foods on the go

a post for our clients without the time to cook at home!

many people these days simply do not have the time to prepare their own food, day in day out, or have personal chefs on hand to prepare acne-safe meals. even if you can’t manage meal prep mondays you can still have nutritious lunches that won’t break you out.

so, this goes out to those who lunch and don’t have time to cook or prepare at all!

of course, we do like to encourage cooking at home whenever possible. cooking allows us to control what goes into our food. dishes end up having less salt and sugar, and no offensive inflammation causing ingredients such as soy or dairy. realizing we can’t always live up to perfect ideals, we can still try to adhere to acne-safe guidelines as much as possible.

i’ve found a number of pre-packaged meals to be acne-safe. i’ve gotten into the habit of checking ingredients for foods i buy. most food labels will include an allergen alert which would indicate whether a food contains milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, which makes it pretty easy to find out if foods contain the heaviest offenders: dairy, soy and peanuts. if your diet is more specialized, for example you don’t eat grains at all, you will have to scan the whole ingredients list. and, if you think there may even be a possibility of seaweed, you’ll need to scan the list too. but once you shop this way a few times you will have hopefully compiled your preferred list of acne-safe go-to foods. the photos here represent of a few of mine. 🙂

if you want to avoid packaged foods entirely, and have a few minutes to throw something together, there are many foods you can have on hand to mix and match. if you can keep a homemade or store bought salad dressing in the fridge at work that makes it even easier. at skinSALVATION, we’re lucky enough to have a pantry to keep acne-safe oils, vinegars, and spices. but if you don’t have a fridge or pantry, you could even keep a small bottle of oil and vinegar in a desk drawer.

shopping list for the work-week:
mixed lettuces.
eggs for hard boiling
nuts and seeds for more protein
smoked fish
cut-up veggies
baby carrots
pre-cooked quinoa or lentils

basically, this is about putting aside all excuses and exerting minimal effort to get the maximum result: clear skin. if you have stocked your fridge and pantry with ready-made foods and ingredients, your life will get so much easier (less stress, guilt), your skin will be clearer (duh!), and you will have saved some money too (bonus)!

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adrenal fatigue part one: running a business, is catching up with kim and wearing her down

quick disclaimer: all the stuff i write about in my adrenal blog posts are relative to my own personal experience and recommendations.  what was recommended to and worked for me may not work for you, so please proceed with caution and enlist the help of a naturopathic doctor in your area for the best + safest results!

empty on gas

i think it’s safe to say that everyone knows that running your own business takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears..  and time, patience and hard work – among many other things.  being raised by a single mom, i always knew that hard work was going to be part of the game of life.  yes, juggling all the tasks of owning a business alone is tough, but it’s even harder when you feel like poop.  all.  the.  time.

for the last two years, sS has gone through some major growth – and growing pains.  a major buildout and relocation.  running a busy clinic.  employee management (hiring, training, firing, repeat).  (trying to) write and finish the acne book.  reformulating and rebranding products, and getting them ready for distribution.  doing most (if not all) the company’s blogging, instagramming, facebooking, marketing, bookkeeping, buying, receptioning, networking.  working with a business coach.  etc etc etc.  lots to keep me busy.  the best part of all this though, is that over these last two years, we’ve been able to help over 500 clients get and stay clear.  if we go all the way back to when i opened sS in 2008, the total numbers would likely reach close to 1500.

it was only at this past new years’ dinner at bar agricole did i realize, after talking with an entrepreneur who was sat next to me at the bar, all that really was on my plate.  he asked, “how was your year?”  “to be honest,” i said, “2014 was the year of ‘what did i get myself into’.  i’m working really hard, and not only my mind but my body, is stressed out – it’s very hard to keep motivated, managing this all alone, and i kind of really wish i could just run away.”  i described all the projects i had been working on for sS and he simply said: “it makes total sense that you are overwhelmed.  you aren’t running just one business.  you are actually running four.  the clinic.  formulating and retailing products.  writing a book, and distribution of products, let alone trying to open new locations.”  that was a total a-ha moment.  this epiphany helped to alleviate a lot of my mental stress, for sure.  i still had to DO the work, but knowing that as a single person, i could only do so much, really helped me get through the winter of 2014/2015.

