to your vanity.