The Curse of Candida!
When I first began my healing journey, I felt fantastic! Within four months I lost 18 nagging pounds, my nails and hair grew stronger, and my monthly cystic acne cleared up. And, by the end of two years I transformed my thyroid disease. I was simply glowing with good health.
Then an interesting thing happened. I began having odd reactions to the healthy food I was eating. I felt gassy and bloated all the time, and my mouth, cheeks, forehead and chin broke out with a weird red rash. It wasn’t as bad as the kid’s face on this blog, but it was still pretty traumatizing. Some days, it was so bad that I didn’t want to leave the house or be seen by other human beings. I also remember that after eating, my stomach would make the strangest and LOUDEST sounds as if something was alive and growing in there. The worst part about it was the healthier I ate, the more I experienced these annoying symptoms. What the heck was going on inside me??
That’s when I learned about Candida overgrowth. Ugh! I was cursed with it! I couldn’t even eat one little tiny champagne grape without having an uncomfortable flare up both inside, and outside, my body.
Candida Albicans is the helpful yeast that lives in a healthy human gut assisting in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans (including me), sometimes this normally cooperative fungus surges out of control, traveling into the small intestine, organs and blood where it digests ALL of our nutrients for it’s own survival, leaving the host filled with toxic waste, exhausted and susceptible to many ailments (poor immunity, skin rashes, digestive disorders, brain fog, etc.).
I tried everything to rid myself of the curse of candida: specially formulated teas, essential oils, food combining, supplements, colonics, and candida cleanses and diets. I even ate raw garlic, by the handful, hoping that would help. And, it might have… if I would have had a vampire living inside my digestive system.
It seemed every time I got on a candida “curing” protocol things would go well for a period of time, but as soon as I stepped off the program, my body would have a horrible reaction. I was an emotional wreck – how the heck could I eat the healthiest diet ever and still be suffering!
I simply didn’t understand why nothing worked to completely heal my condition. Something was obviously missing from the healing puzzle, but I couldn’t figure it out. I thought I was doomed to remain on a Candida diet for the rest of my life – no bread, no grains, no fruit, no sweets, no anything, not ever, nothing, nada, zippo!
Finally, after many months of misery I found the missing piece. I read a book called, Eating Alive, by naturopathic doctor, Jonn Matsen. According to his book, candida can escape and wreak havoc in our system from eating too many foods rich in potassium (vegetables and fruits), without adequate protein (animal products) and salt, causing the ileocecal valve to weaken, allowing yeast to migrate from the large intestine to the small intestine, and other parts of the body.
That’s why I felt worse the “healthier” I ate. It made perfect sense. My candida overgrowth never really healed because it wasn’t enough to simply eliminate the food candida thrived on (carbohydrates, fruit, starchy vegetables, sweets) I had to simultaneously strengthen my ileocecal valve.
My systemic candidiasis took time to heal. Patience and persistence are the keys to dealing with this or any other chronic illness. Curing candida overgrowth is a two-fold process. First, we need to weaken yeast by not feeding it sugar, starches and excess carbohydrates, and second, we need to strengthen the ileocecal valve by eating seasonally.
Here are my top ten tips for healing candida overgrowth:
- Eliminate sugar, including fruit and refined carbohydrates (bread, cookies, cakes) for three months to one year
- Eat non-gluten grains like quinoa, buckwheat and millet
- Use traditionally cultured foods like sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt to re-colonize intestinal flora
- Eat high quality saturated fats to help heal intestines and strengthen cells
- Eat a nutrient dense diet that includes bones stocks, animal proteins and organ meats (rich in vitamin B12)
- Use herbs & spices that have anti-yeast & anti-inflammatory properties, (and because they are delicious!): oregano, rosemary, thyme, savory, cumin, garlic, paprika, etc.
- Chew food thoroughly – digestion begins in the mouth
- Do NOT overeat – overeating makes this condition worse
- Use non-chlorinated water
- Eat seasonally to strengthen the ileocecal valve
To learn more about seasonal eating and curing candida naturally, join me for a LIVE cooking class in NYC at the Natural Gourmet on 8/22 at 6:30pm where you can enjoy a delicious fully-balanced meal, too. It’s time to kick that candida curse to the curb!