Raise your hand if you crinkled your nose / gagged a little at the sight of this title. . . have no fear, I’m here to give you the who, what, why, where, hows.
If you’ve followed along on my previous blog posts or IG snippets, you may have heard me mention my struggle with hormones and “that time of the month”, as well as my long time Adrenal Fatigue and inconsistent digestive issues.
Well, about three weeks ago, I started searching Pinterest for tips-and-tricks, how-to’s, basically just anything that could help me with my severe bloating issues during work hours + hormonal acne that lingers in the same areas of my face, even when it’s not that time of the month.
Here’s What I Found
From MindBodyGreen: “Your digestive tract is like the soil that your hair and skin grow in; if the soil isn’t healthy, the plants won’t bloom properly.”
Symptoms such as poor skin, bloated belly, etc. are often linked to one thing. . . THE GUT.
When our tummies react to food sensitivities and get bloated or gassy, so does our skin. Having these food allergies and sensitivities can leave us with not just unwanted blemishes, but also dark under eyes, swollen facial features/puffiness, and so on. There are even studies that compare societies who consume lots of processed foods with the relation to acne, and found that the people in areas where little-to-no processed or highly refined sugary foods are eaten have virtually no acne + very little upset tummies!
What is Gut Dysbiosis
From Kettle & Fire: “Sometimes called bacterial dysbiosis, means you have a lack of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.”
With 400, give or take a few, types of bacteria living in your unique gut microbiome, those equal out to more than the number of cells in your whole body – how cool is that? They help you digest food and vitamins, fight off pathogens, and basically act as your key team players for surviving life! Now, in those 400 bacterias are good guys and bad guys. Like most things, there should be a balance between the two. How do you manage that? As long as you have sufficient good guys, the bad guys won’t act out!
“Gut dysbiosis allows this bad bacteria, i.e. yeast, to cause changes to your gut microbiome, which can prevent you from properly digesting food.” And of course, this all leads to intestinal inflammation, painful digestive symptoms as well as chronic ones such as SIBO, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Candida, IBS or IBD. Research also shows a direct link between Gut-Skin and Gut-Brain tension – meaning, gut dysbiosis can affect your body in many ways from acne, rashes, and eczema, to mood disorders.
– Frequent gas, bloating, belching
– Diarrhea or Constipation
– Acid reflux
– Unexplained weight gain/difficulty losing weight
– IBS; IBD
– Anxiety; depression; low moods
– Brain fog; low energy; chronic fatigue
– Skin conditions
– Allergies and food sensitivities
To sum it up, lots of colorful fruits and veggies! Darker colors like greens and purples, or avocados and grapes, offer B-complex vitamins (often lacking in most plant-based diets). Oranges are rich in vitamin C, help reduce free radical damage from the sun. Eating foods that are nutrient-rich = skin that is nutrient-rich and healthy. What goes in, shines out.
Foods to Avoid
- Refined Sugars
- Fruit Fructose (avoid in the early stages)
Foods to Enjoy
- Lightly Steamed Veggies
- Grass-fed Bone Broth
- Grass-fed Meats
- Wild Fatty Fish (and fish oil supplements)
- Healthy Fats: Avocado, Coconut Oil, Coconut Meat
- Fermented Foods: Beet Kvass, Kimchi, Coconut Milk Yogurt, Sauerkraut
In other words. . .
1) Yes to dark leafy greens, 2) Yes to foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, 3) And Yes to foods rich in vitamin A, carotenoids, and healthy fats, 4) Cut down on sugar intake, 5) Cut down on salt, 6) No to gluten, 7) Limit alcohol use, 8) Limit dairy, 9) Hydrate – water, water, water!
So, What is the Big Deal with Apple Cider Vinegar
Using and consuming raw Apple Cider Vinegar has been a trick-of-the-trade in many cultures, for many many years.
“Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation to form health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, giving it significantly less sugar and fewer calories than apple cider or apple juice.” – Dr. Axe
The uses of this one-(ingredient)-hit-wonder vary from soothing sunburns, to giving your gut health a boost, or curing cold symptoms/allergies to acid reflux relief. You’d need your fingers and toes to count all of the potential uses of this magical stuff!
The Benefits of ACV
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
- Enhances Weight Loss – “Studies have shown that consuming 2 Tbs per day of ACV over 12 weeks, resulted in nearly 4 pounds of weight loss with no other changes in diet or lifestyle”
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Improves Skin Health – “Studies have shown that treating acne scars with lactic acid for 3 months, resulted in improvements in the texture, color, and appearance of the treated skin, as well as lightening the scars”
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Relieves Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Additionally, it helps to speed up the metabolism, helps overcome cold and flu symptoms, aids in digestion, relieves bloating after meals, heals sore throats, allows for better bowel movements, acts as a daily detox, keeps the immune system strong and clean, balances the body’s pH, & 1000s of other amazing things.
For boosting the metabolism, it is best taken in the morning, on an empty stomach. I simply leave a shot glass and ACV out on the counter and swig back half a shot-glass full on my way out the door in the morning; one-and-done!
You can drink it in so many different ways too: adding a tablespoon to hot water with fresh lemon juice and ginger (like tea), mixed in your daily water bottle (love this after a run), or mixing with water in a shot glass.
Note: If this is your first time, ease in, take it slow! Start with a teaspoon, then gradually increase to 1-2 tablespoons per day.
I truly feel a difference in my body on days that I forget or don’t make time to take a shot; this stuff is magic. Oh also! Always buy “with the MOTHER” – the mother is the beneficial bacteria that creates the acidic environment of the vinegar.