Going Gluten Free for Clearer Skin

What raises your blood sugar levels more? Whole wheat bread or table sugar? Read on to find out.

"I could never go gluten free. I like bread too much."

"I've tried gluten free bread and I can't stand the taste."

"It's too hard to eat in a restaurant if you don't eat gluten."

"I don't have a gluten intolerance. I never have to run to the bathroom when I eat it."

Do any of these sound familiar?! These are among the top comments I hear when discussing gluten. There's a lot of buzz out there among the word gluten and there seem to be three camps of people: Those who are gluten free and are completely sold that it's improved their health, those who feel it's fine for other people to be gluten free but it's not for them, and lastly, those who believe that gluten free is a trend and will soon die out.

Best diet for acne

What is the truth? Is gluten bad for your health? If you're not intolerant should you be eating it?

I first discovered the concept of a gluten free diet when I read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. This book opened my eyes to an entirely new concept and much of what he wrote seemed to be written directly for me.
A few things I learned:
  1. The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our grandmother's ate.
  2. Even if you have a seemingly perfect diet, you may still hold on to body fat if wheat is in your diet.
  3. Wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet. There are other grains containing gluten but as a general rule we consume those much less frequently.
  4. Whole wheat bread increases blood sugar as much or more than table sugar.
This last one was a real eye opener for me. I've had blood sugar issues my whole life. It's one reason it's hard for me to ever feel full for long. Up to this point, wheat made up a large part of my diet. I consumed pastas and breads without thinking twice. I exercised really hard so I figured, why not? After reading this book I learned exactly why not. I chose to remove gluten from my diet to see if there was some truth behind what I'd read. At this time I really didn't understand all the in's and out's of gluten. I now know that I had not removed 100% like I thought I had. Despite this, I still lost some weight, my tummy was flatter, and my blood sugar levels were much more stable than they'd ever been.

Of course, it was difficult living without gluten so this new lifestyle quickly dwindled and I went back to my old habits. Until I experienced a great loss in my life, which spurred on my cystic acne (which I had fought off and on since my teen years). When creams and face washes weren't doing the trick I decided to take a more holistic option. I began researching on the internet what worked for other women with adult acne. A common theme kept recurring; Remove gluten and dairy from your diet as the first step.

I battled and struggled with this. I remembered how great I'd felt when I gave up gluten before, but truth be told I didn't want to do it again. It was too difficult. It was easier to eat in a restaurant if I was able to eat gluten. I didn't really have a problem with gluten, right?! There can't be that much truth to this idea. Long story short, I went back and forth A LOT before I finally realized I wasn't doing myself any favors and cut gluten from my diet 100%. No longer was I allowing a once a week treat of regular bread or cutting myself slack when eating out. I realized to see the changes I wanted it had to be all or nothing.

Here is the truth about identifying food intolerance and identifying foods that cause inflammation in your body. After all, too much inflammation in the body is where illness begins. If you want to know if eliminating gluten will make a difference for you, you have to completely eliminate it 100% no exceptions. The length of time you do this for really depends on your symptoms. If you have acne, eczema, rosacea or any other skin ailments then the longer the better. My acne clients do it for six straight months. If you're having GI discomfort you may notice a difference within a few days.

Here are other symptoms related to gluten intolerance:
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • ADHD like behavior
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Bone or Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Acne 
  • Dermatitis
You can read more about it here: Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity

For some clarification, a gluten intolerance can exist even if you don't have Celiac disease or another type of autoimmune disorder. The problem with the bread of our grocery shelves today is it was made to be shelf stable. This equals a higher gluten content. Also, when you see the word "Enriched" on a label it often means "deprived of nutrients." Enriched means some of the nutrients that cause the food to spoil faster have been removed and replaced with chemical ingredients so the food will be shelf stable. (Dr. Sear's, The Inflammation Solution).



Does cutting gluten from your diet seem scary or unmanageable or simply something you just really don't want to do? I get it. I once felt the same way. It's important to remember that you can always introduce back into your diet. If you eliminate if for two weeks and feel zero changes, start eating it again!

I highly encourage you to give this a try! 

Tell me, have you ever eliminated or considered eliminating gluten from your diet? 

 

Posted in Acne, Nutrition, Wellness. Tagged as acne, gluten, glutenfree, heal acne, healing acne holistically, women's adult acne.

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking Each Day?

Do you agree that drinking water is important to your health? It's not exactly a newsflash that our bodies need water to function properly. Maintaining a proper weight and having a beautiful, glowing complexion are both helped with proper water consumption.  If we know water is crucial to our bodies, the question then becomes how much water should we consume each day?

How much water to drink for clear skin?
I've found that there are two main views on this very subject. One view is that getting enough water is simply a mathematical equation. The equation is based on your weight. Along this same view point is that you should drink 8, 8 oz glasses of water per day. That's easy enough to remember, but is it enough water?

The second view point is that you should listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. In fact, some health experts who fall into this category believe that drinking too much water, especially around mealtimes, can dampen your digestion and lead to gut issues. I've read countless articles that argue you shouldn't drink water 30 minutes prior to your meal, during your meal and up to 30 minutes after you've finished eating.

Which method is correct? Is it a clear calculation or does it involve getting to your individual body's needs?
Unfortunately, many people are out of touch with their bodies. We stink at listening to our body when it tells us we are hungry or thirsty. This is key, and for most of my private-coaching clients I find this is where they need to start. Learn to listen to your body!

