NOTE: there is no Day 1 entry :).
That aside, I've decided to chronicle my battle with candida albicans/candidiasis over the next couple of weeks. My plan is as follows: go on the strictest form of the anti-candida diet (AC diet from hereafter) for two weeks/14 days, then go on a non-strict AC diet for another 2 weeks/14 days. My end date/the light at the end of the tunnel emerges on December 13th, which is the last day.
I've suffered from candida overgrowth for most of my life. My holistic practictioner has told me many times how to keep candida in check, but I never had the willpower or drive to stick to her advice to the T. I'll provide some info on the diet later on. Most medical doctors and the general public have zero idea what candida albicans is and how debilitating it can be, and has been for me.
I just got over the flu, and I still don't feel well. Actually, I feel quite gross on and off and never healthy. Because of school, and the drive to want to live "normally," I threw up my hands, said "enough is enough," and decided to try the true AC diet for a couple of weeks.
THE CANDIDA CONDITION
Candida (yeast) is in all of us, and is a natural part of life and of our GI tract. However, overgrowth can cause the candida to mutate into fungus. This lovely mutation causes an ugly laundry-list of symptoms in sufferers.
To name a few:
-typical symptoms of IBS
-other embarrassing symptoms (see the links below if you want to learn more)
-depletion of energy
No cure exists for this condition, and it masquerades as other conditions (IBS, for ex.). Hence, doctors mis-diagnose it all the time, and people sometimes never know or find out what's wrong with them.
The treatment is lengthy, a pain in the ass, and difficult as hell. I'm not gonna lie! You have to temporarily adjust your diet drastically, and/or keep it modified possibly for the rest of your life. To me, it feels like a death sentence, because I LOVE food and going out to eat and cook with friends and family. The death sentence includes the AC diet, and use of anti-fungals and probiotics.
Now, there are tons of resources out there to learn about candida and treating it, and some of it conflicts with each other. Oh joy! In the section following this one, I've taken just one very small, comprehensive list of what to eat and what to avoid. I'm not doing some other fancy steps and what not that other resources suggest, because this is hard enough--trrrrrrrrrrrust me. I am undertaking some, though.
THE ANTI-CANDIDA DIET (i.e. the bane of my existence)
I've taken just ONE example of the diet. It's as follows (from http://www.greatestherbsonearth.com/articles/candida_foods.htm)...
The GOOD foods:
All vegetables, as much as you want at each meal, except potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, winter squash (acorn & butternut), beans (green beans are okay), and peas which all contain too much sugar. After week #1, you may add the disallowed vegetables in moderate amounts.
Fresh is best; frozen only if unsweetened. Serving size is indicated. Do not have more than one serving per meal--limit 3 times a day. No dried fruit or fruit juices allowed.
Apple - 2
Applesauce, unsweetened - 1/3 cup
Apricots - 3 small
Avocado - Unlimited okay
Banana - 1/3
Blueberries - 2 cup
Cantaloupe, cubed - 1 cup
Cherries - 7
Grapes - 2 cup
Grapefruit - 2 (3 2" diameter)
Honeydew Melon - 2 cup cubed
Nectarine - 1/2
Peach - 2
Pear - 2
Pineapple - 2 cup
Plum - 1 (2 1/4" diameter)
Raspberries - 2/3 cup
Strawberries - 1 cup
Tangerine - 1 (2 1/4" diameter)
Watermelon, cubed - 3/4 cup
[NOTE: most other diets do NOT let you eat fruit at all, or at least not pineapple or watermelon!! I'm just not eating much fruit other than apples and berries.]
Meat & Eggs -
All meat and eggs are allowed except bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs or luncheon meats (they all have sugar added). Servings may be as large as you wish. During the 2nd week, you may add cottage cheese, but not hard cheese, as a protein.
Water (drink 8 glasses a day); sparkling water, Club Soda, diet caffeine-free sodas, Herbal Beverage natural coffee substitute
Nuts, seeds & oils
Canola, Olive, Safflower, Butter, Nuts & Nut Butters, Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Avoid peanuts & pistachios (may have mold)"
The BAD foods (from the same source):
"Foods You Cannot Eat (Not Even Once!)
(If you break the rules, the 14-21 days start over for the diet & the supplements)
[--> lovely, eh?]
