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A new (and exciting) journey to eliminate Candida

  • April 30, 2017

19 days ago I decided to make a change for the better. 12 days ago I began the Candida Diet to eliminate Candida from my gut. 5 days ago I stopped drinking coffee

For 25 years I’ve been plagued with various organ issues, and 19 days ago I’d had enough of the constant pain, bloating, and not knowing whether a simple salad would set my guts on fire. I had been seeing traditional doctors until now, and have had many a procedure that children should not have to endure.

Five years ago I was diagnosed with IBS and given a range of medication and a piece of paper with suggestions of food to try to ease the pain. I stuck to the suggested plan for a while, with the hope that it would finally give me the relief I so desperately wanted and needed – but with very little prevail. It was 19 days ago that my issues frustrated me so much that I booked in with a naturopath the following day to see if there was a way to take a more holistic approach to my problems.

 

The Turning Point

I remember this day clearly because I was especially ‘good’ with my eating – trying to avoid foods that usually upset my stomach, and additionally choosing foods that I deemed ‘healthy’. On this particular day I had been working harder and longer than usual (triple shot, large coffee) and thought I’d treat myself to a Tank salad (they have so many options!) so I wandered down, starving, and ordered a Thai chicken salad with feta. As I was eating, I gradually became more and more nauseous and had to stop eating because I felt sickly and in pain. I went home at the end of the day with a distended abdomen and a frustrated as heck look on my face.

 

img_4644House-made bagel, rocket, tomato, halloumi and pesto with a flat white – a breakfast treat that was contributing to the candida thriving in my gut

 

The First Meeting

The first meeting with my Naturopath was long and information stuffed. I practically gave her my full life story – a child with recurrent kidney infections, UTI’s, asthma and gastrointestinal problems, and as I grew older, the issues came with me. At this first meeting, the Naturopath suggested we do some tests, which I was sure would tell us exactly what I had been assured of previously – “there’s nothing you can do about it, live with it and be careful what you eat.” But holy heck, was I wrong.

 

My second meeting went very differently. First off, the tests revealed that I am severely intolerant to Casein, one of the proteins found in all dairy products. There are two proteins in dairy, casein and whey. Casein makes up 80%, while whey makes up 20%. A little bit of research had me find that “…common symptoms of dairy sensitivity due to casein are: excess mucus production, respiratory problems and digestive problems…” ( Dr Frank Lipman) which made me mad – why hadn’t I ever been tested previously considering the sheer number of times I (and my parents) had paid for medical assistance?

 

The tests revealed another diagnosis – my gut was constantly inflamed, painful and irritable because I have an overgrowth of yeast called Candida happily thriving in my intestines and enjoying all the terrible food decisions I’ve made over the years. This overgrowth is likely a result of years of antibiotics, alcohol and unhealthy, sugar laden foods, a high carb diet, and trying to tell myself I’m healthy by eating a lot of fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut.

 

All of these factors, plus me not knowing exactly what sets my stomach into overdrive, plus the unknown intolerance to dairy had me in a lot of daily pain, which to be honest, I got used to. It’s sad, but it’s true. Only now, a mere 12 days into my Anti-Candida Diet am I beginning to realise how I’m supposed to feel after a big meal (and look – definitely not six months pregnant!). 

 

A long-winded intro, but here we are – I am approaching the end of week two of my three months following the Anti-Candida Diet (Also called the Candida Diet, which doesn’t make that much sense to me, but whatever). My first week was okay, kind of like an intensely healthy binge, but the second week…day 9 was a disaster. First, here’s a little bit of background:

 

The Anti-Candida Diet combines healthy, candida fighting foods with probiotics and supportive natural supplements. The diet is fairly restrictive and cuts out all fruits (bar lemon and lime) and carbohydrates which feed the yeast. This includes potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, corn and any yeast containing foods like bread, cakes, or baking. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? How about not being able to eat any left over food because of possible mould and bacteria contamination? How about NO COFFEE??

 

img_8749Flat Whites have been replaced with Turmeric Lattes
(Turmeric, soy milk, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper)

 

This is a list of the diet I have been given – I strongly suggest seeing a doctor before jumping on the bandwagon as there are many individual edits!

 

Food

Fruit: none except lemon, lime, kiwifruit (luckily for me, because of the type of gut sensitivity I have, I’m allowed a few kiwifruit a week).

 

Eggs: yes!

 

Grains: none except millet, quinoa and buckwheat.

 

Dairy: No dairy (not for me, ever) except coconut or soy based.

 

Meats: Fresh meats. No processed or preserved meats like salami, ham, sausages, smoked or cured meats.

 

Beans: Any but not more than 1 cup cooked per day.

 

Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, sesame, sunflower, poppy, macadamia. Not peanuts or pistachios. (Peanuts and pistachios are not allowed while carrying out this diet as they are quick to mould – unluckily for me, my personal sensitivity removes almonds from the list, which means no peanut butter or almond butter)

 

Vegetables: Any non-starchy vegetables (no potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin)

 

Fats and Oils: avocado, cold pressed oils – olive, flaxseed, coconut, sesame, macadamia, walnut.

 

Acidic and fermented food: no fermented food or vinegar except raw apple cider vinegar.

 

Sugar: no.sugar.at.all. No sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, fruit sweeteners, vanilla. Use Stevia.

 

Drinks: water or herbal teas only. No coffee or caffeine (ahhhhh), soft drinks or alcohol.

 

Leftovers: none.

 

Condiments: all spices, hummus, homemade vegetable dips (with accepted ingredients). No MSG (621 on packaging) or pre-made sauces.

 

img_8758Walnuts, pepitas, chia seeds, coconut yoghurt, buckwheat, coconut milk and yellow kiwifruit – a few of the ‘safe foods’ on my Anti-Candida food list

 

As someone who thought I was looking after my body reasonably well, I didn’t realise how much of a step taking on this diet would be. Today is day 12, and after almost two weeks, I feel as though I’m beginning to get my head around it. As mentioned previously, day 9 was a disaster. I postponed ending my coffee addiction by a week so that I could get used to the diet, so by day nine, I was two days into complete caffeine restriction. I was completely knackered and ravenous, and all the options in close proximity were filled with things that weren’t on my list. One being sushi – rice, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. (And here I was, just a week ago making a ‘good choice’ of sushi…) I ended up eating everything I could get my hands on, which happened to be two apples and a jar of previously made chia pudding (one serving is one tablespoon). I ate a whole jar. If you’re familiar with chia, you will recognise the benefits they provide to the intestines and bowel…needless to say, I will not be doing that again

 

I’ve noticed that with a restricted diet like this, I get hungrier much, much faster. I need to be more prepared with foods I can eat, but I also want to feel satisfied after each and every meal. It didn’t take me long to realise that this had given me the opportunity to reignite my cooking flame (which burnt out when I was trying to control the IBS) and I am very much enjoying finding, trying and improving new recipes daily.

 

I have been prescribed three months on the Anti-Candida Diet, with additional supplements to heal my gut and bring ‘normality’ to my days. This blog has been stagnant for a while now, so I thought what better way of bringing back Write at the Fork, than writing about what’s currently on my fork – Anti-Candida Diet friendly foods for the twenty-something-year-old. Get ready for literal bucket loads of coconut.

If you’re interested in Candida Diet recipes & updates or are just feeling nosy, you can find me here:

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