Here's the method I advocate:
  • Fill a gallon jug of water at the start of each day.
  • Each time you fill your glass or water bottle to drink, use water from this gallon jug.
  • At the end of the day take note of how much water you've consumed.
  • Record in a journal how you felt that day. Did you feel energized? Did you have a headache? Were you tired and sluggish? Was your digestion on point or did you feel bloated?
  • Do this for two weeks.
You may not finish the gallon of water each day. That's okay. The point of this isn't to force yourself to drink the entire gallon. The point is to get you in touch with your body. Begin to take note of the amount of water you drank on the days you felt the best. Aim to get that amount of water daily. This amount may vary from time to time depending on the weather and your activity level. That's okay. The point of this exercise is to bring awareness. It should help you tap into your body's thirst signals.

For example, many of my clients, when they initially seek my help, are so out of touch with their bodies that they often mistake thirst for hunger. I've found this exercise to be the most successful at bringing awareness of your own body.

After the birth of my second child, I took the advice of a well-intentioned friend. My daughter could not breastfeed so I chose to use a hospital grade breast pump and bottle feed her with my own milk. It can be difficult to keep your milk supply up when you rely on a breast pump instead of the baby. I didn't feel that my supply was where I wanted it to be so a friend suggested I increase my water intake. I don't remember the amount she told me to drink daily but it was an enormous amount. I have always been an avid water drinker so the idea that I was somehow dehydrated seemed absurd to me, but I took her advice anyway. Within two short days of following her stringent "water plan" my milk supply dropped by more than half. Where before I was getting around 6 ounces each time I pumped, I was now only getting about 2 ounces. I called my lactation consultant, completely dismayed and looking for answers. She told me, "Hannah, stop drinking all that water! You're peeing out the hormone your body needs to make the milk!" In a nutshell, she told me to drink when my body told me it was thirsty. I went back to my former ways and my milk supply returned to normal.

I realize you may be thinking, 'that's great, but I'm not a nursing mother so what does that story have to do with me?'. The point of the story is not that I was a nursing mother. The point is we should be listening to our bodies! Following formulas and forcing water into our bodies when we're not thirsty may backfire on you as it did on me. It's along these same lines that I don't believe in counting calories or dieting in the traditional sense. It simply won't work.

On another note, as you take actions to clear your skin by increasing your intake of nutritional foods, you will naturally be increasing your water intake. The truth is fruits and vegetables, especially when eaten raw, contain a certain amount of water. Regardless of what some may believe, this does in fact count towards your daily intake of water! Sometimes when we begin eating healthier, we may actually notice we're a little less thirsty than before. It's no surprise when you're consuming raw produce! 



What are your thoughts? How much water do you currently consume and how do you feel most days? If you need help in this area, I challenge you to two weeks of my water exercise.
  1. Fill a gallon jug each day
  2. Observe your body and write it down
  3. Learn how your body feels when it's thirsty.
  4. Learn to obey those signals and see what happens with your health!

Posted in Acne, Nutrition, Wellness. Tagged as acne, cure acne, heal acne holistically, how much water is enough, nutrition, water consumption.

Don’t Call Me Fat!


"Do you have some news you'd like to share?" she asked.

"Everything's going well," I replied, "if that's what you mean, but there really isn't anything new happening."

Then she said, "I thought you were pregnant." Oh boy! No I was not pregnant and I didn't realize I looked pregnant!

I'll never forget that moment. It was a turning point, truly life changing. Our conversation continued on, only to get worse and actually quite degrading. As if being told you look pregnant, when in fact you are not, isn't painful enough, she went on to outright call me fat while squeezing my "fat" arm to emphasize her point.

This was agonizing for two reasons.
  1. Nobody wants to be told they are fat.
  2. The person who told me this was someone I was very close to, admired and held in high esteem. I met her when I was around 10 years old and had adored her ever since.
Being called fat
In the year or so leading up to this event, my life had become hectic. I got married. My husband was active duty military and was TDY at Ft. Bliss, TX for training. I stayed behind at my parents' home in NC to finish another semester of college. I was also working a demanding sales job to help make ends meet. While I certainly enjoyed my school work and my current career there was little time in my life for exercise and eating well. In all honesty, I had gained weight. My formerly slim and trim self, morphed into a woman who was tired, stressed and 30 pounds heavier than she should have been.

While I don't agree with the way my beloved friend approached me on the subject, I am grateful that it happened. It was heartbreaking in the moment but it opened my eyes to the truth. Having felt such emotional pain from this incident I decided right then and there (okay, actually I cried on my Mother's shoulders for a few hours and then decided) to turn my life around. I made up in my mind that NO ONE would ever call me fat again.



I began to set my alarm clock an hour earlier so I could get up and power walk each morning. At that point we had moved to a light infantry post, Ft. Drum, NY. Most mornings 0500 (5 a.m.) were filled with hundreds of soldiers "ruck" marching the loop where I was walking. I felt I had lots of company. In a matter of a few months I shed the excess weight and was feeling wonderful. No one has ever called me fat since then.

I share this story because it was life changing. When that distressing conversation occurred I had a choice: wallow in self-pity and continue down the path of treating my body poorly, or make a deliberate change to turn things around.

What about you? Are you at a crossroads in your life? Are you at a place where you are tired of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Are you ready to look and feel your best?

 

Posted in Nutrition, Wellness. Tagged as don't call me fat, health and wellness, weight loss.