Tradition Vs Dietary Restriction or Avgolemono Crisis Diverted

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to eating traditions when adapting to an anti-inflammatory diet. Many of my “Greek” faves growing up required carbs, dairy, or sugar. Avgolemono soup is one of my favorite recipes. It’s very simple. I gave it up because of the rice in it and the crackers I used to crumble in it. Every once in a while, I experimented with substituting quinoa for the rice but found I still couldn’t have it often.

One day I decided to experiment with a low carb solution. Cauliflower seems to be an amazing substitute in general. I was thinking if stores can sell “riced cauliflower” as a rice substitute, why couldn’t I make my own and use it in any recipe calling for rice. Most of the time, I thought of riced cauliflower as a means to having a rice dish, not in a recipe.

When I make soups, I want to make sure I have the best nutrition available whenever possible. This starts with making my own bone broth. You can read about the benefits of bone broth here: https://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/ I take chicken bones with the cartilage from a whole chicken I have cooked from another meal and put them in a crockpot. I also use a chicken neck from the freezer that I froze when I cooked the chicken. I fill the crockpot with water and put it on low for 24-48 hours. If I am not sure that I will use the bones right away from a whole chicken I cooked, I freeze them and wait for an opportunity to make bone broth. Sometimes I add a bunch of seasoning including onions, basil, Himalayan pink salt, pepper, garlic, turmeric, etc. Other times, I just leave it plain until I’m ready to make the soup. If I’m making the broth to have on hand, I will freeze it until I am ready to use. It’s nice to store smaller batches so it’s easier to thaw.

When I am ready to make avgolemono, I take at least 6 cups of frozen chicken broth out of the freezer and put it in a pot. I will add another 3 -4 Cups of water and put on Medium-High heat. I add everything I would normally add to the soup except rice. I substitute cauliflower for the rice. Here’s my recipe below:

Avgolemono soup (no carb style):

Ingredients:

6 Cups premade bone broth

3-4 Cups water

3 carrots whole or sliced

1 onion whole

3 celery sticks whole

2 raw chicken breasts with bones on or leftover cooked chicken from a whole chicken

Season to taste: garlic powder (I probably use almost ½ cup), Himalayan pink salt, and pepper

1 whole lemon cut in half and squeezed into the pot

1-2 heads of riced cauliflower depending on how dense you want the soup (cauliflower heads that you food process until cauliflower reaches the consistency of rice)

3 eggs separated (keep them on the counter in the shells while soup is cooking, so they raise to room temp)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large pot except cauliflower and eggs. Cook for about 2-3 hours. Chicken should be cooked and vegetables soft.
  2. Pull out the onion, celery, and lemon halves and discard. Break up whole carrots into pieces and leave in the soup.
  3. If you used chicken breasts, pull those out, take bones off and discard, shred chicken and throw back in the soup.
  4. Food process cauliflower and add to the soup. Taste soup and add more seasonings to taste.
  5. Cook another 20 minutes or so until cauliflower is softened.
  6. Turn off heat and let it cool for about 20 minutes.
  7. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl and the yolks in a cup. Turn on mixer and mix egg whites until they form peaks. Add egg yolks and mix more. Then take about 1/3 cup of the hot soup broth and slowly add it to the eggs. (You don’t want to curdle the eggs, that’s why we are tempering in the eggs.)
  8. Add stiff egg topping to the top of the soup.
  9. Enjoy as is or serve with extra lemon like our family.

Our family has enjoyed Avgolemono soup for many generations. It is also our “healing” soup. If someone gets sick, this is made to speed up recovery time. It’s especially great for upper respiratory, congestion, etc. I am so grateful I can enjoy this soup again. It obviously isn’t starchy since I replaced the rice with cauliflower. That is probably the main noticeable difference. That being said, I did serve it under the radar the first couple times I experimented with it. I told everyone I was making avgolemono soup to get the hype up, but I served it with cauliflower. They didn’t find out my secret until one time they saw me “rice” the cauliflower. It was a huge success.

