If you’re looking for where to start your journey to clear skin using nutrition, the balanced plate method is definitely the move. I use this method with all of my clients for one simple reason: it works.
The balanced plate is truly the foundation of a nutritious, skin-loving diet. If you follow this method, not only are you setting your blood sugar up for blissful balance, but you will also inadvertently pack in many other important nutrients for clear skin.
Acne doesn’t just occur at the surface of the skin. Sure, it shows up at the surface of the skin as those pesky pimples we’re all too familiar with, but what leads to those pimples occurs much deeper than at the skin’s surface.
One of the main contributors to acne is blood sugar imbalance. It may sound strange, but this is a well known physiological process. Let me explain:
How Blood Sugar Imbalance Leads to Acne
When you eat, your blood sugar rises. In order to get that blood sugar (aka glucose) into your cells to be used for energy, a hormone called insulin is needed. The more glucose in your blood, the more insulin is required to move the glucose into your cells. The problem is that higher insulin can lead to higher levels of hormones like androgens and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) that increase sebum production and lead to acne.
So essentially – higher amounts of sugar ingested = increased oil production.
But, it’s a little more complicated than that…
If you’re wondering how on earth you can know if your blood sugar is balanced or not without testing your blood, there are some easy ways your body tells you what’s going on with your blood sugar.
How to Tell if Your Blood Sugar is Imbalanced
To sum it up, imbalanced blood sugar feels like big spikes and big crashes. You may feel a spike in energy, maybe even a little jittery after you eat a sugary donut for breakfast. But then an hour or so later you can barely keep your eyes open. Soon enough, you’re ravenously hungry and grumpy as can be: in other words, you’re hangry. This happens because when you eat quick digesting foods, like sugar or simple carbs alone there’s nothing to slow down the spike in blood sugar.
Aka…avoid eating donuts in place of a meal (aim to eat your sugary treats after protein and fibre-rich foods!).
What you want is to have sources of protein and fat balanced with complex carbohydrates at every meal so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike and plummet, but rather rises to an appropriate level and then gradually declines. This means your energy is sustained and your sebum production is under control, meaning clearer skin and happier days. The balanced plate method makes this possible!
What the balanced plate looks like:
- ½ to ¾ of your plate veggies
- Raw or cooked, ideally a mix of both
- Examples: arugula or any fresh leafy green, sautéed or roasted veggies like bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots or broccoli, fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or dill, fresh cucumber, tomatoes or shredded cabbage.
- Palm sized serving of protein
- In other words, 20-30g of protein at each meal. A palm sized serving of animal protein will usually give about 20-30g of protein.
- Examples: quality grass fed beef or bison, organic free range turkey or chicken, 2-3 pasture raised eggs, 1/2 cup beans or lentils, 1/2 block tofu or tempeh, 3oz. serving prawns (1/3 cup cooked)
- A source of fat
- A little goes a long way with fat sources: aim for 1-2 tbsp oil, 1/4 cup nuts or seeds, 1/2 an avocado
- Examples: olive oil, avocado oil, nuts/seeds, avocado
- Handful of complex carbs
- Complex carbs means fibre-rich carbs – these help to slow the release of glucose into the blood stream.
- Examples: brown rice, sweet potato, potato and quinoa
Put it in Practice:
There are a lot of practices and habits out there that you may think are helpful, but are often born out of diet culture and can actually be worse for your skin!
If you do find yourself having to eat something sugary for breakfast, often times people won’t want to eat anything else because it would just be “extra calories.” But this is unhelpful! The best thing to do if you have a donut for breakfast is to also have a source of protein or fiber with it to balance out your blood sugar. Try pairing your donut with a handful of almonds or coconut yogurt.
This way, your blood sugar won’t spike your sebum production and you’ll feel more balanced throughout the day. Making you less likely to reach for more sugary things later in the day.
@GlucoseGoddess on instagram has great graphics to demonstrate the effect of balancing your plate, or pairing your carbs with protein/fat/fiber!
Using this method in conjunction with my acne-clearing tools, you will be on your way to clear skin in NO TIME!
If you haven’t grabbed your copy of The Acne Protocol yet, get it HERE. It’s my self-guided acne clearing protocol. AKA, your clear skin bible from your clear skin bestie!