Some of you may have known that I started Balm Kitchen in 2014 where I have made a simple body balm for my then three year old son who had Atopic Dermatitis (AD). It was from that simple body balm and some lip balms that took me on this natural skincare journey.
My teenage daughter also had some skin issues for two years which was suspected due to diet. We had consulted a TCM Sinseh and although we managed to arrest the problem, it actually came back more aggressively a year later.
I understand that every AD is different and some are triggered by food allergies, environmental irritants, stress and possibly genetic issues. As for my children, it was mostly due to food that was giving them skin problems.
As a skincare formulator, I know I can create products that are helpful in providing relief to such skin issues. However I felt that there is more to topical solutions in addressing skin issues. I do not only want to treat the skin issues but to prevent them from occurring. Hence I decided to look into nutrition specifically plant-based nutrition. We are what we eat after all and if we don't feed our body right, we will get sick and be inflicted with all sorts of problems including skin issues.
In late October 2018, I decided that my entire family will change our eating to 100% plant-based. The decision to turn plant-based was literally overnight after watching some documentaries on Netflix which are Forks over Knives and What the health. These documentaries opened my eyes that many of us are afflicted with lifestyle diseases and skin issues because of what we put into our mouth. The decision to change to plant-based eating was the best decision we have made. Not only did my son's AD was gone, my daughter's annual skin rashes did not make any comeback in 2019 or 2020. Everyone in the family saw big changes to our weight as our body started to burn more fat while we are on a low-fat high fibre eating. Our metabolism inproved, we sleep better and our skin looked better too!
Most often our conventional diet is centered around animal based food with too much protein and minimal fibre. With our busy lifestyles, many have opted for convenience and most often highly processed, high in fats and sugar meals. These food is low in nutritional value and cause inflammation in our body cells.
Plant food are naturally high in fibre, minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and many contain anti-inflammatory properties. Just look at the different colours of plant food - green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and brown which are a feast to our eyes! There is scientific evidence to show that plant food promotes healthy gut microbiome (source). When we eat a variety of plant food in a week, there is no need for additional supplementation (imagine the savings on all those multi-vitamin pills!) except for vitamin B12 which cannot be found in plant food and are made by bacteria.
We are almost in our second year of plant-based eating and still continue to feel good internally and externally. I have proceeded to be certified in Professional plant based cooking so that I can share and create more recipes that are nutritionally balanced, delicious, easy to prepare and most importantly, inexpensive to cook for everyone.
Food is culture. It is not easy to change how we eat. However I believe even if you have just one meal a day which is entirely whole food plant based (no processed food), it is a great effort. And whenever you are ready to see more changes in your health and skin, proceed with two meals a day and then 100% of all your meals to plant-based.
Some skin problems may take a longer time to manage but eating your way "plantifully" to a better health and giving your body a chance to do the healing will be very helpful in the long run. After all, our bodies have the natural abilities to heal most of the time.
I highly encourage everyone of you to include more plant-based food in your diet to promote good health and better skin. I am always here if you need some inspiration on how to cook a plant based meal for yourself or your family. By living and eating a plant-based lifestyle, it is better for our health and our only home - Mother Earth.
• Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - Lots of valuable information on how to use plant based nutrition to promote good health.
• Plant-based diets - A physician's guide
• Gut bacteria
• Vegan diets and the environment
• How a plant-based diet reversed my asthma & eczema
• Swap one meal a day for your health and planet
• The hidden dangers of fast and processed food