“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
There are many ways we could ideally replicate a natural human lifestyle but many just aren’t possible. Not too many of us can run around outside in a remote part of the world hunting animals and plucking fruit from trees. That would be the best way to avoid acne and really most diseases because this is how every other animal on the planet lives.
You do not have much control over the air surrounding you, the water coming from the ground that you bathe with and drink, or the amount of sunlight you can receive through the course of your day. You’re probably, to some extent, forced to sit indoors for a set amount of hours per day. I don’t expect you to quit your job or drop out of school to pursue your quest to end acne.
Instead, you do the best you can to mimic a natural, healthy human lifestyle.
The largest controllable factor you have is the diet
No one can force you to eat anything in any quantity unless maybe you are being held prisoner or are serving in the military. If that is the case, I really can’t help you. You will have to wait until you are out and regain control of your food.
You probably eat a lot of garbage
I know you think you eat healthy or that food has no effect on your skin but I’m telling you: You’re doing it wrong. Or, at the very least, you could be doing it better.
Through much trial and error and independent research, I eventually arrived at a diet that cleared my skin dramatically.
Before you start saying, “My dermatologist told me that acne and diet are not connected!” I want to say this is nonsense. How could your skin be 100% immune to what you put in your mouth? Plenty of new research points to just the opposite, flying in the face of what all the dermatologists have been saying for years. Not only do they now admit that certain foods aggravate acne, but they are finally admitting that certain foods trigger acne. When I discovered this diet 13 years ago, I had no one to back me up on the connection. Now, scientists are beginning to agree with me.
Here’s 6 more studies linking diet to acne, many of them randomized controlled trials:
The problem with these studies is that even though scientists are beginning to connect food and acne, they are concentrating on specific things like “high glycemic” and dairy. While that may be enough for some people, in order to really end my acne, I had to address my entire diet.
(July 28, 2015 update: German scientist Bodo C. Melnik of the Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, University of Osnabrück, Germany is actually now specifically recommending a Paleo type for acne sufferers.)
I’m glad that science is catching on because the harsh reality is…
Everything you know about diet is wrong
You’ve been lied to, misled, and brainwashed. The government and doctors are not on your side and are not giving you the correct dietary advice. Welcome to reality.
You have acne because you have a shitty diet. If your diet was excellent, you wouldn’t have acne. End of story. I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say, “Not true. I eat very healthy”. That’s what you think. I’m not talking about eating low fat, organic or all-natural. I’m not talking about low-carb or whole grain. I’m not talking about getting rid of just dairy and sugar. I mean you’re eating the wrong kinds of food. Day after day, week after week, year after year.
Our food supply has gone awry and we have a serious problem on our hands. Since we have all grown up with access to these foods, they do not seem abnormal to us. Let me be clear here; there are many items on the menu today that have absolutely no benefit and are eaten purely for pleasure. The consequence to eating these foods, among many other problems, is acne.
You’ll hear a lot of bullshit about how to eat from the FDA, commercials, movies, TV, your well-meaning friends and family. Unfortunately for all of us, the proper way to eat has been clouded and trampled upon by all the new additions to the human diet in the last 300 – 10,000 years. Profit, convenience, and budgets have ruined our diets. It’s sad, but true.
It’s time to START OVER.
The way I eat has been labeled the “Paleo Diet” by people who think pasta and donuts are edible foods. I call it the “Human Diet” because it’s what humans always have and always should be eating.
For about 2.6 million years or more, humans, or the direct ancestors of modern humans, lived in what is called the Paleolithic Era. The Paleolithic Era is the time-frame in which all human beings were hunter-gatherers. Every food was collected from the wild using nothing but primitive tools like rocks, spears, slings, boomerangs, traps, fishing lines, bows and arrows. Naturally this meant we ate a variety of animals and plants. This is the way all of our ancestors lived from about 2.6 million years ago until about 12,000 years ago.
Around 10,000 B.C., some people began cultivating vegetables, fruits, grains, and livestock as well as staying in one location, notably modern-day Iraq, instead of roaming the earth as hunter-gatherers. As they no longer were constantly on the move following herds of animals or budding trees, they could build villages, then towns, and finally cities. Farming and civilization had begun. This is referred to as the Neolithic Era.
So, for about 99.5% of our existence on this planet we existed in the Paleolithic Era as hunter-gatherers. Half of a single percent of our time on this planet has been spent as farmers. This is a generous estimate of the percent of time we have spent as farmers. Some scientists say we hunted and gathered for many millions of years longer.
