Question 1: What does my GUT have to do with my skin?

Answer 1: Everything! Absolutely everything. We are in a symbiotic relationship with our gut microbiota. The gut microbiota helps balance metabolic and immunological tasks. The most common illnesses triggered by gut irregularities are inflammatory bowel disease, gastro-enteric infections, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, cancer, liver disease, allergic and autoimmune diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.

Wait…what? Eczema and psoriasis because of gut problems? YES! That is correct. This is where it gets interesting. 

Question 2: So between my gut and skin, you’re telling me I should have more bacteria? 

Answer 2: YES! The more diverse your gut bacteria, the less allergies you’ll have, the more enzymes will digest everything like a magnificent garbage disposal! The wider spectrum of bacteria you have, the better your chances of, oh and get this…you’ll even smell more irresistible, increasing your chances to find a more compatible mate also with a diverse bacterium so that you can have 27 healthy children! Isn’t this amazing? So go play in dirt! Go to a farm and dig up some manure! While you’re at it let’s get some natural probiotics in our system the right way. 

Question 3: I’m so confused with this PROBIOTICS stuff – where do I start?

Answer 3: So if you’ve ever taken antibiotics – you are a murderer. Anti-Biotics are Anti-Bacterial, and they are designed to the living bacteria. The medical world is now waking up to being more careful to not prescribe antibiotics unless it is an urgent situation.  But now you need to go redeem yourself in front of your gut garden and replenish all that good bacteria you wiped out with antibiotics.

If you eat lots of clean fruits and veggies, congratulations that is prebiotics.  Those coat the lining of your intestines with powerful enzymes and fiber. But then you need to step it up and actually get the living bacteria into your system. How? With fermented foods such as non-sugared yogurt, miso soup, Korean Kimchi, sauerkraut, certain types of pickled veggies, and Kombucha teas.  My suggestion is to create a variety at every meal and keep exploring.

Question 4: How do I protect my gut flora?

Answer 4:  Oh, come on, you know this. Eat clean. Sleep well. Poop like a king… Rinse, Repeat. In between all that, play and exercise as if your life depended on it and then focus on even better eating habits. It really does come back to the basics. Be a minimalist with what you put on and in your body. You don’t need to be a high maintenance diva or metro-dude with a bathroom full of personal care products that sabotage your skin and gut flora.

Question 5: So now I have to protect my skin flora too?

Answer 5: Yes! Anything you apply to your skin gets absorbed into your blood stream in about 26 seconds. So did you think your skin was just about making you look good?

Wait till you hear all the heroic things skin really does in SKIN Confessions. You’ll think twice next time you pass by that body lotion store you love so much that smells like pink fruity-tutty bubblegum flavor. Those moisturizers are taking their toll on your skin and endocrine system. This is important because all those fragrances are actually synthetic hormones. Now that you’ve been reading this book, does that ring an alarm bell? What did we learn about synthetic hormones and how they cause chaos in our bodies?  Remember, our goal is to become a minimalist and not burden our skin’s threshold.

*On a personal note, this subject is near and dear to me. Poop science was ingrained in me as a little girl. Whenever I would come down with a fever, my father would inspect my breath and ask to see my poop. It was awful and embarrassing. The first thing he’d do was tell my mom to give me a suppository and make sure I’m pooping within the hour! Then rest, fluids and NO TYLENOL, NO MOTRIN, NO FEVER REDUCER! They encouraged my fever and made sure I sweated out the fever in one night. Essentially, they were ‘feeding the fever, starving the cold.’

Growing up in America, I didn’t understand why I didn’t have normal parents that coddled their children lovingly with a simple pill to reduce the aching, fever and cold/flu symptoms like I saw on TV commercials and The Brady Bunch. But then I grew up. Now I’ve come to realize my Circassian parents and grandparents were champions of ancient immune-boosting hacks from the Caucasus mountains of Southern Russia. Among those hacks was the invention of yogurt, the fermentation of milk over 3,500 years ago. Recent archeological evidence found in gravesites preserved in perma-frost revealed ancient tombs with a funeral feast that included fermented milk that turned into yogurt. So for the record, it was Circassian yogurt, not Greek Yogurt! 

These were among the simple basic tactics to keep everything flushing and moving along. The first step at the sign of any cold or flu symptom? Check your poop. There you will find the answers to the universe. No really. The answers to the universe are in our poop.

Our digestive history, our gut flora, our magnificent bacterial composition is EVERYTHING!  Scientists are now racing around the world collecting poop samples from indigenous tribes in remote areas. In their poop is some of the most diverse bacteria!  It’s called the HMP Human Microbiome Project. It is the largest collection of data right from the source…Isn’t this exciting? 

My book, SKIN Confessions, details so much more about this fascinating subject!