Microbiomes + Probiotics + Skin Health

Probiotics are a huge rage right now. Whole Foods Market experts call it a "Culture Craze": whether shoppers are seeking gut health or go-for-it flavor, fermented foods and probiotics are growing like good bacteria – and they’re not just for hippies anymore. Fiery picks like kimchi and gochujang will continue to gain steam, while innovative options like chiogga beet kraut and non-dairy tonics will add variety.

Top row:  Kevita sparkling probiotic  tonic;  SunWarrior Illumin8  protein powder; SUJA juice;  Melt  probiotic vegan butter;  YUMButter probiotic almond butte r protein spread;  Farmhouse Culture  spicy kimchi shot;  Orbit popsicles ;  Gochujang Sriracha  sauce

Top row: Kevita sparkling probiotic tonic; SunWarrior Illumin8 protein powder; SUJA juice; Melt probiotic vegan butter; YUMButter probiotic almond butter protein spread; Farmhouse Culture spicy kimchi shot; Orbit popsicles; Gochujang Sriracha sauce

Eczema, Allergies + The Microbiome

Talking and learning about the "microbome" (gut environment) is also a science trend right now. It is the location doctors and scientists are focusing on to discover more about health issues, including everything from allergies, to IBS, to ADHD, acne and eczema. In fact, I went to a health symposium recently, hosted by Herbalife, and was really surprised at all the wonderful microbiome and probiotics/prebiotics studies they have done or are working on currently. (Herbalife is becoming more and more known for their efforts and focus on prevention and healthy living as a means to optimal health). 

When I was 19 I realized I had super bad allergies. I had horrible eczema all over my body and I ended up "alleviating" it on my own, despite a handful of doctors telling me there was absolutely nothing I could do and I would have it for the rest of my life. I learned that..

Skin Can Be The First Sign Of Larger Internal Problems[1]

What I discovered after years of cleansing, experimenting, etc. is that my gut was a mess. I needed to rebalance my gut bacteria (that's why they say probiotics are good for the skin)! It wasn't a quick process by any means. It took me years of cleansing and rebuilding the good flora to get my body where it needed to be in order to be free of eczema and allergies. 

Avoid Chemicals, Fragrances and Perfumes

Lotions, body oils, body scrubs, sunscreen, cleaners, dusting spray, laundry detergent, perfumes, and soap will make eczema itch even more. Figuring out what ingredient(s) is causing the inflammation or reaction is almost impossible, so I suggest replacing all of it with super natural fragrance free versions. 

Body oil and lotion (natural or not) can make the skin react as well. Steroid creams made my skin itch even more. 

Change Your Diet // Elimination Diet

Not only did I rid my house of fragrances and perfumes and chemicals, but I had to completely change my diet as well. Something was causing my skin to react. It wasn't just one food in particular so I got rid of all allergenic foods like gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, and even fried or cooked foods to really get rid of the root problem. I also upped the probiotics. I started with a super clean raw food diet - high in juice and vegetables - lower in fats. 

I now can eat a clean diet and don't have to stick to a fully raw diet. And I have no sign of eczema. 

Avoid Antibiotoics If You Can

One of the things that I also avoided was antibiotics. The years of taking antibiotics as a kid had created an imbalance in the gut bacteria. The good stuff was gone so my body was having a hard time with proper digestion, causing inflammation and all kinds of allergy issues. The skin, my eczema, and my upset intestines were telling me something was wrong. 

Probiotics Galore

Twenty years into this healing process, and three kids later, I ended up with strep throat. I had to do antibiotics for the first time since that process started and I was really nervous about it. My doctor told me to just suck it up, take it and worry about the gut later. So that is what I did. 

Needless to say, I've been a probiotics and prebiotics fanatic and quite possibly a little obsessive above it. I now don't overdo it. I'm over the freak out stage. But I can happily say my gut was messed up for a few weeks but is now doing just fine (sigh of relief). 

Fun Fact: you do not need yogurt to get extra probiotics in your diet. Probiotics are found in dirt, believe it or not. Yep, dirt is a superfood. These soil based organisms are found in our vegetables and plant-foods. We are so accustomed to eating only the shiniest prettiest fruit but next time, maybe don't wash off all the dirt (yes, all the germs from people handling food is pretty gross, but the dirt and grime, is full of healthy probiotic bacteria!). 

Probiotics are like the new "gluten-free"; they are the trend of 2016. So many companies are adding probiotics to their goods (quite possibly in hopes for an increase in sales) and today I am sharing a few that I've learned of and/or enjoyed over the past few months. 

What is your favorite probiotic right now? In addition to kimchi? And sauerkraut? 

p.s. The products listed above are merely for fun. Their effectiveness is unknown. I just found these items to be so interesting; it's for sure a new trend and something to think about. Supplementing with probiotics is my first choice for really getting the gut healthy! 

[1] American Academy of Dermatology