It sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not! As Lisa says, “Our skin is 80% what we put in it, and 20% what we put on it.”
Read ahead to find out more about how your diet and your radiant skin are connected.
Michelle’s RawFoodz: Tell us about yourself. Why did you get into nutrition coaching?
Lisa Holowaychuk: My name is Lisa, and I’m a holistic nutritionist + skin coach based out of Toronto, Ontario.
I have quite the journey as to how I came to be doing what I do today but to make a long story short, I was living in South Africa and in 2006 I started to fall ill. At one point I had over 100 symptoms ranging from vertigo to cystic acne. I saw doctors, specialists, naturopaths, and functional practitioners, who were all unable to diagnose where my symptoms stemmed from.
I started to research natural cures, and this is where my passion, devotion and complete love for nutrition started. I started to study it informally, trying to find my own answers and I consider myself extremely lucky that I eventually connected the dots and realized, quite simply, we are what we eat. We are cellular beings, therefore what we eat feeds our cells. I went vegan overnight which immediately cut out a lot of inflammatory foods, and that definitely helped, but there was still a lot of work for me to do.
It wasn’t until September of 2012 that I had a pure angelic moment and experience, and out of nowhere Lyme Disease popped into my head. Two weeks later I was in Calgary getting tested, and it was soon confirmed that I had chronic late state Lyme Disease.
I’m cutting a lot out, but from that point onwards I knew it was my mission to help others heal. I studied holistic nutrition formally, did my own intensive natural healing for a year, and decided to move to Toronto.
So, here I am today! I practice out of my Glow Loft in Downtown Toronto, seeing women who are struggling with their overall health, as after my own health journey I truly do not want to see people suffering from ill health. I feel it’s now my duty to help others heal. My specialities lie in helping women live their healthiest, happiest and most glow filled life – we usually target hormones, gut health, skin (acne + anti-aging are my passions), inflammation, weight-loss, and mind / body healing. As I know from my own healing, physical healing will never take place if the mind isn’t unblocked and in a place to truly believe that full healing can and will take place.
MR: What a story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
You mentioned that part of your practice focuses on skin and we want to dig a little deeper into your expertise there. Many of us know that eating properly will help you feel better, potentially result in weight loss, and contribute to an overall sense of wellness. One thing that often goes overlooked (or not talked about) is the way it will affect your beauty. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with how your diet affects your hair, skin, nails, etc?
LH: It all comes back to your skin. Your skin is your largest organ, which is so crazy as like you said, it often gets dismissed. We expect our skin to just do it’s job, but we forget that it needs deep nourishment (food, but also mental / mindful practices) and is the best indicator if something is array with our internal workings. Acne? I look to the gut, not a skincare product. Topical stuff is great and nourishing, but it’s often just a bandaid. If we don’t address the root cause, it will continue to flare, and ultimately cause more damage down the road. Ultimately our skin is a window into our insides. I can look at a person’s face and tell what organ is being affected by poor diet and lifestyle choices depending on where the breakouts are located. This mapping gives me a clear indication to the organ that needs support, and treatment through nutritional therapy, supplements, and lifestyle / mental shifts.
Same goes for our hair and nails. These are accessory organs, which means that they are last to get the beautiful nutrients and vitamins that we ingest. If we have a compromised gut, or our hormones are not balanced, we will need all the help to just keep us alive and help mitigate the damage from our food and environments!
MR: That is so interesting and will definitely make people think twice before every meal!
Speaking of meals, are there any foods/drinks that you find make your skin break out?
LH: It depends, and is honestly different for every single soul. What makes me breakout is so different for others. It can be healthy food that makes you break out, too! Personally speaking, I have a sensitivity to almonds, walnuts, pineapple, and papaya which means whenever I eat them I break out horribly, so I know to stay far, far, away from them. The misconception is that it’s only ‘bad’ foods that cause breakouts, but you could be eating a super healthy food that is causing your skin to become distressed.
Some common culprits that I see are: Dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, nuts/seeds, and sugar.
But at the end of the day, it’s truly different for everyone. Someone’s gem product or mineral can be another person’s poison when it comes to healing the skin.
MR: Okay, let’s flip this question. Are there any foods/drinks that you find consistently leads to healthy, clear, bright skin?
LH: Foods with a very high concentration of water! This includes all vegetables and fruits, and to highlight a few I would say, cucumbers, red peppers (high in vitamin C), celery, lemon, greens, romaine, avocado, and berries. I eat these every single day.
These foods, along with liquids like pure alkaline water, green tea, matcha, kombucha, herbal teas, green juice, broths will keep your skin hydrated.
MR: Talk to us about wrinkles. Can we eat our way to firm, tight skin?
LH: Ah wrinkles. Wrinkling is quite complex, as there are intrinsic (genes, skin DNA) and extrinsic (environment, pollution, diet, lifestyle, allergens, mental health) factors that lead to wrinkling. But what I can say is that the latter is the one that matters the most, and thankfully the one that we have control over. Some aging is inevitable, but premature, and excessive aging is not. I believe in aging in the most graceful manner, and will 100% support it through diet and lifestyle.
Our skin is 80% what we put in it, and 20% what we put on it. So skincare does matter (I use almost 100% green and natural beauty – skincare and makeup) and recommend products to my clients as well depending on their goals and skin type. Along with focusing on diet and supplements, as they truly are the base of beautiful skin, and keeping your collagen in tact.
So yes, absolutely we can eat our way to firm and tight skin! I do believe it takes TLC, arming yourself with the proper guidance, knowledge, tools, and products (for your inside & out). There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to aging, wrinkles, and skin as we are all different human beings.
I suggest that we look to nature, and realize that what we put inside our body and mind is just as important as we put on it to achieve not only vibrant and glowy skin (which I’m obsessed with), but an equally as radiating body and mind. Everything is connected, which why my practice is very holistic, and I tackle the body and mind as one.
MR: You’re so inspiring!
Okay, we have one final question for you. Can you talk to us about the lifestyle change – if someone out there is just starting to learn about eating for clear skin, are there any tips you can pass on to make it a little bit easier?
LH: Here they are:
- Tune into what you’re putting in your body and how it’s making you feel
- Simple, but so effective: drink a lot of water (I aim for a minimum of 3 liters a day!)
- Use natural and green beauty products – our skin needs natural oils
- Sweat – our skin needs to breathe and sweat so it can release toxins
- Eat an abundance of whole + raw foods
- Meditate – seems odd to include here, but we must clear our minds to clear our bodies
- Eat lots of healthy fats
- Seek professional guidance if you’re struggling with more serious skin issues (acne, pigmentation, eczema, inflammation, rashes) to get really personalized, detailed, and effective treatment. No two cases are alike because no two humans are alike, and you can end up throwing a lot of money away on topical skincare, and the wrong diet / supplements for your lifestyle and body.
Thank you so much, Lisa!
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