Skincare specialist Veronica Massa looks at the positive effect to skin from removing dairy from your diet with some client stories and suggestions for non-dairy calcium sources
I have seen it over and over with my clients: eliminating dairy products from their diet has helped to substantially improve their skin's health and complexion.
If you have issues with spots and cysts, try eliminating dairy from your diet for three weeks and see what happens with your skin.
Maybe you never had this problem before and it is possible that suddenly you developed an intolerance to dairy products... or to the process of producing them!
Many of my clients find very difficult eliminating dairy from their diet, and I understand that, cheese and ice-cream taste good! If you must, please make sure that the milk and dairy products you put in your body, come from a sustainable, respectful, organic farm that treat cows in a loving way as they should.
Clients who did cut out for a minimum of 3 weeks/one month all dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) have been amazed by the results. If no new breakouts appear, then you know this may be the cause.
This can be a very effective way to find out if your skin is trying to excrete the toxins caused by dairy or ingesting more than your body can process. These toxins can manifest through spots, hard and painful bumps deep under your skin (cystic acne), or the underskin whiteheads.
The hormones given to the cows influences endogenous hormones in your body. These cause an imbalance in the hormonal system, (with added inflammation), the skin's oil production increases and the acne process will start. Some hormone stimulate oil production, the sebaceous gland in the face excrete fat-based hormones which leads to the growth of bacteria getting trapped in the pores.
Of course an other important factor is the fluctuation of your hormones (possible hormonal imbalances) and possibly an unsuitable skincare routine which will exacerbate the problem giving the right environment for bacteria to grow, breakouts to form and leaving permanent scarring.
Tania had whiteheads on her forehead. I saw her recently and she is still dairy free and her skin looks glowing, healthy and completely unblemished. All the whiteheads (little white - under-skin - bumps) have disappeared.
1. Tanya: "I really trust Veronica. She has a very gentle, non-invasive touch and a completely holistic approach. The products she uses, which she makes herself, have worked so well for my skin that I use them at home. My skin has improved dramatically and my partner always comments that I look so healthy when I come back from a treatment. Veronica suggested that I dramatically reduce eating dairy as it was this that was causing the spots on my forehead. I would not have realized this and it has made a big difference. Thank you for all your help with my skin, it looked good on my wedding day! "Tanya S., Therapist
2. Lucy: "In my mid 20's the tiny bumps all under the skin and the huge what felt like painful boils returned.
The changes I have made to my lifestyle and diet are the following:
• Cut way back on cheese and chocolate! I very rarely have cheese now.
• Cut back on tea & coffee – I would used to about 3 cups of coffee a day now I only have 1.
• Scrub gently with bi-carb and use green clay mask every week.
• Use mineral make-up (Bare Minerals) every day instead of Mac.
• Religiously use my amazing products that you make me!
• Lots of water and green/peppermint tea.
• In general a healthier diet.
I would say the main things that make the difference, are no cheese, change of make up and using your products. I can honestly say I have never been so happy with my skin, I don’t have a single lump or bump on my face! The facials, the products, the advice, and of course Veronica, are all absolutely amazing!!"
Along with dairy, it is important to eliminate or cut down as much as possible, all inflammatory foods and tend towards a more alkaline, processed food free diet, including sugar of course.... but that is for an other blog! Inflammation causes excess heat in the body which rises up to the head manifesting with many different symptoms depending on the combination of causes. This excess build up of inflammation is of course also due to things like stress and not hydrating your body well enough. One symptom is inflammatory spots, especially concentrated along the lower half of the face, jawline, chin and neck.
But the concern I want to focus on here is most people question:" where can I get my calcium from?"
Where can I get my calcium from?
Calcium is the bone-builder, it provides the rigid structure of the skeleton, but small amounts are also found in the nerves, muscles and blood. Together with magnesium, calcium is important for the functioning of nerves and muscles. It also helps maintain the right acid-alkaline balance in the body. Calcium absorption is very important in children when bones are growing an the elderly when there is decrease of calcium absorption. After the menopause, there can be calcium imbalance, probably due to the loss of oestrogen, although this is also true for too much oeastrogen which makes arthritis worse. Really it is all about the right balance.
Calcium plays a role in:
• strengthening bones and teeth
• regulating muscle functioning, such as contraction and relaxation
• regulating heart functioning
• blood clotting
• transmission of nervous system messages
• enzyme function.
In contrary to what many people think, milk and cheese are not the only sources of calcium. We can absorb the necessary calcium and magnesium from pulses, vegetables and nuts, whole grains and water. Our body's ability to use calcium depends also on its absorption. Vitamin D is fundamental for calcium absorption, while consumption of alcohol, too much coffee, tea, chocolate, excessive stress, exposure to lead, excessive protein consumption, lack of exercise, and of course, lack of vitamin D, disrupt the calcium balance in the body.