The Neolithic Era is the time in human history when degenerative disease first begin to appear in substantial numbers in archaeological evidence (source). Degenerative diseases are chronic conditions that continue to worsen over time, as opposed to infectious diseases, like plagues. There is evidence that as far back as the ancient Egyptians, approximately 3,000 B.C., there were people suffering things like heart disease, tooth decay, diabetes, kidney stones, and many other conditions we see so commonly in our “advanced” societies today (source).
The increasingly accepted view in the scientific world is that although human populations exploded with the advent of agriculture in the Neolithic Era, the health of the individuals in these populations declined (source). Neolithic people were on average shorter, had weaker bones, and had more degenerative disease (source) as compared to their Paleolithic ancestors.
The foundation of the argument for a Paleolithic-type diet is that we have not adapted to our Neolithic situation. We have not yet adapted (and maybe never will) to eating grains, processed sugar, or anything that comes out of a factory. On the contrary, we evolved to eat a diet that varied widely depending on where your genetics have most of their history. We spent 99.5% or more of our time in existence as hunters and foragers eating meat, organs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and berries.
No one alive today has the genetic history required to have evolved the ability to effectively deal with grains, sugar, vegetable oils, and the other myriad of post-Neolithic era foods. A quick evolution is considered a few million years. We’ve had 12,000 years of experience consuming farmed foods; a mere drop in the bucket of our genetic history. Confounding our problem even further is the fact that we have only existed for about 200 years since the Industrial Revolution which brought all sorts of chemical processes into the food supply. Even a farmer just a few hundred years ago would not have the heavily refined white flour, sugar, vegetable oils, and super processed foods we have all around us today.
I can hear you now, saying “but, but I LOVE PIZZA. I mean, 10,000 years of eating grains?! Surely we’ve adapted some ability to withstand it!” Wrong. I enjoy a piece that Carl Sagan wrote,
“An example of recent evolution of organ systems in humans is our toes. The big toe plays an important function in balance while walking; the other toes have much less obvious utility. They are clearly evolved from fingerlike appendages for grasping and swinging, like those of arboreal apes and monkeys. This evolution constitutes a respecialization — the adaptation of an organ system originally evolved for one function to another and quite different function — which required about ten million years to emerge.” (source)
It took ten million years to re-purpose our big toe. It seems unlikely then to think we have the ability to use bread and pasta as food over meat and vegetables without ill effect. They only appeared in the human diet within the last 10,000 years. Expecting an evolution in our DNA that affects both our digestive tract and immune system within that short a time-frame is wishful thinking.
It’s really common sense.
Would you feed a lion whole grain pasta and diet soda and then be stumped when he became fat, diabetic, and covered in red bumps? Would you offer him an exfoliating scrub? Medicine? No, you would probably say “Hey, maybe we should feed him his natural diet of dead animals”. For some reason we do not apply the same logic to humans. We think we are special. We think we can just eat whatever we want!
Let’s get real. Let’s eat real human food.
I am going to just distill it down to the basics. Then I will tell you exactly what I do. I will keep this focused on ending acne and the little tweaks I have made to reach my goal.
Eliminate the garbage:
Grains, dairy, refined sugars, and vegetable oils.
Eat real food:
Meat, organs, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and berries.
That’s it. That’s the end. Good luck. Yes, it’s that simple and that easy. Eat those real foods and ignore everything else.
This is the essence of a human diet and it’s perversion is the primary reason everyone in the Westernized world is fat, diabetic, covered with acne, and will eventually die of cancer or heart disease.
Grains – This means eliminating all bread. No whole grain crap. Get rid of all of it. Get rid of bread, pasta, rice, cereal, corn, pizza, donuts, cakes, muffins, pastries, and bagels. You must eliminate anything made from wheat, barley, oat, corn, soy.
Dairy – A grey area that I will cover later. Today’s modern dairy is trash. It has been screwed with. If you have access to a cow you may very well live a healthy life on raw dairy. The stuff in the store is garbage. (I have since added pasture raised butter back into my diet. Nothing else.)
Sugars – You do not want to eat any kind of refined sugar. Obviously soda is out. The only sugar I eat comes from fruits and unheated, raw honey. (If you drop that raw honey into hot tea, it is no longer raw).
Vegetable Oils – This is a big one. Canola, soybean, cottonseed, safflower, and sunflower seed oils are everywhere. They are not really “vegetable” oils. This is a marketing lie. I never hear of anything being cooked in celery oil or cauliflower oil. Avoid these garbage oils as much as possible.