physically though, i was not doing great.  especially for having given up a lot of the recreational wining and dining (which was my vice) that was the ‘play hard’ to my ‘work hard.’  i felt way too tired ALL THE TIME, for someone my age (32), who was eating high quality + healthy food and living a relatively healthy, yet busy, lifestyle.  i actually felt like i had more energy when i was eating dinner late into the night, with friends and cocktails.  but now, i felt that my nervous system was very sensitive, and that my adrenals were taxed.  something benign like a loud motorcycle running past me would literally rattle my nerves, leaving me feeling like i was crashing hard after a (very long) adrenaline rush that one might get after almost getting into a car accident, or some other situation where my life was in danger.  i felt weak, and had no energy to be active.  the lack of exercise, coupled with my daily driving commute, helped me gain 30 pounds in the last year.  after a full night’s of solid, uninterrupted sleep, i’d wake up exhausted.  i had learned to just push through it, and tried seeing a functional chiropractor, got weekly acupuncture for over a year, worked with a nutritionist, got regular massages, meditated, etc etc and after all that – i was still tired, both physically and mentally.

finally, after being fed up with being both fat and tired, regular headaches and a long-term dose of low-level depression, i finally decided to step my game up and see dr. laura figoski to get control of my life back.

dr fig!

to be honest, i had seen laura over a year ago and at the time, was not 100% dedicated to her treatment plan.  in retrospect, i think i was just not ready.  this probably was because i had just gone through a similar process with a nutritionist, while at the same time relocating sS to mission and 21st.  though i was under an incredible amount of physical and mental stress, i was really strict with her protocol and actually felt much much worse on it.  this nutritionist had me do some bloodwork (which, to her credit, definitely revealed some important things) which she tried to interpret for me – she’d identified some adrenal imbalances (it was a little low), abnormally high iron levels in my blood and borderline type 2 diabetes blood sugar levels.  after a solid 6+ weeks of compliance, i was still feeling much worse on her protocol than before it, so i consulted laura for a second opinion.  dr. fig was able to give me a bigger picture of what the bloodwork was saying (that perhaps this was all due to a poorly functioning liver), and had me take a blood test which ruled out hemachromotosis (a genetic defect in which the blood stores abnormally high amounts of iron, which can cause lethargy, and also be lethal).  laura put me on a liver supplement and, with regular psychotherapy and bodywork, i started feeling a bit better.  i was still tired, but i just continued to push through.  i wasn’t as exhausted as i was during that month of the move, so i was content with where i was at.  i had much work to do, and felt ok-ish enough to keep pushing through.  at this point, kate (a former office manager) had quit, so there was no one else to run the show but i, and i felt i didn’t have the time for self-care.

so a year passed by, and then june 2015 rolls around.  i’m still exhausted, and, after realizing i only had 2 pairs of stretch pants i could comfortably wear because of the extra 30 pounds i’d gained in the last year, i finally decided to see dr. laura again.  i knew i had to exercise, but i was too tired to do it.  plus, i just felt like something was wrong – but i didn’t know what.  an email to kaiser about adrenal fatigue yielded a response of “adrenal fatigue is being thrown around a lot these days.”  at a women’s entrepreneur brunch, i met a colleague who lost weight, had vastly improved her digestion, and gained a ton of energy from taking the alcat food allergy test.  she said that by avoiding gluten and oregano, she felt a million times better.  i knew dr. fig administered this test, so i booked an appointment with her to get this done.

when i got to see dr. fig, we talked about my symptoms, and i was hopeful that figuring out the maybe 1-3 foods i was reactive to, would solve all my problems.  (yeah right!  so silly.  geez.).  she explained that taking a more holistic snapshot of what my body’s systems were doing would be more informative than just zeroing in on food sensitivities.  so, she suggested i take 3 different types of tests, instead of the 1 mondo food allergy test – for about the same cost.   the tests i ended up taking were: adrenal (saliva), gut/intestinal (stool), and food allergy (blood).  taking just the food test alone would have been only 1 part of the puzzle (like switching to acne-safe products but still drinking milk by the gallon) – and as we know, all the body systems work together, and also affect each other if one system is imbalanced.  (fyi: the tests, all combined, cost about $600 out of pocket; though an HSA or FSA would likely cover it).

it would take several weeks for all the test results to come back, and i figured, the time would pass anyway.  i would be busy with work, training our newest esthetician, liesse.  i had a couple of trips planned, and could eat and drink everything with abandon before i got the test results back that said i couldn’t.  🙂

so july 6, 2015, came doomsday.  this was the day laura revealed to me the results of the tests i had taken a month prior, and what our plan of action would be.

dun dun DUN!!!!

stay tuned for the next episode of my journey, working through my adrenal fatigue, with a naturopath.  next up: the testing process, reveal of my test results, and my action plan + dietary guidelines/restrictions!

