Read Part 1 here
A Facebook targeted article is what changed my life and sent me down the rabbit hole. I follow a science news network on Facebook and I was searching so much on google about ways to control my acne, that a Facebook targeted article about the effects of intermittent fasting controlling insulin spikes. I had read that irregular insulin regulation could also be a factor in acne, and I had never heard about intermittent fasting and was intrigued.
Thus began my trip down the rabbit hole into the alternative health world that is intermittent fasting, ketogenic dieting, and paleo. Not only could I maybe control my acne, but also lose those 10 pounds that had creeped up over the last year, reduce my risk for developing cancer, and all the countless benefits of intermittent fasting. For once I felt hopeful that I could heal and be myself again.
I had no idea how much I underestimated the benefits of changing my lifestyle. I could go into detail of my exact discovery process, but it’s pretty circular in the beginning. I spent countless hours reading books, blog posts, and listening to podcasts.
The first book that I read was The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung. An incredible book written by a Canadian kidney doctor, with plenty of scientific references to back his theories, not to mention that actual success that he has personally had in his own clinic, reversing type II diabetes mellitus in many of his own patients. I will write a book summary and review soon, but this is a good place to start if you’re looking for a non intimidating way to begin to delve into the vast amount of information that is out there. The book took me about 4 hours to read.
A huge influence and a great source of authors, books, and people to follow came from Dave Asprey and his BulletProof podcast. I think I listened to close to 100 episodes in the first few weeks because I just couldn’t get enough information. He is well learned for having no background in biology and has some really stellar interviews, which I can link to in the future.
My next step in self discovery was to take an at home food sensitivity test. These tests differ from your traditional allergy tests because traditional tests look at IgA blood reactions, which are the more acute allergic reactions. They are responsible for anaphylaxis, hives, swelling, and redness people get within minutes or even seconds of eating an allergenic food. The IgG pathway is what is tested in the IgG sensitivity test. This pathway is more related to chronic inflammation, and also happens to be the same inflammatory autoimmune pathway that drives Hashimoto’s (SURPRISE!). IgG takes about 1-3 days after exposure to be in full effect and can be displayed in symptoms of brain fog, anxiety, joint pain, and in my case, cystic acne.
I suspected that my dairy sensitivity went beyond lactose intolerance. The typical bloating, cramping I would get after eating cheese and cream seemed to severe to just be an inability to digest lactose. I reached a point where I was only eating cheese sometimes on the weekends. Like clockwork, by Monday or Tuesday the following week I would have 3-4 new and painful cystic pimples. But sometimes it happened when I didn’t eat dairy. Because I don’t drink often during the week, I was able to pin it down to only days that I had a lot of beer, especially unfiltered beer. Trying to figure out my sensitivities by trail and error was driving me nuts, so I finally decided to just pay for the allergy test.
I will post a more detailed review of the allergy test in a future post, but the one I used was from an online web site that sent you the kit in the mail after purchase. They work with CLIA certified labs within the US to provide their clinically validated test results, which are then analyzed by a doctor before the results are returned to you. The best part about this was that I was able to collect blood from the comfort of my own home, send the kit in the mail, and I got results back within 5 business days. I had to prick my finger with a lancet and provide 4 very large droplets of blood onto some whatman filter paper, wait for it to dry, then put into a biohazard ziplock bag.
In short, the allergy test confirm exactly what I had suspected: I was allergic to all types of milk protein, and any derivation of any type of milk protein including yogurt, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, but especially cow’s milk.
I was also able to confirm that beer was indeed the other cause of my acne, specifically barley, and more so: malted barley. No more beer for me. :(
There were a few other unexpected sensitivities, including foods that I eat every day such as eggs and almonds. I’m not so sure if they are actual sensitivities or just a result of leaky gut from eating dairy and drinking alcohol. I plan to retry this test after a few months when my system has had some time to settle.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of my journey, where I discuss how I found out that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis!