Dairy and Acne

When we talk about nutrition, we often think of how the diet affects specific organs, like the heart, the intestines, the liver… but one organ that is commonly overlooked is skin… the largest organ in the body.


Ok so you kind of forgot, or maybe just didn’t think of skin as an organ, right? It’s okay because I actually seem to forget this quite a bit as well.

I’m usually stuck thinking the appearance of my skin, specifically my face, is from my skincare routine: wash and moisturize twice a day, toner once a day and exfoliate every other day. Everyone does it differently for their own skin type.


But I always forget that I may be doing everything just fine from the outside, but what about from the inside? Am I feeding my skin what it needs, or maybe too much of what it doesn’t need?

The reason I bring this up is because lately, I’ve unfortunately been suffering from a bit of acne. I’ve never had a full-face of breakouts and still don’t, but what I mean is that there are more blemishes that seem to be reappearing once I seem to finally tackle them.┬áThis is a big issue for me currently because of this internship, I’m meeting a lot of new people and making a lot of first impressions. I’m in my twenties, I thought this shit was suppose to end, not get worse, what’s going on!?


Like I said before, I forgot that my skin is an organ too. And once I remembered, I realized that maybe my diet is what needs some adjusting… to make changes and work on my skin from the inside out.

Since being on a budget, many times I go for calorie-dense foods in order to get more bang for my buck, which often times includes dairy… like cheese, cream, milk, yogurt, etc. Well, one big controversy in the world of nutrition is with acne and dairy. It’s been studied and studied and studied, but even though there are many signs pointing to dairy in the diet being the culprit, there is hardly any scientific proof that it does in fact cause acne. It’s suggested that the hormone in cow’s milk (IGF-1) affect our bodies and the normal balance, and also that the dairy increases the amount of sebum, or oil, that we produce.


So, since evidence is sparse, I thought maybe I would do a little self-study of my own and see how my skin would react to this change. I’ve read a lot of stories where people mention they saw a difference in their skin in less than a week, so my goal is to cut dairy from my diet completely for two weeks. This works out pretty well actually because in preparation for our apartment move, we have been in “Operation: eat everything in the kitchen” mode, so we don’t have a whole lot of food lying around. In terms of dairy, we do have about a half-gallon of milk and a few yogurts, so I’ll be starting this little dairy-free adventure on Sunday once that’s all gone.

This means, of what I currently eat, no…

  • milk
  • sour cream
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • ice cream/froyo
  • butter (rarely, if ever used)
  • whey protein

If you know me, you know that I love overnight oats (goodbye yogurt), protein smoothies (goodbye whey), ice cream (goodbye, my sweet love), and anything with cheese… So this is not going to be a walk in the park for me. But I’ll survive.


Depending on the outcomes of my experiment, dairy may, sadly, just need to be eliminated from my diet. I’ll need to shift my focus from trying to recreate the same dairy-heavy meals and snacks. But since this is a totally new thing for me, I think substituting.. or at least trying to substitute.. for the lack of creamy-yummy-goodness will make a huge difference in my happiness. Obviously there are different kinds of milk to choose from, and I’m on a mission to find nutritional yeast, but does anyone have any other suggestions for replacing dairy products? Vegans, I’m looking at you because I know you have ways of making things “creamy” and “cheesy”!

Any suggestions?


Healthy Post-Holiday


I couldn’t help but notice mention of “detoxing” today on Facebook, blogs, the news, etc.

See, I kind of have a problem with this.

On Thanksgiving we find many people piling their plates, saying it’s okay to have second and third helpings, and the next day it’s raw veggies and water only so that they can feel healthy again.

Where’s the balance in that?

I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy a slice or two of pecan pie on Thanksgiving, but I also made sure to have a serving of every vegetable I saw on the table. And I definitely drank my fair share of wine but I made sure to drink enough water too.

But what I’m trying to say is, even if you didn’t attempt to eat remotely healthy on Thanksgiving, your body is an amazingly well-oiled machine and can put it self back to normal without you depriving it of essential nutrients. Your kidneys and liver (if functioning in a non-diseased state) do a fabulous job of “detoxing” without you even noticing it.

And while I think it’s fair to be a little extra conscious of how much excess sugar you’re consuming or how much water you’re drinking after a holiday, there comes a point when it’s gone too far. Cutting out whole food groups or completely fasting is totally unnecessary.

The definition of healthy, per Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

enjoying health and vigor of body, mind and spirit

You enjoyed those extra calories at the time of consumption probably because you had faith in the fact that your body will eventually find its way back to normalcy. And whether you want to believe it or not, you’re still healthy, even after all the pumpkin pie and dessert wine.

And if you’re over there giving me the stink eye because you think I’m crazy well then so be it, but I personally think it’s healthier to indulge than to deprive.

So instead of a “detox”, what are things you can do to enjoy your health a little more this week?

  • drink more water
  • add a few extra minutes of cardio
  • eat high proteins breakfasts
  • sleep 30 minutes more each night
  • get at least 5 servings of fruit & veggies a day
  • cook your favorite “healthy” dinner

You tell me, what’s something you could do?