So I think I mentioned a couple of posts back that I’m going to be turning 42 in March. And though I TRY very hard to not subject myself to social standards that place value on youthful appearance, it is a daily challenge to accept the way that age has written itself on my face.
I use face smoothing filters in Instagram selfies.
There. I said it. Glad we got that out in the open.
But today I’m here to talk about skin, and so, for the sake of transparency and in order to humanize myself and make myself more accessible, I am sharing this unedited, unfiltered photo with you. It’s the dead of a Montreal winter, we are living in dry heat, my summer glow is long faded…
Hi. That front camera is a little harsh with the accentuating of the fine lines…
In September of 2013, I did the unthinkable, and I immersed myself, both feet first, in the fabulous world of the Whole30.
Let me show you a photo of my unedited face from before I started that program. Because I’m a regular face above, with no glaring issues except a bit of residual evidence of my choice to indulge in a slice of gluten-free pizza a couple of times over the holidays, so the photo above isn’t going to convince you of a whole lot.
So. Here you go. Me in 2007, at the age of 31.
Inevitably, when I post before and afters, I get the slew of comments about how I looked great before, I am beautiful now, I was beautiful before, blah, blah blah. Thank you. Thank you all. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I PROMISE I’m not phishing for compliments here. Look. Really, really look. I know it’s not you in this photo, so you’re going to be FAR less critical, but I’m asking you to be. Inviting you to be, even.
Check out that redness in the 2007 photo. Even in the dark light of the Paris metro, it was glowing. I had mild rosacea, chronic redness, flakiness and itching around my nose. I had it for my entire adult life and it felt and looked awful.
Guess what disappeared almost right away with my first Whole30 and the elimination of grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes and dairy?
That’s right – the redness, puffiness, flakiness, and general discomfort.
I’ve been chronic skin condition-free for over four years now, and it just took some tuning in and listening to my body.
I skim Whole30 Forums and I see people asking about their skin conditions, and the suggestions always tend to involve what to put ON the skin, without truly appreciating the fact that skin disorders are simply a reflection of what is happening IN our bodies. Skin conditions are not resolved by suppression through steroids and creams. When I do chime in on these posts, it’s to remind people that not EVERYTHING can be fixed with one round of Whole30. But a ton of dots can be connected, and that’s the point of this program, at its most fundamental level – to connect you with what your body is telling you.
Let me repeat this so that I’m crystal clear – Skin issues are NOT issues in and of themselves. You are a whole person, with interconnected systems, and what is showing up where you can see it is reflective of what’s happening inside of you, where you can’t see it, and maybe you can’t even feel it. But it’s there.
(If you don’t have skin issues, lucky you, except that does not mean that you are not in a state of dis-ease. In some healing paradigms, we WANT to have skin issues early in the unwellness game, because by the time our skin clears from all the suppression of symptoms, we’ve driven the disease more deeply into more critical organs. And skin breakdown is often the last stage of some incurable diseases – so if you’re “just” dealing with a bit of rosacea…here’s your invitation to effect some deep healing without massive effort!)
Guess what I didn’t do when I was done the first 30 days? I didn’t reintroduce much of anything. Why would I have when a) I didn’t miss any of it, and b) my quality of life had improved so dramatically? This is called the Slow Roll re-intro, and you can find more detail in The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.
And guess what I learned by not throwing away my hard work by returning to my old habits when I was done my Whole30? That deep gut healing, which is what is truly necessary for health to show ON YOUR FACE, takes six months to two years, depending on your state of wellness, of deep, unwavering, invested commitment to YOURSELF.
My skin stays pretty even right now. I deal with some flaking ON my nose (not next to it) from time to time, because I live in Montreal and we live in dry heat for six months of the year. I have zits from time to time after I intentionally make choices that I know I’m going to see on my face a few days later (and vanity is enough of a deterrent to prevent me from indulging 95% of the time), but all in all, I can honestly say that I’ve never experience such good skin in my entire life.
Got rosacea? Chronic acne? Eczema? Dark circles under your eyes? Flaking? Consider a Whole30 and be amazed!
6 Comments Add yours
I loved reading this! I am currently “dealing” with rosacea. I just got diagnosed about a month ago… and learning to have better eating habits. Do you sometimes indulge in a glass of wine or a beer from time to time?
Hi Ale – I figured out a while back that drinking wine makes me unbearably sleepy, and then sick afterwards, so I steer far from it. I had a pint of beer on Friday night and very much enjoyed it, with no apparent residuals, but I tend to stick to hard alcohol and cider when I indulge!
After six years of Paleo eating and many Whole30s, my rosacea seems to be gone for good! Deep gut healing really does require at least a two year absolute committment to a paradigm for real, lasting results and a resilient body that can take a drink from time to time!
Good luck with you on your healing journey!
That gives me so much hope! I have one more question , did exercise affect you before or even now ?
You mean did it exacerbate the condition? That’s an excellent question. It must have as the blood vessels in my face would have dilated, but I can’t recall precisely. Now I dance three times a week and my face flushes normally from exertion!
Thank you for your reply! You’ve inspired me so much, you have no idea.
Yay, so thrilled to hear this!!