If you’ve ever struggled with persistent acne, bothersome rashes, or premature aging (however you choose to define that)—you’re not alone. Though it can certainly feel that way when you’re standing in the skin care aisle at Rite Aid, thinking, None of these products have worked for me…why is my skin so fickle?
Clinical Nutritionist and author of Clear Skin Detox Diet Lauren Talbot shares that a similar frustration led her to cleaner, plant-based eating, writing that her acne was at once the worst and best thing to happen to her. I can relate. Since high school, I’ve been on and off a variety of mostly regrettable medications that only temporarily improved my skin while bringing their own unpleasant side effects. Antibiotics made me queasy…birth control made me unusually anxious…but I digress. Clear Skin Detox Diet argues that all of those medications and crummy products can be permanently ditched if we (vegans included) transform our eating style.
I say “eating style” rather than “diet” because the tenets Talbot puts forth are aren’t meant to be a quick fix but rather a lifestyle adjustment tailored for optimized digestion.
Main components of the lifestyle:
- Consumption of a variety of whole, mostly alkaline plant foods (organic when possible)
- Proper food combining
- Reduction and/or elimination of acidifying, inflammatory foods and non-foods (gluten, soda, meat, dairy, most soy, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, table salt—there are so many as you can imagine!)
- Consumption of raw veggies prior to each meal to line the stomach with live enzymes for improved digestion.
- Introducing and maintaining daily detoxification practices, including drinking hot water with lemon in the morning, consuming green juice/smoothie for breakfast, getting frequent, moderate exercise—nothing too crazy here.
Talbot’s principles echo those in Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution, which I’ve previously reviewed on Peaceful Dumpling. Both authors also describe the best way to gradually transition to a refined, vegan diet. On the Clear Skin Detox Diet, participants begin with the New Leaf Beauty routine, during which they eat mostly plant foods until dinner when they may eat meat (um, no problems for Peaceful Dumplings here). Cheese may be eaten at lunch. The New Light Beauty routine follows. Participants eat a vegetarian diet and preferably save cheese and eggs for dinner. Finally, in the Glow Lifestyle, participants eliminate all animal products, focus on veggies, and consume gluten-free grains only in moderation and preferably towards the end of the day.
For about two years, I’ve tried to follow a routine very similar to the Glow Lifestyle. After eliminating meat and cheese, staying vegan was surprisingly easy. I felt lighter, cleaner, and generally more joyful. (Over time, veganism became about more than my diet and health, of course). That being said, I still struggle with my skin.
Although my skin is much improved, something is still slightly off balance internally. While dermatologists and gynecologists alike have pointed the finger at “hormones,” Talbot argues:
“Although acne can be caused by hormonal imbalances, the hormonal imbalance is only a symptom of a much larger issue: nutritional imbalance.”
I admit, I don’t always combine food properly, especially when eating out. I’m usually preoccupied with ensuring my meals are vegan, whole foods that a little voice in my head says Isn’t that enough?! Also, I do eat a limited amount of soy (including the occasional tofu), which both Snyder and Talbot say is a no-no. Clear Skin Detox Diet has certainly inspired me to pay more attention to food combinations. I believe I’ve underestimated the importance of this!
My one quibble with the book is that it doesn’t provide sources for its claims. Forgive the academic inside me, but I would greatly appreciate a bibliography or a few foot notes here and there simply because I’d love to read what she’s read! In a book meant to be digestible (no pun intended) by a general public readership, it’s understandable that Talbot doesn’t go into much depth with many of her sub-topics, but I for one would like to learn more about diet’s effect on hormones, and the mention of a few experts in the field could have pointed me in the right direction. Alas, the search continues!
I recommend Clear Skin Detox Diet for anyone who’s interested in learning about how to transition to a vegan diet for optimal health. It would also be a great read for veteran vegans looking to tweak their routines for boosted energy levels and more comfortable digestion. If you’re curious about Lauren Talbot and Clear Skin Detox Diet, check out her blog (you may be inspired by a few recipes along the way!)
What are your favorite vegan/health reads?
What a Fruitarian Eats – a 3-day Food Journal
How I started my Alkaline Diet
Deeper than Skin: Sugar and Skin Connection
Photos: Mary Hood