Diet & Problem Skin
Our changing diet
Over the last 10,000 years our diets have drastically changed. The introduction of GMO grains, commercial dairy, processed foods (artificial colours, flavours & sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives) & chemicals used on our livestock (growth hormones, antibiotics, antidepressants) & food crops (pesticides, glyphosate etc.) have contributed to the increasing growth of allergies & health issues.
Eight cereal grains; wheat, maize, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye & millet provide 56% of the food energy & 50% of the protein consumed. We have become dependent upon cereal grains for the majority of our food supply. We are also consuming the wrong ratio of good fats, salt ingestion has increased by 400%, our diets are overly processed & we have fewer micronutrients in our diet.
According to ongoing research since the 1960’s by academics at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, there are chemicals present in food, both natural & artificial that can cause a range of symptoms from hives & eczema to irritable bowel symptoms, headaches and respiratory issues. Foods high in natural chemicals such as amines, salicylates & glutamate are more likely to cause an issue with people with overactive immune systems. However, many foods high in natural chemicals are also nutrient dense so it is crucial to heal the gut in the long term & not just remain on a low natural chemical diet.
Up to 60% of people can't properly digest milk. The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase - the enzyme needed to metabolise lactose, sometime between two & five years of age. Commercial milk is pasteurised & homogenized & the molecules are made so small they can bypass digestion & enter the blood stream. When milk is absorbed into the blood without proper digestion, this can trigger immune responses which can lead to eczema & irritable bowel syndrome. It also has a highly acidic effect on the body which can cause minerals to leach from the bones to neutralise its acidity. It is important to remove dairy as a staple item. You can easily substitute milk for rice, oat, almond, coconut or hemp milk. If you have stomach issues or produce phlegm after drinking milk it is a sign you have a dairy intolerance.
Grains, particularly refined wheat, comprises far too much of our diet & we may not be completely biologically adapted to such high levels of grain consumption, especially as most modern strains have undergone significant genetic modification. Most modern wheat contains much higher levels of gluten which makes it more difficult to digest but gives bread an elastic texture. Grains contain a number of antinutrients which can make them difficult to digest & contribute to digestive, allergic & skin issues.
It is beneficial to limit gluten & not have gluten based products feature heavily in every meal. Rice & some of the ancient grains like spelt and amaranth are preferable as they have undergone far less genetic modification, are gluten free & are easier to digest. Soaking & washing them thoroughly is advised.
Antinutrients are plant compounds found in the reproductive organs of plants, mainly seeds, grains, nuts & legumes to protect them from predators, pathogens & to resist digestion. Antinutrients like lectins, gluten & phytates can inhibit mineral absorption, cause digestive problems & trigger allergies. Their level of toxicity is dependent on the quantity consumed & its preparation method. Soaking, washing, fermentation &d cooking reduces antinutrients.
Food as energy
We are energetic beings living in an energetic universe. Matter is composed of energy. Atoms are over 99% empty space. Think of food as energy. You want high quality, nutrient dense foods that retain their integrity, molecular structure & 'life force'. The adage of you are what you eat rings true. What we eat not only effects our health, but our gut, brain & mental health. In fact we digest & assimilate food & it helps to give us energy, build muscle, repair cells & perform various processes.
Imagine the quality of energy of the average factory farmed animal for example. It is separated from its parents from birth, living in cramped stressful conditions, minimal access to fresh air & sunlight, typically GMO feed, given growth hormones & antibiotics. Fear experienced during growth & slaughter significantly elevates stress hormones including adrenaline, cortisol & other steroids. We are absorbing some of the chemicals they are given as well as their stress hormones.
For optimal health we should also consider the quality of the energetic state of our food. Not just the macronutrients & micronutrients. Also the hormones, contaminants, pesticides & integrity of its molecular structure.
Eat seasonal, organic, local & as unprocessed as possible. Grow your own herbs, spring onions & leaks at a minimum which don't require much space & can be easily regrown from cuttings. If you have a garden you can grow your own organic produce. Compost all your scraps & add it to your soil so you have nutrient dense soil. When blending juices or cooking, consume the food immediately after processing, so that it retains it's optimal integrity.
The Hypoallergenic Diet
A diet specifically for people with problem skin & overactive immune systems.
Evidence suggests an unprocessed diet plant based diet, far lower in processed grains & higher in nutrient rich food to be highly beneficial. We need to be more specific though. For those with autoimmune conditions, we have additional needs & sensitivities due to an overactive immune system & damaged gut barrier. Most people with skin problems believe they are eating healthily but tend to react to seemingly healthy food, even fruits & vegetables.
The Hypoallergenic Diet (HAD) has been specifically devised to minimise food intolerances, support the digestive system & promote natural healing of the body. We advocate a return to natural eating, fresh whole foods with limited processed foods, dairy & refined sugars.
