My journey to finding proper gut health and skin health started out by, well, not starting.
I’ve always taken good care of myself and my body, confidently tucking away the information and knowledge that you can nourish yourself from the inside out. Food is medicine and a powerful source of fuel, happiness, and deliciousness. Especially in the last few years, I’ve leaned towards a more plant-based diet, filling my body up with lots of fruits and veggies, greens and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
I’m at the point in my life right now where, I feel really good. My body feels nourished, my skin is super clear, and I have great digestion. But it took time and a lot of learning to get me here. Because honestly, it was definitely not always sunshine and rainbows and happy skin for me. Let me take you back.
At the end of summer in 2019, I was dealing with a few stressful situations that both affected my mental health, and stagnated my physical health. I wasn’t feeling like myself, I was stressed with work things and personal things (they always seem to pile up together) and my body took notice. Or rather, it wanted to fight and take flight. And that’s what I’m assuming it did.
Let me just tell you as I’m writing this to you, that I am by no means a nutritionist, a dietitian, a doctor, or any sort of professional where I can give you the 411 on what you should be doing for your life. I’m not. I’m just going to give you my personal experience and what got me to a point of feeling good.
While I was stressed in that 2019 summer, something strange happened. My skin completely broke out. And when I say I broke out on my skin, I’m not talking about the cute little one red dot that your friends have to pull up on you with a microscope to see. I’m talking really intense, red, raised bumps and acne all over my face. I had never experienced anything like it before. It had come out of seemingly nowhere. I ran through all of the my products I was using, my diet for the last few weeks. Nothing had changed. I went to dermatologists and they couldn’t figure out what it was and wanted to put me on antibiotics to get my skin back to normal. No one really could figure out the trigger, least of all me. Aren’t I supposed to know my body better than that? Shouldn’t I be more in tune? I resented myself in the moment for feeling like I had failed my body and it was spinning right around and failing me right back.
As someone with fairly clear skin my entire life, I wasn’t nor am I now about to pretend that I know the struggle of someone who has dealt with chronic acne or chronic cystic acne throughout their entire lives. My story is not meant to be put out there to compare with yours, or your friends, or your sisters. We all have individual stories and every single one has value, importance and weight. None should be minimized! But having it in that moment made me understand how much the presence of acne in your life and on your face can takes a toll on you and your self-esteem, affecting your body image and confidence. I had never in my life felt so low.
One one hand, I felt silly for even caring. It’s just my skin! People are worse off. I am healthy and privileged and so what, I have a ton of acne on my face that I’ve never seen before. It felt trivial to place so much weight on my appearance and the little maps on my face. Aren’t there more horrible things in life? I’d tell myself. It’s just acne. But sometimes when you’re in that moment, the just acne that is the only thing you see when you look at your face is the mirror. It feels debilitating and anxiety-inducing. Because of my skin being this way, I felt like I had every sign from the universe to just give up on myself! I was doing everything right and this still happened? Well then, who cares! I don’t really need to care for my body as diligently as I was before. It didn’t even like me anyway,
For awhile I felt a lot of shame and guilt that I even cared about the acne being there. I minimized my feelings because I knew that it was a surface, appearance thing, and I was mad at myself for even treating it like a big deal. But truthfully? It was a big deal to me. The shame and guilt I was feeling about caring that , minimizing my own feelings, didn’t make it go away, and it didn’t make it less of a perceived issue or roadblock in my life. It was what it was. It was painful and it wrecked my confidence and self-esteem. Not for nothing, I am self-aware enough to know that there are more things but minimizing my feelings did nothing for me, and I know many other folks who have dealt with acne can attest to this.
After the breakout, I went to my doctor to see what was up, and she diagnosed me with PCOS. I was feeling out of my body, my acne was all flared up, and then awesome – some cysts on my ovaries! I didn’t catch a break for those months. I was writing my book at the time and had to pause for a couple months because I knew I couldn’t contribute the energy I wanted in one of the biggest career opportunities of my life. You never really know what’s going on in someone’s life and I was definitely not my happy, normal, enthusiastic self. Everything just felt out of place.
