This is a guest post from our friend Sunny, who blogs over at The Sun Always Shines. She has decided to share her skin care experiences while studying abroad. You will hear more from her in the future.
We love that Sunny has found balance in her quest for a happy life and healthy skin. How she’s found that balance may surprise you! Enjoy Sunny’s post…
A few months ago, I used an elimination diet to discover that I had Fructose Malabsorption. Eating a low-fructose diet, and eliminating a few other problem fruits/ veggies, finally gave me the (mostly) clear skin I’d been craving for years, as described here.
And then I moved to Germany.
For my Master’s Degree, I am living for a semester each in Germany and Poland, and spending the summer in China. There are many articles on how to handle your skin care routine and keep your diet intact while traveling, so I thought I was prepared. I even made a list of problem foods and translated it as I don’t speak any of the local languages. But I’ve learned that moving is different than traveling – and any preconceived notion of how I thought I was going to spend my days here went right out the window.
Since then I have developed some strategies regarding caring for my skin when The Plan changes. Living in a foreign country is great for illuminating things you didn’t realize before. These things are serving me well now, but I will carry them with me beyond this trip. I hope they will help you, too.
#1: Try New Things
I’m talking radical changes. I was getting caught up in the “tweaking” and “hacking” cycle that, in someone like me with anxiety and OCD, can lead to more obsessing than do-gooding. But I ended up in a rut with really nothing left to try, and eating nothing but meat, fat, and spinach.
What really got to me here was the cheese. I stayed away from cheese and other dairy at home in the States, a fairly easy feat. In Germany, though, literally two perimeter walls of the grocery store are dedicated to dairy. Glorious, full fat, high quality dairy. I decided to have some delicious European cheese when I first got here, and I seemed to do okay with it. I kept it in, and to this day I have cheese with almost every meal. Not only has this drastic change been tolerated, it seems my digestion is actually better with this addition. Don’t be opposed to trying something completely new!
Liz’s note: as discussed in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide, the RIGHT dairy makes all the difference! Full-fat and high-quality dairy can be awesomely nutritious.
#2: Change Your Priorities
I was always chasing clear skin (those last five pimples …). Everything I’ve done – Paleo, crunchy skin care, reducing stress, etc – has been to clear up my skin. I was very strict on myself to get to this goal.
But something amazing is happening here. I have new priorities now; bonding with my fellow students over a drink (only the highest quality Vodka – the Polish students won’t allow me anything else!), traveling Europe, trying new cheeses (and chocolate, though it seems I handle small amounts of milk chocolate better than dark. Trying New Things!), and studying. While I was busy on these things, my skin cleared up better than before. There are a lot less blackheads, that’s for sure. Obsessing less has actually made it better.
Liz’s note: less stress, more happy enjoyment – a recipe for better skin!
This is essentially the message I want to give to you. Sure, there are foods I won’t eat, and I put a lot of energy into avoiding them. But I’ve given up control on my diet being perfect because it can’t be. Between stress, school, traveling, foreign languages and environments and cultures, I will never have total control over my skin. And, it turns out, giving up that control has been pretty good to me.
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