meal prepping on the acne safe diet

a huge part of getting and staying clear is living the acne safe lifestyle. that means managing your stress, getting quality sleep and fuelling your body with acne safe foods. it can be difficult to know exactly what’s in your food when you eat out, which is why we recommend preparing as much of your own food as possible. for someone like me who commutes to work in the mission from the east bay every day, that can be a challenge. the last thing that i want to do when i get home at 9pm is make dinner. that’s why i spend a few hours every monday meal prepping for the entire week. a personal trainer once told me, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”


here’s my grocery list and recipes from this week to inspire you! my boyfriend and i make each of these dishes separately and then mix and match breakfast, lunch and dinner. we generally spend around $120 per week on groceries which gets us though all 7 days (around 45 meals between the 2 of us) if we were eating out at inexpensive to moderately priced restaurants in the bay area that would be $450 or more!

hope you enjoy!




  1. lemony chicken soup! we changed this recipe by using potatoes instead of orzo, chicken breast instead of thighs, and bacon fat instead of olive oil.
  2. avocado chicken salad! we used shredded chicken breast instead of eggs in this recipe
  3. fried cabbage with bacon! we saved the bacon grease to cook with throughout the week. see the recipe here
  4. apple cabbage slaw! we swapped the maple syrup in this recipe for a shredded apple, used white cabbage and left out the jalapeño.
  5. broccoli salad! see our family recipe below
  6. paleo turkey meatballs! we swapped the sirloin from this recipe for 99% lean organic ground turkey
  7. spicy marinara sauce! we added tomato paste and fresh basil to this recipe


  1. preheat your oven to 350, wrap your chicken breasts in tin foil and bake for 20-30 mins, until they are cooked through.
  2. fry your bacon in a pan to desired crispiness. drain bacon and save fat in a sealing glass container.
  3. chop all of the onions, garlic & root veggies that you need for all of the meals. sauté in 3 pans; 1 for the marinara sauce, 1 for the soup, and 1 for the fried cabbage. complete cabbage and refrigerate.
  4. add remaining ingredients to soup and marinara sauce and let simmer for 1+ hour (until you’re done cooking and cleaning).  alternatively, you can dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and have that going for the better part of a day, or even overnight on low.
  5. remove chicken from oven, shred using a fork and set 1/2 aside for the soup. combine remaining ingredients for the avocado chicken salad and refrigerate.
  6. blanch or steam broccoli until bright green. while it’s on the stove, make the dressing and chop up your olives and tomatoes. chop broccoli, combine ingredients and refrigerate.
  7. make paleo turkey meatballs and put in the oven to bake.
  8. then, using all the veggies you prepped in step 3, assemble your apple cabbage slaw and refrigerate.
  9. remove paleo meatballs from oven and add to marinara.
  10. add shredded chicken to soup.
  11. enjoy the fruits of your labor for several days!




  • breakfast: 2 eggs with broccoli salad OR gluten free oatmeal with blueberries
  • lunch: avocado chicken salad with arugula, apple cabbage slaw & a spoonful of raw slaw
  • snack: watermelon OR cherries AND 2 hardboiled eggs
  • dinner: paleo turkey meatballs with quinoa pasta and spicy marinara sauce OR lemony chicken soup




  • quinoa pasta (whole foods)
  • 1 bag fingerling potatoes (whole foods)
  • bob’s red mill gluten free oats (whole foods)


  • kalamata olives (thursday farmers market in the mission)
  • uncured bacon ends and pieces (trader joe’s)
  • cold pressed organic sunflower seed oil (whole foods)
  • 2 large organic avocados (trader joe’s)


  • 2 lbs 99% lean organic ground turkey breast (trader joe’s)
  • 2 large packages free range organic boneless skinless chicken breast (trader joe’s)
  • 2 dozen free range organic eggs (thursday farmers market in the mission)


  • 2 heads organic broccoli (trader joe’s)
  • 1 bag shredded white cabbage (trader joe’s)
  • 1 bag organic baby arugula (trader joe’s)
  • 1 box heirloom cherry tomatoes (trader joe’s)
  • 1 bag organic carrots (whole foods)
  • 1 bag organic celery hearts (trader joe’s)
  • 2 yellow onions (trader joe’s)
  • 1 head garlic (whole foods)


  • watermelon (whole foods)
  • 16 oz organic blueberries (trader joe’s)
  • 2 organic gala apples (trader joe’s)
  • 1 bag organic sweet red cherries (whole foods)
  • 1 grapefruit (trader joe’s)
  • 2 lemons (trader joe’s)
  • 2 limes (trader joe’s)


  • 1 bunch organic parsley (whole foods)
  • 1 bunch organic cilantro (whole foods)
  • fresh basil (from our kitchen plant)


