On January 21, 2012 I wrote a post entitled ” ‘The Dietary Cure for Acne’ – My Experiment.” This post is THE MOST viewed post on my blog: according to WordPress statistics, it has had 2,360 views! That is even more than my Home Page/Archives, which comes in at 2,055. I get so many hits from readers searching things like: the dietary cure for acne, acne cure diet, foods to cure acne. To those of you who find my site like this, thank you so much for choosing to click on my link!
The reason I’m writing this post is because I have gotten several comments from readers asking me for an update on how this “experiment” worked for me. First of all, I have to say that trying this new diet was one of the best health decisions I ever made, and it led me to uncovering the real culprit in my nagging acne and other health problems: gluten.
I started off being fairly strict using the Paleo Diet – no dairy, no grains whatsoever, no legumes, no alcohol, sweets, certain oils, or fruit juices. But because of my high metabolism (especially when working out), I realized that I needed more carbs. So I added in non-gluten grains such as brown rice. But at the time, I thought that one day I wouldn’t need to be so strict. On January 21st I wrote: “…if it’s a birthday, then there’s no big harm in having a small piece of cake…[if] I REALLY want a dish that has wheat in it, then I’ll go for it.”
I’ve found that yes, there IS harm in having just a small piece of normal, gluten-containing cake. I was strict with my diet up until The Warrior came back from Afghanistan in April 2012, and that weekend was a good time to experiment with wheat and gluten-containing foods. So while I didn’t overload myself with bread, I had one beer, an Irish stew containing Guinness, one cookie, and a dish from Genghis Grill using a sauce containing wheat. My gut suffered for about a week from those foods! (I won’t go into details, but it was icky.) I also began noticing that when I would “cheat” by eating gluten-containing foods, that my face would break out. Dairy would cause the same result with my skin, even when taking a Lactaid pill to prevent stomach problems.
On April 25, 2012 I went to a certified nutritionist who specialized in gluten issues. She confirmed what I had discovered on my own: I HAVE to avoid gluten if I want to be healthy. (For reference, gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Oats can be cross-contaminated with it, unless they are certified GF.) She also gave me a list of supplements to take: a good multi-vitamin (New Chapter for Women is one of her recommendations), 1000 mg of fish oil containing EPA + DHA, a calcium/magnesium/D3 supplement, and a solid pro-biotic (Inner Eco is her favorite). I believe that the pro-biotic was the final puzzle piece in clearing up my acne. When one’s stomach is over-run with bad bacteria, the skin will oftentimes suffer by trying to filter out the contaminants. That is one reason why acne occurs in non-teenagers. Once I started with this supplemental regimen, along with the gluten and dairy-free diet, I saw a HUGE difference in my skin and also with my stomach. My chronic joint pain also disappeared.
I am not as strict as someone with diagnosed celiac (an autoimmune disease), but I do avoid the obvious forms of gluten. I read labels carefully and make a point to order restaurant dishes that are certified GF when they are available (such as at P.F. Chang’s). Sometimes I do “cheat,” but there are consequences and it’s usually not worth it. The great thing is that The Warrior has gotten into the Paleo diet and is avoiding wheat for the most part, so it works out well! Our kids will be miniature health nuts. :) I have also found that since being off gluten, my stomach is able to handle dairy a little better…although if I eat it too often, I get a break-out.
I hope that this has been an interesting read! If you are having skin and/or gut problems (they go hand-in-hand), please experiment with going gluten and dairy free. It could change your life, like it did mine! It takes some adjusting and effort at first, but I am much happier and healthier now and that makes it TOTALLY worth it.
Back-links to 3 GF recipe posts: