What a topic – and one that currently attracts maximum media and scientific attention for finding “the answer” to maintaining healthy skin and delaying skin ageing!
So far it remains clear there is no one perfect diet. The complexities of individual lifestyle, family, society, cultural and media influences, as well as geographic location, food availability, storage, dietary choices, present gut health status, emotional status, plus the incalculable number of available food combinations interacting each mouthful with our digestive secretions, microbiome populations, microbial signalling, immune, nervous and hormonal system signalling, plus the myriad of metabolic interactions make it challenging to say the least.
If there is no one size fits all approach. Is this because our diet is not only what we eat, but also what we do, listen to, read, watch, the people we spend the most time with… is it a combination of all the things we put into our body physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?
Of course, you already know that smoking, alcohol, high fat, high sugar, high meat and low fibre diets create adverse skin – and overall health! – effects, as can gluten and dairy. I am thrilled to share some different perspectives on diet, rather than the general (yet still very valuable!) standard of ‘drink more water, eat more veggies, consume more omegas’.
As a Naturopath, educator, skin therapist and Wholeness Coach I’m not a fan of the word diet – many relate it to restriction, denial, scarcity, hardship and punishment in order to achieve a desired outcome. The medical dictionary defines diet as “the customary amount and kind of food and drink taken by a person from day to day”, which portrays it to be habit – would you agree that most of the time our food intake is a habit?
Several recent studies have revealed that Australian eating habits are currently less than ideal, with Aussies spending about ⅓ of their weekly budget on ‘fast food’, and less than 10% eating the minimum amount of recommended veggies per day. Add in discretionary food (anti-nutrient products, typically high in kilojoules, added sugars, saturated fat, added salt, and/or alcohol) servings of up to 7 per adult and 8 per day for kids, as well as too little water consumption, and we can all start understanding why chronic disease, obesity and skin disorders are on the rise.
Eating can be, and in my opinion should be, one of the most personal, intuitive, nurturing and loving self-care habits we gift ourselves… why, then, do so many of us find food, habits and diet so challenging?
Every-single-thing that enters our mouth does make a physiological and psychological difference to us, and our skin, and that difference of either positive or negative comes down to what, why, when and how we are choosing to eat and drink.
In this blog I’m going to explain more about some of these factors, as well as giving you some tangible and effective tips for creating positive change.
Have you ever considered that the way in which we are choosing to nourish ourselves is reflected in the way we nourish, or are nourished by, our lives? And if we are not nourishing ourselves, what are we doing exactly?
Take a moment to think where you might be on the spectrum of any of these – living fast, hard, on the go, rarely stopping, controlling, feeling powerless, or always putting other people first, feeling guilty practicing self-care, feeling under-resourced, like a victim of life or that life is a battle, maybe you constantly seek external validation, try to get things perfect all the time, feel little inner connection, have given up, have a punishing inner critic voice, or perhaps feel generally overwhelmed and stressed?
I have found myself running in plenty of those life themes! And the easiest way to notice if you’re in them too is listening to your inner language … when we use words such as “I want, but…”, or “I should”, “I could”, “I have to”, and “I can’t”. These all indicate we are operating from self-imposed limitations and conditions, which will be often related to very subconscious fear, shame or guilt-based emotions and beliefs.
Wowsers. How did I get there with a ‘best skin diet’ conversation?!
Because, personal belief structures underlie everyone’s individual reality, they are the lens through which you view, organise, and co-create with the world and other people, and yourself. This makes them super important to know about, as most of the time we are completely unaware of them driving subconscious psychological AND physiological (mind and body) processes.
If we remain unaware of the effect they are having upon our decision-making processes in such deeply interactional and multifaceted ways… then it makes it challenging to get clear and consistent healthy habits happening with the what, why, when and how we are choosing to eat and drink, which could also be likened to the what, why, when and how we are choosing to energetically and emotionally digest and absorb life.
So how do our beliefs impact eating?
Beliefs influence our perceptions, defining for us what is our truth, what is good, bad, ‘real’ and possible and thus can be empowering or limiting in nature. Limiting or negative beliefs prevent us from fulfilling our true potential, they hold us back, keep us from progressing, and give rise to negative thoughts, emotions, and direct and/or limit the actions we take, all of which impact our choices about food habits.
Beliefs start forming from the moment we enter the world because of all of our life experiences. The constant influence of the beliefs, actions and overt and subliminal messages of family, society, culture, education, religion, media and so on all helped us to define our beliefs, and how we understand and navigate the world, and how we create identities/personalities and behaviours that help us feel safe, accepted, and acceptable.
They truly are our reality-making road map: the way in which we subconsciously process, organise and respond to the huge amount of data that comes in through all our major sense organs every single moment of every single day.
What’s vital to note is that what we believe to be true, is what we then perceive and experience as being true. So fears, shame, trauma and fixed mindset beliefs about health, relationships (to yourself and the world), finances, and possibilities may be keeping you from manifesting the skin, eating and health, well-being and success you desire.
Some of these limiting beliefs could be:
I do not deserve to heal,
I am not worthy,
I am not enough – all so common and show up in all the ways in which we keep playing small.
Health and healing always require the help of experts – again, super common as we are not trained to believe in our intuition, to feel completely safe and grounded in our bodies, to trust ourselves and our choices, and to believe in our sovereignty. We commonly give our power away.
It is not safe for me to be my best/to be truly well – our subconscious perceives being the truth of who we are (fully seen, heard, experienced) as a threat to our safety, so we keep wearing masks, self-sabotaging, procrastinating, or playing small to ‘fit in’.
You define yourself by your condition – making our condition the ‘truth’ of our identity, and consistently affirming it, means that we aren’t able to separate it as simply a life experience we are having.
What about “I can never stick at anything”, “I’m hopeless”, or “It’s too hard, I can’t do it”, or “Why bother, I’m just going to fail”, and “I can’t trust my body/skin/gut”.
Any of these sound like a familiar internal narrative?
Most people aren’t brave enough to face their negative beliefs and search for ways to replace them… yet the fact you have been called to read this right now means you are ready to create some heightened awareness. That’s the first step, no matter where you are in your journey.
Until limiting beliefs are illuminated, we are generally completely unaware they are unconsciously driving our thoughts, choices, habits and actions… and as we shine a light on them, we can begin acknowledging and honouring each one for having served a purpose until now. Then we can give ourselves permission to open up the potential to choose other beliefs – and therefore a new life story.
Stay tuned, as I continue on the ‘best skin diet’ conversation in my up and coming blog: What Is My Relationship To Food? To My Body? To My Skin?
Eat well, with love Pia Kynoch
“I am a women on a mission to empower you to change the way you think, live and treat!” Pia Kynoch.