  • raw slaw (trader joe’s)
  • organic chicken stock (whole foods)
  • organic canned tomatoes (trader joe’s)
  • organic tomato paste (trader joe’s)


broccoli salad recipe

  • blanch 2 heads of broccoli in boiling water until semi-soft (2-3 minutes), then cut into bite size trees
  • cut cherry tomatoes in quarters
  • cut kalamata olives in half
  • in a sauce pan, combine: 2 tbs sunflower seed oil, 1 tbs minced garlic, and 1 tbs red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. simmer until the garlic turns golden.
  • toss all ingredient together and chill. store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days


*skinSALVATION has no affiliation with any of the brands, stores, or blogs mentioned in this post. these resources are from my own personal research and preference.

kerry’s acne journey

the only photo i could find, of myself with acne. you can hardly see my cystic complexion in this scan of an original photograph from the 90’s. but hey, i’m with my mom!

i started experiencing acne as a pre-teen.  my earliest memory of the words “acne treatment,” is the thought of my mother applying steaming hot washcloths to my face, and then squeezing the blackheads out of my nose and cheeks. it wasn’t too long after that when she started bringing home creams and face washes from the drug store for me to try, but nothing i tried ever made a dent in the acne breakouts. i went to see a dermatologist and he told me to wash my face with the same bar soap i washed my body with. i remember mixing sugar with toothpaste and applying that to my pimples after my mother’s friend told her that it was a magical cure for acne. i couldn’t understand why none of these things made my skin look any better. in the end, they just made matters worse. all the years of harsh creams and products left my skin sensitive and permanently pink and flushed.

during my teens and twenties, the state of my skin was constantly on my mind. every morning i’d wake up and look in the mirror hoping that things had improved since the day before.

i was usually disappointed.

before acne came into the picture i was out going, i laughed a lot and was even considered to be a bit of a class clown but after i started breaking out i just felt like everyone was always looking at my acne and thinking to themselves “her skin looks awful!”. in an effort to avoid attention i became very introverted and self conscious. years later after my skin improved i still remained somewhat shy and reserved. it’s a tendency that i still have to this day and it’s all because of acne.

the acne breakouts persisted for many years. i am now 38 and i still have acne. the only difference is that today, my acne is under control.


a few years ago I read a book called “it starts with food”. it talked a lot about inflammation and how it is the precursor to many diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and skin disorders. inflammation starts inside the cell producing chemicals that when released set inflammatory processes in motion. this inflammatory cascade has detrimental effects on the entire body.

i decided to embark upon a 30 day diet program called “the whole 30”. it’s a diet that calms inflammation and gets the body back onto a path to health.  it wasn’t too hard for me because i had already been eating a healthy paleo-based diet. i started eating this paleo-based diet about a year earlier and noticed improvements in my overall health and skin, but my acne never completely cleared up. with that diet at the time, i wasn’t eating any grains or beans so there were just a few things i needed to eliminate to start the 30 day diet program: dairy, soy and sugar.

after 3 weeks on the whole 30, the papules on my cheeks and chin and the nodular acne on my neck and jawline went away. my skin looked better than it has ever looked and the redness calmed down as well. the effects of the diet went beyond my skin – i lost 10 pounds, i looked younger, i had more energy, slept better and my outlook on life improved greatly!

after the 30 days, it was time to start adding foods back into my diet and take note of how my body felt with the introduction of each food. dairy made me extremely tired and my acne came back after about a week. soy gave me terrible gas. sugar was ok, but it made me gain weight after a month or so of adding it back in.

today, i am soy free and almost 100% dairy free ( i do my best with this one); monitoring my sugar intake is a daily battle. the diet gave me power over my own body. it was something that i had to do in order to see, first hand, how these foods were affecting my health. it was amazing to be able to do something in 30 days that i hadn’t been able to do in over 20 years: get control over my acne.

my own transformation was so life changing that i decided to find a way to help others through my own experience. as an esthetician at skinSALVATION, i was able to further my clarity with the knowledge of truly acne-safe (aka non-comedogenic) skincare products, along with cutting edge treatment modalities like expert extractions and chemical peels.  these, alongside customized home care regimens and nutritional and lifestyle counseling, help our clients clear their skin of acne in just a few short months.

the feeling i get when a client starts to see their skin turn the corner to clarity is indescribable. i am extremely blessed to now be in a position to help empower other acne suffers to uncover their own beautiful skin.