I’m going to end today’s blog with a hilarious video my mom and Uncle Zane shared. Maybe it will be all “Greek” to you. That’s ok because I only know a few Greek words. It is still funny and it’s all about the coveted Avgolemono. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCCGnUw7PLA

 

 

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Help, I Need Somebody… Not Just Anybody

One of my goals is to be transparent for the purpose of encouraging others. I want to be honest. I still struggle from time to time with Candida overgrowth. I fall short of my goals in lowering stress or occasionally eating something I shouldn’t. It is a process and life is constantly changing for better or worse. I have to continue using the tools I have at hand to fight the battle, take courage, and ask for help.

Circumstances sometimes kick me in a direction and down a path I never intended. This time it was my daughter’s health. She had been dealing with occasional pain in her hip and back. Then it worsened. I took her to my chiropractor and a physical therapist in November. My daughter was assigned exercises that she didn’t think would help. I told her to try for a solid month, and I would reevaluate. After Christmas vacation, she found herself in worse pain. At the beginning of February, we went to another physical therapist that was more thorough and really jived with my daughter. He had a more genuine concern. She was assigned exercises to do, and he referred us to a pediatric sports clinic. Long story short, we drove to several appointments out of town, MRI’s, blood testing, a cat scan, etc. During all this extra physical and emotional turmoil, I fulfilled my work and homeschool commitments. I kept saying, “I have to do this for her.” It will be fine. I was getting tired but seemed okay otherwise.

One day I was driving with my kids, and they had upset me. I started raising my voice and got this eerie feeling. I looked around, and I was in the same exact place I had been 3 years ago right before I started the Candida diet. It was the place I got a speeding ticket as I was yelling at my kids. I didn’t see the school zone sign, and I was so upset that I had no awareness of where I was. When I realized this was the place, I thought how did I end up in this place…mentally and physically? I don’t usually go down this road. Have I relapsed and fallen so far? I’m just going to shut my mouth and drive.

There were a couple of other warning signs prior that week that I chose to ignore. I could feel myself being more easily irritated, and I started withdrawing a little. I ate some pasta at work because someone gave me some. I’m usually stronger than that, but I ate 3/4 cup. I felt so guilty. I actually went home and cried about it as I confessed it to my husband. When did I lose control? This was just going to fuel the fire and feed Candida. That was a turning point for me. I had to get back on track. The next morning I started grapefruit seed extract, took 1-2 extra probiotic tablets per day, and colloidal silver spray on my throat.   I take Dr. Axe Candida Combat probiotics. You can find them here: https://store.draxe.com/products/candida-combat I was now mentally ready to fight.

I was also struggling emotionally with my daughter’s new diagnosis which was Osteoid osteoma. I was told that there was a benign tumor on her femur. We would have to continue to monitor it and take ibuprofen as necessary to manage the pain. It would continue to cause pain/inflammation until she was done growing which they estimated to be about another year. The Dr. also suggested that surgery would not be beneficial. I am not a fan of prescription drugs or ibuprofen unless absolutely necessary, especially long-term. What effects would that have on her body?

Within a few days, I started to physically and mentally feel better and thought the battle was over. Unfortunately, I was wrong. By the end of the following week, I was too weak to work out. I fell asleep on the couch while my kids were doing school. I couldn’t concentrate. I was emotionally raw. I found myself crying and telling God I didn’t think I could go through this again. I felt too tired to fight. I called a friend and asked her to pray for me.

By this time, I knew it was the whole process with my daughter that was stressing me. As soon as we got my daughter’s diagnosis, I was trying to fix it. I was informing her that she needed to go on an anti-inflammatory diet. I ordered some healing teas, and I reiterated that she needed to be on fish oil for inflammation and probiotics for general gut health. I began nagging her about rubbing frankincense oil on the sight of pain because it helps with cysts, growths, and inflammation. You can read more about frankincense here: https://draxe.com/what-is-frankincense/ I also made sure she was applying turmeric oil to reduce inflammation. You can read more about turmeric here: https://draxe.com/turmeric-benefits/  I told her to keep a food journal that documented what she ate and how she felt.

My motherly instinct of fixing my kid crashed into the pre-teen attitude of my child. It was a huge messy collision. With tensions rising, stress and sickness affecting my brain, I started breaking down. I realized once again that I was at the end of myself. I can’t even fix myself, let alone her. She needed to take responsibility by taking action steps, and I needed to continue to pray it out and let go. I let the reins go and said, “Ok, do what you want, but see how you feel. I can’t do this for you.”

