Recently, it came into the news that Beyoncé partnered with her trainer, Marco Borges, to launch 22 Days Nutrition, a new vegan meal delivery service.
All meals are vegan: that is, 100% plant-based. All ingredients are certified to be non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and organic.
Prices will range from $9.76 to $16.50 each, and delivery is once per week.
“We all know the importance and value of eating plant-based foods but often times find ourselves trapped in a series of bad habits that sabotage optimum wellness,” says co-founder Borges. “The Vegan Meal Delivery program makes it easier to reset your habits with healthy and delicious plant-based foods.”
But is a vegan diet good for your skin? Here, the truth:
No Dairy: Great for Your Skin
I am Asian-American, but I am also adopted, and was raised in an Italian-American family. The thought of me going without dairy, including my beloved cheese, is gut-wrenching, but it turns out it may be the best thing for my skin!
When it comes to dairy consumption and the skin, there is arguably no better source than F. William Danby at the Harvard School of Public Health. Danby and his team studied more than 47,000 women, who were asked to complete questionnaires relating to their diet as teenagers and breakouts throughout their lives. The study found no link between food such as chocolate and acne or fried foods and acne, but found one between women who had acne and those who had drunk a lot of milk.
Danby proposes this is due to the DHT (androgens) in the milk, which increase oil production (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2008). This means that Beyoncé’s vegan diet may be great for helping to balance out oil as well — who knew what you drink (or don’t) could be better than blotting papers?!
Lower in Sugar: Great for Your Skin
I don’t normally like vegan diets, because many people use this is as an excuse to eat every simple carbohydrate known to man. White bread, white sugar, and even vegan cakes and cookies are still pure sugar! This causes the blood sugar to rise, leading to insulin release, which tells your body to store rather than burn fat.
However, with a vegan diet plan like Beyoncé’s 22 Days Nutrition, you have to follow the plan, which ends up being comprised primarily of foods low on the glycemic index — meaning your blood sugar does not spike.
Eating low sugar food is great for your skin. In one particularly poignant study, people with acne placed on a low glycemic index for 12 weeks experienced dramatic clearing of the skin – and lost three pounds to boot (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007). It seems the elevated blood sugar-insulin link to acne really is that profound.
I’ve also gone on a vegan diet myself in the past (The Beauty Detox Diet), and I’ve found that my skin glows from all of the nutrients. The plan is contingent on a morning ritual of drinking a large glass of vitamin A-rich green juice, and continues into vegan dishes throughout the day. It’s pretty awesome.
Surprisingly High in Calcium: Great for Your Skin (and Your Bones!)
Being raised in America, we all equate “high calcium” with “dairy.” We fear that we will get osteoporosis and be shrunken, brittle versions of ourselves in old age if we skip the glass of milk.
But it turns out that many green leafy vegetables are higher sources of calcium than milk. In fact, a few cups a day of vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, cucumber, kale, sea vegetables, and spinach, as well as nuts and seeds, will get you above and beyond your daily allowance for calcium faster than consuming dairy.
What’s more, evidence shows that populations who regularly consume milk have a greater incidence of bone issues like osteoporosis and fractures. In the U.S., women drink 30-32 times as much cow’s milk as in New Guinea, but suffer 47 times as many hip fractures (Osteoporosis International, 1991).
So what’s going on? There are two prevailing theories: One, the high levels of phosphorus in cow’s milk may bind to calcium, preventing its absorption. Two, it seems the high levels of protein in milk may cause for more calcium to be excreted in the urine than is absorbed by the body (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1979).
As for your skin, calcium has been found by Denda et. al to increase the rate of barrier recovery function in in the skin, thereby giving the skin a more supple, moisturized appearance.
A Lack of Vitamin B12: Not-So-Great for Your Skin (or Your Health)
One issue with vegan diets is that they are often lacking in Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is naturally produced in the bacteria in our intestines, and is most often derived from the red meat in our diets. Without getting too scientific and jargony on you, Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is converted into a compound called methylcobalamin, which in turn is essential for the function of methionine synthase and then S-adenosylmethionine. It is S-adenosylmethionine that is important for DNA and RNA gene regulation through every cell of your body (Oregon State University).
The importance of B12 is shown in a deficiency. B12 deficiency can affect the hematologic (blood), gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. In terms of your skin, a deficiency can result in skin issues like vitiligo, skin hyperpigmentation, hair changes, and recurrent angular stomatitis (Canadian Family Physician).
According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms. Some side effects of vitamin B deficiency are memory loss, disorientation, hallucinations, and tingling arms and legs (Harvard School of Public Health).
When you undergo a vegan diet, including 22 Days Nutrition, take heed: Always, always, always take a vitamin B12 supplement.
In general, vegan diets can be difficult because many people substitute cravings for meat and dairy with simple carbohydrates, which cause blood sugar spikes and glycation (read: less supple skin). Vegan diets often also lack vitamin B12, which can result in skin hyperpigmentation, hair thinness, and more serious skin conditions.
On the other hand, by following a strict low-sugar vegan plan like 22 Days Nutrition, and taking a vitamin B12 supplement, you can end up boosting your inner glow with super doses of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Since studies show what you eat is just as important as what you put on your skin, this is a great way to improve the look and appearance of your skin, especially if you have dull or oily skin to begin with!
This is not a sponsored post.