Do Vegans And Vegetarians Have Better Skin?

Do Vegans And Vegetarians Have Better Skin?

The forestIn Brisbane, Australia (where I’m from) there is only one vegan restaurant, and I was lucky enough to live down the road from it. Even though the decor of the restaurant was old and mouldy and the food was served out of a bain-marie, what intrigued me so much about The Forest were its patrons. Everyone that went into that resturant had fabulous skin! I’m talking about beautifully clear, radiant and naturally beautiful glowing skin. It made me wonder, do vegans have better skin?

I am not a vegan but I am vegetarian, and at the time I had really crap skin – a ton of pimples and a few cysts. But there was something different about me I guess, my acne was from stress, I had only recently become vegetarian, and well …I wasn’t really a vego because I did still eat seafood. I remember looking around at all The Forest’s patrons with their stunning healthy radiant skin and having this thought, that perhaps being vegetarian for like ..a long period of time gives you the reward of great skin. Or maybe I needed to become completely vegan. So all I had to do was eat no meat for longer and give up milk and eggs!

Well, knowing a little more about food now I don’t think that being vegetarian or vegan is the answer. So all of you acne prone meat eaters out there can breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t have to give up your chicken wings and ribs to get rid of your acne. So why did the patrons of The Forest all have geat skin? I think it was because in general, they ate better. The food at the Forrest was vegan, sure, but it was also super healthy. They even served brown rice instead of white rice! So my guess is that the patrons that prefered this restaurant also prefered looking after their health and watching what they put into their bodies.

You ARE what you eat

healthy food

Oh you so are. Anybody that claims that food does not aggravate acne, come and talk to me and we’ll have a little chat about it. There is no question in my mind that food and acne are in some way related. Whether it be a food allergy or intolerance, a spike in your blood sugar levels or an increase of the ‘heat’ and ‘dampness’ in your body …if you’re prone to getting zits, you’re just going to have to be mindful about what you eat. Bollocks for us with acne prone skin I know, but hey, at least we’ll be healthier for it, we’ll be less moody, get sick less and live longer :)

So it’s not so much that the patrons of the Forest had great skin because they were vegetarian or vegan (in fact, they may not have even been either to eat there), it’s more the better food choices they were making. Our skin loves good food. It loves plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole foods, organic foods, filtered water, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds.

What our skin doesn’t like is spicy foods, fatty and greasy foods, and refined and processed foods.

vege challenge

For those of you that want to start eating a little healthier, you may want to take part in the Vege Challenge which I discovered on the Canadian Vegetarian Societies website. It doens’t mean you have to be vegetarian, it’s just a good way to get you eating more vegetables and less meat. Incorporating more vegetarian food into my diet was how I started eating healthier, because eating less meat means eating more veges. I actually started by only cooking vegetarian food at home but still eating meat when I was out.

The vege challenge is only seven days long and you get tips and recipes emailed to you ever single day. You can choose to take what you want from the tips, even if you don’t want to give up meat. You even get sample menu plans for the day. They give you ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I LOVE menu plans so I’m seriously considering signing up myself :P Oh, and best of all you can even win prizes, how cool is that!

Have a look here at a sample email which includes a menu plan.

And click here for more information about the vege challenge, or to sign up.


25 comments… add one

  • Olaf

    It amazes me, (speaking as a non-vegetarian), that people think eliminating meat from their diet is not unhealthy. Well actually it doesn’t, people have strange random beliefs and don’t think logical or reasonable. Eating something or not isn’t what makes a healthy lifestyle, so it isn’t healthy or unhealthy to not eat meat. Leaving out the meat however, makes it a lot more difficult to sustain a healthy diet. I would be very wary of soy products for example (as non-vegetarian I almost avoid them completely). Further whether eating “veggie’s” is such a healthy thing is disputable, it definitely isn’t “always healther”. My personal opinion is that a good vegetarian diet may be beneficial for women, but men should probably stay away from such diets

  • Becky

    It amazes me (speaking as a vegetarian) that people think that eliminating meat from their diet is unhealthy. This is so society thinking and backward.
    People want to eat meat at 2 to 3 sittings.
    We as Veggies’ don’t eat a carrot and lettuce, we put meals together with vegetables and can eat anything minus the meat. I make Taco’s but instead of meat, substitute with beans or soy meat from the ‘Light Life’ line, Vegan approved. People, eating veggie’s is always healther.

  • Nor

    Hey, I’m a 13 years old girl from london, I have acne and I have been a vegetarian since 7 years old, I’ve always treated my skin well. My acne started when I was 11 and I had full blown acne since. I turned Vegan for six months when I was 12, nothing changed, my spots still looked like crap, now I am a vegetarian and my spots are the same as before. Also i’ve only picked a spot twice.

  • Ruth

    I became a vegeterian a year ago and my skin got worse. I think it’s because I had a lot of dairy products as a substitute to meat. I hear these can worsen acne.
    So maybe vegans do have better skin.
    As for omega 3, there are other sources of it besides fish. I take vegeterian supplement pills which provide it.

  • Veggies with endocrine disorders? The clay is a great idea the Mesopotamians did that to prevent disease and ease stomach problems. However, the endocrine system controls hormone production etc.. If you are a newbie, you are getting rid of the excess hormones in your body produced by the animals you previously ingested. I am a vegetarian and have no endocrine disorders. In fact once I was purged ( so to speak) I felt lifted. Eggs are decent protein for cell reproduction and the fish well some protein, the omega three’s help as well. You can get more than enough Omega three’s from ground cold pressed flaxseed!

  • Alakhi

    I have been raised a lacto-vegetarian. I have stuck with it the past 26 years. I have been suffering with bad skin since i hit puberty, and it has grown worse in my 20′s. I recently went to a naturopath who has been practicing for 30 years and is convinced that human beings need animal protien. My cholesterol levels were also very low. Although most think that low cholesterol is good, she told me we actually need a certain amount of cholesterol to produce the right hormones. my acne is definitely hormone related as i was only having periods 3x per year, sometimes 4. so anyhow i added eggs and fish to my diet a few months ago and i have had 2 normal cycles in a row and my skin is improving. The only other thing i have changed is i have started taking 1/2 teaspoon of clay every morning. So its either the animal protein or the clay. The doctor i went to says she has seen over and over again vegetarians experiencing endocrine disorders. This has been a huge moral dilemma for myself, but if i am to chose between my health and the life of an animal i am choosing my health. p.s. Other symptoms i had were extreme fatigue and dizziness. These symptoms seem to be subsiding.

  • Holly

    hey fran, im a vego and i still have mild acne! I eat very healthily so meat hasn’t got much to do with it. I have so many good recipes if you need any.

  • brent

    after i changed my eating habits , i can see some changes with my acne, coz i did have a lot of acne.. but the difference is quite subtle (im trying to be patient with it).. i still d have a lot of acne scars and super oily skin, is there sumthing that can change that? btw thank u very much for taking time to answer my questions.. :)

  • Brent- The worst thing about friend chicken is that it’s fried in bad fats, so puts a lot of stress on your liver. If you eat these meat alternatives over baked, or fried on low heat with coconut oil or ghee, then they’re not so bad :)

  • brent

    Fran, thanks for ur insight. But tell u we have a whole different kind of veggie meats here. We have chicken nuggets, ham and a lot of soul foods but only its made up of veggies so it is very very tasty.. I am just kind of thinking because like with the veggie chicken nuggets it has breadings, so would its effect on my skin be the same as the skin of real fried chicken? sorry its kinda confusing but hope u get my point.

  • Brent- it’s okay for the skin and I eat it occasionaly. But it’s a processed food and I don’t particularly like the taste, so I prefer to cook with whole foods, like beans and lentils.

  • brent

    hey.. what do you think bout veggie meat? im trying to avoid to fry it coz it will just be oily.. im just really starting to eat healthy.. i eat tuna and i can never take that away from my diet.. but im trying to eat less meat, instead im trying to eat veggie meat, but i do eat meat once in a while but with less quantity than before.. what do u think?

  • Olaf

    @Ana: Well the truth is, that cholesterol doesn’t really matter. The only time it might matter, is when there are other problems with your health. It is highly questionable that the food cholesterol has much of an effect on blood levels. Taking me as an example, as a kid I have eaten enormous amounts of meat, however my cholesterol levels have always been perfect(and still are).

    @andrea: While I think that dairy products can be a cause of acne, this is not true for everyone. Further vegans do have acne too.. I just met a vegan two days ago, with acne.

    A reduced diet, vegan in this case, can help, but even if you are one of the few, who actually are able to ‘get rid’ of their acne by not consuming dairy, the real problem remains. The frustrating thing is that nobody is undertaking useful research as to finally find the real cause(s).

  • andrea

    someone was complaining (??) that she didn’t have any acne. a sarcastic response told her to eat large amounts of dairy. i read somewhere dairy’s a huge part of westerners’ diet. so vegans’ lack of dairy in their diet maybe contributes to their lack of acne.

