Let’s be real: comfort food is like a warm hug for the soul. And who doesn’t crave that nostalgic bite of fettuccine alfredo or the cheesy goodness of a pizza slice now and then?
But here’s the kicker: some of these comforting classics are like frenemies to our skin. They may taste good at the moment, but they’re secretly plotting against us, particularly if you’re wrestling with chronic acne.
That’s why the art of substitution is a game-changer. Imagine having all the flavour and richness of your go-to comfort dishes without the skin-sabotaging ingredients. Sounds like a win-win, right? So whether you’re looking to clear your skin or want to eat in a way that makes you feel good, healthy substitutions can help you out.
One of my absolute faves is this Creamy Cashew Alfredo Sauce, a dairy-free delight that’ll satisfy your creamy pasta cravings without wreaking havoc on your skin.
Now, before we dive into this luscious recipe, let’s unravel the mystery of why dairy is often public enemy number one when it comes to clear skin. Ready? Let’s go!
Even if the dairy you consume is organic and hormone-free, it still contains more than 60 naturally occurring hormones that can trigger breakouts.
Dairy contains insulin-growth factor (IGF-1), which elevates insulin levels. High insulin levels can cause blood sugar swings that contribute to acne. IGF-1 can also increase sebum production, which clogs your pores and leads to breakouts.
The main proteins in milk are casein and whey. Both are difficult for most to digest and can lead to gastrointestinal distress, inflammation and potential damage to the gut lining. Gut health is the foundation for clear skin. On top of this, casein increases IGF-1 and whey spikes insulin levels. As you now know, those are both big-time acne triggers.
Research shows that casein can negatively affect the absorption of the skin-healing mineral zinc, which is bad news if you have acne. Zinc is also crucial for healthy hormones. And imbalanced hormones are an underlying factor of chronic acne.
Some people advocate for raw dairy as a healthier option. While it retains more natural enzymes to aid digestion, the acne-triggering properties like hormones and IGF-1 remain. It’s also illegal for sale in most areas, making it difficult to source. So, it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for clear skin. While we recommend temporarily avoiding all dairy, you can test to see how your body, gut and skin react.
Now, let’s chat about why cashews are your new dairy-free BFF.
Feeling inspired? You can also use cashews in other dairy-free delights like my Rosemary Cashew Cheese, Baked Chicken Parmesan, or Pumpkin Pie Parfaits. I also love drizzling it over my Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash.
If you’d love to have a nut-free Alfredo recipe, too — check out my Cauliflower Alfredo with Roasted Spaghetti Squash.