As the end of the year rolled around, I decided to take my health into my own hands. I was sick of giving up and feeling like my body had failed me. Because look how much it does for me! I felt ready to feel like myself again, and I have to say that the biggest step started with my mind.
Here are a few things that have helped me get to the place where I am now.
Feeling comfortable and confident where you are, at anytime of your life, is key for me. No matter how low I felt in almost every department, I started to look at the positive sides of things. Okay, I have this crazy skin breakout but it doesn’t change my value to this earth. I can still do the things I want, I can still love my family and friends, and you know what? They can still love me. The shift in perspective, the calming of my nerves, the centering of my life and knowing that whenever there’s a low, there has to be an up, really allowed me to sink deeper into myself.
And then, as you all know – COVID 19 hit! Like a literal tornado. For the first time in my life I was forced to slow down and not operate my life at a million miles an hour. I looked inward, I journaled a lot, I wrote out (with pen and PAPER BABY) all of my feelings, all of my insecurities, all of my thoughts. I cried a lot. I took steps towards healing things in my life I felt I needed to address, and gave myself permission to forgive mistakes I had made and trust that life’s plan is also my plan. I just have to flow with it. Flowing more, forcing less became my motto. I felt my cortisol levels just absolutely drop.
GUT HEALTH IS SKIN HEALTH
I think we all have started to learn how insanely important the gut is to our overall well-being, physical health, skin health, mental health, immune health, I could go on. I knew when my skin was breaking out in 2019 that I had to get a probiotic into my rotation but I literally. could. not. find. one. I. trusted. There is so much noise out there, and anything I looked at, I simply could not parse through the information or find any research to back up the claims. Luckily, this year I was talking to my friend about Seed and she recommended I try it. Thank GOODNESS she did.
First of all, it’s the best pre & probiotic on the market, full-stop.
Now I’m not one to claim that things work for me when they don’t, so when I tell you this has completely changed the game for my skin – I literally mean it. My skin has never been more clear, my digestion is poppin’ and I overall just feel so much better in my body. Tons more energy, I could literally go on. My mom is also taking it now because I influenced her and I love that for me. Taking a good quality probiotic with strains of bacteria that actually GET to your gut and reach it to affect it, makes me feel better knowing I am actually taking care of my body inside out, and complementing the food that I like to nourish it with. Love that for me.
PEOPLE. HUMANS. FRIENDS.
Gather round your people. If you’re lucky enough to have a support system – family, friends, a barista you love, even just A FRIEND or supporter, lean on them.* I am the luckiest person in the entire world because I genuinely and wholeheartedly think and know that the best part about me are the people I surround myself with. The only reason I am who I am is because of the people who tirelessly support me, and are there to hear me out and listen to me when I’m having a good day and when I’m having a bad. During the time of my crazy breakout and everything in between (cough, COVID, cough) talking to people you love makes you feel better and more connected. And that’s a fact. And no, I don’t mean throwing a text your friend’s way. I mean pick up the phone, rogue FaceTime those folks, make them regret they ever kept your number in their phone. LOL. Just kidding. But think about it – I’ve always been the type of person who feels like my problems or struggles are a burden to others, but I never see it that way when my friend needs me to lend them an ear or a hand! Your people are there for you. Let them be.
- When I know my friend is going through something, I ask them if they are able to emotionally carry something heavy that I would like to tell them. This way, if they are taxed already, I know I can wait for another day or ask another friend if someone is unable to hold that space for you! And that’s okay. I think it’s considerate to ask when you remember to.
All of these factors over the past year has helped me tremendously repair and find a better relationship with myself and my health. Let me know on IG if you found any of this helpful. This was therapeutic to write, and something I’ve been wanting to share for a long time. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Love you always!