Our diet initially comprises of fruits & vegetables low in the natural chemicals (salicylates, amines and glutamate), clean proteins, low/no gluten grains & some legumes. We also recommend supplementing with a multivitamin, Vitamin D & a vegan Omega 3 oil.
The key to The Hypoallergenic Diet is strengthening the immune system, removing intolerances & repairing the gut. Continual poor eating when you have a skin problem will lead to damage to your gut lining. When this occurs, undigested food particles more readily enter the bloodstream & trigger reactions. This is why many people feel they are almost allergic to everything. Certain foods are more difficult to digest even though they are healthy.
The Hypoallergenic Diet
Eat real food, as unprocessed as possible
Limit: Processed & packaged foods, artificial colours, flavours & preservatives. They tend to be higher in GMO's, preservatives, emulsifiers & stability enhancers. Food chemicals like aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, food colouring, trans fat should also be avoided.
Choose: Fresh & minimally processed whole foods. Buy local & seasonal produce or even better yet grow your own herbs, chives & microgreens as a minimum.
Instead of condiments, use vegetables, herbs, spices & core ingredients to flavour your food. In Phase 1: Stick with lower chemical fruits & vegetables such as celery, chives, garlic leek, shallot, parsley and coriander, saffron, soy sauce, vanilla, sea salt, cracked pepper.
Choose plant based milks, limit dairy
Limit or remove: Milk, butter, ice-cream, cheese, yoghurts & dairy products especially in Phase 1. It is much less cruel & healthier.
Switch to: Rice, oat, hemp or soy milk in Phase 1 as they are lower in natural chemicals & are dairy free. In Phase 3 you can also add cashew, almond & coconut milk.
Choose low gluten, GMO free grains
Limit: Wheat, barley, rye & spelt. GMO grains.
Choose: Ancient grains, GMO free and no gluten grains. Most wheat is modified to contain overly high levels of gluten due to its elastic properties making it difficult to digest.
Rice products, potatoes, konjac, amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, tapioca, sago, cassava. Some soaked chickpeas, beans, lentils. Pastas & noodles made with corn, rice & konjac. Gluten free bread & flour for baking is available. Rice noodles, rice crackers, rice paper, sushi paper easily replace wheat based products.
Choose seasonal local produce low in natural chemicals
General: Initially stick with seasonal, organic, local, low chemical produce. Thoroughly wash & peel the skin off fruits & vegetables to minimise pesticide exposure. Make sure to eat lots of fresh produce as they are high in fibre, vitamins & minerals which support your skin.
Limit: In Phase 1 limit tomatoes, plums, citrus fruits, berries, chilli, pickled goods, mushrooms as they are high in natural chemicals.
Choose: Pears, banana, apples, cabbage, bean sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, chives, leeks, bean sprouts, garlic, bok choy, asparagus, & turnips are good. Add more variety in Phase 2/3. Eventually full variety without restriction can be regained.
Choose clean vegetarian proteins
Limit: Animal meats & seafood. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption as it can be difficult to digest meat at every meal & many of the chemicals such as growth hormones & antibiotics are not beneficial. High meat consumption causes inflammation & reduced blood flow & quality compared to a plant based diet. In addition, stressed animals derived from intensive animal farming are high in adrenaline & cortisol which can effect our mental health.
Choose: We recommend a mainly plant based diet with vegetarian/vegan protein sources. In fact, fish derive their Omega 3's from eating algae.
Great protein choices in Phase 1 include soaked beans, legumes, tofu, chickpeas, potatoes and organic eggs (if not sensitive). In Phase 2/3 you can add mushrooms, kale, broccoli, edamame, spirulina, seaweed, tempeh, flax seeds, spinach & cauliflower. There are also vegan meat substitutes such as Beyond Meat, falalel balls, vegan cheeses & seafood & caviar made with algae. Make sure they are made from GMO free produce.
If you must eat animal meat then local, free range, grass fed organic meats are better as well as less commercial meats. Kangaroo, rabbit & quail are less commercialised so they contain less chemicals than chicken, beef or pork. Smaller fish contain less mercury & don't disrupt the ecosystem as much. Mussels & oysters are more sustainable seafood sources.
Choose natural sweeteners
Why? Sugar promotes bacterial growth, weakens the immune system & is associated with all sorts of health conditions. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame in diet & sugar free products can cause cancer, birth defects & mental disorders such as ADHD, epilepsy or depression. Sucralose is highly detrimental to beneficial gut bacteria & accumulates in your fat tissue.
Avoid: Processed food, baked goods, pasta, cereals, high fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners, sugar free, diet products - look on the label for Splenda, Zero-Cal, Nutrasweet, Equal & Sugar Twin. Stevia/Steviol glucosides although naturally derived may impact fertility as suggested by animal studies but more human studies are needed.
Switch to: Fruits & vegetables. Rice malt syrup, maple syrup, carob, date syrup, agave nectar, molasses, honey. You can also use licorice root whole or in a powder to add an interesting sweetness.
