Evolution Can Take Many Forms

Hello, my name is Martin Blais and it’s a pleasure to virtually meet you.  I am honoured that Tasch asked me to write this article.  It’s my personal story and I hope you’ll find the outcome super interesting, in relation to skin care and health in general. Happy reading!

First, I want to you know that I am just an average guy when it comes to skin care. What I know, I learned from watching TV ads and from reading the random article in Chatelaine magazine at my dentist’s office.  Oh, and from my ex-girlfriend who taught me 3 important daily steps, which include using:

1. A cleansing solution, whilst making small circles all over your face and then rinsing with water, gradually by integrating more water, as you keep making the aforementioned circles until the cleanser is completely rinsed off.

2. Then a small amount of astringent solution applied to a cotton pad and smoothing it over your skin. BTW this is not what I consider a super manly process (plus it gets stuck in your beard!).  My way? Pour it in your palm and splash it on your face, like a Viking refreshing from the fountain of eternal youth after a hard battle -- worthy of securing a spot in Valhalla #haha.

3. The third and final step and my personal favourite… the moisturizer. I know it’s very good for your skin -- you know, to moisturize

There you have it, that’s the extent of my skin care expertise #thankyousuzie!

Now, let’s get to the most important point and why am I sharing all of this with you? Despite my limited knowledge of skin care, I am pleased to share my personal experiences and the many positive changes regarding how my skin looks, feels and heals.  I am a proud VEGAN!  Yes.. yes, I know there are many jokes about vegans looking for every possible opportunity to tell the world (& their mothers) about their amazing eating habits -- blah blah blah!  I promise, I’m not here to fall into that stereotype.  All jokes aside, whether you consider the idea of going vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, ovo-vegetarian or are simply wanting to cut down on meat and dairy, I believe you will also experience the benefits of healthier skin.  It’s pretty simple, all you have to do is (gradually) change a few elements in your diet, which lean towards plant-based nourishment.

Here’s my story.  I became a full-fledged vegan five years ago.  Initially, my motivation was compassion for animals, however, as time passed I learned many other reasons to justify this new lifestyle, such as environment and health. Throughout my process, I researched, studied and learned as much as humanly possible.  I wanted to be absolutely certain that by becoming a vegan, my children and I would not miss any important nutrients (or other) which could potentially hinder a balanced diet, harm our health and/or their growth. One day, during my research I stumbled upon on a quote from the famous actor, Woody Harrelson, about why he first considered the idea of becoming a vegan.  I’m sharing this, as I think it is very relevant to this blog:

“I was about 24 years old and I had tons of acne and mucus. I met some random girl on a bus who told me to quit dairy and all those symptoms would go away three days later.”

I realize this is subjective, as Woody Harrelson was likely lactose intolerant to a certain extent.  Also, remember that everyone’s metabolism is different; what applies to one person doesn’t necessarily mean it applies to someone else. Nonetheless, it lead me to question a few things about myself, for example, if the pimples I had always had on my arms and shoulders would go away?!  Contrary to Woody’s experience, they did not vanish in three days, in fact, it took almost a year before I noticed the change.  But today, I am happy to share that my arms and shoulders are smooth and completely pimple free #beyondgrateful.

Warning be given, going vegan is not a synonym of skin salvation in itself. A person deciding to reduce or phase out meat and dairy will be exposed to alternative plant-based options, which are not necessarily healthy. You have to invest time, research and be committed to the process of shopping & preparing healthy, balanced meals which include tons of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts etc.  Also, people will ask that infamous question: where do you get your protein from?, for which you need to prepare a solid answer.  Otherwise, expect a frowning-stare à la Dwayne Johnson, where he does his  famous “smouldering intensity” gaze.  I usually get out of it by explaining, in more details that most are interested to hear LOL… “proteins are made of chains of Amino Acids that are largely found in vegetables.  You need to combine a variety of vegetables to get the protein out of your meal.  You can add ingredients like hemp seed hearts, chia seeds, cereal like quinoa and/or many other options for that matter. This variety also helps you get Magnesium, Iron, Antioxidants and so many other amazing things that will benefit your skin, body and health”.  Sometimes, I even add Uranium or Plutonium to the list of nutrients, to see if they are still listening and paying attention #not.

Ok, back to veganism and the amazing skin improvements I experienced.  I used to shave twice a week (on Sunday & Wednesday nights) to have an equal amount of days wearing that “rugged, slightly-unshaven look”, which I love.  The morning after; without fail, I would wake up with sensitive red spots all over the shaved area, which would stay until the next morning, at least.  No matter what aftershave I used (regular to more sensitive types), I had accepted the fact that shaving twice a week meant:

  • Monday, red-face
  • Tuesday, partial red-face
  • Wednesday, nice manly rugged look
  • Thursday, red-face,
  • Friday, partial-red-face
  • Saturday and Sunday, nice manly rugged look

Today, five years into my vegan lifestyle, I may experience a few moments of sensitivity after shaving, but literally none of the above inconveniences.  I no longer need to use an aftershave and go straight to my moisturizing cream, which of course is also vegan.  In addition, my skin is much more radiant, has a much healthier glow, and even my nails and hair grow faster.  But that’s not it…

Although a bit off topic of skin care, before I became a vegan I had to decide if I could continue to donate blood or not.  This is because I used to experience a significant blood pressure drop every time I donated.  To the point that I had to warn the nurse in advance, to raise my legs and prepare cold wet towels for my neck – otherwise I would pass out cold.  Since becoming a vegan, I never had that problem again… in fact I was able to donate blood seven times over the past few years.  I am very happy about this because I enjoy being able to help people in every way possible. 

Lastly, I am an avid athlete and love the gym, riding my bike, running marathons and practicing yoga.  Today, my recuperation time is so much faster than it was before making a vegan lifestyle change.  It’s especially noticeable when training long distance and for marathons.  It used to take me 2-3 days to fully recuperate and now I can continue to train the very next day.  You may think I am a bit crazy, but after running a marathon I can continue the very same day and run some more!  One could argue that this is the result of maintaining regular training over several years, however, I am 100% certain, without a doubt, that something changed in my metabolism when I changed to a vegan diet.  If you’re interested to learn more about this topic, I suggest you watch a new amazing documentary (2019), called The Game Changers, produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul. It’s now available on Netflix.

Well, there you have it!  I sincerely hope my stories and experiences about going vegan, coupled with my overall skin (and health) improvements, have nurtured your interest and perhaps influenced you to incorporate and tweak your diet and eating habits.  We are fortunate to experience life through our body; I believe we can contribute to improve our personal life experiences, by becoming conscious and caring about what we put inside our bodies… which is our soul’s temple.

Stay tuned because one day soon, I’ll share how I got rid of chronic psoriasis, smelly feet and regular cold and sweaty extremities (I’m talking about hands and feet) by taking cold showers, cold baths and practicing an interesting breathing technique.

In good health,

Martin

Montreal, Quebec

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