Five Little Diet Changes

ruth crilly model health

It has been a while since I did a health and diet post so I thought I’d provide you with a little video update with the bits and bobs that I’ve changed recently. You can just skip straight to the video if you like, but I’m going to briefly run through everything that I discuss just in case you hate hearing the sound of my voice and/or are reading this whilst disconnected from the internet. So here’s a rundown of the changes:

1) I have stopped drinking cow’s milk as a direct result of my milk/acne discovery. You can read more about that here. Rest assured that I am getting all the calcium I could possibly need from the other sources – cheese, yoghurt, sardines, etc etc. A few people on Youtube blew their tops and had a total sh*tfit when I said that I wasn’t drinking milk – it was like I’d said that I was ripping the heads from baby lambs! Anyway, my skin is now perfectly clear apart from the times when I simply can’t resist a scoop of fine ice cream or a big plate of burrata or mozzarella buffala. (We all have our weaknesses, judge me not.) On the odd occasion that I need milk-ish liquids (ie, for porridge) I use almond or hazlenut milk. Don’t like soy and I’m not convinced that it’s the best substitute…

2) I have given up Diet Coke. After quite a long and hard struggle, actually. Boy was I properly addicted to that stuff! I’m not sure that all that fizz and brown water was doing my tummy or brain any good, though, and I do feel much better now. I have replaced with luxurious, tall glasses of cordial and water (sometimes sparkling) with heaps of ice. My Virgin Pure Water Bar that I was sent to trial last year is an absolute life-saver for the Diet Coke cold-turkey – lots of herbal teas and clear, cool water at the touch of a button. You can find out more about that here:

3) Dried fruits instead of sweeties – people pointed out on Youtube that the apricots I have are sugary and have dye in them… Blimey. These are small changes, I am not professing to be a monk. Though finding them undyed is better, even if they don’t taste as nice… Dates! Dates are amazing – medjool ones especially. Seek them out and eat them – they are like sticky toffee pudding in a mouthful!

4) I have tried to cut down a little on refined carbs, especially white pasta and bread – I try to replace these with lentils or chickpeas or quinoa a couple of times a week. Not a huge change, but every little helps! I do love a chickpea curry with a dollop of Total Greek Yoghurt – no bread or rice needed!

5) When I do eat bread, I try to make it in the breadmaker. Actually, it’s Mr AMR’s job to make the bread and he has been a bit slack as of late – I must crack the whip! Homemade bread in a machine takes about five minutes of your time, three hours in the machine. Just a few ingredients thrown into the mixer, compared to the dozens that are in shop-bought, long-lasting bread.

Please do watch the video below for more information on each point – if you’re reading via email then please click here for the video page!

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  1. April 23, 2013 / 7:29 am

    Oh Haribo my sin……I try hard too not to eat them. Dried pineapples are really good.

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:27 am

      Are they?! Never had! Must try those – I do like dry mango pieces too! x

  2. Agata
    April 23, 2013 / 7:31 am

    Hi Ruth, good for you on your diet changes, i totally agree with you and follow these rules on my own. Especially the milk thing, (ripping off lambs heads:-) it’s a complete myth that it’s so beneficial and great source for calcium. Actually most people do not digest it because they lack the special enzyme to break lactose into simpler sugars, so milk fermentates in their stomach and intestine releasing toxins. It does more damage than good, and there are plenty of other foods full of calcium like seeds, nuts, spinach, quinoa, oranges, lentils, broccoli etc. Take care, hugs from Italy (Milan)!

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:26 am

      Thanks Agata – yes, that was what I tried to explain to them but sometimes there’s just no point – people believe what they want to and it’s too much energy to fight your case! x

      • helen
        September 10, 2013 / 2:53 pm

        Hi Ruth i’m a coffee drinker with a touch of milk, I could and want to cut out milk but cant seem to for my coffee, almond, soy and all nut milks, rice milk etc curdles in my coffee, any advise? thanks

  3. Marlène
    April 23, 2013 / 8:08 am

    Hi Ruth, I was addicted to Diet Coke too! I started to worry when I woke up with only one thing in mind; a fresh glass of Diet Coke. That was alarming. It’s been four months since I haven’t drink of this. I don’t know if it made a difference on my skin beacause I added other changes to my diet. By the way I was wondering, what are your thoughts on the guten free diet? I tried this but I missed pastas and bread so much. Everybody says that this diet is good for your health but I never felt so tired. Enjoy your day!

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:26 am

      I think with gluten free there’s a period that your body readjusts itself and feels a little tired – wheat things are “fast energy” I suppose. I like my wheat too much to give it up, but I do try to cut down a lot! xx

  4. Cris Rajic
    April 23, 2013 / 8:33 am

    Good changes! I quit milk because it would swell my tummy and I hated soy milk but now I LOVE IT, can´t live without it, I guess it´s a matter of getting used to something, I liked your video very much and I miss a recipe video hehe I´ve made all your recipes and I love all of them ♡ Love your blue top, is it from Hush too?

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:25 am

      Yes, both tops are! x

      • Cris Rajic
        April 23, 2013 / 9:49 am

        That colour really suits you.Thanks!I

  5. Claudia
    April 23, 2013 / 8:54 am

    people went crazy over you not drinking milk? boy, this world sure is crazy… I don’t drink milk either since it affects my skin badly. I totally agree with you: no milk = no spots. last week I had tiramisu and let’s just say waking up the next day was… a little horrifying, haha. but there are so many healthier options than cow’s milk! sadly I’m allergic to soy, hazelnuts AND almonds – damn those cross sensitivities. when I have to find a substitute for milk, I use rice milk.. but it doesn’t taste very good so most of the time I just avoid milk completely. everyone can get their vitamins elsewhere :)

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:25 am

      I have to say that it wouldn’t bother me at all just to have no milk or alternatives – I get the calcium I need from yoghurt etc and I don’t really miss “cereal” – I’d rather have fresh fruit and yoghurt – maybe a bit of granola if I need crunch. x

  6. April 23, 2013 / 8:56 am

    I’ll have to give the no dairy thing a try soon. I eliminated all refined flours and sugars (except for ice cream occasionally!) and my skin cleared up drastically. I also have fewer headaches and less bloating. Altogether a really worthwhile change to my diet. Love the recommendation chickpea curry and yogurt. You should give breakfast bulgur wheat (drizzled with agave and dried cranberries) a go sometime. It’s a nice change from oatmeal (or the UK equivalent of porridge!)

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:24 am

      I will do, thanks Megan! x

  7. Natalie
    April 23, 2013 / 9:04 am

    Also, I wonder if there is a healthier alternative to alpro nut milks? As I tried almond milk not long ago but I couldn’t bring myself to finish the carton after I saw the ingredients… There were lots of additives, including more sugar than almond itself! Natalie xoxo

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 9:23 am

      Yes, I suppose I take so little milk now that it doesn’t bother me too much, but there must be “purer” alternatives. xx

      • Aarti shah
        April 23, 2013 / 10:33 am

        try the diamond breeze nut milks. Much “purer” more almond than sugar, and in my opinion tastes better. However, its much harder to find, only really seen it in the massive sumpermarkets

    • Linda
      April 23, 2013 / 8:30 pm

      Yes there are much better alternatives to Alpro and Diamond Breeze, try Oatly, Ecomil, The Bridge and Isola Bio. All these are easy to find and much cheaper on Amazon, especially when you get it with the Subscribe & Save option. Almond and oat (or any nut milk for that matter) are incredibly easy to make yourself too, just Google and you’ll find loads of recipes.

  8. April 23, 2013 / 9:45 am

    Good tips! I never drink milk or Coke and I gave up bread and sweets. Instead I bake with almond powder, dried fruits, palm sugar and coconut oil. My bananabread is the best! :D You can also make a regular bread with the almond powder.

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 11:27 am

      Share the recipe – share!!!! x

      • April 23, 2013 / 8:37 pm

        I’ll give it a try, I hope I name all the products right (English is not my mother tongue). You need:

        450 gr almond flour
        4 bananas, mushed
        8 chopped dates
        1/2 tbs sea salt (I use fleur de sel)
        60 ml melted butter or coconut oil
        1/4 tbs baking soda
        1 tbs vanille extract
        3 tbs honey or palm sugar
        1 tbs line seed (let it sit in 1 tbs water for 5 min before putting in the mixture)
        1 tbs applecider vinegar
        3 eggs

        Mix all the ingredients, put in a baking tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Let it cool down before serving.

