As promised, I have put together a birth-control pill detox regime, which I have been following since coming off the pill two months ago. I decided to start with what I put into my body because I believe that is the most important factor in obtaining clear skin during the detox.
First off, the reason a woman is placed on birth control to clear up acne is to lower androgens; male sex hormones that contribute to acne flare ups by over stimulating the oil glands. High amounts of androgens in our bloodstream create excess sebum production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. When we take the birth-control pill, we are ingesting oestrogen and progestin (a synthetic progesterone) which in turn lowers our androgen levels. This reduces and sometimes completely eliminates acne.
However, when we stop taking the pill, our body starts producing more testosterone and androgens and if you were prone to acne before the pill, you will most likely experience it once you go off. You will also have all those pseudo-oestrogen and progestin hormones in your system which become toxins that your body needs to expel in some way. This can also lead to acne as your skin is the largest organ in your body, and will obviously be the first choice for detoxification. This is why it is so important to aid your body during this transition by not adding to the toxins already in your system, and also by helping your system dispel them without affecting your skin too much.
Eat for your skin
As I mentioned in 7 years on the pill, I have gone off these foods:
Studies show that milk and other dairy products contain growth hormones and inflammatory substances that cause acne. Specifically, it contains a hormone called IGF-1, which is great for baby cows, but bad for us. It helps baby cows grow fast, but also causes inflammation on our skin. It also causes an insulin spike which oddly causes our liver to produce even more IGF-1. I still eat probiotic yoghurt and cheese from time to time, but have completely stopped consuming milk.
If you really think about it, why on Earth do we drink milk from another animal? That milk is meant for a baby cow, just like how we drank our mother’s milk when we were babies.
Just like dairy, beef spikes insulin levels and causes inflammation. Although there are no studies that prove beef causes acne, one can observe the rarity of acne in cultures who do not consume it. Also, a large majority of the beef that we consume comes from bulls, as cows are used for the dairy industry. So as women with acne-prone skin, we are basically consuming male hormones, which isn’t good for our already high testosterone levels.
Commercial beef that we buy from any supermarket (unless otherwise specified) comes from cattle whose feed is primarily composed of a concentrated diet of grain, soy, corn and other supplements. We must remember that when we consume another animal, we are consuming everything that that animal ate. A cow that is not grass fed only, introduces other sorts of hormones into our body. For example, soy is very high in oestrogen, which will conflict with our naturally produced oestrogen.
Food for thought: The beef industry is also one of the worst contributors to climate change, and if we all cut beef out of our diets, we could put carbon emissions into remission. Not even trading our cars in for bicycles would have that effect.
Refined sugars/processed foods
It is no secret that we have a serious problem with all the refined sugars and processed foods that are available to us now, forming a large part of our diet. Not only is sugar associated with deadly diseases including diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it is also one of the catalysts behind our problem-skin. And it’s not the sugar we add to our coffee; it’s the processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages. You wouldn’t add 9 teaspoons of sugar to your cereal, would you?
The bottom line is that we’re slowly (or quickly) eating ourselves into a diabetic coma and we have to make a conscious effort to avoid these foods. I want to know exactly what I am putting into my body. If you buy something and examine the endless ingredient list, you will notice that you can’t even pronounce half the contents’ names let alone know what they are. These foods also contain high amounts of Omega 6’s which contribute to inflammation and oxidation in the body. For more information on how processed foods are killing us, see here.
When finances permit, Dan and I try to eat as organic as possible. We visit local food markets and Dan grows the best kale and spinach ever! It’s important to realise that a lot of our conventional vegetables are sprayed with harmful pesticides and ripening hormones which I can’t imagine to be good for us.
This falls under ‘processed foods’ but I wanted to elaborate on this a bit more. Examples of refined carbohydrates are things like white bread, white rice, white pasta and basically anything that is not in its most natural form. I know we do not find bread and pasta in the wild but we do find wheat. Wheat contains nutrients such as fibre and protein, which are compromised when this grain is refined to make white flour.
During the refinement process, the outermost and innermost layers are removed. This removes the fibre and about 25% of the protein. This is why we often get hungrier faster; since this bread is low in fibre, we are able to digest it faster. This results in our blood sugar levels rising and dropping more rapidly, and we have to consume more food, more often to sustain our blood sugar levels. This leads to things like weight gain, and diabetes.