These “foods” are not really foods at all.
They are garbage. (With the exception of some types of dairy). Get rid of them. Is this crazy? It only seems crazy to a person raised to think these things are actually food.
Ok, now to talk about the things that you will focus on eating;
Meat – and eggs are my staple. This also means organs when possible. Not big on liver? Fine, supplement with cod liver oil and eat lots of egg yolks. Eat animal fat. Lean meat will not provide enough nutrients. A diet of only lean meat can cause a condition known as rabbit starvation. Avoid deli meats. They are loaded with all sorts of additional ingredients, like sugar. A grass-fed steak is the ideal meat.
Vegetables – Highly touted by everyone. I don’t rely on them heavily. I just make sure to get some green vegetables every day. They will provide a lot of vitamins and minerals, eliminating your need for dairy.
Fruit – Don’t go crazy here. They are perfectly healthy and provide vitamins and minerals but eating nothing but fruit will give you diarrhea. I treat them like desserts.
Nuts and Seeds – Again, don’t go crazy here. They can be eaten sparingly but don’t rely on them. I know it’s tempting because they require no preparation but they can mess with your digestion when eaten in quantity.
Berries – Similar to fruit. Perfectly healthy. Don’t rely on them too much. They also tend to be expensive.
Oils and fats – Cook with animal fat, real lard (read the ingredients), uncured bacon fat, butter, ghee, coconut, palm, or olive oil.
This will all take some adaptation and tweaking. Purist “Paleo” advocates say you should not eat potatoes or legumes. I don’t ever eat any Soy but I do eat potatoes.
Removing potatoes seems to make things far more difficult for the average person. It makes it less likely they will stick with the plan. I would advise to eat some potato if it helps but don’t go crazy. You should not switch to a potato diet but merely supplement your meat and vegetables with this starchy root. French fries don’t count because they are deep fried in garbage vegetable oil. If you want to make your own at home using coconut oil or lard, that’s a different story and I encourage you to do so.
Eat whatever combination of these normal foods you want. I recommend mostly meat, eggs, and vegetables. Eat any kind of animal and any kind of vegetables (just not the poisonous ones). Eat as much as you want. Getting enough fat is important. If you need to, eat more vegetables than meat. Eat a lot of fruit in the beginning if you wish. Do whatever you need, as long as you…
Avoid the garbage!
There’s no reason at all to eat bread, pasta, pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, waffles, pancakes, syrup, muffins, bagels, croissants, cereal, margarine, toast, deli meats, pasteurized juices, pasteurized milk, or powdered milk. There’s no reason to drink any kind of soda, diet or otherwise. You only do it because it feels good and is convenient. The same exact reason people drink and smoke or shoot heroin every day. You are a food junkie.
Don’t become another statistic. Opt out of the mess.
Give your body time to adapt.
You’re going to be coming from a long history of eating trash and forcing your body to burn sugar as it’s primary fuel. You will now be converting yourself into a fat burning machine. Your body will resist, argue with you, and try to convince you that eating garbage is OK.; the same way an ex-smoker’s brain will try to convince him that having one cigarette is OK.
Hold out, persevere, eat real foods. Give your body no choice. It will adapt in time and you will be better off.
Before you eat anything, ask yourself, “Would I be able to find and eat this if I were roaming a prehistoric earth with nothing but my big human brain and a spear?”
If it doesn’t pass this test then it doesn’t go in your mouth. Simple. And remember…
Science is starting to agree with me. Bodo C. Melnik has published an article entitled, Diet in Acne: Further Evidence for the Role of Nutrient Signalling in Acne Pathogenesis, in which he states,
“Acne appears to be an early clinical indicator of hyperactivated mTORC1 signalling, paving the way to other more serious late-onset mTORC1-driven Western diseases of civilization, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Dermatologists have the opportunity to observe and elaborate nutrient-driven skin pathology of Western diets, and should provide early dietary counselling for teenage acne patients at the beginning of their lifelong exposure to Western diets.”
I do not want to overload you with details that I will cover in other posts. For now you should just focus on eating natural human foods: animals and plants. More importantly, get rid of all the garbage: bread, cereals, pasta, rice, corn, bagels, pastries, desserts, candy, soda, dairy, and vegetable oils. If we have not yet evolved to eat wheat, what makes us think we have evolved to eat donuts without ill effect?
Fixing your broken diet is the most influential decision you can make in ending acne.