In a previous post, I shared that my visit to a naturopath was a turning point for me and my skin issues. I believe a key reason for my turnaround was my 30-day candida diet. Before I visited the naturopath, I had googled information on the diet but I was scared to take the pllunge. The candida diet is not for the faint at heart. However, when I was faced with the possibility that trying the diet could be the missing link for my skin issues, I couldn’t punk out-I had to go for it.
The Candida Diet
You may have heard people talk about candida without realizing just how much of a problem it presents for people. When people mention that they are going on the candida diet, it is to help curb the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida Albicans in their system. Candida can also be referred to as yeast. Our stomachs hold a number of microorganisms and bacteria that help us to function normally. This is often referred to as ‘gut flora’; its balance has implications for our immune system and our overall digestive health. When candida grows and throws off the balance in our guts, it can lead to problems like fatigue, headaches, brain fog, acne, and thrush, among other things.
Causes of Candida overgrowth
The three main causes attributed to candida overgrowth are the overuse of antibiotics, a high-sugar diet, and prolonged stress. The main job of an antibiotic is to kill bacteria in our systems, but it can also kill the bacteria needed for the balance in our stomachs. When this happens, Candida has the opportunity to grow and seep into our bloodstreams. Yeast also feeds on sugar; diets high in carbohydrates which break down to sugar provide the opportunity for yeast to grow. Foods that are moldy (like blue cheese) or contain yeast also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Stress releases cortisol, which is a hormone that weakens the immune and system and raises our blood sugar-again causing a feeding ground for yeast to grow.
My naturopath was convinced that a diet without sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods would be the key to getting a handle on my food sensitivities and acne. She gave me my assignment: Embark on the diet for at least 30 days. It seemed easy but by day 2, I realized just how big of a task I had been given. I didn’t let it discourage me and I kept moving, and made it to 35 days.
My Diet Plan
I was not allowed to eat any fruit during the full 30 days. No bread or grains were allowed. I couldn’t eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, or any dairy. I had to be very careful not to eat any condiments because they have added sugar in them. Oh, and let me not forget-no beans either. I was pretty much limited to a diet of grilled chicken and salads. For about the first 2 weeks, I didn’t eat salad dressing, but I broke down and finally introduced small amounts of salad dressing during the last 2 weeks of the diet. The hardest part for me was giving up sauces. I love putting sauces on everything I eat! Not being able to dip my chicken in a sauce or eat barbeque chicken was killing me. It was during this time I got to experiment with alternative diets, and discovered all of the great paleo recipes out there. Websites like nomnompaleo became my go-to resource. The paleo diet is pretty close to the candida diet. It was during this time I developed a taste for eggs (omelettes became my breakfast of choice), tried cauliflower rice for the first time, and learned how to make paleo pancakes without any flour.
Things to Consider
Plan, plan, plan. I can’t say it enough. There’s nothing worse than embarking on a life-changing diet and sabotaging yourself by not having your meals planned. Before you start the diet, research the best recipes that will fit your diet. Be sure to have your kitchen stocked so you want have to do any emergency runs to the grocery store.
Get rid of all temptations. Why even tempt yourself by having Oreos stored away in the back of your pantry? Get rid of all remnants of sugar so that you won’t find yourself at 1a.m. searching frantically to feed your sugar rush.
Stop stressing about food. Living a life full of food sensitivities, I'm always aware of my next meal. I agonize over what I'm going to eat, and often stress because I can't eat much. Once I had a plan in place for my diet, I found it easier to just live and not worry about food. Because my.diet was so simple, I no longer had to worry about what I was eating because I ate mostly the same things anyway. It freed me up to live instead of worrying about food.
During the candida diet, I was also taking a tonic twice a day that contains caprylic acid, which is found in coconut oil and supposed to be good for curbing yeast growth. After my 30 days were up, my taste buds had completely changed. I didn’t have an urge for sugary foods for a while, and even when the urges came back, they weren’t as strong. I also gradually added carbs back into my diet because I didn’t want to overload my system. The cystic acne I was experiencing stopped. When I ate sugary foods, my body no longer immediately reacted. For me, that was enough to convince me that it worked. So all in all, though it was tough, the candida diet did wonders for me.
- July 03, 2015
- Tiffany A