Hey there! Sonia here.
Some of our blog readers may not know this, but we have an active CSF Forum where Devin personally helps readers of our ebook with acne and their skin – and as of September 2018, it has over 1,400 topics and 11,000 posts! Since Devin puts a lot of energy into giving in-depth responses, we thought we’d share some of the juicier topics with you. So without further ado, I’m handing it over to Devin for the first question in our new Forum Q&A series!
Devin, I have talked with several people (myself included) who seem to need manual exfoliation on their faces. If I don’t exfoliate, I will get bumps in my skin regardless of how great my diet is, but if I exfoliate I’m just fine. What are your thoughts on this? I ignorantly had two courses of Accutane as a teenager, which I wish I hadn’t, but I didn’t know better then. I often wonder if that messed up my skin’s ability to naturally deal with dead skin cells.
Here’s my answer:
I used to think exfoliation was necessary as well – I had pretty dry skin, especially around my eyebrows, and really needed to exfoliate regularly if I wanted to get rid of the flakes each time. Since I’ve made some dietary changes in the past 3 months, this dry/flaky skin has totally gone away.
I’ve been experimenting with Aajonus Vonderplanitz’s Primal Diet (largely but not 100%), which involves me eating a LOT of raw animal foods, including raw eggs, raw butter, raw cream, raw milk, raw honey, raw meat (mostly grass-fed lamb), and raw bone marrow (also mostly lamb, but some grass-fed beef marrow too). Lots of seaweed as well (dulse).
This seems to have totally cured my chronic lifelong constipation, which is very shocking to me, since I’ve dealt with it since I was a kid, even through paleo and other styles of eating.
The only two diets that have ever led to me being totally constipation-free are 80/10/10 raw vegan (mostly raw fruits/veggies), and this current 50-75% Primal Diet.
Again, I’m not being 100% raw – I’m still eating my sourdough einkorn/rye bread, some beans/lentils, some other cooked foods here and there, but I will say that my body has very little desire for vegetables at the moment and I’m not forcing myself to eat them. I’m trying to heal from orthorexia and over-intellectualization of diet, so I’m attempting to get more in tune with my body’s instinctive wisdom about what foods it wants and doesn’t want, and I’m trying to really respect that, rather than override it with thoughts like “well, I gotta have vegetables daily for a balanced and mineral-dense diet, right?”
My current intuition on dry, flaky skin is that it is the result of detoxification. The skin is one of the body’s first-line dumping organs for eliminating toxins, and any excess skin growth, dandruff, flakiness, bumps, acne lesions, etc., indicates that the body is getting rid of such toxins.
Those toxins might be fluoride, other water toxins, bromide, PAHs, HCAs, aluminum, mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, antibiotic residues, pharmaceutical drug residues, lipid peroxides, lipofuscin, bisphenol and other plasticizers, dioxin, PCBs… the list goes on!
We manufacture and use something like 50,000+ chemicals in industry and consumer products, most of which have not been thoroughly tested for overall safety, biological accumulation, genotoxicity, teratogenicity, etc. It’s pretty astonishing.
I’ve been on a hard-line path to removing as much of this as possible from my food, water, and environment, and it’s been pretty difficult. I’m visiting a friend in Chicago at the moment (on a cross-country road trip), and I had to drive 45 minutes away to a farm just to get raw milk because it’s illegal to buy it in stores, but you can buy all the grain-fed, centrifuged, recombined, pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic-injected, plastic-jug milk you want. Where’s the humanity in that?
When you said “I will get bumps in my skin regardless of how great my diet is,” I would perhaps offer that your diet might not be as pure as you think it is, and that this might be the reason why you’re still having acne and/or dry skin.
That’s certainly what I’ve discovered the hard way, time and time again. I think I’ve got it nailed, and then discover some new toxin source I wasn’t aware of. Argh! So frustrating! And it feels good to be figuring out more and more ways of purifying my body and lifestyle, too.
(For example, I just read an article about the Turkish mafia selling container-ship-loads of conventionally grown corn from Russia as “organic” corn in the US, and many shipments probably slipped by without being caught due to lack of per-shipment testing for pesticide residues. So even “organic” doesn’t always mean free of toxins, due to shady business practices and lack of enforcement.)
The take-away? Get to know the people who grow your food. Call your farmers, Facebook message them, visit them, meet them at the farmers’ market. Anything to start a relationship with the people who grow your food! (And grow some of your own food if you can and feel inspired to!)
Rather than buying food mostly from a grocery store (even a natural foods store), I would suggest buying as much food as possible from farms you can actually visit, or farmers you can interact with and buy from directly, like a farmer’s market, CSA, Local Food Node, etc.
For a list of local farms that offer real food, check out Eat Wild.
I would guess that as of this writing, 70-80% of my diet is sourced directly from farmers (and hopefully more soon), which is a big shift from my longtime previous habits of buying most of my food from natural foods stores.
If you’re interested in reading more along these lines, I’ve started recommending Aajonus Vonderplanitz’s book We Want To Live: The Primal Diet (2005 Edition) to friends, family and CSF readers. It is the most eye-opening health book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of health books. 🙂
Hey, it’s Sonia again. Thanks for reading! I hope you feel inspired to eat more real food, and support your local, organic farmers. (Or grow your own!) Stay tuned for the next Q&A in our CSF Forum topics series, coming out in October 2018. Sign up for our email list to make sure you don’t miss it!