Knowing what foods benefit your acne cond ition is a key step in deciphering the messages of acne. The goal of doing an elimination diet is to find out what foods your body can tolerate and how you should organize your eating habits for optimum nutrition.
If your body does not tolerate a certain food, this does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to it, it means that your body cannot be at its peak when you eat this food in excessive amounts.
Your body can givean indication of food intolerance with the following signs: gas andbloating, abdominal pain, headache (immediately, or even many days after eating the food), constipation, diarrhea, sweating, fever, unexplained coldness, nervousness, excessive anger, fear, sadness, pain in different parts of body, skin irritations, red or twitchy eyes, muscle twitches, cramps, or tremor.
Basically, if you don’t like how you feel after having eaten a certain food, you need to investigate whether or not you can tolerate that food. Then you can choose to eliminate it or only consume the food in moderate amounts.
You can found out which foods that you do and do not tolerate well by using the following methods:
- Muscle response testing
- Intuitive choosing of food items
- Blood Type diet
- Elimination diet
Muscle Response Testing
Author Dona Edens, in her book Energy Medicine, provides an easy muscle response test that you can perform practically anywhere. Just stand as you normally would and lay your hands to your side. Hold your hands firmly to the side as if to prevent someone from lifting them.
Now, let someone try to lift your left hand. This will give you a feeling of your normal muscle strength. Next, place a food in your right hand. Again, hold your left hand to your side as if to prevent someone from lifting it.
If you notice a significant difference in the strength of your left hand, you may have intolerance for the food in your right hand. Try this test on various foods so that you get a feel for how to use this method. It is fun to do while shopping for groceries as well.
Intuitive eating involves consuming what your body needs, when it needs it. The aim of intuitive eating is to learn to listen to your body. In this respect, you distinguish between feelings of thirst and hunger.
Also, if you have a craving for something sweet, you ask yourself do I need a fruit instead or more carbohydrates (such as a bowl of bran flakes). Essentially, you eat consciously, knowing that you are nurturing a bodily need, not simply eating out of habit, stress or boredom.
A person looks beyond the cravings with intuitive eating and asks herself, “What nutrients does my body actually need right now and what foods will provide these nutrients?”
Likewise, if you have a craving for potato chips, you may just need the salt that comes from the chips. Your body needs minerals to perform at its best.
You can get these minerals by using natural sea salts. So the next time you crave chips, consider getting your dose of minerals by sprinkling some sea salt on your favorite veggies or just drop a few salts in some fresh water and drink up.
Keep in mind that an imbalance of the essential fatty acids omega 3 to omega 6 can generate a craving for fats. So, if you eat a greasy burger or another form of hydrogenated fat, you may feel hungry just an hour or two later eventhough you have consumed hundreds if not thousands of calories.
To avoid this excessive hunger, consume your essential fatty acids in the form of salmon or veggies flavored with fresh olive oil. This is an example of intuitive eating: it goes beyond the craving to fulfill a dietary need.
The blood type diet works on the premise that people with same blood type (O, A, B, AB) and same race (Asian, Caucasian, African, Native American, etc.) respond to food in a similar fashion. If you wish to further explore this method, I suggest reading The Eat Right for Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia by Peter J. d’Adamo.
The elimination diet reveals how your body responds to certain foods. Using this diet, I discovered that I have an allergic type response to bananas, and for years this was my favorite fruit.
To give an example of an elimination diet, I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for three days straight, along with various fruits and bread. At the end of the three days, large bumps covered my entire face. All of the bumps were inflamed, and appeared all at once.
So, I realized that I had an immune response to something. I had eaten the bread and fruits before with not acne outbreaks. The peanut butter was suspect because I had not eaten it in over four months. So, peanut butter is no longer one of my primary food sources. I may eat it once or twice a month now.
Developers of the Protein Power Program, Michael R. and Mary Dan. Eades, M.D.. estimate that most people only eat about 15 foods in their diet.
Acknowledging that this number seems unbelievably small, the doctors maintain that research and diet journals from their patients attest to this figure. With this, it should be easy to perform an elimination diet.
