Spring cleaning my insides
What is it about a change of seasons, particularly the winter to spring transition, that makes us want to clean, redecorate, basically overhaul everything? I think it's in inherent reaction to the rebirth and renewal that happens in nature, but whatever the cause, I feel like this spring is all about fresh starts for me.
Work-wise, I started a part-time position at Parsley Health which I love. It's a fixed term contract but as I've learned, you never know where something may lead or what an opportunity will turn into. Right now, I'm just thoroughly enjoying the work and my colleagues. On the home front, I am itching to redecorate. If I could snap my fingers and have a new couch, coffee table, and dining table I would. To placate my inner interior decorator, I bought two succulents. I really hope they make it. I'm not sure I can live with the shame of killing succulents, especially ones marked as "low-water succulents," which basically means, we need nothing from you.
Where most of my cleansing, renewal, what-have-you energy is going though, is to my body, specifically my skin via my liver. Since November my skin has been having all kinds of fun reacting to unidentified things, leaving me with everything from breakouts, to rashes, to skin that is so dry it comes off in patches. All of this is just as cute and pleasant feeling as it sounds. I love my dermatologist and trust him implicitly but we have yet to find a routine that works for me. I should back up and say that my skin is far from awful. In my derm's words, "We're chasing perfect." I would argue that some days this is true, while others we are closer to chasing good but he's seen more than me and obviously I have a bit of a warped perspective here.
Despite the "Oh, hello new red bump. What are you?" that has become an all too frequent refrain when I look in the mirror (what you don't also talk to your mystery bumps and pimples?), there are a few ways in which my face is predictable. Stress, environment (i.e. whatever is in the air in NYC, yeah I can't really bear to think about this either), and hormones (girls you know what I mean), all make their presence known. As much as I try to "keep calm and carry on," there will always be stress in my life and the other two factors are pretty much non-negotiables. That said, there is one thing that I can control which, I've recently learned, has a big impact on my skin: my liver health.
Through black holes of googling and YouTube-ing skin health and breakouts, as well as consulting my trusted online sources for all things health and wellness related, I've come to find that putting less toxins into our body (and accordingly our liver since it is responsible for taking care of business in the toxin department), can have a huge impact on our skin- basically our faces show what our liver has to work with. What are some of the biggest offenders that I've found: alcohol, sugar, dairy (tbd on if this is really a toxin), and caffeine. Serendipitously, the past two weeks have found me reading an advanced copy of my long-time friend Phoebe Lapine's forthcoming The Wellness Project in which she did just such a detox at the start of her wellness journey. As a member of her launch team, how could I not read the signs the universe was basically banging me over the head with?
I'm not much of a drinker so the maybe 1-2 glasses of wine I have on occasion get to stay. Dairy is also not a huge player in my life, although I do have Greek yogurt each morning and about once a week have pizza. I've tried almond milk yogurt and I just can't. Similarly, I'm not willing to give up pizza, though I will probably cut down on how much I have it, as afterwards I always feel kind of off and insatiably thirsty. That leaves us with my vices: caffeine and sugar.
I'm not a coffee drinker but you will have to pry my Diet Coke from my cold dead hands, same goes for brownies, and dessert in general. To quote my dad, "Leah, dessert isn't your God-given right." Au contraire father, in this instance you do NOT know best.
So here's the plan:
- One Diet Coke per day max. (This is usually the amount I drink but sometimes, and particularly when I am stressed, I will have a second.)
- Try not to go overboard on the green tea, two cups max.
- Sugar is ok for desserts but otherwise cut out added sugar to the extent possible
- No more than one package of sweetener in your tea. (Yes, I'm awful. Yes, I use the fake stuff. Yes, there have been days when I really needed that fourth packet. Yes I said fourth. #shame)
- Not sugar or caffeine but I'm trying to eat/buy organic as much as possible. My dad has been preaching this for a while now and this time around, he's totally right. I will, though, never accept his statement about dessert.
I'm not going to make myself crazy. If I'm out to dinner, at an event, even in the supermarket and looking at something that has added sugar, I won't forego it, but I will try and find an option with less added sugar. I've already switched to sugar-free jam and ketchup, and just bought my first pack of sprouted whole grain bagels which don't have any added sugars so 10 points to Gryffindor (although truth be told, I think I would have been a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw). Will this grand experiment work? I am somewhat skeptical but I have nothing to lose, other than sugar and caffeine so here I go! I'll let you know if I see any changes.
Have you ever done a sugar or caffeine detox? Any must-know skin tips?