Beautiful, glowing skin.
All of us want it. Some of us are just tired of breaking out in pimples and cysts, itching away at their eczema, counting their hives.
Just plain and simple tired of our protective coat rebelling against us.
I have struggled for 11 years to feed my skin and balance my hormones. I knew that the two were intimately linked because there have always been certain “monthly patterns” to my skin that only surfaced since that lovely, awkward time of puberty. Many times I refused to believe that my diet played any role in my outbreaks: “it’s all hormones, genetics, wrong products, stress!”
Well, I don’t think that eating a “perfect” diet will rid anyone of their skin issues. In fact, I still breakout no matter what I eat. However, I have discovered foods and patterns of eating that greatly alleviate pain, inflammation, and may possibly contribute to clearer skin overtime.
You always hear that diet has nothing to do with acne, but this is only because it is difficult for researchers to make a direct causation between certain foods and breakouts. Foods may not directly cause acne, but perhaps indirectly through eating grains and high glycemic foods. Nobody, even NUTRITIONISTS like to hear that they have to reduce or eliminate foods that they love–dates, bananas, certain gluten-free breads. It sucks, but sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet.
Feeding your skin
Green machines: kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, celery, cilantro, romaine lettuce
Orange good guys: sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots
Radiance boosters: berries, cantaloupe, apples
Beautifying Beans*: kidney, black, garbanzo, lima, lentils
Protein: salmon, halibut, tuna, yellowtail, grass-fed beef, lean chicken or turkey, other lean meats (preferably wild or organic).
Fabulous Fats: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, coconut, olives and their oil, borage and fish oil—all rich in essential fatty acids and zinc, both of which are necessary for reducing sebum buildup, infection, and inflammation
Greatest Grains: Quinoa (white, red, black), brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat
Other superstars: Green tea, cacao (unsweetened) or 70% and higher dark chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, garlic
*Note: some recommend soy for balancing hormonal fluctuations, but I caution its use because it is an endocrine disruptor and may not be your safest source of isoflavones. Other beans and cruciferous vegetables may be slightly lower in phytoestrogens, but may still effectively promote healthy estrogen/progesterone balance. My doctor once prescribed me Estrofactors, which includes red clover as a source of phytoestrogens, which worked pretty well.
Raw chocolate bark recipe
As if you need a more credible reason to eat chocolate other than its amazing deliciousness, research as shown that eating dark chocolate with a high flavonol content has been shown to protect skin exposed to UV light!
Some people worry about chocolate’s fat content, but it may have a neutral effect on cholesterol levels due to its combination of oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat found in olive oil) and palmitic and stearic acid (saturated fats found in solid animal fats shown to raise LDL). Likewise, coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, but also contains lauric acid which may raise your HDL (good cholesterol). Obviously, the research is not conclusive. What we do know is that chocolate and coconut oil are traditional foods dear to many cultures–good enough reason for me to love them too.
low-glycemic, gluten-free, vegan.
Reducing/avoiding sugar is key to maintaining healthy skin, and my raw chocolate bark satisfies cravings while stabilizing blood sugar and appeasing appetites.
Cocoa nibs, ground into a powder (1 cup)
Coconut oil (1/2 cup)
Liquid Stevia (about 15 drops, adjust to taste)
Vanilla (1 tsp.)
Almond extract (1/2 tsp.)
Sea salt, pinch
Toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds, or whatever you want to toss in there: fleur de sel, goji berries, etc.
Line a 9″ glass baking dish with parchment paper. Toss a generous amount of nuts and seeds onto the paper. The chocolate mixture will be poured over the nuts to create the bark.
Melt coconut oil over low heat on the stove in a small sauce pot. Whisk in ground cacao and salt until chocolate is reasonably melted and mixture is smooth, like melted brownie batter. Turn off heat. Add stevia and flavoring extracts.
Pour over nuts and seeds. Sprinkle with fleur de sel if desired. Cool in the fridge or freezer until set (20 minutes in the freezer or nearly an hour in the fridge). Cut or break pieces to desired shapes.
Now go eat some chocolate and love the skin you’re in.