I’m now a strong believer in the idea that what you eat shows up on your face—but I wasn’t always. When I was a kid, my dad used to say that chocolate gave him spots, but being prepubescent and a big fan of Kinder, I just ignored him. Funny, then, that fast-forward 20 years and food (skimmed milk to be precise) turned out to be the cause of my hormonal acne. Dads know best, apparently.
The thing is that besides avoiding skimmed milk like the plague—yes, I’ve been known to yell over the counter in coffee shops, manically pointing, “the blue bottle, the full-fat milk!” to bemused looking baristas—I live pretty free and loose with my diet. I try to eat good fats and lean protein where I can, but I also love sugar (I know, I know) and eating out at restaurants where “low” and “fat” are dirty words.
I know that what I eat is literally staring me in the face each day; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley gave up dairy, gluten, and alcohol on Nigma Talib’s recommendation after she identified different skin complaints linked to those food groups. It was recently that I was chatting with another expert Rachel Eckel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the principal trainer for ZO Skin Health, who believes the same as Talib. “Diet is a huge factor when it comes to good skin,” Eckel told me.
But does she practice what she preaches? I asked, and she answered: “When it comes to my diet, I’m real good, so much so what when I go on trips, I plan my meals.” Kiehl's consultant dermatologist Alexis Granite, MD, also had a few words on the subject of food for skin, captured in the video below.
Nutritionist Mike Dolce, whose clients include wrestler Ronda Rousey, makes a mean (read: healthy and delicious) Breakfast Bowl. We’ve tweaked it ever so slightly and the result is below.
- 2 tbsp. oat bran With oat bran you get the maximum benefit of oats, without the additional carbs that you don’t need.
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds, for omega-3
- 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, for protein
- 30 g almonds
- 75 g blueberries and 50 g strawberries—these are low-GI fruits
- The secret ingredient is 5 g of psyllium husk. It is fiber from a plant, but when you add water to it, it makes the breakfast bowl gooey like porridge.
- Water, add gradually and stir until you reach the consistency you like.
A piece of low-GI fruit—a pear or apple—with a small handful of almonds or walnuts.
This is usually egg-based—I have two hard-boiled eggs and Ezekiel bread, which is made from whole grains that have been sprouted. I’ll sometimes add avocado.
At around 3 p.m. I have another piece of low-GI fruit, plus another small handful of almonds. Or I’ll blend up some blueberries with coconut water to make a shake.
I usually have plain salmon; I always cook with coconut oil or grapeseed oil on medium heat. I’ll serve this with some steamed broccoli or asparagus.
Just before bed, I’ll have something small. I’m really into Greek yogurt right now.
I take a probiotic supplement every day. I have whatever I can find, but I make sure that it has a good number of cultures, around 10 billion. I used to take omega-3 because it's great for the skin, but I eat so much of it that I don't need to supplement it.