  9. April 23, 2013 / 10:22 am

    Great tips! I try to avoid dairy and use almond milk, dairy free butter and soya yoghurts but I keep failing when it comes to cheese :)

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 11:27 am

      I seem to be OK with hard cheeses but I DO miss mozzarella! x

      • Linda
        April 23, 2013 / 8:13 pm

        Hi Ruth, Laverstoke Park do mozzarella made from buffalo milk which is a lot easier to digest and is also good for people with lactose intolerance like me. Maybe you could try it?

  10. Zhenya
    April 23, 2013 / 10:25 am

    Coconut milk in porridge is the best I’ve found, there’s barely any coconut flavour and it also works in tea and coffee (in case other people are wondering)

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 11:26 am

      As in the tinned stuff? xx

      • Ola
        April 23, 2013 / 11:50 am

        I think Natalie means the carton version (Koko is one of the brands). There are also coconut milk yoghurts by Coyo, but the prices are extortionate, sadly!

        • Ola
          April 23, 2013 / 12:26 pm

          I meant Zhenya, of course… Weird!

      • Zhenya
        April 24, 2013 / 6:01 pm

        As Ola said, I use the Koko milk in a carton!

  11. Kelly
    April 23, 2013 / 10:51 am

    Hi Ruth, great post. I was wondering, when you spoke to the dermatologist, whether goat’s milk came up and whether they suggested that as a good alternative? Thanks xx

    • RuthCrilly
      April 23, 2013 / 11:26 am

      It didn’t – but I imagine it would be! x

      • j
        April 25, 2013 / 8:52 pm

        i have heard that it depends! i did loads of reasearch and one reason that there may be a link is the amount of hormones in cows milk (like humans they must always be pregnant or recently given birth to lactate) and that will be the same in goats milk! However I’m no scientist! if its an allergy or intolerance then it is way more likely that its ok to have goats milk- cutting out and replacing for a while may actually lessen your allergy to cows milk in the first place, although you may develop one to goats milk, as allergies are actually changeable and dependent on your diet. So if you react because of the hormones, not much change, but if you react due to a specific allergy, then might be an idea! but don’t go overboard!

  12. Eli
    April 23, 2013 / 12:25 pm

    Just don´t care what people are saying. Cows do not drink milk or eat dairy products either, and they sure do not suffer from lack of calcium.

  13. April 23, 2013 / 1:25 pm

    I never knew this about milk! I should try that one as well, and I really need to cut down on carbs, what do you think about eating lots of potato stuff? I eat a lot of jacket potatoes!!!

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:13 pm

      Jacket potatoes are amazing, I love them!! xx

  14. April 23, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    Thank you so much for that post about milk. I conducted an experiment – drank more milk than usual during one week… Well, I did have to use more skincare products after that, but now I know for sure that cow milk is really harmful. Now I drink only soya milk (wish we had Alpro hazelnut milk in our stores!), and this helps. Though I still can’t resist cheese, yoghurts and ice-cream(
    I wonder if it’s the same thing with cow meat??

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:13 pm

      Hmm, not sure!! x

  15. Harris
    April 23, 2013 / 5:44 pm

    I was afraid you would recommend steps that were a bit frightening, especially for an, ahem, indulgent eater like me, but these seem like really practical ideas! I need to get back into lentils and quinoa, I do love them both, but quinoa can be a little pricey, and my roommate always complains about the smell of lentils, haha.

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:15 pm

      Yeah, I’m scared of weird diet things but all of these were easy changes. xx

  16. Amie
    April 23, 2013 / 6:00 pm

    Do you have a recipe for the chickpea curry you mentioned?!

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:13 pm

      I’ll do a video soon! xx

      • MyDearGirl
        April 26, 2013 / 11:24 pm

        wouldn’t mind a bread video too! I’m imagining chopped up dates, apricots, and golden raisins with some sunflower seeds. yum!

