Saturday, August 17, 2013

Still Hungry?

Eight months ago I changed what I eat dramatically. I had tried, unsuccessfully, to make these very changes before on numerous occasions. Maybe it was the resolution of a new year or I was just fed up with the pain, but this time I did it. I cut all diary, added sugars and high glycemic foods from my diet and I haven't looked back.

* I still mention ice cream, cheese and butter online and in this blog; however its all vegan products these days (I still eat meat though).

I have fought the acne battle for nearly two decades and as I approached my thirties I decided enough was enough. Surely, God didn't create my body to withstand red, irritated and painful skin lesions. I had tried this before when I had heard there was a diary > acne connection, but was never able to make any lasting changes. Enter this gem of a book, Feed Your Face by Dr. Jessica Wu.

Dr Wu explains the connection between food and acne and how the old saying "You are what you eat" is true. While their isn't much research available to explain why certain bodies react to certain foods, Dr. Wu gave several excellent hypothesis as to why they might. Since everything she suggested is healthy, and frankly better for my body than what I was feeding it; I used her recommendations to give this diet another try.

I discovered that my regular diet was working against me in so many ways. I tend to eat high glycemic foods (white rice, potatoes, cookies, french fries, pretzels, chips, instant oatmeal, cake, cornflakes, etc) often and then wonder why I was hungry again an hour later. By switching out my high glycemic foods for the low glycemic kind (quinoa, beans, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, oranges, etc) I found I was able to stay fuller longer which helped end the 2pm sugar crash. Also, by reading labels I began to select foods with a lower sugar content (read the portion size too) which eliminated the cravings for more sugar and actually amplified the natural flavors in other foods. For example, an orange or a tangerine is now more of a desert food since its super sweet compared to what I normally eat.

I still snack in between meals, but the portion sizes are much smaller and tend to be a handful of almonds or some crackers & homemade hummus. Since I no longer eat diary, I now take those Viactiv vitamins. They are chock full of sugar, but I still need the vitamins and haven't found a sugar-less alternative yet.

My skin is completely clear these days and the scarring from old acne is fading. No more pain or red, irritated skin. Also, I've discovered other results along the way.

An added bonus -

  • I've lost 20 lbs and I'm back to my pre-wedding weight. 
  • Since nothing really fits anymore, I was forced to buy a new wardrobe. Oh, the agony!
  • I have more energy and while I enjoy coffee, I don't actually need it to survive like I use too. 
  • I save money on my grocery bill. Since most of these foods have to be bought whole and prepared (dry beans, chickpeas, lentils, whole wheat flour)
  • My cooking and baking abilities have improved greatly. Again, since most foods are bought whole I had to learn how to prepare them which has been alot of fun. 
  • I've saved lunch money. Since most restuarants and fast food places don't offer alot of options that fit my dietary needs, I prepare my lunches at home and take them with me. 
  • I was pretty heart healthy before, but my cholesterol was slightly higher than it needed to be. I haven't been checked since (I don't like needles & blood work), but I know those levels will be lower at my next appointment. 

While this may not be right for everyone (diary is still good for those bodies that can handle it). I highly recommend trying some of the changes above to improve your overall health. It can be as simple as swapping your white rice out for quinoa or brown rice at lunchtime and not having that 2pm Snickers Bar. I like to add quinoa & sliced almonds to my chicken salad sandwiches. Just one sandwich will last me three hours before I need a small snack.

Also, if you suffer from acne (regardless of age) its worth it to make the dietary changes above. The results are better than what you would get with over the counter medication.

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