Skin SOS { 1 }: Blood deficiencies and blood nourishing foods

  • November 07, 2017
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

I've been really looking into this whole "blood nourishment" thing since my skin has been on the fritz these days and I'm desperate for answers.  To be honest, it's sort of calming down (thank fuck) but not where I want it to be which is here (summer 2017):

Since right now, I'm here (at least it feels, and kinda looks, like it):

I'm not sure what the real issue(s) is/are but my acu and I suspect it's a combination of wacky hormones (since I'm in the "age group when peri-menopause symptoms begin" #rude) and the unpredictable seasonal temps we've been having but these days my skin has been one, some or all of the following:  parched, flaky, hyper sensitive and reactive, red, inflamed, irritated, itchy.  I've had to temporarily stop using all of my active products (enzyme peel, rosehip and vitamin C oil) and stick to soothing, nourishing skin creams and oils.

But back to blood deficiencies and how this relates to our health and skin.

Blood deficiency can commonly result in:
  • musculo-skeletal injuries that fail to heal. This condition is common among young, very athletically active women who eat limited protein
  • Menstrual irregularities or absensce of mentrual periods
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision or other vision problems
  • Poor memory
  • Anxiety, depression and/or fatigue
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Leg cramps, restless leg syndrome
  • Dry/parched skin.   -source
At some point this year, I've experienced all of these except for anxiety/depression.  If I'm being honest, 95% of these symptoms are part of my everyday life which is no bueno.

One of the main cornerstones of chinese medicine is the health of our blood.  It is our life line; it brings nutrients and oxygen to vital organs, including the largest organ of all - our skin.  When your skin gets the right amount of nutrients, it not only promotes collagen production but the result is glowing, youthful, hydrated and plump skin.  All the things every woman wants for the rest of her life.

When you're blood deficient, your blood lacks the proper nourishment for your body, pretty much resulting in all the things I've been experiencing and on top of that, you look like Melisandre when she took off her magical necklace.  Here's an excerpt of a good description of blood nourishment and how it affects the body:
All food breaks down to fuel the basic functions of the body and mind. Some foods act like kindling, they burn quickly and get the fire going. But they don’t last long.   Kindling foods - the pancakes, refined sugars, grains and breads, most fruit and vegetables - all break down into pretty simple sugars. 
Other foods are like slow burning briquettes; they take a little longer to get started (digested), but they keep cooking for hours. These include beans and pulses, whole grains, tofu and tempeh, nuts and seeds, and all animal products. In Chinese medicine, we’re additionally concerned about how different foods nourish the blood. Our blood is like an irrigation system for the body. The flow and the nutrients in the irrigation system determine the health of our skin, eyes, nails, hair and internal organs. Well irrigated blood expresses itself in a brightness in the eyes, hair that is full and shiny, strong smooth nails, skin that is not excessively dry and flakey. But what we can see on the outside (hair, nails, skin), is also happening to our internal organs and tissues on the inside. When well irrigated, our muscles and organs remain moist, supple and vital. If our bodies are not irrigated with healthy, nutrient rich, blood nourishing foods, the opposite of those characteristics listed above begin to appear in our tissues, outside and inside of the body.  -source

Sure, you can get topical treatments (medicinal/steroid creams) and/or fillers and whatever to make your skin look good but those can only take you so far; health and skin hydration starts from the inside and I prefer the natural route - nourishing your blood through a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Sounds simple, right?  not everyone eats blood nourishing foods on the regular, though; many people have too much refined or processed food in their diets.  Here are some examples of blood nourishing foods:
  • Eggs
  • quinoa
  • beet roots
  • bone stock and soup
  • chicken
  • all red meat
  • root veggies
  • winter squash
  • cruciferous green veggies (kale, spinach, collard greens, arugula, broccoli etc)
  • chick peas
I'll admit that I've been lacking in the leafy greens department since I've been home; in fact, since I started IF, I haven't really been eating much of these things because little things fill me up so fast.  I eat healthy but not as much protein or veggies as I used fact, when I think back to when I was working and had to really focus on meal prep, I pretty much ate everything above on the regular and my skin was amazing.

In the past week or so, I've stopped being a lazy asshole and started meal prepping again.  I just made a batch of that awesome kale salad that's currently in the fridge waiting to be eaten. Most of the above ingredients have been bought and will be made for dinners (and therefore, lunches) for the week.  I haven't had coffee for 8 days now (*cries*) and I've reduced my wine intake (*really cries*).   I'm eager to stop looking like a shrivelled ballsack and I'm sick of my skin feeling parched so if this means I'll get my skin back, then these are sacrifices I'm willing to make.

In my next Skin SOS post, I'll outline the products I've been using to help me through this difficult skin time.

Have you ever heard of "blood deficiencies" or "blood nourishing foods"?
Do you have any skin ailments currently plaguing you?

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  1. Yes I have, but never paid too much attention to it since I eat the foods you've listed normally. Expect when I'm lazy which has been now. I've added beets into my diet for better blood circulation and started to bring back my spinach smoothies. The salad sounds delicious and I'm allll about trying it.

  2. I read a book several years ago about eating for your blood type ... but I don't think that was aimed at nourishing the blood. More like if your blood type is 'this', then you descended from cavemen and need a lot of dinosaur meat (or something similar). I have a lot of the symptoms listed above - but am also going through extreme stress so I attributed my skin problems to the stress. I need to get back to meal planning for lunches rather than just grabbing days-old leftovers just to clear out the fridge ...

  3. You're so beautiful Kathy! As you mentioned the unpredictable weather, I was going to ask if it could have anything to do with weather changes. My sister lives in Aus and has perfect skin but when the weather changes her skin does not know what to do.

    That said, theres something to be said about blood thing though and Ive heard it before. I hope you keep sharing about this because like you, Im skin UHB-SESSED.

  4. I highly doubt that your skin looks as bad as you think it does. You have the most amazing skin of anyone I know. But I do understand when it randomly goes to shit and you are left scratchy your head like wtf. I like that the list includes red meats, usually they end up on the no no list but like...burgers and steaks yo! Hopefully this will help you out! I need to step it up on a few of these items as well.

  5. interesting - i have never heard of this. the things it results in sounds like a lot of things i 'suffer' from, but i eat a shit ton of quinoa, eggs, chickpeas, spinach and root veggies so perhaps not. that's basically my entire diet haha

  6. Girl - you are so funny. Your skin looks better then mine did was I was a teenager. Its amazing. I do think nutrition is a huge factor to skin though. When I gave up meat, my acne totally cleared up!!!

  7. Very, very interesting information, Kathy. Well, my diet has been crap for many, many, MANY years and I'm now fixing it. I absolutely agree health starts from the inside. I do eat lots of the food you listed, although I've cut back on certain veggies while I'm in weight loss mode. I need to make some bone broth soup. Because I have cut back on my veggies/fruits, I am concerned that I'm not getting all the minerals and vitamins I need, which isn't good either. Looking forward to seeing what products you're using.

  8. This is super interesting!! I am super curious about how it works for you. OMG there are times when I wish I could give up

  9. This is SO fascinating and I'm really interested to see how this changes your skin! My skin is super dry but I've always just attributed it to having hard water. I believe that a change in diet would help after reading about this.

  10. Great post I am anemic and I can certainly tell the difference with my diet.
    xoxo Falasha
    Bite My Fashion

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  11. Your skin always impresses me. I've had terrible skin since I was 12 but I've definitely tried to turn that around and really spend time and money and energy on it in my 20s. I will definitely look into these foods! I've been meaning to look into some bone stock recipes!