“Being at the end of myself” keeps coming back to me. When will I learn this lesson? I can never be more than I am, a mortal human being. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t continue to carry the fears and burdens I am not equipped to carry. Someone last week said, “I know you always make the right choice. I think what would Nicoletta do?” As flattering as that was, I responded, “I’m just trying to figure it out like everyone else.” Honestly, I don’t have all the answers. I am far from perfect. The only wisdom I have is what God has given me.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 I continue to ask and wait.

After about a week of worse pain, my daughter decided to try an anti-inflammatory diet. It was a great step for both of us. I have been praying for her, not nagging her. She has accepted more responsibility and realized she doesn’t know it all. We are working together and talking through it. It has still been a roller coaster with pain fluctuations. She was better for a couple of days, then down the next few days. She has been relying on ibuprofen more than she or I like. We started golden paste a week ago and we are waiting to see the results of that. It is supposed to decrease inflammation which in turn decreases pain. Here is the recipe:

Golden Paste

http://turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-recipes-golden-paste/

This recipe may be used for humans as well as animals.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mls/60gms) turmeric powder
  • 1 cup water (250 mls) PLUS 1 cup water in reserve, if needed
  • 1/3 cup (70 mls) one of the following oils: Raw (unrefined) Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, Linseed (flaxseed) oil or Virgin/Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Bring the turmeric and water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until you have a thick paste. This should take about 7-10 minutes and you may need to add additional water along the way.

Add the freshly ground pepper and oil at the end of cooking, when the turmeric and water mixture has cooled down to just warm. Stir well to incorporate the oil and allow to cool.

The Golden Paste will keep for 2 weeks, refrigerated. Freeze a portion if you think you have too much to use within two weeks.

We are still searching for answers and trying new natural remedies. It has been emotionally exhausting to watch my child go through this and not have the ability to fix it. I have to continue to pray and trust that God has a plan better than mine. I have to give up the thought that I have control because it only makes me sick. I have to be well so I can help her.

As we looked for anti-inflammatory food and recipes, she found some muffin recipes she liked. It is helpful that we are on similar diets. We are not starting from scratch. An anti-inflammatory diet is basically low to no carbs, no dairy or occasional goat cheese, gluten-free, low to no sugar, and high in vegetables. Eating natural foods instead of processed foods is also part of the diet. There are also natural anti-inflammatory foods like walnuts, blueberries, and broccoli. Click on the link for more anti-inflammatory foods: https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/  We are also focusing on good gut health by taking probiotics. Here are some more ideas for healing foods: https://draxe.com/healing-diet/ Here’s an article on inflammation and disease: https://draxe.com/inflammation-at-the-root-of-most-diseases/

I will end with this week’s blog with muffin recipes she liked:

Paleo Banana Nut Muffins

https://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/01/paleo-banana-nut-muffins.html

  • Total Time:35 minutes
  • Yield:12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl combine almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt.
  3. In a separate bowl combine bananas, almond milk, honey, eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Stir in nuts.
  5. Line a muffin tray with muffin liners or grease well and fill each cup 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in the tray for 20 minutes before removing from tray to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days or longer in the refrigerator.

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

http://paleospirit.com/2013/paleo-blueberry-muffins/

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch (I used arrowroot powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil, ghee or pastured butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease a regular size muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  3. Mix (or sift) the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk the eggs, honey, oil, and vanilla in another bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  6. Gently stir the blueberries into the batter.
  7. Spoon into 12 muffin tins. (They will be fairly full)
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden on top.
  9. Serve warm

 

 

Pizza For The Candida Challenged

Being on an anti-inflammatory diet can initiate feelings of deprivation. Not only is it important to remember your progress and how much better you feel, but it is also important to experiment and try to have fun. Once you get over the overwhelming task of changing your diet or the initial shock of diagnosis, it’s imperative to take firm steps toward embracing it. I try not to get stuck in patterns of eating the same thing, but that is a challenge no matter what I am consuming, anti-inflammatory diet or not.

One of the most fun experiments I have had is with pizza. Pizza is the one thing I thought I had to give up forever. When I think of pizza, I usually think unhealthy, greasy, pick-up, or delivery. There are so many other choices.

