I mentioned (complained, really) in my last blog post that my acne took a turn for the worse after I went on my elimination diet. I was doing this to help clear up a suspected small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (aka SIBO). The acne didn’t budge for another week and I thought – is this detox? Is the bacteria dying off and it’s showing up in my face? Or is my acne actually getting worse?
It’s hard to tell the difference between detox and actual worsening, but there were some subtle signs that helped me determine what was going on. If my breakout was detox, I would stick it out because the end result would be worth it. If my acne was just worsening, that meant it was time to change course.
The first bout of acne, I believe, was not detox, but an allergic reaction. The elimination diet allowed only four veggies: carrots, green beans, zucchini and spinach. Well, it turns out that the fructose levels in these veggies are just high enough that when they become staples in my diet, it overloads my fructose malabsorption. I spent a week watching my face get worse, then my acne started itching and hurting. This was a clear sign that this breakout was fructose related.
The second week, I switched to just meat, fat, and spinach. While my acne stopped getting worse, it didn’t go away. However, this time I could tell that it was just a detoxing reaction: not only were my other symptoms improving, but my face didn’t seem to be forming new blackheads. That was huge for me. And after one more week, the current acne started receding.
One month after my elimination diet, and I’ve eased up and let some foods in. Ice cream has managed to sneak in a few times, and I’ve tolerated it surprisingly well (I’m also not eating anything else aggravating to my system on top of it). My mood has leveled out. I’m still struggling with picking but it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be, and I think I’m struggling against the habit part at this point.Next challenge: doing a reintroduction of foods while in Europe! I leave in two days for my MBA, part one of which is in Germany. Here we go!