Antibiotics: Call your Nature's Sunshine herb specialist for natural herbal remedies if you begin to get sick. Antibiotics will cause a massive growth of candida!
Coffee & Tea: Regular coffee, instant coffee, decaf coffee, herbal teas (may contain fungi).
Condiments, Sauces, Fermented Foods, & Vinegar-containing Foods: Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, Worcestershire, Accent (MSG), Soy sauce, barbecue sauce, chili sauce, pickles, relishes, green olives, sauerkraut, horseradish, tamari.
Cheese & Dairy: All cheeses, milk products and foods containing cheese and milk. Sour cream and sour milk products must be avoided. Once a day you may have plain yogurt with live culture and no sugar added to which you add a serving of fresh fruit.
Flour, Rice, Corn, Oats, and Products Made from These: Bread, Rice Cakes, Oatmeal, Tortillas, Pastries, Bagels, Cake, Pies and Popcorn all turn to sugar in your system and feed your candida.
Malt Products: Malted milk drinks, cereals, and candy.
Moldy Foods: Any food that has mold on it such as left-overs or sprouts
Packaged & Processed Foods: Canned, bottled, boxes, and other packaged foods usually contain yeast or refined sugar.
Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, winter squash (acorn & butternut), beans (except for green beans), and peas.
Sprouts: Often contain molds
Sugar & Sugar-containing Foods: Avoid fructose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, honey, molasses, maple syrup, maple sugar, date sugar, and turbinado sugar.
Yeasts: Brewer's Yeast (check your vitamins, Nature's Sunshine vitamins are all yeast-free), bakers' yeast
How to plan a meal while on the Candida Diet:
1) Choose a protein (meat, chicken, fish, tuna, eggs)
2) Add as many allowed vegetables as you wish with butter & salt for flavoring. To make salad dressing, combine olive or canola oil with fresh lemon juice and desired spices.
3) Add one serving of fruit
4) Add nuts, avocados, and other sources of fat, as desired
To break the diet, (no sooner than on the 15th day) add one off-limits food only. Start with the unallowed vegetables. Next add additional fresh, unsweetened fruits. Then add dairy products. Add only one new item every three days. Three days later add another. By adding slowly, you can determine which foods you must still stay away from (if your symptoms return). Sugar, vinegar, and yeast products should be the last items you add."
Who wants to join me???
Didn't think so.
No, this doesn't mean people with candida die. Well, they do eventually, but don't we all?
Die-off can be equated to the same concept as Withdrawal for drug addicts. It's not NEARLY as severe, except in rare cases. Essentially, when doing the AC diet and taking anti-fungals, you're starving the yeast from what it loves (carbs and sugar) and what it thrives off of (moldy environments), killing it. The yeast then releases lots of toxins into your body. Die-off affects everyone differently, and can last from a few days to a couple of weeks. It can be minor, or severe.
Whether minor or severe, your symptoms from candidiasis worsen or are more pronounced, or you could see some new symptoms. Again, this can include: nausea, fever, chronic fatigue, depletion of energy, IBS symptoms, rash, headaches, depression (!), and lots of others.
ME, MYSELF, AND I
Today, on my second day of the AC diet, I'm experiencing die-off already. I experienced it last night, and it feels like it's burning a hole in my stomach right now. That was blunt. The thing is, this is tough. And I feel alone, especially since I feel like being alone when faced with this. I know my family's there for me and a few friends, but they're dealing with their own lives, too. I feel exhausted, nauseous, grumpy, anxious, headachey on and off, depressed...I feel like a walking medication side-effects list. I'll pull myself out of this--I know I will!!! There are other steps I'm taking, too, but that's all complicated and personal stuff.
Also, I used to be fit. I still sort of am, but once the flu hit me just over a week ago, I've lost some muscle, energy, endurance, and I'm not breathing properly. I want to be able to box and dance again. This is a HUGE trial of patience for me. Huge.
[This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass...]
School + work + candida = YUCK.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, and whether or not I'm fully better, I know some time off the "junk" (although I wouldn't call most veggies and fruit "junk") will make the candida suffer. My body's going through a civil war, and I hope my sanity and well-being wins this time!
and there're lots more on good ol' Google!
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