First of all, there is an intentional effort to bring pizza to the “gluten-free” crowd. I appreciate this very much. When I found out Dominoes and Pizza Hut had gluten-free pizzas, I was ecstatic. It gave me an “emergency” food option after a busy day. I still didn’t eat them regularly because of the cheese, carb, and processed food issues. Those aren’t on the anti-inflammatory diet, so I kept that to a minimum.

The first pizza I tried making after Candida overgrowth diagnosis was a cauliflower crust pizza. It was very good and the kids liked it too. Cauliflower is one of the things you can flavor very easily while hiding its own subtle flavor. Italian seasonings, pizza toppings, and sauce are a great way to bring out pizza flavors while covering the cauliflower. The great benefit to this kind of pizza is no carbs. The downside is that I could never find a way to pick it up and eat it like a traditional pizza.

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 Head of cauliflower (food processed to rice size) or  a 16 oz bag of riced cauliflower

2 eggs

Italian seasonings (I seasoned mine to death. Parsley, garlic powder, basil, oregano, Himalayan pink salt, etc.)

Instructions:

If you rinse the cauliflower, make sure it dries completely or squeeze it in cheesecloth to dry. Mix all ingredients. Line the pan with parchment. Then pat the mixture down into a 13×9 pan or larger. The larger the pan, the thinner the crust. We ate our pizza with a fork.

Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden.

Take crust out of the oven and add whatever toppings you want. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

The second type of pizza I made was using a gluten-free thin crust. It is almost like a cracker, but not that crispy. The kids loved this type of pizza and picked it up easily to eat like regular pizza. The only downside to this recipe is that there is still come carb consumption going on.

I can’t find any pictures of mine for this next recipe, unfortunately, but if you click on the link, you will see her pizza.

Quick and Easy Paleo Pizza Crust

https://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-pizza-crust-grain-free-dairy-free/

Serves: 10-12 inch crust

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup fine blanched almond flour
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour(or arrowroot starch) plus 2-3 tbsp more for spreading/kneading the dough
  • 6-7 tbsp coconut flour, divided into 3 (first) and 3-4 (after adding egg – I used 6 and ¼ Tbsp, total)
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • ¾ tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup light flavored olive oil
  • 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg, room temp, whisked

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet (round if you prefer) with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca or arrowroot, 3 Tbsp of the coconut flour, onion and garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Stir well to fully combine.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the water, oil, and vinegar, then pour into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  4. Now stir in the whisked egg to combine well. Once you have a sticky mixture, you will slowly add the remaining coconut flour. I recommend adding a Tbsp at a time and mixing well until you have a dough that’s still a bit sticky yet able to be spread out. Don’t add more than 3-4 additional Tbsp of coconut flour in this step.
  5. Sprinkle extra tapioca or arrowroot on your parchment lined baking sheet, transfer the dough to the sheet and sprinkle with more tapioca/arrowroot. Work the dough into a 9-10 inch circle (12 for a very thin crust), then bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes depending on how crispy you want the crust. (I removed the parchment paper before baking because I used a non-stick pan. I baked mine for about 12 minutes before adding my toppings and baked again. Bake time will depend on the toppings you plan to add, how crispy you want the crust, and how thin you spread it out.
  6. Top your crust however you like! Enjoy!

 

The third type of pizza I recently tried was a zucchini crust. This blew my mind. I totally did not expect this to turn out. My mom and dad helped me make it the first time. They are amazing pizza makers. When I was on vacation visiting them, I knew they were the best people to take on the task. Not only did it taste great, it can be picked up like a regular pizza, and I didn’t have to add grain or carbs to it. It’s a total win, win. I doubled it to make a large pizza. For a family of four, I quadrupled it.

