As some of you may already know, in addition to being an Esthetician and Herbalist I am also a Certified Nutrition Consultant. I've always found that a holistic approach to skincare yields the best and most lasting results. My philosophy is that what you put in your body is as important if not more important than what you put on it. In the next several posts I will be talking about which foods to avoid for healthy skin and what to replace these with to deal with cravings. Today the focus is sugar and refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs quickly turn into glucose in the body causing blood sugar spikes that disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to inflammation. Sugar and refined carbs are number one on my list of foods to avoid to maintain your most youthful, glowing and clear skin.
Foods to Avoid:
Sugar and refined carbohydrates: These are at the top of the list for me personally. I have always had what I call a faulty carbohydrate metabolism. I was diagnosed with low blood sugar as a child and I would actually pass out when levels got too low. When I was in my late 20's, I was told that I have borderline high blood sugar. What all this adds up to is the fact that I do best on a low carb diet. This is not going to be the case for everyone but research has shown that sugar and refined carbs like pasta, bread, pastries, chips and junky snack foods contribute to systemic inflammation and increase signs of premature aging of the skin through a complicated process called glycation. In my work as a licensed esthetician, I have seen, first hand, how sugar can worsen acne and other inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea. I can say with confidence that the stricter you are about avoiding these foods the better your skin and overall health will be.
What to eat instead:
So what are you supposed to do when you have a craving for something sweet? Here's what I do:
Pick up a monk fruit sweetened chocolate bar from your local Whole Foods and slap some yummy nut butter on it.
If you have a Project Juice nearby pop in and order yourself a Blue Moon Smoothie but ask them to hold the dates and instead get a bottle of vanilla flavored stevia and mix it in yourself until it's perfectly sweetened to your taste.
Try this recipe for Chocolate Avocado Pudding but instead of using the sweeteners they recommend, try a mix of stevia drops and yacon syrup. These are both low carb sweeteners that do not cause spikes in blood sugar. Also, use canned coconut milk or another non-dairy/non-soy milk for this recipe.
These ice creams are available at most Whole Foods. They are gluten free, soy free, dairy free and sugar free and they still tastes like ice cream! There are other sugar free sweets available on the market but be careful to avoid products sweetened with chemicals like aspartame, Nutrasweet and Sucralose. Safe low carbohydrate natural sweeteners include monk fruit (tastes most like sugar), stevia (Sweetleaf is my favorite brand), yacon syrup and erythritol (use this one in moderation).
Stay tuned for more on this topic: Skin Care from the Inside Out. In the next post I will discuss the inflammatory effects of gluten.