If you have been following the Acne Revolution newsletter, you would know that I recently did a Whole30 with my girlfriend (essentially a “strict version” of the Paleo Diet for 30 days). When starting my serious self-experimentation, I did a similar diet from Chris Kresser’s book, The Paleo Cure. Here are my thoughts on Whole30 and Paleo Diet “resets” in general.
[This page has affiliate links with Amazon. If you use them, it will support the Revolution and I’ll love you forever. For more on our affiliate policy, read here.]
I have been putting deodorized cod liver oil into my gut-healing prebiotic smoothies, so I recently got a new bottle. When we moved in together, my girlfriend brought her ~1 year old bottle. I started using hers, but I noticed that it smelled weird… I suspected it was rancid. I wasn’t sure, but I knew who would be.
“Extensive medical questionnaires by US physicians administered to local [Okinawan] physicians who had practiced from 8 to 41 years revealed that, ‘These people had no acne vulgaris.’” – Loren Cordain et al from Acne Vulgaris: A Disease of Civilization
Okinawa is part of the Ryukyu islands of Japan. Due to the physical isolation from the rest of Japan (400 miles south of the mainland), Okinawa has a distinct culture and diet. The people of Okinawa are renowned for their longevity and in 1946 they were found to have no acne . Their unique diet may be the reason why.
- The Okinawan Diet Conundrum
- What Did They Eat?
- How Much Meat?
- General Health and Longevity
- Westernization and Declining Health
- Help the Revolution
- Meat Estimation Methodology
In trying to replicate the diets of the acne-free peoples, I encountered a problem: I’m sort of lazy. I don’t like fussing around to make every meal perfect. Particularly, I was having a lot of trouble matching the fiber and antioxidants consumption of the Kitavans and Okinawans. I tried eating like a Kitavan for a day. It was a physical feat. There is just too much food and all that fiber made me a bit too “regular.” But I believe these elements (fiber and antioxidants) are the missing link in the dietary therapy for acne. They may be some of the few things that help protect you from acne.
Acne seems directly linked to the bacteria in the gut. I’ve had gut problems for so long, I thought it was normal. I’ve noticed if my gut is doing well, so is my skin. Consistency has always been the problem. How to could I make my gut always happy?
In a previous post, I discussed how I got itching and burning hives in response to what I thought was my prebiotic smoothies. Turns out I was wrong and I learned some lessons about self-experimentation along the way.
What Caused the Hives?
“Histamine forming bacteria in the shake or my gut flourished with the prebiotics. This led to an excess of histamine in my body, making slight irritations cause hives. Either prebiotics (in the shake or [gluten-free hamburger] buns), histamine containing foods (such as wine), or skin irritation (scratching or clothes) could exacerbate it.”
However, I did discover the true cause of the burning hives (which turned out to not actually be hives)!
- Smoothie + sip of kombucha at my house before bed → burning “hives”
- Smoothie + no kombucha at my girlfriend’s house before bed → no hives
- Smoothie + no kombucha at my house before bed → burning “hives!”
My old ideas was that kombucha was the cause. This information disproves that. What gives? Am I sporadically allergic to my bed?
I was recently contacted by the Mark Dittman who writes HackAcne.com. It is a blog with a very similar mission to the Acne Revolution. We swapped notes and here are some of the key points of his blog.
Mark and I were inspired by the same passage of the book the Four Hour Body to start experimenting with acne. He dove deep into individualized blood testing. While I have done some, it is nowhere near what he has done. If you want personalized sniper-shot therapies, I recommend blood testing and his blog is a great place to start.
For those that can’t afford the testing, I understand. Here is Mark’s general action plan (and my thoughts):
[Two Week Update: Tested kefir
and definitively discovered cause of the hives]
Not all self-experimentation goes well. I was inspired to do this experiment by a paper that linked acne to something I’ve struggled with, gut-health (particularly the gut microbiome). I was testing the effect of a “prebiotic” smoothie. The “prebiotics” within it feed the probiotic bacteria of the gut microbiome.
I adapted the recipe from the blog Free the Animal. Blend the following. Consume ½ in the morning and ½ in the evening:
- 1 raw egg yolk
- 4 oz, Naked brand juice, “Kale Blazer” (any type will do)
4 oz, kombucha(now 4 oz, raw milk kefir)
- 6-10 oz, water (depending on desired consistency)
- 1 scoop antioxidant fruit/veggie powder (NAL)
- 1 handful frozen fruit (I use plums, figs, or peaches I gathered)
- 2 tablespoons raw potato starch (NAL)
- 1 tablespoon plantain flour (NAL)
- 1 tablespoon green banana flour (NAL)
- ¼ teaspoon Inulin (NAL)
- ⅛ teaspoon dirt (the original uses soil-based probiotics, but I can’t afford them…)
- 1-4 handful ice cubes (depending on desired consistency)
Acne Revolution is about guiding you to clear skin. If you are looking for a natural solution to acne, or have just been frustrated by expensive medications, we can help. The first step is to change your mind. Read the core articles below to understand the Acne Revolution approach. Then if you are convinced we will be able to help, take action.
Change Your Mind
Everyone has to start somewhere.
1. Watch my video explaining the three core ideas beyond the Acne Revolution and why I believe we are all meant to have clear skin
2. Simply the best way to get started is to the read the free “Acne Revolution Quick Start Guide.” As the name implies, it has everything you need to get started.
“Of 1200 Kitavan subjects examined (including 300 aged 15-25 years), no case of acne was observed.” —Acne Vulgaris – A Disease of Western Civilization 
Kitava is a small island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Its population is only around 2,300 people . In 1989, Staffan Lindeberg, a Swedish physician and researcher, investigated the rates of various diseases on Kitava.
His finding? Virtually no obesity, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, or high blood pressure. The only sudden deaths occurred from fallen coconuts .
He also found no acne. Not a single pimple on 1,200 people, even in 300 adolescents and young adults (individuals aged 15-25) . In a group of 300 Westerner high school and college students, the vast majority of them—around 240 (80%)—would likely have acne .
Why is there such a difference in skin health? The answer may lie in their diet. (more…)
“Another condition has become prevalent, one obvious even to the layman: acne vulgaris. The condition used to be unknown among Eskimos, but one can see it readily amongst teenagers. … Old Northmen… and others who have known and watched the Eskimos closely for many years, frequently remark to their physician friends on the change in the complexions of the young people… One wonders what these people and the other old Northerners would think if they were to read some recent medical publications, in which dermatologists belittle or deny the role of dietary factors in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.” — Otto Schaefer, M.D. in “When the Eskimo Comes to Town”
Otto Schaefer, a physician who studied and lived with the Inuit people (often called Eskimos)— revealed that when they eat a Westernized diet, acne is widespread. When they eat a traditional diet, acne is non-existent . So, what did this acne-free society eat?