 

Zucchini Pizza Crust

https://glutenfreehomemaker.com/zucchini-pizza-crust/

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups zucchini, finely grated, lightly packed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, (vegans, use a chickpea egg: 4 Tablespoons chickpea flour + 4 Tablespoons water)
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil (or another high smoke point oil such as walnut or coconut)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (you don’t need much because the zucchini will retain some)

Instructions:

  1. Place the grated zucchini in a strainer.
  2. Sprinkle the zucchini with some salt, toss it to disperse.
  3. Place the strainer over a large bowl, and let the zucchini drain for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place the grated zucchini into a dry dish towel, and wring the towel over the sink until the water from the zucchini is squeezed out.
  6. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  7. Add almond meal as needed to make a dough (not too wet, not too dry).
  8. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the zucchini mix out into an oval shape. I use a fork to do this, and I press it down to compact it as well.
  9. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Then place the pan on the top rack of the oven for about 8 minutes, until browned.
  11. Remove the pan and flip the crust.
  12. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  13. Remove the crust.
  14. Turn the oven up to 500 degrees.
  15. Top the pizza with sauce or pesto, cheese, vegetables….whatever floats your pizza boat!
  16. Place the pan back into the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 3-4 minutes. Again, place the pan on the top rack for about 2 minutes.
  17. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes to let everything set.

Popular toppings in our house:

Chicken sausage (without nitrates added)

Goat cheese

Sun-dried tomatoes

Black olives

Artichokes

Pineapple

Uncured bacon (without nitrates added)

Fresh basil

Sauteed onions and or bell peppers

Pizza Sauce:

1  six oz. can of tomato paste

1 can of water

Season to taste (garlic, oregano, basil, Himalayan pink salt)

I add all these ingredients to a saucepan and heat. This creates a thick sauce. It’s so easy and tastes really good. Make more or less sauce depending on how much you want on each pizza and how many pizzas you are making. Spread the sauce over the pizza after you bake the crust.

I hope this gives you some great ideas and encourages you to leave the deprivation blues behind you. These are some really great pizzas you can enjoy without the bloating and without pain. Load them up with all kinds of veggies or pineapple. They are good with or without cheese. Goat cheese is easier on your digestive system and gives the pizza a tangy zip. You can read about goat cheese benefits on this website. https://draxe.com/goat-milk/ Cheese usually gives a little salty flavor. Sometimes I add pink Himalayan salt and extra Italian seasonings on top to replace the cheese.

 

 

 

New Candida Tricks

Contemplating lessons learned is a great way to start the new year. The intricacies of gut health are never-ending. Obviously, different people may have varying responses to the same treatment. That’s another reason this is so complicated. It’s equally important to learn the ins and outs that are helpful for you. Basically taking all the optimal diet information pertinent to your illness and fine-tuning the details depending on your body’s responses to treatment.

In a past blog, I said I would try Berberine recommended by Dr. Axe for Candida overgrowth. I did try it and it had been working well. When I find I need something more powerful for a more instant relief from a potential yeast infection, I still reach for the grapefruit seed extract, but only take it for a week. Then I stop taking grapefruit seed and go back to using Berberine. Berberine is good for ongoing maintenance without harming other bacteria in the gut. Grapefruit seed extract is like dropping a bomb and leveling everything. It’s great for an emergency, but long-term will lead to killing other good gut bacteria.

So let’s talk about the “emergency” that revealed this technique of flexing in between Berberine and grapefruit seed extract. I got the “plague” in December. Many of you have probably gotten it too or know people who have. The flu this year with coughing, fever, chills, and exhaustion seemed like it would never end. I had it for 2 and ½ weeks with intense congested coughing. I actually coughed my ribs out of place. The pain was pretty intense. I didn’t realize what it was at the time but eventually went to the chiropractor 2 weeks into this plague, and she put my ribs back in place. During this whole experience, my tongue felt like it had a coating and nothing tasted good. This was starting to feel like I was going into a Candida overgrowth relapse. I also developed a sore under my tongue. This was a full-blown war on my immune system. That’s when I stopped taking Berberine and subbed it for grapefruit seed extract for a week. I stayed on my Candida Combat probiotic sold by Dr. Axe and the other supplements I take. My chiropractor also recommended I take Colloidal Silver to help drive the flu virus out of my system. Many people were thinking I needed a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia or bronchitis. I was almost there, but I wanted to see my chiropractor/nutritionist first. I am so glad I did. She thought I would kick this flu in the next few days with Colloidal Silver spray. Popping my ribs back into place made the next few days bearable. That was so painful. I will have her continue to check my ribs over the next couple of months. Once they are out, they seem to pop in and out for a couple months before stabilizing.

