Note from Robin: This summer, Lexie is doing a three week experiment with cutting out gluten and dairy to see if it makes a difference for some acne that’s been hanging around. Here are her thoughts from week 1.
I get funny looks when I tell people I’m not eating dairy or gluten. It takes me an extra moment to explain to people that it’s a temporary diet for three weeks. Then people look at my body and then back at me as if to say, “you don’t need a diet!”. I go on to tell them that it’s an elimination diet in order to see if it will help my acne to decrease. People tend to be a bit more understanding about that.
I don’t do diets. At least not the ones you’re probably used to. I’ve never been interested in controlling what I eat in order to make my body look better. Robin told me something a while back that stuck with me, “I think it’s awesome that you just eat when you’re hungry and you stop when you’re full.” My so-called diet has always been that. The food I eat tends to be healthy and less processed but otherwise, I eat and stop according to my body’s signals.
That’s why this elimination diet is a new experience. The goal here is to see if, once my body fully flushes out the gluten and dairy three weeks down the road, there are differences either from not having them in my system or from when I reintroduce them back into my body. Does my acne clear up without eating these? Does it come back badly when I begin to eat it again? These are the questions I’m looking to answer.
I’ve struggled with acne since I was finishing up elementary school and I’m going into my second year of college in the fall. Of course I stay on top of a facial cleaning routine but nothing helps, including time, as the years have gone on. In the end, my last resort is Accutane, but I’m currently looking through any other alternative I can now to avoid the harsh treatment that accompanies Accutane.
Of course cutting out gluten, dairy, or both full time if this diet works would be a large lifestyle change, but I’ve reached a desperation point where I’d be willing if it meant having clearer skin. Now this is not to say that I am uncomfortable in my skin because I’m not. It has taken me quite a while but I’m finally happy leaving the house with no makeup unless I need to look extra dressed for a special occasion. I’d rather give my skin a chance to breathe and I don’t notice the feeling of the acne anymore as much if I’m just out and about. Of course, if I had the option to have clearer skin, that would be preferable so my focus is on making myself feel even better than I do in terms of my image.
From what I’ve heard, gluten and dairy are some of the top items consumed regularly that people tend to have intolerances to but may not necessarily reach allergy status. There are other items I could remove as well, but, I assure you, cutting out gluten and dairy is limiting enough because we can work to cut out different foods later on if need be. It isn’t as bad as it seems though. I’ve eaten out on this diet because you can find something with such a span of varieties and some creativity. I found though that eating in is much easier and effortless if you are willing to substitute and consider other options you may not have thought of before.
Regardless of these results, I’m excited to see any differences at all even if my skin doesn’t react to the withdrawal of these items. I’m tracking in my quick notes app generally what I ate and around when I eat each piece. As the weeks go on, I’ll be updating my tracker and yourselves on what I think so far of the process and results. Stay tuned!