When experiencing a great deal of stress, even the clearest skin can be prone to stress-hormone related breakouts. Skin is also taxed by weather warming up, buildup of oil and sweat on the skin without proper cleaning, and bad habits related to eating food that fills the serotonin gap - like anything from a package with fat and sugar or any chemicals at all. Drinking too much alcohol also contributes to problem skin, particularly when we are low on dietary omegas and phytonutrients and we are drinking a lot of coffee and not enough water.
When our time is slim, it's frustrating and time-consuming to develop complex recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many North Americans are caught up in dietary food fads, resulting in food fear and disordered eating with unrealistic expectations of outcomes with body, mind and skin.
Scandinavian people are known for their great skin. They live in an environment where several essential things are promoted:
1. Simple clean skincare without too many steps, and a minimalist use of makeup.
3. Lots of city walking and urban biking.
4. A priority on and a right to nature and time spent communing in nature.
5. Lots of water and lots of whole fresh foods, including fish and foods with excellent collagen building fatty oils.
6. Use of technologies like traditional saunas, cold showers or the sauna-to-snow tradition which takes the body temperature from elevated to lowered, revving metabolic processes.
Recently, I have been looking for a way to reset my body in order to prepare me for summer sports, fuel my hiking habit, and to generally reset my system from the huge output of cortisol it has received between the months of December 2019 and May 2020. I don't like to meal prep and plan, so I wanted something simple to follow to help me jump start over the course of the first 30 days.
Note: I am not a physician or a medical professional. I am offering these ideas and plan as an example of what I do to maintain good skin and with the thought that everyone can benefit from more diversity of whole natural foods in their diet. Your dietary sensitivities, any medical concerns and any questions should be taken up with a medical professional of your choosing.
For my own use, I developed this simple plan. You're welcome to use it too! It's meant to be fun but it will also reset the way your body operates. There is a lot of flexibility to add extra healthy protein and veggies and clean grains as you desire and no limits on portions so you should always feel satisfied. It has a lot more fiber than a juice cleanse and you have a great deal of flexibility to add salads and whole grains in. If you can't do the whole 26 days, do it for as long as you can and notice what changes about your skin. Remind yourself that "skin purging" can last a day or two to up to two weeks with new clean products but with a clean diet as well that timeline is typically cut in half. Timing will still vary by person and will likely vary by how adherent you are to healthy whole eating like this plan, and how dedicated you are to daily use of good skincare, as well as how much you walk or exercise.
EAT YOUR WAY FROM A to Z:
IDEA: Eat the rainbow each week, putting a focus on ingesting as many different colors as possible to accelerate phytonutrients which are most bioavailable (will enter the system gently and accelerate health impacts quickly, more so than vitamins). Follow the alphabet to make it easy. On DAY 1 eat fresh fruits and vegetables that start with "a": avocado, apples, asparagus, apricots, etc. You could eat any fruit or vegetable on any day, but if you choose sweet and savory options and stick to a letter you have a better chance of keeping with it for the full 26 days. At the end, your body can be in deep acceptance of gentle foods, in new rejection of toxins and inflammatory foods, and clean and clear to test foods you may have sensitivities to. For days with fewer options, I suggest leaning back to the previous day to repeat a few things, or increasing use of lettuce, rice, or oatmeal.
GUIDES: Avoid inflammatory foods, which include: breads, pastas, refined sugar, packaged food with chemicals, red meat, and aged dairy like cheese, as well as coffee, alcohol, and any sort of recreational drug. If you'd still like to have a social drink a couple of times during this process, consider a free spirit option, like a shrub, or a half-strength drink with soda water and bitters and ideally clear alcohol like vodka, gin, or Aquavit. Very limited amounts of fresh dairy (like whole chevre or cream) would be available to someone who felt they needed them. Aged alcohols and cheeses throw the balance here. They can be added in moderation after 26 days. Drink a lot of water and each morning start with water with lemon at room temperature to settle the stomach.
CLEAN: Practice Scandinavian skin care. If you are bold, try dry skin brushing. If you are less bold but still a little bit brave, try to have 1 minute of your shower be cold and work your way up to several minutes or the full shower. Scrub your skin well with simple and all natural bodycare products and face products. It's critical you don't put commercial washes with detergents on your skin during this phase. After you get out of the shower, drink a large glass of room temperature water.
YOU MAY EXPERIENCE: In first few days - headaches, muscle aches, tiredness for a few days as your body detoxes and adjusts to whole foods. Exercise gently, walk a lot, and take salt baths if you have a bathtub or foot baths if you don't. Nap when you can, go to sleep earlier if possible, and keep going.
In addition to a fruit/veg heavy center, each day can include:
- Plain white rice with sea salt, cayenne or black pepper
- Plain oatmeal (Scottish oats are creamy and delicious and have lots of protein)
- Any amount of herbal tea as well as guayusa and yerba mate tea, black tea as needed, and limited amounts of black coffee.
- Homemade miso soup from paste with green onions, seaweed, salt and pepper as well as fermented bonito flakes. This offers a digestive reset and extra minerals.
- Gently poached eggs with salt and pepper.
- Lettuce in any quantity - must only be dressed with lemon or light vinegar and dash of olive oil.
- Quinoa prepared with bone broth, veggie broth or water and seasoned with dry spices and fresh herbs.
- Limited amounts of very dark chocolate every day are also okay and support serotonin renewal. Just don't go crazy.
- Olive oil in light use, MCT oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and any dry spice
- All fresh herbs and spices (basil, sage, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger)
- It's good to eat both sweet (fruit) and savory during each day
- Red meat
- Deli meat
- Processed foods of any kind
- Creamy sauces or dressings
- Butter or heavy dairy for cooking
- Any sort of processed spice mix or packet
- Enormous amounts of coffee or coffee with cream, sweetener or any bulletproof coffee
- No beer, wine or sweet alcoholic drinks. Limit alcohol to minimal consumption and if you do drink it opt for vodka or gin with soda water and lime or lemon.
Example Options by Letter of the Alphabet (get creative!) :
A - apples, avocado, asparagus, apricots, artichokes, acai berry
B - bananas, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, blackberries
C - cucumber, cauliflower, carrots, chives, celery, cherries, chaga, currents, cherries, cantalope, chestnut mushrooms
D - dates, dandelion greens, dragonfruit
E - eggs (poached), elderberry, english thyme
F - figs, fennel
G - green beans, gooseberries, goji berries, ginger
H - honeydew, honey, hibiscus
I - Indian persimmon (or lean to another day)
J - jackfruit, juniper
K - kale, kiwi, kumquat
L - lemons, limes, lettuce, lavender, lychee, lion's mane mushrooms
M - mango, melon, mulberry
N - nectarine, nettle
O - oranges, olives, oyster mushrooms
P - papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, pears, pitaya
Q - quince, quinoa
R - rosehips, raspberries, red peppers
S - spinach, strawberries, sage, sweet potato, sprouts
T - tangerines, turmeric, tomatoes, thyme
U - * choose some favorites from another day!
V - * choose some favorites from another day!
W - watermelon
X - * choose some favorites from another day!
Y - yuzu
Z - zucchini
I am interested in what you learn! I will be fascinated by how you feel! I would love to see photos of the transformation of your skin. If you'd like to get a specific idea of what SLOANE MARLEY products might be best for your skin, check out our skin quiz and we'll offer you a free assessment.
If you'd like to be featured as one of our case studies, please take a picture with no makeup before you begin and after you finish the 26 days. We will choose one entry to feature.
Here's to happy, healthy, low-pressure eating!