Mindful eating is the most powerful tool to begin working towards acne-free, redness-reduced skin. It is the practice of bringing presence to our food choices and being conscious of our daily nutritional choices.
Before I stepped into the role of The Skin Nutritionist, I was hardly a mindful eater. I ate based on cravings and bad habits, what tasted good in the moment of whatever my stomach screamed out for. I ate when I was super hungry (never a good decision) and gave into whatever my hunger desperation pushed me out towards.
In 2008 however, I made the decision to become a mindful eater. I saw the huge difference diet could have in my skin and I started the journey to discover what was irritating my acne. And I have since taught countless clients to do the same. Here are some of my basic tips on how to start being a mindful eater.
Do you eat of desperation or convenience? Our unplanned moments often result in some of the worst decisions when it comes to eating. Ever heard the advice not to shop or order food when you’re hungry? It’s all too true. Your eyes and stomach may often want to eat empty carbs, large portions, and unhealthy foods.
Do you buy based on coupons? These hardly ever cover fresh produce and whole foods, but rather processed foods filled with GMOs and inflammatory, refined ingredients. They may cheapen the grocery bill, but we often pay for it later in expensive products, treatments, and even doctor’s visits to treat what we could have avoided in the first place.
Do you plan in advance or know of healthy food options near to you? This is a key investment of your time. I work late mid-week, so I make a large batch of soup on Mondays knowing I will be hungry as soon as I get off work. I already have a healthy meal minutes away from being ready at home, no take out food can compete. In a bind, I know where to go near work and home to get a healthy snack or meal. It’s been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.
Do you have a sanitary pantry/fridge with healthy snacks? If your freezer is stocked with ice creams and your pantry filled with potato chips, chances are you’re going to end up eating them. Keep a sanitary kitchen free of inflammatory foods and stocked with items like fresh fruits, almond butter, gluten-free bread, nuts, and veggies to snack on.
Be mindful when making less than optimal decisions too. I make them and the mindfulness I bring to the situation allows me to be more mindful of making even better choices afterwards to counteract their effect and support my skin health. We cannot always eat perfectly, but we bring awareness to our habits and make continuous efforts to improve. It will not only feed your skin but your body, mind, energy, and overall happiness too.
-Elise May, CN + LE
”The Skin Nutritionist”