Peek Into My Fridge

In comments to one of the earlier posts someone asked what kind of diet I follow. This post is a reply to that comment.

I don’t usually like to write about what I eat. Because what works for me may be a complete disaster for someone else, and I don’t want anyone to copy my diet thinking it’s the best thing ever for acne. It’s not. In fact, I probably eat much unhealthier diet than what many high-profile health gurus do.

I also don’t want to spread the notion that you need to stick to a very specific diet to get clear. Some people may need to, but I don’t think that’s the case for most.

If I had to briefly describe my normal diet, I’d say I eat a paleo-ish diet. That is, plenty of fruits and vegetables and quite heavy on animal foods and healthy fats. I do occasionally eat grains, but they constitute only a small part of my diet.

Here’s what breakfast, lunch and dinner usually looks like.

Breakfast

One or more of the following:

  • Scrambled eggs with tuna, made from omega-3 enriched eggs.
  • Some form of green smoothie. One that I recently started making contains 1 small/medium banana, handful or two of lettuce, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, whey protein powder (chocolate flavored), 1/2 cup of water. and ice.
  • Homemade yogurt, though I stopped eating this as I strongly suspect it and some probiotic supplements actually cause gut problems for me.
  • Fruits.

I also drink a liter of cold brewed green tea every morning.

Lunch

My lunch is usually either some Thai food or salad buffet at Sizzlers. If I go for Thai food then it usually includes rice with stir fried meat and vegetables. I dread to think what oils they use for frying here. Quite often I’ll also have some spicy Thai soup.

Dinner

Dinner is usually one of the following:

  • North-Eastern Thai food, meaning spicy salad, grilled meats and an herbal soup with pork and vegetables.
  • Salad at home.
  • Home cooked meal with meat, vegetables, and a potato or other starchy vegetables.
  • Fruits, nuts and yogurt if I’m not really hungry.

I don’t have any absolute food restrictions, that is, foods that I never, ever eat. I make a point of avoiding foods that aggravate my gut. The list so far includes: onions, grapes, strawberries, cocoa powder, leeks, oatmeal, and dried fruits. But even these cases I’m not particularly fussy. Small quantities don’t seem to cause any problems, so if my dish has some onions I don’t worry about it. And if, for some reason, I have a hankering for oatmeal in the morning, I’ll have it.

I do eat my share of unhealthy junk, like potato chips, bakery stuff, pizza, french fries, ice cream, etc. These never make a big part of my diet, but I’ll have them once in a while when the mood strikes. Also, I’ve been known to drink beer.

I don’t buy organic food. In fact, the only time I buy organic is if I can’t find fresh conventionally grown produce. Frankly speaking, I just don’t see the point of paying extra for something with no proven benefits. When it comes to animal foods, I can see a good argument for organic and free range. Alas, those foods are not available in Thailand.

I’m not too strict with my diet, but overall I think it’s pretty healthy featuring lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and not too much processed stuff. I also never stress about what I eat.

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About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.

References

9 thoughts on “Peek Into My Fridge

  1. I’m surprised to hear the homemade yogurt and probiotic supplements are causing gut problems. I thought they were supposed to be good for balancing out the gut flora, and even help improve food tolerance and improve allergies.

    • I’m not saying that what I experienced is widespread. It may be, but then again, it may not. We just don’t know enough about the gut microflora to say for sure. I remember reading some papers that compared the bacterial composition between people with and without IBS. Those papers showed that people with IBS actually had more of some probiotic bacteria in the gut, and it’s possible that the fermentation products (gas and acids) of those bacteria contribute to IBS.

      I recently went to India for 5 days and while there I didn’t eat any yogurt or have probiotic supplements, yet my gut behaved remarkably well – despite eating beans, legumes and wheat that could cause problems. Once back to Thailand I started experiencing mild constipation and gut problems. Once I stopped eating yogurt things started getting better again.

      This doesn’t mean that all probiotics would be harmful, I still take one as test. It just shows that willy-nilly eating probiotics may not be helpful.

      Oh, and milk itself seems to cause no problems. So I’m pretty sure it’s either probiotics or lactic acid in yogurt that’s causing the problem.

