We're back with our second instalment of Amy Saunders' blogger residency slot. This time, we asked the holistic beauty blogger to share her nutrition and wellbeing tips for treating acne from the inside out - from the ingredients you'll need to avoid, to the superfoods that your skin needs. She also shared one of her favourite green juice recipes for glowing skin below.
If you suffer from acne, we suggest you check out her brilliant blog Get That Glow pronto!
- What is your eating ethos? What do you generally eat?
When it comes to acne clearing, I don’t like to stereotype a diet as there are so many different factors that can contribute to persistent acne such as intolerances and sensitivities to unusual food groups like nightshades and citrus fruits. However, generally speaking, a diet high in sugar, diary and process carbohydrates is a massive trigger for acne so the closest eating ethos I fit into would be paleo as it’s refined sugar, dairy and grain free. However, I’m more of a plant-based cave girl as I don’t eat a huge amount of meat but when I do I try to make sure it’s locally sourced, grass-fed and organic! Some people find that a strict vegan diet works wonders for their skin but everyone’s different and I personally found a vegan diet made my skin worse due to a lack of B-vitamins (I think!). It’s also easy to develop an unhealthy obsession with what foods should and shouldn’t be eaten when you’re trying to heal your acne through diet so I try not stress out if I eat a tiny morsel of dairy or sugar as any guilt and stress over food is more likely to cause skin dramas in the long run!
- What is your favourite everyday breakfast?
I’m a smoothie girl! I’m always running around in the mornings so struggle to find time for a ‘sit down’ breakfast. My smoothies pack in so many more vegetables, berries, fibre and healthy fats than I’d eat for ‘normal’ breakfast anyway. Although my smoothies are perfect for the working week, at the weekend I love omega-3 rich eggs fried in coconut oil with some spinach, asparagus and a bit of salt and pepper!
- What do you keep on hand to snack on during the day?
Acne has a lot to do with blood sugar and insulin – when you blood sugar spikes, your body pumps out insulin to bring it down which can result in excess androgens, which can trigger acne. Two important tips to keep your blood sugar stable is to eat a low GI diet and to make sure you eat little and often throughout the day… basically don’t allow yourself to get ‘hangry’ before eating your next meal! As long as it doesn’t involve cake, biscuits or chocolate bars then snacking is an essential part to healthy, clear skin! Foods like avocados, berries and carrot sticks are all great snacks but seeds, nuts and nut/seed butters are my favourite as they’re full of healthy goodness that will keep you fuller for longer!
- Other than water, what is your favourite ‘go-to drink’?
I love a green juice! The greener the better and to keep them as low in sugar as possible I always use green apples such as Granny Smiths as my base. I’ve recently started using Cavolo Nero in my morning juices, it’s soo dark in colour, rich in nutrients but has a very strong taste. Luckily, I’m a huge fan of ginger, so I just add extra to mask the bitter ‘leafy’ taste! I also drink about 4 cups of spearmint and green tea a day. Both are great for balancing hormones and studies have shown that spearmint has anti-androgenic properties which can significantly reduce the level of androgens in women who suffer from PCOS!
- What is your favourite indulgence?
I’m such a chocoholic! Despite curbing my sugar-cravings over the past year, there are very few things I enjoy more than a bar of chocolate but since switching up my health and cutting out the refined sugars, I crave much better quality chocolate. Nowadays, my chocolate cravings are less Dairy Milk and more Booja Booja – which is great for my health, but not so great on my purse!
- What is your latest must-have superfood?
It sounds really boring, but ground flaxseeds are my staple superfood. Alongside happy hormones, a healthy digestive system is key to maintaining clear, healthy skin and adding a few teaspoons of ground flaxseeds to your morning smoothie, chia pudding or sprinkled on your granola every day does a great job of maintaining healthy gut flora and keeping you regular, which is vital for eliminating toxins and waste which could otherwise be eliminated through the skin – causing acne!
- What is the number one supplement you’d never go without?
Carrying on with the digestion theme, I think a good probiotic is one of the most important supplements every single person should take. The health of our gut is constantly being compromised by the environment, antibiotics/medication and processed food so it’s vital that you take care of your digestive health. Alongside probiotics, I also recommend probiotic-rich fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi for optimum digestion. I’m currently taking the Living Nutrition ‘Kef Flammex’ blend which is a unique probiotic supplement that uses hormone balancing and anti-inflammatory wholefoods such as green tea, turmeric and reishi combined with a clever kefir/kombucha fermenting process that ensures maximum bioavailability and nutrition – it’s basically fermented foods and a probiotic supplement rolled into one!
- What is your favourite healthy dinner spot?
I’m very well-behaved when it comes to being healthy at home and at work so when I go out to eat I want to indulge a bit and enjoy what I’m eating without worrying about my skin! I’m lucky that the city I live in (Brighton, UK) is full of health-conscious consumers so there’s an amazing range of healthy, independent places to eat! My favourite place to grab a delicious lunch, or treat myself to one of her ah-mazing raw cakes is Stacie Stewart’s gluten, dairy and sugar free haunt Eat Naked. My other all-time favourite place to eat out is Coggings & Co – while it might not have a menu dedicated to green juices and salads, they source everything locally and sustainably and the staff and chefs go above and beyond to cater for anyone with specific dietary needs – whilst filling you to the brim with the best gluten-free burgers, sweet potato wedges and salads!
GET THE RECIPE
'Mojitea' Green Juice || Serves 2 (approx 500ml)
Modern, high-sugar diets mean that acne, candida, obesity and diabetes are all on the rise, which means more and more people are having to watch the amount of sugar they consume on a daily basis, regardless of whether it’s natural or refined! It's easy to make delicious juices and smoothies by throwing in handfuls of sweet tropical fruits but if you're struggling with your skin, you may want to think about cutting down on those high-sugar fruits. Mangoes and pineapples can contain up to 8 teaspoons of sugar which will send your blood sugar and insulin levels sky high - very bad news for acne sufferers! This juice is one of my favourites, it's low in sugar and tastes delicious.
- 2 Green Apples
- 1 handful Spinach
- 2 Cavolo Nero leaves
- 15 Mint Stems/Leaves
- 1 Limes
- 1 Cucumber
- 1/4 tsp Matcha Green Tea (optional)
Amy's Tip: I occasionally add a dash of fizzy kombucha or coconut water to make it into the ultimate mocktail!Want to know more about treating acne naturally? Don’t miss the other instalments of our Blogger Residency – sign up to our newsletter here.