I Went (Sort Of) Vegan And My Skin Has Never Looked Better

No one should have to choose between cheese and beauty, but here we are.
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Rachel
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No one should have to choose between cheese and beauty, but here we are.

I've always had pretty good skin, thanks to a lucky combination of my parents' genetics. My mom once said, out loud, "I've always wondered how a zit would feel." Don't you just HATE her? (JK, love you, mom!) 

My parents made sure to pass down plenty of other unwelcome stuff, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and a consistently stubborn temperament, lest you think I hit some sort of genetic lottery. 

I've had the same face washing technique for about a year. Once I figured out a routine with products that worked for me, I stuck to it. I wash with The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter to remove all of my makeup. After that, I use my Clarisonic with Yes to Blueberries Smoothing Daily Cleanser, unless it's the week before my period (when I get really oily), in which case, I use The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash. (Just realized my routine is cruelty-free, yo! Holler at me, bunnies!) 

Because my routine is constant, it's easy to tell when outside factors are affecting my skin. A new product or an uptick in stress can affect my face easily, whether it's a breakout or a dry patch. 

My bangs have clearly adopted my lifelong mantra of, I DO WHAT I WANT. Cool. 

My bangs have clearly adopted my lifelong mantra of, I DO WHAT I WANT. Cool. 

Making The Switch To (Almost) Veganism

I'd heard about the skin-clearing, magical powers of going dairy-free before, but had never given it much thought because I'm pretty okay with my skin. When I decided to slowly start cutting the majority of dairy and meat products from my diet, it was mostly just health related. I've known for a while that dairy gives me stomach and head aches. As far as meat, I was a vegetarian from age 18 to 22 and have been meaning to get back to that lifestyle. All of this came together at some point a couple of months ago, and I decided to go for it. 

Cutting out dairy and meat isn't particularly difficult for me, since I already eat a diet of primarily of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. I'm of the Michael Pollan school of thought, which is, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  

It isn't really a question of ethics for me. That's not to say I don't dislike the way the majority of animal farming goes down in the US. I abhor the treatment of chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep within the US corporate farming industry. However, between the chemicals and pesticides our messed-up industry forces on American farms, most vegetable, fruit, and other farms probably kill more animals each year than I could ever manage to eat in a lifetime. Little birds get smothered by the sprays of poison meant to kill bugs (the same bugs those birds usually eat) and other wildlife like deer, fox, etc. are having a pretty bad time surviving in areas polluted by chemical runoff from the farms providing me with my never-ending supply of greens. 

I don't mean to get preachy. I just have strong feelings about food. I try to eat locally as much as possible, but it's not an option all of the time. I'm doing my best with what I have and what I believe in, and that's really the most anyone can do. 

So the thing about switching to a mostly vegan diet is that you're gonna eat mostly plants. Luckily, I LOVE PLANTS! I eat so many greens I'm basically a brachiosaurus. Just call me Littlefoot. My meals consist mainly of vegetables prepared in a variety of ways--sautéed, grilled, raw, smoothie-fied, baked, the list goes on. I'm cocoa puffs for the good earth's bounty. 

This was the face I made at the farmers' market when I realized it's finally OKRA SEASON!!! 

This was the face I made at the farmers' market when I realized it's finally OKRA SEASON!!! 

I'm still not totally die-hard vegan, and I'm unsure if I ever will be. I prepare 95% of my meals at home--and 95% of those home-cooked meals are bona fide vegan. However, when I do go out or when a friend prepares my meal, I don't get picky about it. At restaurants, I usually order a vegetarian option and pass on the cheese if I can, but I don't get too particular about the technicalities. 

How Water-Packed Veggies Keep My Skin Hydrated and Glowy

Since I've cut back on dairy and meat I can definitely FEEL my body react to those things when I do allow them. I can also SEE the difference. Let's talk about what's going on with my skin, okay? 

My skin's typically normal to dry, but in the past couple of months I've noticed it has been producing a lot more oil. While you might think this has to do with rising temperatures, this is different than the average sweat situation I face every summer. Even though I drink tons of water already, I think consuming bushels of water-packed fruits and veggies is helping to hydrate my skin even more. I'm also inclined to believe that an uptick in vitamin intake and a downtick in the amount of hormones I'm ingesting is to blame for my skin's newly found sebum. 

Not that I'm mad about the increase in moisture. My skin feels "glowier" and more radiant than ever before. It's like I've suddenly received through broccoli and strawberries what I was never able to get through a thousand overpriced and underwhelming serums, masks, lotions, and creams. 

I was thinking about using broccoli as my bouquets when I get married one day--then I realized that those kind of thoughts will keep me single forever. At least I have you, broccoli. 

I was thinking about using broccoli as my bouquets when I get married one day--then I realized that those kind of thoughts will keep me single forever. At least I have you, broccoli. 

Goodbye, Bacne 

Like I said, my face doesn't really deal with breakouts, but I have dealt with body acne for most of my life. I've rarely gone a week without some kind of bodily breakout. I'd sort of just accepted it as a fact of life. 

Since changing my diet these past two months I've noticed a HUGE difference in the skin on my back and chest--it's nearly blemish-free!  

A modern miracle brought to me by foods that have existed for thousands of years!

A modern miracle brought to me by foods that have existed for thousands of years!

I'm lucky that I have the means and access to eat this way, but I think a plant-based diet is totally realistic for many people. It's obviously a personal choice, though, and one I've made for myself. 

If you do decide to cut out dairy and protein, it's important to stay in tune with your body's needs. Make sure you're not losing any of the nutrients you need. As far as protein, it is readily available in tons of veggies, legumes, and grains. 

I get lots of Omegas from various seeds and oils, and I've been taking a B-12 supplement every day to assist with my energy. I'm a healthy eater in general. I avoid highly processed foods and I rarely (if ever) eat junk food. Because of that, this diet wasn't particularly difficult for me to adopt. I saw results after only a week! 

SO EXCITED! (Please don't take this pic and Photoshop this in weird ways.)

SO EXCITED! (Please don't take this pic and Photoshop this in weird ways.)

Make sure to do your research and talk to a doctor if you're concerned about your body's well-being after any major change in diet. Get those nutrients, yo! I can't say whether I've changed my way of eating forever, but since turning my (newly blemish free) back on dairy and meat, I can't stop preaching the good word of veganism. 

Have any of y'all made the switch to a vegan or mostly vegan diet? Did you see a change in your skin? Let's talk about FOOD!