Being a gluten-free, sugar-free eighteen-year-old university student is no easy feat. Let me tell you something about university life: it is a high-stress, low-sleep lifestyle that is fuelled almost exclusively by coffee, Kraft Dinner, and ramen noodles. Translation: being a gluten-free university student means that a solid 67% of the typical university student diet is no longer accessible to you. And of course, the other 33% if filled with all manner of processed sugars, which is unfortunate if you are a gluten-free and sugar-free individual. And for my first year of university, I just happened to have the unpleasant privilege of falling into that category.
By the start of university, I had been fully gluten-free for approximately a year and a half, which meant that I knew which companies were better at making gluten-free bread and which companies should be avoided at all costs. I had also realized that gluten-free products were surprisingly unhealthy, which is why I am always a little amused when people go on gluten-free diets to try to lose weight. If you take the time to look at the ingredients in gluten-free food items, you’ll realize that most gluten-free products are made predominantly with corn or some combination of corn and rice. This means that, if you want to maintain a truly healthy diet, you need to supplement the lack of nutrition in these products by consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For the first month of university, I did just that. I ate fresh salads for lunch almost every day, and I ate fruit for breakfast every morning. However, by the time midterms hit in my second month of university, I didn’t have time to make fresh meals every day. I needed something that I could cook in a big pot and eat for three meals straight. So I reverted back to my old lifestyle of eating pasta non-stop, although this time I was eating gluten-free pasta. I was convinced that, because the box said gluten-free on it, my skin would still be happy. And it was. Until the end of my first year.
By the time I moved back home for the summer after my first year, I had reverted back to a diet that consisted of fruit for breakfast, gluten-free pasta for lunch, and gluten-free pasta for dinner. Some days I had added some intrigue into the day by having gluten-free pasta salad, but apart from those rare occurrences, my meals stayed the same. Even when I did make a change, it was usually something rice-based, like curry or butter chicken, which really has very little nutritional value.
All that to say: my gut health was probably not in the best place, despite me still being gluten-free and sugar-free.
When I arrived home from university for the summer, I found that my parents had copious amounts of dried fruit in their home. Having been starved of all things rich and delicious like dried fruit, I naturally gravitated towards eating that as a snack. Multiple times. Each day. So after the first month of break, between my already unhealthy diet of primarily corn-based gluten-free pasta and my new diet of binge-eating dried fruit, my gut health was probably at an all-time low. So it’s no surprise that my skin health began to deteriorate rapidly.
Now, when I say that my skin health deteriorated rapidly, I mean rapidly. I went from having almost perfectly clear, acne-free and (almost) eczema-free skin at the end of my first year to one month later struggling with the most intense outbreak of eczema and whatever the heck you call it when your skin literally hates you. I won’t go into the gory details of exactly what happened to my skin, so I’ll just summarize it in three words: pain, pus, and putrification.
I cannot emphasize enough just how horrible this phase of my life was. My arms were covered in eczema, and I would literally watch it spread each and every week. The skin on my entire torso from my chest to my hips was so raw that it hurt to wear clothes. I tried everything to make it stop. I tried expensive creams. I went to a naturopath and started an elimination diet, which can be summarized simply by saying that you remove everything from your diet that could possibly be irritating you. Translation: you eat brown rice, leafy greens, and the occasional apple. If you’re lucky.
But after doing this one-month elimination diet for over two and a half months, I saw no improvement. In fact, nothing seemed to help. Not the cream, not the diet change, not even the essential oil mixture that my mom and I had made. Nothing helped. And everything hurt. I applied essential oils to my skin two or three times a day, and each time I had to physically brace myself against the wall and get a death grip on something in order to breath through the extreme discomfort. Suffice to say, it was unpleasant, and I rapidly began regretting every bite of gluten-free pasta and dried fruit I had consumed.
Finally, I was so desperate that I decided to try out the GX Assist and PB Assist products that my mom had been hounding me to try for weeks. The reason I had resisted for so long was because I hate taking pills and I find it incredibly difficult to get them down. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. And after three months of a horrible summer with the threat of second year looming only a month away, I was desperate.
So I started taking three of the GX Assist pills each day. What these pills do is essentially kill off any harmful pathogens in your gut. And if the amount of pain I felt shortly after taking them those first few days at all corresponds to the amount of bacteria that they were killing, I knew that they were working. But it was worth it. After the first few days, the pain stopped. And by the time that I transitioned to the PB Assist pills—which introduce healthy bacteria and necessary probiotics back into your system—I noticed that the patches of irritated skin had stopped growing. Which might not seem like a big deal to you, but for eighteen-year-old me who had been watching this horrible skin condition systematically invade every clear patch of skin on my body, seeing the eczema stop growing was a big deal.
Three weeks later, my skin was clear. And I mean perfectly clear. After only 10 days of taking the GX Assist pills and 2-3 more weeks taking the PB Assist pills, I was able to completely reverse the effects of all those months of unhealthy eating. More importantly, those pills were able to do more in one month than all the eliminating and creaming and oiling had done in three months.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that expensive creams and elimination diets don’t have their place. I’m simply saying that, as always (or almost always), my mom was right: if you want health skin, you need a healthy gut. And while I know that continuing on with the elimination diet would eventually have gotten me to back to the place of having a healthy gut, by using the GX Assist and PB Assist, I was able to save myself months of pain and discomfort. In other words, they achieved the same result in a fraction of the time.
So that’s it. That is my story. That is why, despite that fact that I still hate taking pills, I take PB Assist every day. Because I know now just how necessary it is to adjust your lifestyle to match your stress level. And, even more importantly, I know how necessary it is to keep your gut healthy if you want to keep your skin healthy.
So there you have it, folks. After only a few minutes of reading, you can come to the same conclusion that it took me months of pain to realize: healthy gut = healthy skin. It’s a simple equation. Difficult to follow at time, yes. But so worth it in the end.
I hope you found this helpful. Take care, everyone!
And remember: You need to take care of your gut!