So it is Day 15 of my Candida Cleanse and boy-oh-boy a lot has happened since I last wrote to you on Day 3. In fact so much as happened that I needed to take a little blog siesta just to concentrate on my health. There have been revelations, epiphanies and breakdowns. Jubilation and desperation. Leaps forward and stumbles back.
Where We Left Off…
So in my last post (here) I spelled out exactly what you need to do on the cleansing period. I was warned that in the cleansing period I would experience some pretty nasty detox side-effects (attractively termed ‘Die-Off’). Day 3 came and went and I felt pretty damn smug that I had not experienced anything. However from Day 4 through to the next week I was hit hard. As you may have seen on my Facebook page or Instagram I had a rather puzzling symptom. At 10:30pm on the dot every night I got a massive, itchy rash all over my body. It was red and welted and stung like hell and kept me awake until about 2am which gave me approximately 59 minutes of sleep before my darling daughters’ 3am maddy-hour! You should have seen me that week. I was a delight.
**Thanks to my amazing social media friends for all their support, suggestions and shared horror. Turns out it was all part of the detox and the healthier I got it slowly stopped happening.
But, my fellow Candida sufferers, there was light at the end of the tunnel! On Day 9 I felt AMAZING. I woke up feeling clearer and lighter than I had in a long time. My stomach looked slimmer and I had so much energy. Mood swings stopped, I wasn’t having my 5pm dip where I would feel completely exasperated by the day and my husband and I stopped bickering entirely. To make matters better I lost 4kgs which put me under a weight threshold that I have been stuck above for 3 years. I felt like I had found my answer.
Anyway… back to the diet!
Your Candida recovery comes down to three main elements.
Even though it is reasonably restrictive the diet is also very, very doable. Rather than listing off exactly what you can’t have… lets focus on all the awesome, nourishing foods that you can!
What to eat!
As with the cleanse period you are only allowed select vegetables of the non-starchy variety – again no carrot, parsnip, pumpkin (squash), sweet potato (yam/kumara), beetroots, peas or potato. If humanly possible source organic produce – you want to help your liver/digestive system as much as possible which means lightening the toxic load where you can. You are also allowed to add in certain meats, fish, non-glutinous grains, probiotic dairy products, nuts, seeds and seasonings. You then must have a heavy dose of probiotics and antifungals throughout the day (more on that later).
It is essential that you source organic meat. The reason being animals that are grown in conventional meat and dairy industries are fed antibiotics to combat the stress of their living conditions, over-crowding and their unnatural (grain-based) diets. Cows are also fed growth-hormones to keep up an unnatural year-round supply of milk. The bacteria in your gut is already haywire and antibiotics are only going to make it worse. In fact, antibiotics are one of the most common causes of candida overgrowth. It is more expensive but you are investing in your health – not to mention a far more ethical and environmental way of eating. (I will be posting in coming weeks how to balance your money and ethics while consuming meat – I am passionate about animal rights and this new diet as been a struggle. But I have found ways!).
Meat must be unprocessed and whole – this means nothing cured (bacon, salami etc). No pork. No luncheon style deli meats.
Same goes with fish. You need wild-caught fish as opposed to farmed. Fish are also fed medicated food. (If you haven’t looked into fish farming I sincerely recommend you do – it is eye-opening and jaw-dropping and basically, a little terrifying). Aim for small fish like anchovies, sardines and herring which are lower in the food chain and have therefore have not bioaccumulated as many contaminants. They are also far more sustainable – DOUBLE WIN! If you eat salmon it must be wild caught.
Proper organic probiotic yoghurt and kefir (a grain that you ferment) are also allowed. The reasons doctors tell you to consume lots of yoghurt when you are on antibiotics is because the live cultures help kill the Candida yeast and balance your system! I have cut dairy completely and have been feeling great for it but lots of people I have spoken to recommend it.
Nuts and seeds
You want to include nuts and seeds that have low mold content. So you are going to focus on almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, flax seed, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and sunflower seeds. Sadly cashews, peanuts and pistachios are off the menu.
Almond milk is allowed too! See my recipe here.
Buckwheat, millet, oat bran and quinoa are all on the menu.
All these grains are not actually grains, they are grain-like seeds. They are also full of fiber which is essential for keeping that digestive system cranking.
Seasonings, herbs and spices
Woohoo – here is the fun bit. You are allowed SO many yummy flavourings.