the acne safe guide to burning man & desert camping

flash back to that foggy february morning when you woke up way too early to get in the cyber queue for burning man tickets. you called in sick and stayed in your pjs all morning, too afraid to miss your thousandth screen refresh, leaving your laptop only to run to the freezer so that you could ice your face while you were waiting. six hours later… you finally get your tickets and are now dancing around your apartment with joy thinking of how awesome you’re going to look in your costumes with clear skin!

you’ve put in the work – you’re icing every day, using all of your sS products, coming in for regular treatments and you haven’t had a cheeseburger in months. you are awesome. now that you’ve seen how easy and rewarding it is to lead an acne safe lifestyle, we want to help you maintain it even when you’re 4,000 feet above sea level in a desert full of sand and sequins.

being from new mexico, i know a thing or two about the high desert, and what it can do to your skin and body. here are the most important things to remember during travel and your week at burning man, as told by me and

burning man

1. coming from the bay area, you are going to gain 4,000 feet in elevation. many people experience elevation sickness characterized by headaches, fatigue, and nausea (also you are more sensitive to alcohol and need much less to feel buzzed or beyond.)

  • how to kick elevation sickness’ booty: drink your water! the official burning man website recommends 1.5 gallons per person per day.

2. the temperature in the desert fluctuates a lot between day and night. your face will probably be sweating from 10am-8pm when it’s 100+ degrees out and then you’ll be freezing at night when it drops to 40 degrees.

  • how to keep your face and body fresh: wash your face by generously spraying rose water on your skin, dry with clean 4×4’s (cotton wipes, or a clean dry towel) and reapply sunscreen when you wake up, as well as any other time you’ve had a solid sweat stream for more than an hour. sweat can induce AND irritate acne, and also make it inflamed and sensitive.

3. the desert is dry and sunny. (just in case you didn’t know that one.)

  • how to keep your skin from cracking, flaking or burning: use your safeguard spf 40 to moisturize and protect your skin throughout the day. remember to cleanse with rosewater and reapply spf if your face gets wet or sweaty. if you feel particularly dry you can layer hydrating cream under your spf. at night cleanse and moisturize with hydrating cream.  (tip: throughout the day, you can spritz your skin with the rosewater spray anytime!  just make sure your sunscreen doesn’t start to drip off).
  • for your lips: to prevent cracking and chapping, pick up an sS lip balm with spf. staying hydrated and eating healthy fats like avocados and almonds will also help maintain moisture in your lips.
  • for your body: we just started carrying an awesome line of body sunscreens called goddess garden, which comes in a sport formula to stay on through sweat and sand. i guarantee after a day in the sun and sand, your skin will be parched. quench it with a layer of raw organic shea butter. you can pick this up in a travel friendly jar (big enough to share) at whole foods, or any other hippy dippy shop along the way.

4. accessories that will help keep your skin happy and healthy:

  • a hat will keep the sun off of your face. if you can, get one that has a tie or strap for wind storms. keep the strap tight enough to keep your hat from flying away, but loose enough that it doesn’t aggravate your skin and cause inflammation.
  • a dust mask will keep sand particles out of your face, nose and mouth. again, make  sure it isn’t too tight. a bandana or a silk scarf tied around your face can also work well.
  • hand sanitizer is essential for a place where there is no running water and you’re in contact with tens of thousands of people. we like clean & well. make sure to lather your hands up (and rinse them, if you can) before touching your face!
  • don’t forget the ice! you can purchase ice at arctica throughout your stay. icing will not only feel amazing on your face in the desert heat, it will also keep inflammation at bay.

5. words of wisdom

  • have fun! the burning man experience is all about love, discovery and adventure. embrace it and it will be good to you.
  • sleep. there will be people up at 3 am having fun. you can join them or you can get your full 9 hours of sleep and feel awesome all week long. burning man is a lot of physical stress on your body, so it’s important to give yourself to to rebuild and reset. at the very least take (or add) a midday nap. it will be really hot around 3pm and a siesta under the shade of your tent will feel awesome.
  • stick to your acne safe diet. if there’s any place that it is easy to avoid dairy, soy and coffee, it is the middle of the desert where there are no restaurants. just be sure to pack nutritious snacks and avoid the processed foods as much as possible. some good options are: krave jerkyegg white protein powder, fresh grapefruit, apples, raw almonds, steel cut oatmeal, whole grain crackers or organic corn/veggie chips.
  • come in to sS for a treatment 10-7 days before you leave to make sure that your skin is completely healed and done peeling and/or 7-10 days after you get back to let us do a thorough cleaning and get you back on track! we recommend waiting at least a week to give your body time to rest and rebuild after vacation so that your skin properly extracts and heals after treatment.

you can email me here: with any questions or check out the official burning man survival guide here.

stay healthy, safe and clear! we can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!