Week 10: Eating for Two (Me and My Rosacea Symptoms)

For me, keeping up with a natural rosacea treatment strategy involves a number of different parts of my lifestyle.  Because this skin disorder can’t be kept under control just by swallowing a magic pill or applying a miracle lotion (at least, not in my case), I need to take a more lifestyle-based approach to beating my symptoms.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been using red light therapy.  That’s going very well.  I feel like the Peak 630 LED red light therapy (learn about it here, if you’d like: https://smarterlights.com/product/the-pure-red-hp-led-powerhead-120v/) is making the difference that I needed.  It’s finally healing the rosacea symptoms, when all I’d previously been able to do is stop them from getting worse.  I’m still seeing regular improvements, even just 10 weeks into my treatment.

I’ve also been trying out the rosacea-prone skin care products from Rocia.  That has been going very well, too.  The rosacea symptoms aren’t getting any worse (which is a real shocker considering how badly my skin normally reacts to new products).  I have a few pimples on my forehead that weren’t there before, but that’s completely normal for my skin as it adjusts to a new product system.  At the recommendation of Rocia, I am giving the products two weeks before I form an opinion on them. I have high hopes for this system.

(see my unboxing blog/video of the whole system here: https://treatrosacea.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/week-9-trying-a-new-natural-rosacea-skin-care-system/ and learn more about the products from the source here: http://rocia.ca/collections/rosacea-prone)

Now, on to the good stuff: Food!

When trying to use a natural rosacea treatment strategy, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it.  All the top red light therapy and skin care systems in the world wouldn’t do the trick if all I did was eat foods that are triggers for my symptoms.

coffee steamBecause of that, I’ve had to change a few things.  Among my food triggers are red wine and certain other alcoholic beverages, some kinds of vinegar, lobster (I’m not certain about other kinds of shellfish, yet), large quantities of dairy (I can get away with a little), spicy foods, possibly avocados (I’m not sure yet), peppermint, and anything hot enough to produce steam.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that too much sugar and too much salt/sodium, are also adding unwanted rosiness to my cheeks.

Learning my food-based rosacea triggers is an ongoing effort.  It takes a surprisingly long time to know for certain which food caused a rosacea flare-up (especially when temperature, stress, and many other factors can also be the culprits).  As soon as I suspect a food, I take note of it.  That way, when it’s convenient for me, I can either test that food all on its own (on several different occasions) or I can try it in combination with foods that I know won’t cause a reaction in my skin.

Designing a healthful rosacea diet

Unfortunately, the majority of the foods on my rosacea trigger list are things that I really like to eat. This has caused me to face a very important choice: do I give up absolutely everything on that list so that I can try to achieve a flawless complexion, or do I sacrifice my looks in favor of my taste buds?

When it came to creating the rosacea diet that I currently follow, I decided to do a bit of both.  Some foods, like the spicy Tom Yum soup served at my local Thai restaurant, are among my favourite things to eat.  I just don’t want to give them up.  I save them for times when I can enjoy them as a treat, once in a while.  I also make sure that I won’t need to “look good” during the two days that follow. That usually gives me enough time to eat well, stay hydrated, and use the red light therapy to clear up any damage I’ve done from the trigger food that I’ve chosen to eat.

CoffeeThere are certain other foods that I have refused to give up. I’m just strategic about the way I consume them.  Hot coffee, for example, causes an immediate rosacea flare-up.  However, if I let the coffee cool first, then I can get away with drinking a cup or two without any problems.  I may not get to drink scalding-hot coffee anymore, but at least I still get to enjoy that first cup or two in the morning, which is a very important part of my morning routine.

It’s not just what you eat – it’s how you prepare it.

This isn’t a healthful eating blog, so I’m not going to get into the benefits of steamed veggies over fried or any of those details.  What I mean when I say that you need to prepare your foods properly to keep your rosacea from flaring up is that you need to remember that things like stoves, toasters, and barbecues are hot!

Yes, that sounds obvious, but when you’re learning to prevent rosacea symptoms from flaring up, you can forget that it’s not just a matter of avoiding eating food when it’s very hot.  You also have to remember that when you prepare it, you’re standing over a source of heat, too.

I try to step back from the stove as much as I can. I also run the overhead hood fan to draw the steam and heat away from my face.  Sometimes, I just can’t avoid the added temperature – particularly when I’m cooking several dishes and the whole kitchen heats up.  But, as much as possible, I try to limit the time that I spend directly in front of the stove.  For that matter, I try to be careful about opening up a hot dishwasher, too.  After all, if it will steam up my glasses, then it’s certainly too much steam for my face!

Foods that help to naturally reduce rosacea symptoms

Recently, as I’ve started taking on a much more natural rosacea treatment strategy, I’ve tried to complement the use of the red light therapy and natural skin care products with the consumption of foods that are supposed to be helpful in clearing up rosacea symptoms.

My belief is that if I’m cutting out trigger foods and adding healing and anti-inflammatory foods, then I should be giving my skin a double-whammy of advantages.

To start, keeping hydrated has been a main focus.  I’m a coffee drinker.  I could drink coffee all the live-long day if it wouldn’t turn my face beet-red and then shrivel me up into a raisin. So I’ve started making a conscious effort to drink a much more reasonable amount of water.  Since I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, I don’t usually need to drink 8 glasses of water per day, unless it’s very hot out and/or I’ve been very physically active.  Still, I make sure that I am sipping water steadily throughout the day.

Turmeric for natural rosacea treatment of symptoms anti-inflammatoryNext, I’ve started to add certain specific foods to my regular diet.  Turmeric has been a major addition.  At first, I found it odd to give my smoothies (or even breakfast cereal) a bit of a mustard-like taste by adding just under a teaspoon to the mix.  After a few days, though, I got used to it and now I quite like it.  If you’re not wild about the taste of mustard, you can always add less but have it twice or three times during the day.  It’s easy to cover with other flavours.

Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory that helps to keep redness and swelling under control.  I’ve seen videos on YouTube of people who also use it as a face mask (mixed with milk) to keep redness down, but I haven’t reached that point, yet.

I’ve also started adding a touch of ground black pepper to my meals.  Just a little bit.  Black pepper contains a natural chemical that boosts the bio-availability of nutrients from a meal.  What that means is that it helps the body to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat.  So if I have turmeric with a touch of black pepper, I’ll get more out of the turmeric.  Neat, huh?

Green tea is another addition to my regular diet.  I drink the decaf version of the tea (since I get caffeine through coffee, and too much caffeine causes flare-ups). This tea comes with a lot of different health benefits, but one of them is that it is an anti-inflammatory and (you guessed it) it helps to decrease redness in the skin). Some people use this topically, too, but I haven’t tried that, yet.

There are actually lots of foods that are supposed to be helpful in improving rosacea symptoms.  I’ve been reading about salmon and other oily cold-water fish,  but even though I eat this once or twice per week, I haven’t been able to tell whether or not it makes a difference.

I know that some people feel that an alkaline diet or even a version of the Paleo diet will help to clear up rosacea symptoms.  That might be great for other people, but I know myself and I’m much more likely to simply take care with what I eat and learn my triggers, than to stick to a restrictive program over the long-term.

It’s all about discovering your own triggers and finding out what works for you in your lifestyle.

I hope this helps!  We’re all in this together 🙂

Thank you for reading.  See you soon!

BTW, I was recently featured in a great blog post about rosacea and red wine by The Wine Stalker.  This article provides a very detailed and accurate description of the rosacea experience and I highly recommend it.  Check it out here: http://www.thewinestalker.net/2015/08/rosacea.html.

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