- Coconut oil (virgin, cold-pressed) is encouraged as it is a natural antifungal. I have a teaspoon in my lemon water every morning. I cook with it. I rub it on my body. Actually… interesting story. When I was having my 10:30 rash-athon I rubbed coconut oil over myself and the rash went away. Magic. Powers.
- Olive, sesame and flax oils are all okay.
- Cayenne, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, paprika and rosemary all have antifungal properties which means – load ‘em up baby!
- Apple cider vinegar – as always – is good for you!
- Coconut aminos are a great alternative if you are a bit soy/tamari obsessed like a certain candida-cleansing blogger that shall remain unnamed.
Stevia and Xylitol are both natural plant-based sweeteners that are allowed on the cleanse (stevia is great for hot beverages; xylitol for baking).
Not on the menu
So now that I have told you all the yummy bits you can eat if you do want to see a list of what you can’t then look at this one here. Basically no fruit, sugar of any type, starch, beans, mold containing nuts, processed anything, soda.
You know that stumble I mentioned in the introduction. Yeah. Day 12. I read somewhere that alcohol is not technically the worst thing in the world for your Candida Cleanse because there is actually very little sugar in alcohol. But basically I think I found an article that facilitated some sort of faux loophole in the diet. I had a dinner party on Friday and one wine turned into many. I had felt on top of the world yet 3 days later I am still feeling the effects – my rash came back, I feel hot and clammy and I am bloated. So from now on I am going to avoid alcohol as much as I can. It does not serve me.
We are humans and not robots. We are making a massive life changes and habits are hard to break. So try as hard as you can and if you fall off then get back on (read how to here). Perfect example of this attitude is this incredibly brave article from Sarah Wilson. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back you are still moving in the right direction!
P.s. Beer is a total no-no (yeast!). Wine has the highest of alcohol sugar contents. Whoops! Best option? Vodka with a little squeeze of citrus.
Your Candida diet without probiotics does not work. The probiotics are essential in your recovery (and in daily candida-free life as well!). They help your digestion and create a healthy balance of your gut flora in your digestive tract.
I have bought a probiotic supplement called Ultrabiotics45 which has 45 million friendly bugs from 9 different probiotic strains. This cost around $50 for 30 pills. For the first 2 weeks I took 2 a day (one with breakfast and one with dinner). This meant that I used the entire bottle in the first fortnight which means the first month is reasonably expensive. But after that you can drop back to 1 a day.
In addition to this I have been consuming natural sources of probiotic like raw sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), probiotic yoghurt and kefir. You can order kefir online here and you can make your own sauerkraut reasonably cheaply at home – here is an awesome recipe.
Antifungals and probiotics are partners in crime. Antifungals kill the yeast and probiotics then build up the good bacteria. So, in addition to those yummy spicy antifungals mentioned above you may also want to introduce some supplements or other natural sources.
Oil of Oregano
You can get this from most health food stores. It costs around $30 and you can add it to water, drop it under your tongue or add 3 drops to your oil-pulling ritual.
A very common supplement is Caprylic Acid which comes in a capsule however I try and take the wholefood option where possible. Guess what has lots of caprylic acid? Coconut oil! Every morning I have a super-duper fungal killing beverage made up of the juice of ½ a lemon, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, some grated ginger and a sprinkle of turmeric. YUM.
Olive Leaf Extract
I add a teaspoon of this to my green smoothie in the morning. I made a massive mistake by trying to drink it straight the first time. Vile. Approach with caution. I would advise to dilute in smoothie, juice or at least water.
Why is it that all superfoods are from South America? Pau D’arco is made from the bark of a very strong tree and I will go on record as saying that it will be the next big thing in the health food world. There are some amazing studies being done on the effect of Pau D’arco on all sorts of diseases like arthritis and cancer.
I take a supplement that cost $33 from a health food store. Similar to the probiotics I took 2 a day for the first day then 1 a day forward from there. You can also buy it as a tea. You should not take this if you are pregnant, breast-feed or have any sort of blood disorder.
So safe to say that this diet is not for the faint-hearted and that it is a bit of an investment. My husband and I have cringed at the cost of all these new ingredients and supplements. The price has also gone up because where we would usually pad our meals out with a bit of a starchy vegetable we are now literally on protein and green vegetable. BUT we are both feeling the effects and know that if we just stick at this for a month or two then are lives are going to be entirely different.
In the coming weeks (perhaps months) I will be sharing recipes that I have been creating, tips on how to keep your budget down and ways to curb those cravings that hit you like a freight train at 3pm.
Yeah… you’re ready. Lets do it!!!