  • Ana

    I’m vegetarian and I have acne. I’ve been veg for the past 5 years and have had acne for maybe the past 2 years.

    I don’t think they are related. I do think being vegetarian is healthier in the long run. As a vegetarian I have very low cholesterol intake (which is good because your body actually needs ZERO cholesterol from diet – your body makes enough on its own).

    My family was concerned I wouldn’t get enough protein but after taking a nutrition class this semester I found out that I do in fact get enough protein. I need about 35 gm a day and I was getting maybe 45 a day just by eating a veggie sandwich and veggie burrito as my main meals. It bugs me that people assume things like vegetarians lack protein and often don’t even know basic facts like that cholesterol is only found in animal foods.

    One big concern for vegetarians is Vitamin B12 because it is only found in animal foods – but if you’re not vegan you probably get enough (vegans need to take a b12 supplement).

  • Olaf

    I think one can only very rarely see people with acne in general(most people try to hide it). I can’t remember ever seeing anyone else with acne when walking through the city(although it is supposed to be such a common disease).

    I actually was eating very healthy a few years ago, however that didn’t seem to have any positive effect on my acne.. (besides not consuming dairy products, which definitely helps, although I am not allergic them..)

    On the other hand, I felt great then, as if I could tear out trees. Unfortunately I now have fructose intolerance and so can’t eat most fruits and vegetables.

    I just wish there was something that really cures it.

  • Andy

    I am a vegetarian, but i do eat fish. I found a health and beauty secret that I really believe in and hope that someone tries. It is to add Wheat Germ Oil (which is kept refrigerated) to your salad with balsamic vinegar. The wheat germ oil is so good for your skin and hair. The only other tip that I’ve found that I feel is equally as important is to use oatmeal soap, I use Aveeno Oatmeal Soap.

    Erika… I eat with my family also, and they got used to my changes over time. I sometimes cook a little something for myself if they are eating meat. If anything, it got my whole family healthier because now we all eat a great deal of fish (salmon and flounder mostly).

  • Hi Erika, it’s okay, you don’t have to eat well ALL the time :) Just do your best and try and it healthy a little more (while still enjoying treats with your friends). I’m sure the food you eat with your family is pretty good.

  • Erika

    fran i live in the Philippines
    my family eats together as if we have a bond that what one eats the other eats… so its quite hard to start my own eating habits. and i eat out a lot too and my friends love curgers fries ect.
    OMG. its sooo hard…

  • Hi Kyle, sounds okay to me :) Just don’t eat a ton of them because even though they’re not as bad as most potato chips, they’re still not a health food.

    Tegen – wow, I bet you already know how to cook some awesome vegetarian meals though. 22 years, that’s impressive! All the animals in the world are thanking you.

  • Tegen

    I have been a veggie all my 22 year life, and I don’t think it affected my growing!!

    I did have help on what to eat, my parents are veggie and we grew our own veg. Even so I’m still signing up for the veggie challenge, to get new recipe ideas. I do have problems with spots, not really bad but I always have a few of them, so I’m not sure being veggie has helped, but I have nothing to compare it to, having been veggie my howl life! I do eat a lot of dairy products, other than that I eat healthily.

  • Kyle

    I eat these potato chips that are fried in sunflower oil, and have some salt on them. Is that still bad even though they are fried in a healthy oil with mono and polyunsaturated fats?

  • phy

    i love your blog. i just found it from youtube the other day. great articles with detailed souces and advice. thank you for helping people like me.

    i’m a teen pescatarian (i eat seafood). to the above poster, it is safe. just make sure teens don’t start eating just “veg” junk food b/c parents don’t cook for them. like don’t just eat potato chips or too much starch and white bread.

    but this can be said for veg adults. variety is key. don’t get stuck on just 5 veg foods. try it.

    i found my cystic acne (or acne in giant clumps) definitely died down after being a year of PURE veg… and i have been 6 months of pesca veg… so it’s helping me. i actually went veg for my skin, and for better health because i heard of all the health benefits. then, that is how i learned about the farm factories and such. anyway…

    thanks for blog…

  • Hmm, I have known a lot of teen vegetarians but you’re right, it may be healthier to eat meat :) I guess you could just get the emails and perhaps get inspiration from it. The emails may have some great tips on how to eat healthier. It’s not acne focused though.

  • kevin

    I really want to start this but I have to ask, is it safe for teens to start this?I’ve heard that maybe I shouldn’t try something like this as I’m propbably now going through my growth spurt but I really want to try this out.Safe for teens?

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