  17. Cara
    April 23, 2013 / 9:20 pm

    I gave up all dairy, even cheese, for the sake of my skin & digestive health. There was a phase I went through where I would have gladly eaten a block of cheese, but after a bit the cravings went away. It’s hard for me to remember why I was so addicted to it now. During my transition period I especially found that cheese cravings can be satiated with something equally salty such as a couple of olives.

    As far as dates go, I found the most divine recipe for homemade Larabars:
    One part pitted dates
    One part unsalted peanuts (or other nuts)
    Tiny pinch of salt
    Blend in a food processor until it starts to gather into a clump. Press out on a piece of wax paper and use a pizza cutter to make granola bar shapes.

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you!!! x

  18. K
    April 24, 2013 / 1:52 am

    Good move on the milk. It’s the hormones they use to treat the cows and was a huge cause of my acne for a decade (and sugar, soy, and peanuts). Just get rBST free or organic dairy products and you’ll be fine, acne-wise. Of course, there’s almond milk and rice milk and the like, too. A hallmark of dairy-induced acne is large pustules, particularly on the cheeks. I’m 100% clear with just watching the triggers mentioned above and taking r-lipoic acid when I want something sugary. Good luck to everyone.

  19. Suki
    April 24, 2013 / 10:17 am

    I once read that apart from calcium which you can get from other sources anyway, milk is not particularly useful to adults (especially the full fat kind), so if you find that you cope better skin-wise without it, I think it’s great, and I might also give it a try and see if my breakouts are related to my milk-and-cereal days!

  20. bmburns
    April 24, 2013 / 12:10 pm

    Have you checked if the hazelnut drink has sugar in it? Most of the Alpro products do. I drink Oat Milk, which I find has less of a ‘taste’ to it, and makes excellent oatmeal!

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:14 pm

      I’ll give it a try! x

  21. SamAnn
    April 24, 2013 / 1:15 pm

    It’s called *mozzarella di bufala! : )

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:14 pm

      Oh yeah!! What did I put?!! x

      • SamAnn
        April 25, 2013 / 3:49 pm

        ‘mozzarella Buffala’ :) just sounded funny (regardless the spelling, it’s a great cheese)

  22. Sara Roth
    April 24, 2013 / 3:21 pm

    Recently retired and do a lot of web-surfing. One day, to my delight, I discovered your Blog and I’ve become a true fan. I’m a makeup junkie and love to follow the newest trends. Your tutorials are very personable, informative and just plain fun to watch. Thank you for making my life more sparkly!

    North Carolina, USA

    • RuthCrilly
      April 24, 2013 / 5:14 pm

      Thanks!! x

  23. pimlicat
    April 27, 2013 / 4:20 pm

    Make your porridge with water and then stir in a small tub of natural yoghurt just at the end of the cooking and voila creamy creamy porridge

  24. Ebru
    April 28, 2013 / 3:41 pm

    Dear Ruth, I made the same connection re acne and cow’s milk. I highly recommend coconut milk (not the heavy stuff) by Koko, which Waitrose carry or if you really crave proper milk, goat’s milk again by Waitrose. I am really looking forward to trying out the puy lentils, many thanks :)

  25. Sara Hollander
    May 1, 2013 / 12:45 pm

    I like your tips! I have swapped to being Primal/Paleo because I suffer from severe fibromyalgia and the pain and fatigue are overwhelming. I mean getting out of bed is immense because I never have restful sleep (and I’ve been sick almost 20 years [and I’m 28!]). I don’t know what it means to be full of energy or not in pain or well rested. So I’ve cut out wheat, dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, corn…basically all the fun stuff and I live on meat and veg and coconut and almonds as a substitute for milk and no peanuts. It is really hard (and I just fell of the wagon for 2 weeks of ice cream bliss, oops!) but I genuinely feel better when I stick to it. My skin looks brighter, I actually can last the whole day without wanting to crawl into a corner and cry (I know it sounds really overdramatic and I don’t mean for it to…it’s just “my” normal) and I genuinely feel better. So I’m starting over again because when I stick to it I feel better and even shed weight that I have a tendency to carry around!