Another thing I learned over the past month was the difference between blanched almond flour and making almond flour at home by just grinding almonds. Since I was on vacation, I tried blanched almond flour. My finished baking products came out less grainy when I used the blanched almond flour. Either way works, but again blanched flour will produce a smoother end product. You can read how to blanch your own almonds here and follow the pictures https://toriavey.com/how-to/how-to-blanch-almonds/

Blanching almonds

Ingredients:

Raw unsalted almonds, more or less as needed

 

Instructions:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place your raw almonds into the boiling water. Let them boil for exactly one minute. Don’t boil for any longer than 60 seconds, or your almonds will start to soften.
  3. Drain the almonds immediately in a colander or strainer and rinse them with cold water to cool them.
  4. Blot the almonds dry with a paper towel. You’ll notice that the skins will be slightly shriveled.
  5. Use your fingers to gently squeeze the almonds and loosen the skin from them.
  6. Once you remove the skins, let the almonds dry off completely. Discard the skins.

Get Away without Sabatoging Your Diet

At first, the Candida diet can seem overwhelming. It is a different way of thinking and problem solving, especially when eating out. Planning grocery shopping is intimidating as well. Over time, I have gotten more comfortable with all that. Occasionally, I still have that moment of panic, but it is usually because I have waited too long to eat, causing my thought process to freeze. The longer I put this diet into practice, the better I feel. It does get easier. Anything worth doing is difficult at first. Practice creates the mental and physical habits that will lead to success.

We recently planned a surprise trip to Legoland for our kids. The week before we left, I found a great deal on the Legoland hotel. This was my son’s dream, but it had been too expensive for us in the past. I couldn’t believe the deal I was getting and kept thinking it was too good to be true. My husband and I were so excited. It was difficult to keep this secret from our kids. I had to sneak pack their clothes and hide them in my car. I also started a meal planning list to ensure I stay on my diet, and the kids had some good food to eat. I premade some Paleo chewy granola bars and put them in the freezer. Then I took them out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator the night before we left.  This was our breakfast in the car as we drove 2-3 hours. Otherwise, I knew I would end up in the drive-through in the morning and that would not be good for me.  For lunch, we made chicken salad sandwiches with leftover chicken and took some fruit. The recipe is listed below. I packed some homemade hummus and veggies for me. The snacks we took into the park were nuts and organic dried cranberries made in apple juice. This would at least keep us going for a while and keep my wandering eye off the food stands.

We had a great day at the park. We got there early, and the kids got to ride with very little wait times. All our food worked out great. Every time I got hungry, I just reached into my bag. The kids got a special snack later in the day. My husband and I also shared something.

Finishing up our day, we stopped by the Aquarium which was really cool. There were so many wonderful exhibits. We could have spent more time in there, but it was close to closing time and we were getting tired.

The hotel surprise was killing me, but we managed to keep it from them all day. We told the kids we were going to check out the hotel lobby. We looked at some of the cool exhibits there, and then we wandered over to the counter. I pulled out my reservations and “surprise!”

Our room was adventure themed, like Indiana Jones. It was so fun. Taking the elevator was a disco party. They seemed to have thought about every detail when it comes to kids, from low peepholes on the hotel doors to dance parties. Every aspect reminded me of celebrating the moment. It was such a great reminder. Celebrate the moment right now with those you love. Leave everything else behind. All the burdens you walked in with, leave them at the hotel entrance. You can always pick them up when you leave or maybe forget to take them home altogether. Sometimes I forget how many burdens I have picked up throughout the week or months. How long had I been carrying them? It easily steals my joy or lightheartedness. Then I forget to have fun. Wow, maybe “everything is awesome” like the Lego movie says. I need to remember to be a kid sometimes.

After solving a mystery and opening up a treasure chest in the room, the kids went swimming in the heated pool. Then we ate dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. It was great to eat at the hotel because we were all getting so tired. We chose high protein meals with veggies and enjoyed everything in a family-style manner. It was better that way because the kids ate the carb portions of the meals that I shouldn’t be eating.

After dinner, we went up to our room to shower and watch tv. We knew we had another early drive in the morning to get my husband to work. I had packed our breakfast to avoid another potential drive-through temptation. Hard-boiled eggs, non-GMO bagels, gluten-free bagels, and cream cheese. We do not eat bagels often so the kids viewed this as a treat.

