Look at this Skin, Darling: You Are What You Eat
How Skin Health and Gut Health Relate
Ancient Greek Physician Hippocrates famously said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Heeding this simple quote has guided me from chronic illness into a healing lifestyle that is easy to maintain and recommend.
Not long ago, I came across the instructions for a very popular acne treatment. It begins with suggesting users drink more water and limit the amount of sugar, dairy and processed grains in their diet. I couldn't help but to laugh. They could put any scented oil and those instructions in a box and customers would probably "see a dramatic improvement in their skin." What a marketing spinoff of the Hippocrates quote!
What about those of us who eat healthily and exercise, yet still deal with cystic acne? What about those of us who shun sugar and drink 2 gallons of water per day, yet still deal with eczema outbreaks? I believe that some of us need to do a bit more than just follow healthy advice. We need to take an approach that will rebuild the baseline health we may have lost over time due to infections, stress and other bodily traumas.
Our bodies are made up of about 90% bacteria. These bacteria, known as your microbiome, play a huge role in your body's health. They assist in regulating your mood hormones, immune system, digestive system, blood sugar, skin pH and more. When you start seeing issues with your skin, it is more than likely indicative of an imbalance of your microbiome, and, not to be alarmist, may be a harbinger of other illnesses to come.
The microbiome our mothers gift to us at birth are influenced by our environment. Over the years, medicines such as antibiotics and birth control can sanitize our microbiome into weakness. Thankfully, probiotics and prebiotics can help us rebuild the bacterial balance in a natural way.
Homemade Kefir has been the most powerful probiotic I triedwhile recovering from long-term antibiotic use. It was infinitely more effective than expensive store-bought probiotic tablets. The effects on my skin, reproductive health, digestion and mood were dramatic. Introducing more prebiotic foods (like onion, garlic and chicory root) to my diet have helped the kefir do its best work on my body. Every time I eat I think about the beautiful microbiome I am developing. Also, when I have the occasional indulgence, I feel less guilty about it knowing that my day-to-day meals are healthy af.
It's very empowering to know that you can change your gut health by changing your diet. By simply introducing whole foods (leafy greens, root veggies, etc) and eliminating junk (sugar, refined grains, etc), you can start seeing your entire body transform in weeks. You may even lose a few pounds if your body requires it. I steer clear of marketing promises that don't ask questions about baseline health. You shouldn't need a product to maintain your health. It either works to properly heal you, or it doesn't.
Homemade kefir will help you get that balanced microbiome faster. You may, as I have, fall in love with it and want kefir for breakfast every day for the rest of your life. Or, you may simply come back to it after an illness or trauma to heal your gut in a few months. Whatever you choose, always remember that we have the power to heal ourselves every time we eat.