Zits and Paleo (My Current 1st World Problem)

zit-300x200.jpgA long time ago, before I got my head on straight about my diet and went Paleo, I had pretty bad acne. In fact, I remember very clearly this one time when someone asked me if I had small pox. Seriously, that happened.

For years it was on my chin, my neck, and my back and chest were always troubled areas, too.  It was embarrassing to wear tank tops, and I was constantly picking at and scrubbing my skin with random potions, making it even worse. If I had pictures I’d show you. Wait, no, I wouldn’t. It’s hard to look people in the face when you have red marks all over your face and neck, much less publish pictures of yourself even years later.

Anyway, as I started courageously removing foods from my diet for other reasons, it eventually got better and better. Cutting out gluten and dairy helped take some of the inflammation away, but I still had it pretty bad.

Then, I had an epiphany. A very terrifying one… that chocolate was the major culprit.

I really love chocolate. I want to be very clear about that. I would eat nothing but chocolate if I could, and that’s exactly what I used to do sometimes. If I had it in the house – chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruit, chocolate almond butter, chocolate whatever – I would not eat meals and just eat the chocolate.

I was a total addict, which in hindsight should’ve been my first clue that I shouldn’t have been eating it. Most days, I would at least eat a bar of Chocolove bar, which, by the way, is over 600 calories. Bad idea. (I was also larger back then.)

But I gave it up nonetheless because vanity, I decided, was more important to me than eating chocolate. And voila! My skin totally cleared up! It was the BEST feeling to finally not have to inspect myself every time I left the house. And it’s been like that for the past 4 years or so, and I can honestly say I don’t ever think about chocolate anymore.

I’m not saying I never get zits. I do sometimes.

And especially in the last month, which is why I was provoked to write this. It’s frustrating sometimes when you don’t know what’s going on with your body, and right now is one of those times. I’ve been getting headaches, nausea, and zits. I’ve thought about it, and the only food I can conjure up that would be giving me these unbecoming blemishes, and maybe even the other stuff, is olive oil.

I really haven’t eaten olive oil in about 4 years either, after the food sensitivities test I did told me I was highly sensitive to it. I remember taking it out of my diet and after a month I added it back in. Every time I ate it I got all itchy and sneezy and decided I didn’t want to eat it anymore. So knowing that it was a problem food for my skin before, and considering that I’ve put it back in my diet in the last month, I’m going to take it out again and experiment.

So this is the process I’m constantly going through. Trial… error… success… error… trial…

I’m assuming some of you go through this, too. You have something going on with your health – maybe it’s not your skin but your digestion or your sleep – so you just start pecking away at the possible culprits. Then you figure it out and move on… to the next mystery weeks or months later :)

Either way, if you have skin problems, I really encourage you to start thinking outside the box of possible causes for it. I’m absolutely not saying that chocolate is the cause for everyone. Or olive oil. That’s what it is (maybe) for ME. So experiment with different foods and find out for yourself what’s affecting your complexion.

Also know that my friend Liz Wolfe of RealFoodLiz.com has a whole guide about skincare and food called Skintervention if you want much more detailed information about it.

Anyone have any stories to tell about their skin and their food?