It only gets difficult when you discover that one of your food staples is a source of acne aggravation. It was easy for me to lay off the peanut butter after seeing how it ruined my face with bumps. I’ve began eating several of my past food staples in moderation for the sake of sparing my body from acne.
Now I eat less yogurt, tomatoes and bananas than I did in the past. Combining knowledge from the muscle type testing, intuitive eating and blood type made the elimination diet easier.
For instance, I noticed at one point that I was beginning to dislike tomatoes. As a child, I would eat 3-4 fresh tomatoes a day when they were in season because we grew them in our back yard.
Then about a year ago, I did not want to eat, buy or touch this fruit any more.
My actions surprised me and I wanted to know why my body suddenly stopped enjoying or even desiring one of my favorite foods from the past.
Then I glimpsed through Peter J. d’Adamo’s blood type book and tomatoes are not recommended for my blood type. With the results from intuitive eating and muscle response testing, I found enough reasons to depart with my dietary obsession with tomatoes.
If you had not eaten in three days and someone gave you a bag of chips that gave you enough energy to walk to a grocery store, would you say that the chips were “bad”? No. The chips gave you energy.
Food is a source of energy. If your body cannot appropriately assimilate this energy source, the food is not appropriate for you. The elimination diet is geared to help you delineate what foods work most harmoniously with your body.
More specifically, with the elimination diet, you want to expose what foods are acne provoking for you and moderate your consumption of these foods.
To prepare for your elimination diet, write down all of the foods and beverages that you typically enjoy in a given week. Make this list thorough. You can do this by taking the list with you everywhere you go for the next two weeks and write down everything that you eat and drink.
Even write down how often you drink water so that you will know if you are consuming adequate amounts of this liquid daily. A sample chart for recording the foods you eat is given in the Foods that I regularly eat list.
To illustrate, if I enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich I would record “peanut butter sandwich” under the Food, “peanuts and hydrogenised oil” as the Main Ingredient(s), “10” as Times Per Week, and “one tablespoon” as the Typical Serving Size. I would also record the type of bread with which I made the sandwich.
I would record “peanut butter sandwich” under the Food, wheat flour as the Main Ingredient(s), “10” as Times Per Week, and “two slices” as the Typical Serving Size. Noting the main ingredient in a list will help you pinpoint what foods trigger acne for you. Use tally marks to make it easier to keep up with the “Times per week” that you consume a given food.
Foods that I regularly eat
Main Ingredient(s) ______________
Times per week _____________
Typical Serving Size _____________
Once you have compiled your food consumption list, you can begin testing these foods for an acne response. Using your intuition, if you suspect that a certain food is acne provoking for you, use this food first on your elimination diet. We’ll call this food A.
Eat food A two to three times a day for the next three to four days. During this period, only eat small portions of a variety of other foods.
For example, while testing food A to examine its acne provoking potential, eating too much of food B could skew the results of your test. So, eat a lot of
Food A for three to four days, and small portions of Foods B-Z (e.g. nuts, vegetables, small servings of meat, fish, poultry, etc) at the same time.
If you develop more aggravated acne after this three to four day period of eating mostly Food A, note that this food is acne causing for you. Use the Putting your ideal diet together section to record your response to foods that you typically enjoy.
Next, test your tolerance to the food that you consume second most often according to your Foods that I regularly eat list.
Record your response to this food in the Putting your ideal diet together chart. Repeat this process with the rest of the foods that you regularly consume, testing the foods in the order of most consumed to least consumed.
Author and beauty expert Aida Grey recommends avoiding the following foods when you attempting to free yourself of acne:
- Iodized table salt
- Shellfish and saltwater fish
- Sharp cheese
- Spices and seasoning
- Pork and pork products
- Fried foods
- Excess fats
- Soft drinks
- White bread
- Wheat germ
These foods typically irritate the digestive and/or immune systems of many people. If these foods are on your test list, you may skip the elimination test for these foods and just consume these foods in moderation.
But, we humans are different; your source of acne aggravation may soothe acne for another individual. The elimination diet is a centerpiece of zeroing in on dietary sources of acne aggravation.
I recommend that you give serious consideration to performing this introspective test. The next section will help you organize the information from your elimination diet.