After dropping my husband off at work, we headed the rest of the way home. I had packed extra snacks for in-between meals, like non-GMO pretzels for the kids, Inner peas for me, nuts, and homemade popcorn from an oil popper. I pop our popcorn with coconut oil and top it with olive oil and Himalayan pink salt.

All in all, it was an amazing trip because we were together. No schedules. No interruptions. Lots of play time. I also stayed on my diet. I enjoyed a few bites of carbs here and there, but for the most part, bringing food helped me stay on track.

In closing, I want to encourage you to stay the course. It is worth doing. Celebrate your victories. It is not easy. Celebrating with the people you love is the most fun. Get-aways can give you a break from the routine and being prepared will encourage you to stay on the right path.

I’d like to share the chicken Salad Recipe from https://draxe.com/recipe/chicken-salad/

Chicken Salad Recipe

TOTAL TIME: 5 MINUTES

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2-3 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup sliced red grapes
  • ⅔ cup paleo mayonnaise (I use Kefir. It gives a tangy taste while providing probiotics.)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined.

Thankful

I am thankful as I look back. Being free from financial debt, having less stress in my life, and more getaway adventures with my family have all been a blessing. Experiencing less “pain” days and having so many more good days has been encouraging as well. As the overall bondage of the mind and body is lifted, as healing takes place, I can’t help but be in wonder.

I think of that slice of pumpkin pie I put in the deep freezer that is approaching 2 years old. That’s when I completely committed myself to this Anti Candida journey, a few days before Thanksgiving 2 years ago. It has become a mile marker for me. I don’t know whether to destroy it out of fun or keep it as a memento. It’s the place I came from called desperation, holding out for the day I might be able to eat it again. Even though I follow the Candida diet and rarely have carbs or sugar, I am ok with not eating that piece of pie now. I may have a slice of one I make this year. I might experiment with a no sugar pie and a gluten-free crust or a crustless pie. The point is that I am free now. That piece of pie doesn’t hold the allure it once had in my life. I can take one day at a time and not feel oppressed anymore.

I also want to share a new supplement I have been taking the past 3 weeks. Candida Combat by Dr. Axe. https://store.draxe.com/collections/candida/products/candida-combat I stopped taking olive leaf extract (anti-fungal) with astragalus because this supplement uses oregano (anti-fungal) and astragalus. I haven’t been drinking Pau d’Arco tea because Candida Combat contains this ingredient too. Not only does it seem helpful to consolidate what I am taking, I feel better too. I have also stopped taking grapefruit seed extract. This means I can spend less money and not have so many supplements to take. This may be what I was looking for to break the healing plateau I hit many months ago. I will keep you posted on this.

To review, I will go over the supplements that aid healing or reduce symptoms caused by Candida overgrowth. Vitamin D is for immune health, Omega 3 EPA-DHA 500 EC is for brain function, Candida Combat is for gut health, kombucha for gut health, and trace minerals for proper body function. This is the first time I have gotten it down to these few supplements and felt well. I am very excited. So far, these supplements are standing up pretty well even with the extra stress I have had the past week. The cycle of stress, physical pain, mental overload, and yeast infection symptoms seems to be broken.

Oddly enough, this is the first time I don’t feel guilty about recovering. I have been holding on for reasons I cannot explain. I don’t know if I felt guilty in light of everyone else’s suffering or maybe that I don’t deserve it individually. Was this another thought process that was affected by Candida overgrowth? I guess I will never know.

I’m ready to let go, to not be defined or held back by this illness. I will continue to make healthy choices for myself and family. I will focus on the good things the Lord has given me, and the beauty He makes out of ashes. He has given me the wisdom to make better choices for my family. He has strengthened our family bonds. He has given me the wisdom to help others climb out of their sicknesses or achieve better health. He held me together when I was the most broken, and walked me through the darkness.

There is much to celebrate and be thankful for!

In closing, I’d like to share a dessert:

No Bake Paleo Pumpkin Cookies

https://www.plaidandpaleo.com/2013/10/no-bake-paleo-pumpkin-cookies.html

 Yield: 18

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1/4 tsp ginger*
  • 1/4 tsp cloves*
  • 1/4 tsp allspice*
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • *Or 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I like to use the different seasoning for a better flavor.)