    Thank you for sharing your tips!!


  26. May 4, 2013 / 4:13 pm

    Hi Ruth, I watched this video on youtube and was very much inspired to make a blogpost and share my own healthy changes :) I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your own! I do listen to your recommendations!

  27. Andrea
    May 18, 2013 / 11:54 am

    Lovely website

  28. Morgan
    June 10, 2013 / 2:44 pm

    I recently discovered Medjool dates too and they are amazing. They are such an amazing healthy substitute for sugary snacks. I’m honestly surprised that more people do not talk about them! Thanks for the tips, I love your video and posts!

  29. Karen Russell
    July 17, 2013 / 9:39 pm

    Such a helpful video…I gave up Diet Coke and found it really hard but found by leaving sugar free diluting juice at home, work and carrying a small bottle in my bag I didn’t have an excuse to go and buy it. And it cleared my skin up amazingly, improved my sleep! Also with that’s fitness video you suggeted and healthy eating tips I have dropped two dress sizes and feel so much more healthier! Thanks!

  30. elephant21
    July 19, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    Another favorite milk alternative is coconut milk I like vanilla one unsweetened. Greens and almonds are loaded with calcium that has way better absorbency than milk.

  31. Tasha Pearson
    August 18, 2013 / 11:17 am

    I’ve been making some changes to my diet. I call it stealth health only because I don’t want to notice the diet changes too much! My husband is lactose intolerant so I’ve dropped loads of milk from my diet simply as a show of support for him (not ice cream though). I liked the homemade bread idea as I’ve read about all the preservatives in bread and it ain’t pretty. Thank you for an interesting video.

  32. Zoe Hjordis
    August 25, 2013 / 9:21 pm

    hey ruth! I just saw that you go to royal holloway- I just graduated from there, hope you enjoyed/are enjoying it as much as I did :) I was also curious as to why you think soy milk is not a good substitute? I have stopped drinking milk due to the same problem as you and always find it difficult to choose between all the substitutes! Thank you for this post :)

  33. joyce
    September 7, 2013 / 6:26 pm

    I figured out in early college that my acne came from refined sugars (I’m probably insulin sensitive or something) but it’s been a HUGE relief. I haven’t considered lactic sugars yet though and will look into that.

    I’m a BIG dried fruit fan since I can eat those without breaking out (as long as it’s the dried fruits without sugar added, i am super careful checking ingredients) if your supermarket doesn’t have ones without sugar, you can order them online. my favorite dried fruits without sugar: dried pineapple, also dates, dried peaches, dried strawberries, dried mango. they can be gotten sugar free at Trader Joes or ordered from organic stores online.

  34. McKenna Quinn
    September 18, 2013 / 5:54 pm

    Just went wheat free, its hard…didn’t realize I was addicted to refined carbs untill I tried to stop…going cold turkey resulted in a binge baccus would have been proud of, no I had to do it with moderarion. switched to chickpea and quinoa, it gets worse because cows eat grain milk was making me sick too. I did switch to rice or coconut milk.
    I wanted to say that my sweet, beautiful daughter has been getting “you should be a model” comments all her life. In fact, she has been approached by several agencies. I have to say for someone like me who is decidedly “below average” in looks I always tell her that she is just a beautiful on the inside and that a good education is very important. She is 11, her 5 year goal (yes she has one, LOL) is to be in a catalog. Her 10 year goal is to be walking a run way. Do you have any advice for these young ladies that have thier own idea’s about what modeling is? I share a youtube account with her she vlogs all the time about beauty.

  35. Emily
    October 6, 2013 / 8:37 pm

    this is so helpful Ruth, thank you so much, do you find that the hazelnut milk tastes different in porridge to cow milk? I think I might make the switch from cows milk to hazelnut/almond milk to help my spots going away xxx <3

    • Emily
      October 6, 2013 / 8:38 pm

      p.s I love how the picture for guests is a cute kitty cat :D xxx

  36. pamb
    October 28, 2013 / 10:37 pm

    If you’re still eating cheese and yogurt, you’re still getting cow’s milk. Unless you are eating goat’s milk cheese or yogurt.

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