I’m a big believer in beauty and wellness going hand in hand. If you have a poor diet, not only is it going to reflect in the way you feel (and probably on the scale, too), but also on your skin. As someone who struggled with cystic acne in the past, I’m always trying to figure out what I might have eaten that triggered a whopper of a zit when one crops up. And while it’s not always so easy to pinpoint the exact culprit, a clean diet certainly helps in the glowing complexion department.
So when I was given the chance to try the exact plan that meal delivery service Urban Remedy curated for Kate Upton, I figured “Why not?” Their plans are also a favorite of Angela Lindvall, another model who has walked down the Victoria’s Secret catwalk. I signed up for the three-day plan ($189; urbanremedy.com) and once it arrived, I followed it strictly to see if I actually noticed any difference in my skin, or how I felt in general.
The meal plan is a mix of fresh juices, veggie-focused salads, and lean proteins. On the first day, I downed the brand’s “Endurance” shot; even though I’m not a fan of beets, it wasn’t too bad (I immediately chased with water) and I felt good during my Barry’s Bootcamp class. After my workout, I had the “Slender Greens” juice, which packed cucumber, celery, spinach, parsley, and lemon. By lunchtime, I was super hungry. I had Thai veggie noodles, free-range chicken, and zucchini chips. The “Green Berry” juice was my afternoon pick-me-up, and dinner was a vegan Caesar salad.
The next two days were fairly similar, and I never really felt deprived—it was just a different way of eating. There were two additional shots, one called “Hydration” with cucumber and another called “Inflamm-Relieve” with turmeric; and while it felt a little excessive to drink those plus two daily juices (I usually stick to water and tea), I did feel like it upped my intake of fruits and veggies each day.
I asked New York City-based nutritionist Maria Marlowe, RD, if changing your diet for just three days could actually improve skin. Her verdict? “You can start to see results in as little as three days, and full clearance generally takes one to three months depending on the severity of your acne,” she said. But it’s important to note that diet isn’t the only acne culprit; many other factors, such as hormones, play a role (and your doctor can help you pinpoint exactly what’s going on). And although it’s not as exciting as a quick fix, maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle will give you the best long-term results.
Truth be told, in my case, I didn’t notice much difference in my complexion. But I did feel more energized, especially since I would typically reach for a sweet snack at 3 p.m., and I was sipping on a fresh juice instead. One thing to remember with juice, though, is that “it removes the fiber, which blunts the blood sugar spike,” says Marlowe. “In a normal person this may not be a big deal, but for someone with an imbalance I would avoid.” Her hack: Add two teaspoons of chia seeds to juice and let it sit for 10 minutes before drinking. “This adds fiber and protein, and helps blunt the blood sugar spike, and you won’t taste even taste them.”
A plan like this is “a great reset for someone who is busy and doesn’t have the time to cook and wants to kickstart a healthier way of eating,” Marlowe says, adding that it “provides an abundance of anti-inflammatory foods and is super hydrating, which can all contribute to a more healthy-looking and glowing complexion.”
So if that’s what you’re after, go for it—especially if it’s leading up to an event or something special where you’re too busy to plan out your meals, but want to fill up on foods that will support glowing skin. However, if struggle with severe acne, consult with your dermatologist and nutritionist to find the best treatment options for you.
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