Calcium deficiency and osteoporosis
Deficiency of calcium can cause symptoms of insomnia, nervousness, joint pain, muscle cramps, osteoarthritis, tooth decay and high blood pressure. Calcium deficiency is known to be the cause of osteoporosis, although, this is apparently connected with protein and excess hormone imbalances. Hormones control the calcium balance in the body. If out of balance, the bones and joints can become porous and be more fragile. Lower estrogen levels appear to make it harder for bone to reproduce, this is why osteoporosis is connected with menopause and women.
A number of risk factors for osteoporosis have been identified, and these includes bone structure: being tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or slim (weighing under 125 pounds) increases the risk, ethnicity: white people and Asians are more susceptible than other ethnic groups, fracture history, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol intake, inactivity or immobility, low levels of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, due to dietary factors, malabsorption problems, or the use of some medications. The stress placed on the bones by weight-bearing exercise helps prevent osteoporosis and this encourages bone growth.
Good sources of calcium
Getting calcium from foods is a much better choice, although calcium supplements are widely available. If you do need to take extra calcium from supplements, it is important to know how much calcium you need and you are ingesting. Calcium intake at levels of 2,000 mg or more through supplementation may be of concern. Make sure you don’t take more than the amount recommended on the bottle. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is an average of 1,000 mg per day for adults depending on age.
Too much calcium may cause gastrointestinal upsets, such as bloating and constipation. A report published in 2010, and widely reported in the media, found a possible link between calcium supplements and an increased risk of heart disease – particularly in older women. The levels of calcium intake of participants in the trials reviewed were up to 2,400 mg a day, achieved by taking supplements.
Further research is required, but currently the British Heart Foundation recommends calcium supplementation if supervised by your doctor.
Calcium and magnesium are found in vegetables such as kale, cabbage and root vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Beside milk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk, calcium is found in leafy green vegetables – broccoli, collards (cabbage family), bok choy, Chinese cabbage and spinach. As explained above, the ability of our body to absorb calcium is what really matter, rather than only the food eaten, for example, one cup of cooked spinach contains 100 mg, but due to the high concentration of oxalate, (a compound in spinach that reduces calcium absorption) only five per cent of this may be absorbed. By contrast, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45 mg of calcium, but the absorption from broccoli is much higher at around 50–60 per cent.
Nuts and seeds are a very good source of calcium, especially almonds (15 almonds contain about 40 mg of calcium) and sesame seed and paste (tahini), brazil nuts.
If you consume soy and tofu (make sure they are non GMO), these are a good source of calcium. Soya products and other food can also be found in the market calcium-fortified – including breakfast cereals, fruit juices and bread.
Fish, including sardines and salmon also are a source of calcium.
Dairy products industry, Cows and digestion.
There are some substances that don't agree with our body for various reasons, be it a personal intolerance or a general difficulty for the body to digest.
It is known that dairy products and cow's milk are mucous-forming. This mucous forms in our digestive systems and it can manifest issues related to that system, it can then move up to the lungs forming phlegm and catarrh or it can manifest through the skin, which is an excretory system, as the body tries to eliminate what does't agree with it.
Of course nowadays we are also becoming aware of the dairy industry's practices, the cruelties that the animals go through and the substances that are consequently found in the milk. These include hormones, genetically modified substances fed to cows, antibiotics (cows are in such a state of distress and disease that they are continually being injected with antibiotic medicines to deal with their chronic infections), and the toxins (pus)* in infected milk due to mastitis (an incredibly painful infection) as cows are forced into a state of constant pregnancy in order to produce the milk for our consumption..... yeah A BIG BUSINESS!
All of these substances are passed into the milk which is full of toxins due to chronic inflammation affecting the cows. Personally I would also consider the energetic memory of these animal's life which we introduce into our body.
What happened to the Sacred Cow? Still honored in many cultures, the caw was venerated and considered a deity. Think of Hathor in ancient Egypt, the mother of all Gods and Goddesses, from who's breasts the Milky Way is produced and who gives birth to Horus-Ra the sun god, the golden calf. And in India, still today, in Hinduism, Kali is symbolized as a moon cow, white horned and milk-giving.
Nowadays we have amazing knowledge which allows us to make choices moving forward. If you love dairy and are still concerned about your calcium intake, I am not suggesting you never eat them again! Eliminating them for three weeks will help determine if they are a cause of your breakouts. If after three weeks of no dairy, no new spots have appeared when they normally would, then you have a good chance to know the cause. This will empower you, just like the ladies in the testimonials, to make an informed decision next time you are in front of cheese, and think to yourself "is it really worth a cyst...I am going out tomorrow night and I am not going to risk!" This process will help understand your body's tolerance, and even if you reintroduce them slowly after three weeks, then you know what to expect.
I love chocolate so much but I know for every chocolate comes a spot!! Now I only eat alternatives, milk free, raw and no sugar. I can still enjoy chocolate but feeling safe I will not get spots! There are many amazing ones in the market, my favorite ones got to be booja booja!!!
* National averages show at least 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass! This is well-above the human limit for pus-intake, and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, as well as Crohn’s disease. The pus comes from infected udders on the cows known as mastitis.
Holford Patrick, New Optimim Nutrition Bible, 2004