So you’re probably thinking, ”that’s fine, I only eat brown/whole wheat bread.’’ Well, unless you’ve made it yourself with quality flour and wild yeast to create sourdough, that’s not fine. It’s all about the process. Wild (naturally occurring) yeast and bacteria are in the air, and up until the 1950s, people would mix flour from the local mill, with water and let it sit in a warm area until wild yeast landed on the mixture. The yeast would cause the mixture, also known as a starter, to bubble and rise. This is necessary for adequate fermentation and allows the bacteria enough time to break down the carbohydrates and gluten.
With our ever-growing population, commercial bread manufacturers don’t have 24 hours to allow the bread to rise naturally. Most commercial bread manufacturers don’t even use yeast (instant or wild), but chemical enzymes and rising agents that shorten the bread making process from 24 hours to just 2 hours. This is terrible because the yeast is crucial in breaking down those above mentioned molecules so that we are able to digest them. This is often why people claim gluten intolerance, because they aren’t able to digest the poorly broken down gluten present in commercial bread. I needn’t mention that this bread is often loaded with preservatives, additives, dough conditioners and other toxic ingredients.
It’s obvious that alcohol isn’t good for us, but it is especially counterproductive when we come off the pill and don’t want to break out. Our liver is probably our greatest ally during our post-pill detox and we need to help it in every way possible. The liver has to metabolize synthetic hormones and becomes overloaded and taxed during birth control use. We need to assist our liver in performing at its optimum and in doing so, help it remove those hormones. So by drinking alcohol, we are putting more stress on our liver. When alcohol reaches our liver, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde which can damage cells in our liver.
How to cleanse your body after stopping the birth control pill?
Before I reveal my post-pill eating plan, I want to briefly explain why I am eating this way. When stopping the birth control pill, our body is under immense stress and there are many issues that need attention:
As I have mentioned above, we have way too much pseudo oestrogen and progestin in our body that needs to be expelled. We also start producing testosterone again, bringing androgens to the party as well. We need to regulate these hormones to safe levels.
During our time on the pill, we can become deficient in vitamin B; vitamin B is used by our liver to metabolize the synthetic hormones. We also can become deficient in folic acid, zinc, vitamin C and magnesium. Therefore, it is a good idea to incorporate more of these vitamins and minerals into our diets, and possibly take a good whole food multivitamin as well.
Our gut is home to billions of important bacteria. Gut health is crucial for proper nutrient absorption and digestion. The pill, just like antibiotics, put our gut health at risk and can do some serious damage to our healthy gut bacteria, but fortunately we can rebuild our gut flora with fermented foods and probiotic supplements to reintroduce good bacteria into our gut. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, pickles, sour cream, and yoghurt. Fermented drinks include kumbutcha and kefir. It’s best to make this yourself and you can find millions of recipes online. I am yet to make them myself.
POST-PILL EATING PLAN/SUPPLEMENTS
Lemon juice with warm water /
Dandelion Root tea
• Liver detox
(Only for the first 3 months)
Probiotics 1 capsule
• For a healthy gut and digestion
• To help get rid of toxins in body.
• To increase good bacteria
Green Smoothie Recipe:
1 cup spinach
2 kale leaves
1 celery stalk
1 cup diced cucumber
1 apple, seeded, cored, chopped
1 whole peeled lemon
Add cup of water or ice and blend.
Yields 1 serving
• Nutrients for skin
• Liver detox
Cultured yoghurt with muesli and fruit/honey
Raw oats with water
Add almonds, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, honey, fruit
• NO MILK
• NO SUGAR
Oil Cleansing method
Dropper bottle with:
25ml Evening Primrose Oil
• Regulates sebum production
25ml Argan oil
• Heals acne and scars
• Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, and blemishes
• High in vitamin E
• Natural SPF
15 drops Tea Tree Oil
• Reduces inflammation
1 cup cultured yoghurt
1 cup mixed berries
Handful of goji berries
Handful of sunflower/pumkin seeds
• Goji berries are high in calcium, iron, zinc, and vit C
• Mixed berries high in antioxidents
• Natural oils and fats
• No saturated fats, greasy or oily foods
Salmon oil 2 capsules
• Essential fatty acids
• Hormone balance
Only use olive oil, coconut oil, or lard (butter) when cooking.
Use Himalayan salt
• Hormone balance
Cruciferous vegetables to be included in meals:
• rich in zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D and E
• assists in oestrogen metabolism and combats oestrogen dominance
SKIN CARE REGIME
Zinplex 60 1 capsule
• Helps prevent acne, and other skin conditions
• Good for skin, hair, and nails
NB 8 glasses of water per day and no alcohol for at least the first month.
Exercise at least 3 times per week
WE CAN DO IT!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor am I qualified to give any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. I am merely a woman with a story. None of the products mentioned above are sponsored, but are products I use and trust.
Featured Image by Sarah Grace.4