  2. Thanks for this, I’ll look into it 🙂 I’m currently on accutance, have been taking it for a while now but yeah… there is that background thought what happens if quit which is due soon! So this is my last few months on it and I need to learn how to manage all the stress that surrounds me and revise my food list… I did learn how to use less salt and sugar through the years though, I now enjoy the coffee and tea without it or with a small amount…. 🙂 gradual improving is the best

  3. Hi Seppo,

    I have recently been prescribed Retin-A (low strength), and I will be using it gradually as I also have hypersensitive skin. Since I have brown skin, I have a tendency for hyperpigmentation, so I will be taking precautions with sun exposure. However, I wanted to ask you, are there any other forms of Vit A based products that will do that type of exfoliation that Retin-A does, but in a gentle calmer way? I’d like to peter down my usage eventually, if it works in this acute phase that I’m in.

    Also, what are your thoughts on Vitamin A supplementation. I read this article : https://beautyeditor.ca/2013/10/29/vitamin-a-for-acne/ and she cites a lot of information from Dr. Peat, and talks about impaired thyroid function, typically hypothyroidism as also being a cause for acne. Have you read anything pointing to that cause?

    My other question is, is Retin-A safe? From some articles I’ve read, it’s inflammatory, so isn’t that the opposite of what I’d want in acne treatment?

    • Here’s what you need to know about vitamin A products. The active form is called retinoic acid, and that’s only found in prescription products. Over the counter products may contain other forms of vitamin A, like retinol and retinyl palmiate. But for those to be effective they have to be converted in the skin to retinoic acid. But the conversion is fairly slow and limits the effectiveness.

      Here’s the conversion chain retinyl palmiate > retinol > retinaldehyde > retinoic acid. The more conversion steps required to get to retinoic acid, the less effect that form of vitamin A has. Anything beyond retinol will only have a minimal effect on exfoliating the skin. The other forms can act as antioxidants, so it’s not like they are completely useless.

      This page gives more information about different forms of vitamin A in skin care:

      https://www.skinacea.com/retinoids/types-of-retinoids.html

      Retin-A should be safe when used properly. It will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and it may irritate, but it shouldn’t cause more serious harm. But I’m not sure it’s a good idea for you since your skin is very sensitive.

      Honestly speaking, I don’t know what to think of Ray Peat. I know lot of people like what he says, but then again, a lot of people think homeopathy is also a good idea. So it doesn’t actually say anything about the quality of the information.

      I’m personally very skeptical of what Dr. Peat says. Some of what he writes seems to be quite far out there, like the claim that most people are hypothyroid. That’s just a massive red flag to me. But I don’t really have the time, expertise or interest in getting to the bottom of what he says. So I can’t really comment on that.

      What I can say is that in the 70s and 80s dermatological scientists tested vitamin A supplements on acne. In a handful of studies they fed people huge amounts of vitamin A, to the tune of 100,000 IU per day. The studies showed mixed results. After that it seems the interest in vitamin A supplements as acne treatments quickly faded.

      So vitamin A supplementation is not implausible as acne treatment.

  4. I want to ask a question that I think is not being addressed on most acne related forums and websites. I had moderate to severe acne. After reading information on your and ‘The Love Vitamin’ website, I changed my diet. This was almost 3 years ago, since then I have come a long way. I have now very mild acne and from time to time I indulge in ‘unhealthy’ foods. I have my acne so much under control that I can afford resorting to unhealthy habits because I know what to do to bring it down back to a very mild level. The problem is I want to change my diet now. I want to gain weight. I have been skinny all my life and never had a problem with it. I am not unhealthy and I feel quite well but the problem is that I want to do it for aesthetic reasons. The first thing people notice about me is how tall and skinny I am. The problem is that the only way I know of to gain more weight is by increasing my caloric intake by taking in more carbohydrates. My acne is insulin related. I have no problem in eating more fats even saturated fats. They have no effect on my acne but to be honest it is really impossible to increase fat intake. It makes you feel drowsy and really heavy. I eat 3 eggs everyday and I cook with butter and coconut oil. Eating more fat did not have any significant effect and it’s expensive too. What should I do? How should I gain weight ? What type of carbohydrates are acne friendly and help gain weight at the same ?

    • Sorry, seems like I missed this comment. I’m not sure how much I can help you here since this goes beyond my area of expertise.

      You say that eating fat makes you feel heavy and drowsy. Are you sure that’s not just a temporary thing? Perhaps your body is used to running on carbs and shifting your diet more towards fat causes some temporary adjustment problems. These things are fairly common and it may be possible after a few weeks on fat-heavy diet you start to feel better.

      If you want to keep eating carbs then any carbs that are low or moderate on the GI scale should do.

    • I live in Thailand and it’s really hot here. I ‘brew’ my green tea cold. Meaning, I dump some tea leaves into a water bottle and put it to fridge overnight. I’ll drink that before and during breakfast instead of water.

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