Choose stable oils
Why? Avoid trans fats & unstable vegetable oils which oxidise easily & cause free radical damage.
Avoid: Corn, soy & canola oil as they are likely to be genetically modified & as polyunsaturated oils, go rancid easily.
Switch to: Rice bran oil is a good choice cooking oil choice in Phase 1 due to its low chemical content & high smoke point. In Phase 3 coconut oil is recommended for cooking as it is highly stable. Virgin olive oil can be used for salads.
Make smart fluid choices
Limit: Soft drinks & processed fruit juices which are high in simple sugars, colours, preservatives &d artificial flavours. For alcohol, beer can cause problems since it is wheat based & many people with eczema are sensitive to wheat. Red wines contain high histamine levels & white wine is high in sulphite preservatives. Fluoride in the water is a neuro-toxin so it is best to filter it out.
Choose: Filtered, fluoride free water, reverse osmosis purified water or spring water is ideal. Teas like chamomile, dandelion or fruit teas. For alcohol choose distilled spirits like gin or potato based vodka & mix it with something simple & not overly sugary like tonic or soda.
Total daily fluid intake from water, beverages and food should be 3.7L for men and 2.7L for women. 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. Use filtered water when cooking.
Take key supplements
In general, it is much better to obtain nutrients from whole foods. However, due to industrial agriculture a lot of our soils are depleted and therefore foods are lower in nutrients.
Take a multivitamin, Vitamin D & algae vegan based Omega 3 oil daily. Most of the world population is Vitamin D & magnesium deficient.
Flip the structure of your plate
We eat far too many processed carbohydrates through bread, pastas, wraps & cereals. This not only causes inflammation and gut issues but weight gain and unsteady blood glucose levels. We should flip the standard plate which is normally mostly meat and carbs and almost no fresh vegetables. Half your plate should consist of fresh vegetables or salad, about ¼ clean protein and the remaining ¼ for low GI carbs.
We want our plate to go from a processed, nutrient poor, simple carbohydrate plate to a nutrient dense, high fibre, low GI plate with quality protein and good fats. This helps with satiety, reduces snacking and works with an intermittent fasting diet.
- Practice intermittent fasting easily
Why? IF may have beneficial effects on weight, body composition, cardiovascular biomarkers and aging. At the cellular level, IF may also increase resistance against oxidative stress, decrease inflammation and promote longevity by activating cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy. Fasting can improve mental clarity, concentration and have a neuroprotective effect on the brain.
Limit: Constantly eating, snacking, drinking sugary drinks from wake to sleep. The body needs a chance to burn stored energy and there are many benefits from not constantly spiking your blood sugar. It might be a slight adjustment at first but the benefits are self evident, you have more energy, concentration & don't have to constantly worry about your next meal.
Switch to: Intermittent fasting with time restricted feeding. Push forward your first meal by 5-6 hours. Don't eat 3 hours before sleeping. If you sleep for 8 hours, this gives you 3+8+5=16 hours of effortless fasting. Eat 1-2 meals a day within this 8 hour window. Have a tea or coffee in the morning instead of a big breakfast and cereal.
Phases of The Hypoallergenic Diet
In Phase 1 of our Diet, (0-6 months) we stick strictly to the diet. It is quite restrictive but it is essential to kickstart the healing in a fail safe way. The common food allergens are removed as are the foods high in natural chemicals (salicylates, amines, glutamate) & antinutrients (lectins, gluten, phytates).
As the gut is healed, we add more variety in Phase 2 (6-12 months) with some medium & high chemical foods. This adds more variety, flavour & nutrition.
In Phase 3 (12-18 months) you will be able to eat most fruits & vegetables, more legumes, some seeds & nuts. It is still best to stay with a low dairy/gluten/sugar/processed foods diet.
In Phase 4 (18-24 months), with a healthy gut & an intact skin barrier, you should be able to return to eating without much restriction. Just stick with a mainly unprocessed, plant based diet full of seasonal produce.
You may be able to move between the phases quicker or slower & add more variety depending on your body & level of healing. It is recommended to use our personal care & laundry products as well as the advice in The Problem Skin Bible to ensure your skin is not being irritated & is supported.
The Conscious Living Diet.
By restoring our gut barrier and balancing the immune system we can eat fully and freely in the long term. It starts as The Hypoallergenic Diet and it ends as The Conscious Living Diet. All the key principles remain the same but without needing to be restricted by the natural chemical content of fruits and vegetables.
Many of the principles involve viewing food in a different way. Food is something to enjoy, something that nourishes us, a source of energy which effects our energetic state, something that can be the cause and cure of disease. It involves understanding what is truly healthy and what works for our own body. You will start to view food in a different way and soon you will no longer consider something like McDonald’s or Spam as real food.
Read The Conscious Health Bible for full recipes, eating plans, food chemical charts & shopping lists.