Candida (Candida Albicans) is a very pervasive yeast. Candida is usually harmless, but can grow out of control if your immune system is disrupted by exposure to antibiotics, poor diet, and lack of sleep. These factors, especially antibiotic usage will undermine your digestive tract by killing the good bacteria necessary for proper digestion and allowing Candida overgrowth.
If you’re not familiar with symptoms of Candida overgrowth and not sure if you have it, here are some symptoms:
- Strong cravings for sweets and sugary foods.
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus.
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, or Multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching>
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- White coating on tongue
- Sore tongue after eating some foods.
All I can say is WOW!! Who knew? Who knew that the possible underlying cause of these ailments could be candida? One must be careful, however because many of these symptoms could be signs of other ailments other than just Candida. I recently found out that I am a victim of candida overgrowth. I exhibited some of the symptoms listed above and didn’t make the connection until I did some research. And now, I am imparting what I’ve learned to you.
Our digestive tract is the key to our immune system and therefore our health. Processed foods, refined sugars and grains, yeast, and use of antibiotics, etc…all contribute to Candida overgrowth. This is one of the main reasons why taking a good probiotic while you’re being treated with an antibiotic is recommended. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but also kill the good bacteria along with the bad. Good bacteria in the digestive tract will help to break down the food you eat and extract the nutrients obtained from the food to be utilized for proper bodily functions. Bad bacteria, such as that of Candida will destroy the good bacteria and take over. It feeds and thrives on sugar, mold and yeast.
Aside from taking a good probiotic, you can also eat certain foods that provide probiotics. Yogurt, Kefir, Kimchi, and lacto fermented veggies are all good ways of providing your digestive tract with good bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria.
This also means cutting refined sugars and grains from your diet. As I discussed above, Candida bacteria thrive on sugars, starches, grains and yeast. The idea is to “starve” the Candida bacteria. A diet void of grains, molds, yeasts and refined sugars is the way to go. I have compiled lists of foods you can eat and those you need to avoid.
Foods to avoid
Fruits that are high in sugar, such as bananas, dates, mangos, fruit juices, and all dried fruit that carry a high concentration of sugar, such as raisins, dried apricots, prunes, etc…
Avoid gluten. A gluten free diet is fairly easy to maintain as you only need to remember to avoid wheat, spelt, barley and rye and all products containing them. It will mean giving up bread, pasta and cake for a while, but it will be worth it. It’s best to avoid those foods anyway because the grains are processed and void of any nutrients, which is why they need to “enrich” the flour. There are breads and pastas that are gluten free, but they’re mostly made with starches, such as potato starch, rice starch and rice flour, all of which should be avoided.
All condiments that contain sugar or have mold or yeast, such as barbeque sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce and white vinegar.
All processed meats, such as salami, ham, bologna, bacon, and basically all cold cuts. These meats are processed with sugars, such as dextrose, honey, corn syrup, etc…They also contain preservatives that are not healthy and have in fact been proven to be carcinogenic.
Avoid nuts that contain mold, such as peanuts, cashews and pistachios. This also means no peanut butter or cashew butter, even if they don’t contain added sugar. The mold is worse than the sugar. All other nuts are fine and contain very little mold.
All sugar and sugar substitutes, such as agave, honey, cane sugar, sugar syrup, corn syrup, aspartame, maple syrup and molasses. Stevia is a good replacement to use instead.
Please avoid milk, cream and cheese. Milk contains sugar and cheese contains mold, which will aggravate the candida. I really love cheese and raw milk and this one is a tough one for me as well.
Non starchy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, rutabaga, zucchini, tomatoes, raw garlic, onions, kale, celery, cucumber, brussels sprouts, eggplant, artichokes and lacto fermented veggies which provide beneficial probiotics.
Healthy proteins, such as chicken, eggs, wild caught salmon, sardines, herring, turkey, anchovies, etc…
Non glutinous grains, such as oat bran, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet.
You are also allowed some dairy, such as butter, ghee, yogurt (for probiotics), kefir (for probiotics). Please consume plain unsweetened yogurt and kefir. If you prefer the sweetness (I know I do) add some stevia, or xylitol.
Fruits low in sugar, such as avocados, lemons, limes, and green olives. I know, what a bummer! No sweet fruits. However, think of how much better you’ll feel!
Nuts and seeds that are low in mold content, such as almonds, coconut, flaxseed, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds
Healthy fats and oils, such as organic unrefined virgin coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil and sesame oil. Also, as mentioned above, butter and ghee.
Condiments and spices that are allowed include: Turmeric, sea salt (I use himalayan pink salt), black pepper, raw unrefined apple cider vinegar (preferably with the mother), basil, dill, garlic, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, bay leaf. cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Avoid spice blends as many have added sugars and starches. I usually combine spices and form my own blends. Mix the apple cider vinegar with some olive, sesame or flaxseed oil and some of the allowed spices to make salad dressing or as a dressing to replace mayonnaise. Be creative and use your imagination.
Lastly, for beverages, you’re limited to filtered water, herbal caffeine free tea, or coffee made with chickory root. Soda is loaded with sugar and even the diet sodas have artificial sweeteners. What I do is I make my own lemonade or lemon and lime drink sweetened with stevia. If you love your coffee, this diet will be tough, but not impossible. I cut my coffee intake little by little until I was able to be off of it completely without any headaches or other withdrawal symptoms. Sorry, but decaf will NOT work because decaf does contain some caffeine, although not as much. Trust me, I feel your pain.
Well, that about sums it up for now. I will be posting some great recipes to compliment this diet. Many of them loaded with much needed probiotics. So stay tuned and don’t give up! I’ve just started on this journey of healing my gut and I invite you to join me as we strive for better health.