There was a girl in my high school class who stank. This girl was a good friend of mine for a time, and it wasn’t because she was dirty or neglected, but now that I know what I know about health, I can say with some degree of certainty that this girl stank because she was eating things that her body didn’t know how to process or digest.
Another classmate would hiss to me in the hallways “she’s your friend, YOU tell her!” But I never did, because how does one sixteen-year old tell another that they smell?
This girl never suffered: she had boyfriends and a social life, but she stank and everyone knew it.
Body odour is just one of the many side-effects of eating food that doesn’t work for us. It can emanate from any part of our bodies -- our feet, genitals, mouth, underarms – and is a pretty accurate barometer of how well our diet is feeding our bodies. The simple rule of thumb is if you smell funny, chances are, something’s up. Diet is not the only possible cause of body odour. Hormonal changes, thyroid imbalances, bacterial overgrowth and stress can all contribute to temporary funkiness in the scent department.
Unfortunately, many of the options available out there don’t actually get to the root of the problem, but rather, they only offer a temporary solution, thereby making us dependant on industrial mouthwashes, soaps and deodorants.
Many people try to combat odour with anti-perspirants. Most contain aluminum. According to the National Cancer Institute, what this does is form a temporary plug within the sweat ducts that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. And while that might sound like a good thing in terms of curbing odours, in practice, chances are this will only aggravate the problem rather than solve it long-term.
Our skin is our largest organ. It protects us from pathogens, regulates temperature and provides insulation, amongst other things. In addition, we remove toxins through our skin. In other words, if we clog up those pores with aluminium and all sorts of other chemicals, we are, in fact, stopping the natural process and trapping toxins inside us. That doesn’t sound very healthy, does it?
Similarly, most mouthwashes contain alcohol, which dehydrates the mouth and feeds the same nasty bacteria that can cause halitosis in the first place.
So what can you do?
First of all, try to pinpoint the cause of the odour. Have you recently been through an upheaval at work, health-wise, in your personal life? Have you been travelling or eating out more than usual? Have you been put on a new medication or started a new vitamin or supplement? Have you had an upset stomach or other medical condition?
Once you know the origin of the problem, you can help yourself in many many ways. It’s important to seek medical attention if needed. Other remedies include: switching to all-natural beauty products that won’t clog your pores (so that your body can resume using your skin in the way it was intended), drinking more water to help flush out those toxins, dry-brushing your skin before you shower, and exfoliating.
You can also make your own – deodorant, perfume, mouthwash. It’s easy, quick and incredibly satisfying.
And then of course there’s the role diet plays in all of this. Our bodies metabolize different foods in different ways -- why wouldn’t that affect how we smell? Personally, I smell differently when I eat meat, and when I drink alcohol. What about you?
If you’re concerned about body odour of any kind, consider what foods and lifestyle triggers might be affecting you negatively. And if you need help either in identifying the culprit or figuring out what to do about it, shoot me an email at Gabriela@thepickyfoodie.com so we can set up a session to discuss it.
With love and lavender
P.S. Still suffering from that runny nose / cough / chill that doesn't seem to let up? It’s February and everyone seems to be wrestling with some sort of bug. As we sniffled our way through Friday Night Dinner, DW and I sipped my potent Cold-And-Flu Elixir. You can find the formula for this bug-busting potion in this week’s Friday Night Dinner Blog.