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4 Ways to Ensure a Vegetarian, Vegan and Acne-Safe Diet

Getting clear skin involves several factors such as proper home care, bimonthly treatments, managing stress, proper cosmetics and more. Diet is a big part of getting clear skin and keeping it that way. Sometimes, following proper dietary restrictions and suggestions for acne can be even harder when clients already have dietary restrictions of their own. I wrote this blog specifically for my vegetarian and vegan clients. Here are some helpful tips to make things a little easier for you guys. 1. Cut out the Whey and Soy Protein- All of my clients, regardless of their dietary choices, are instructed to stop using whey protein. Generally, the next popular choice would be soy protein but that's a no-no as well. So what are the alternatives? Hemp and egg white protein are easy to find at most health food stores and they’re both great options. Obviously, if you're vegan, you won't be choosing egg whites as your alternative protein so here's my a advice; try using a blend of rice and pea protein. While neither of these protein powders are too exciting on their own, they have an amino acid profile quite similar to whey protein when combined. Think of it as vegan's whey! 2. Fish Oil alternatives- While it's hard to find vegetarian alternatives that stack up to fish oil there are a few options that do the job pretty well. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are most commonly known and are essentially, the reason for taking fish oil. The third omega 3 is plant based and not as well known. It's called alpha linoleic acid or ALA and once ingested, the body converts it to EPA. One great way to get your dose of ALA is to take flaxseed oil. There are about 700 milligrams of ALA in a tablespoon of flaxseed oil so I usually recommend two tablespoons daily. This puts the dose of omega 3’s at 1400 milligrams. I recommend getting about 1700 milligrams daily so ways to supplement for the other 300 milligrams would be to make sure you're getting it in your diet. Avocados are high in ALA as well as walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds. All of these are great on salads, in smoothies and you can cook with them too! Chia seeds make a great alternatives to eggs in certain recipes. Have fun and experiment! I don't recommend purchasing other vegetarian omega supplements as they are usually algae based so unless it doesn't contain iodine, it will actually cause breakouts, which is obviously the opposite of what clients want! 3. Soy alternatives- As I mentioned above, soy is a no-no for acne sufferers, which can be tricky since vegetarian and vegan alternatives typically contain soy protein, and tofu is so easy to find. Luckily, my clients are in the Bay Area, so there are tons of options that are tasty and soy free. Field Roast has faux sausages, lunch meats, meatloaf and more! They're made with things like lentils and whole grains and there are tons of different flavor options. Another protein source that tastes great is Beyond, which is a soy free, gluten free alternative to chicken. Beyond has also recently come out with a ground beef alternative that's delicious. The Jackfruit Company has delicious “meats” as well that add flavor and texture to dishes but isn't a great source of protein. Another option is seitan. This is a great tofu replacement and it's easy to find at places like Safeway, Whole Foods and Sprouts. Of course there is nothing wrong with having soy in the diet occasionally, but it should not be consumed on a regular basis. Again, I encourage experimentation, as there are so many fun ways to get and even make your own proteins.

4. Ditch the Dairy- Just like soy, dairy is a no-no for all of my clients, not just vegans. This means no milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream. This can sound devastating to some clients but there’s hope! Whole Foods is one of the funnest places to go to find vegetarian and vegan friendly dairy alternatives. There are tons of non-dairy rice cheeses, nut cheeses, and chia cheeses. Field Roast, which I mentioned above, has some vegan cheeses great for sandwiches and burgers, but should be eaten in moderation as it contains some soy. Heidi-Ho has creamy chia cheeses great for dips, nachos and tons of other things, and because it's made with chia seeds, it's a good source for those ALA's! Treeline has great spreadable and hard cheeses made from cashews. If you’re vegan, be sure to check for cassein, a milk protein in some faux cheeses that’s used to get that creamy, melty texture, as it's not vegan. Almond, rice, hemp and coconut milk are easy to find and yogurts and ice creams can be made with the same alternatives. Almond Dream has delicious vegan ice creams and So Delicious makes ice creams and yogurts and milks as well. Their almond milk only has 2 grams of sugar per serving. Be careful for soy and tofu ice creams and cheese like Toffuti. Stick with the dairy alternatives I mentioned above. If you really want to splurge, Miyoko's Kitchen has some of the most decadent vegan cheese you can buy. They have options like Aged Farmhouse Cheddar, Herbs de Provence, Double Cream Chive, Mozzarella and more. Of course these are just some helpful hints. You should still keep a close eye on anything you put into your body and take a good look at the things you are buying. If you're eating tons of vegan foods but they're full of salt, or sugar for example, that's going to cause issues with acne. A well balanced diet is important for overall health and of course for your skin too!

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