Chocolate & Acne

Yesterday, if you visited my Facebook page, I directed you to a post I wrote in April about my results using the oil cleansing method to deal with lingering acne.  I'd had alot of success with the OCM, but I still had flares of acne with my period.  My doctor tested me for a genetic mutation that influences the livers ability to properly detoxify the body and lucky me . . . I had not one, but TWO copies of the lovely little mutation.  I realized that some liver support was probably in order for the whole of me, but might especially benefit my face by helping to clear up that monthly hormonal acne.I started work on figuring out the liver detox.  It has been a long process.  In part, it is complicated.  I like to fully understand how these processes work in the body before I try messin' with them, so I have spent tons of time trying to learn about the detoxification pathways of our bodies.  It is also important to go slow.  You can't just decide one day to start supporting your liver and then help it eliminate years worth of toxin buildup, 'cause you will feel like crap!  I have learned that I am especially sensitive to this process, so I have to go low and slow with the detoxing efforts.  All of this is to say, that I have not yet fully realized the rewards of liver detox when it comes to controlling hormonal acne.

That's not the end of the story though.  I did some other experiments over the summer and had dramatic results with my acne.  Let me tell you about it.  Remember last October when The Paleo Mom wrote this blog?  She told us how she had finally made the connection between eating chocolate and why her Lichen Planus had not healed further.  Just the day before she'd written a fantastic post explaining gluten cross-reactivity.  Here's why I am an idiot.  I completely believed that I am among the special group of AIers that CAN eat chocolate without any negative effects.  I totally read those super helpful blogs by The Paleo Mom and yet kept right on eating chocolate (milk and soy free pure chocolate, but chocolate nonetheless).  Not pounds of it, but definitely enough.  I didn't even make the connection that it should be excluded on AIP.  Even worse . . . I had the Cyrex Labs Antibody Array 4 Gluten Cross-Reactivity testing done is May 2012, which clearly showed that my body identifies chocolate as a bad guy.  What. The. Heck?  Why did I miss all this important info?

This summer I finally pulled my head out, put it all together, and decided to do a strong 30 days without chocolate.  I actually did it the same month that we took a family vacation.  So to answer your question, YES!  It was very tough not to eat chocolate on vacation.  Anyway, back to the meat of this post . . . I stuck to it, because I wanted to know for sure how my body would react if I eliminated the only gluten cross reactor that I still regularly consumed.  The results:  IT WAS A MIRACLE!  Despite my pokey liver, I got no hormonal acne with my period that month.  My skin cleared and looked gorgeous, not just on my face, but also on my neck and shoulders.  Not a single breakout anywhere.  Even more, the scaring faded dramatically.  My husband kept commenting how soft and clear my skin looked all month.  Guess what else happened?  I have Endometriosis, which usually means incredibly, incredibly painful periods.  My cycle was less painful and did not include much of the usual all-over swelling and inflammation.

Here's the take aways of this successful chocolate elimination experiment:

1)  Chocolate?  But whyyyyy?  I am so glad I finally paid attention to all the information and discovered the link between chocolate and some of my tougher, lingering challenges.  I am also profoundly sad about it.  Profoundly is not an overstatement either.  Seriously, it was one of the last remaining treats that made me feel connected to "normal" foods.  (I see all my food as normal, but you guys know what I'm sayin'.)  Honestly, I am not a super human AIPer and there are going to be times that I am going to eat some chocolate and pay the piper.  In fact, that's why there is no picture of my perfect clear skin posted here for you all to see the proof.  I did a bad job documenting the month of my experiment and then this past month I gave in to some chocolatey goodness and was rewarded with some gorgeous acne the day my cycle started.

2)  Chocolate tastes better with a little deprivation.  I learned this lesson while I lived in West Africa.  Remove yourself for something and its value will increase significantly.  Before I went to Africa, I didn't care all that much about nice sidewalks.  Now it is one of my greatest joys to take a stroll through my neighborhood on the lovely cement pathways.  Not even joking.  Chocolate is the same.  I understand what it does to my body now, so I can decline most of the time.  When I do give in though, it is so much more satisfying (even if it comes with an extra zit!).

Have you made any big connections lately?  Especially ones that were staring you right in the face?  Tell me about them.

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6 thoughts on “Chocolate & Acne

  1. Do you think chocolate will still affect hormones/liver/ acne if it didn't show up on food/ gluten cross reactivity testing? I have Hashimotos and am an AIPer who has also yet to give up chocolate (and cashews and almonds) because the only two foods that showed up for me were buckwheat and amaranth- although I know I react to others immediately, like dairy, eggs and nightshades. Your thoughts?

  2. Anonymous

    I am in the same boat....having trouble giving up that choc....even the 85% Cocoa kind with no soy or day at a time, one step at a time. Thanks for your inspiration! (AiPer, Hashi's and MTHFR A1298C)

  3. First of all, my heart goes out to you that you can’t have chocolate. I am one of those people who can eat it without trouble, BUT I only eat homemade, and it has just 3 ingredients: unsweetened cocoa, raw honey & coconut oil. I have an update for you though: Sarah’s research into gluten cross-reactivity discovered that only milk chocolate is cross-reactive. Not cocoa/cacao itself. She updated her gluten cross-reactivity page. You linked to her old one; here's the current one: . It doesn't mean you should start eating chocolate. It just means cross-reactivity isn't the reason your body said no. We are each an ongoing mystery!

  4. Jennifer R

    I would love to hear more about your liver detox -- as I have two copies of mthfr (I'm assuming that's the one you're talking about). I have done homeopathic liver/kidney detoxes, but wondered what you tried. Thanks!

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