Directions:

  1. Mix everything except coconut in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Stir until well combined and nuke for 20 seconds. You can skip this step if you don’t like using the microwave, but it melds the flavors of the sauce.
  3. In the same bowl, add in shredded coconut and mix well.
  4. Scoop 1 tablespoon mounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  6. Move to airtight container and store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Candida, Gut Health, and Continuing Education

I have been learning a few things. This road has a lot of twists and turns, and I think I have been running away from them. Going through my own version of Groundhog’s day over the past month has been a little frustrating. On the other hand, I did receive some encouragement that reminded me of how much I have overcome. Maybe that’s another tool that assists me to keep on, remembering where I have come from. The place I never want to return. That place was full of inflammation, pain, fear, anxiety, and depression. I have never been that sick since I started this journey 2 years ago. That is reason enough to press on.

In general, I have been trying to wean myself from grapefruit seed extract. It is an amazing supplement that has helped me immensely, but it does have a downside. It is a powerful candida fighter, but it can also deplete the good bacteria in the gut. You can read more about this supplement here: https://draxe.com/grapefruit-seed-extract/ Dr. Axe advises not to take it long-term. He also recommends taking probiotics an hour after taking this supplement. This is to ensure your probiotics retain their effectiveness and to help support good bacteria in the gut. I have been doing this as well.

So here we go again. The balance between good and evil in the gut is ongoing. I have been on grapefruit seed extract for about 2 years straight. Every time I had stopped taking it for a couple of days, I would experience Candida symptoms. I tried more recently to wean myself again, and I had successfully been off of it for at least three weeks. After that, I had to resume taking it again. I guess it comes down to being flexible and making the best choices I can at each moment. I have to remember not to beat myself up when I feel symptomatic. Continuing to listen to the body and adjust is key for success. I start with the best plan (plan A) but know that Plan B or C may have to be implemented when things get rough.

I started experiencing symptoms off and on for a couple of weeks. After the second week, with pain and discouragement creeping back in, I went back on grapefruit seed extract for a few days which turned into 2 weeks. I also take olive leaf extract daily.  This is another natural antifungal. I have been taking it in capsule form and have not discovered downsides to this one. You can read more about the benefits of olive leaf extract here: https://draxe.com/olive-leaf-benefits/

There’s yet another supplement I just discovered through Dr. Axe. I haven’t tried it yet. Berberine 500 mg 3x per day with a meal. You can read more about Berberine here: https://draxe.com/berberine/  I may try to see if this helps replace grapefruit seed extract.

Another important element to healing is sleep. It can never be overestimated for repairing the body. I have been reading in Jordan S. Rubin’s The Maker’s Diet how “some researchers believe that every minute you sleep before midnight is the equivalent of four minutes of sleep after midnight.” I totally feel a difference when I wake up the next morning after going to bed at 10pm or earlier versus going to bed after midnight or 1a.m. I tend to feel sore, sometimes achy, not fully rested, and have brain fog when I go to sleep after midnight. It doesn’t seem to matter if I get more hours of sleep on those nights. It’s almost as if I can’t get enough sleep at that point.

I continue to stress the importance of an organic/grass-fed/free-range/wild caught/heavy on the vegetables diet, supplements, and rest. They are paramount to healing.

I would like to conclude today’s blog with another great recipe. It does contain a little bit of honey. If you are in the position to add a little sugar back into your diet in the form of honey, I recommend using local, raw honey. My kids enjoy this recipe on top of their plain yogurt, which means they are getting probiotics, too. My husband loves the granola all by itself. You can also pour coconut or almond milk over it. This recipe comes from Wellness Mama. Wellness Mama has a lot of great tasting and healthy recipes. I recommend The Wellness Mama Cookbook by Katie Wells. She has some great online resources as well.

https://wellnessmama.com/9315/coconut-granola/

Coconut Granola

prep 5 mins

cook 20 mins

total 25 mins

author wellness mama

yield 4 +

A coconut based granola recipe that is easy to make and is a grain free sub for regular breakfast cereals.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut chips
  • 1 cup of nuts of choice [I use 1/2 cup of nuts and 1/2 cup of seeds.] (I like a mix of cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pecans)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup OR 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • optional: vanilla (1 tsp), cinnamon (dash), chia seeds, raisins or other dried fruit of choice (up to 1/2 cup) [I use 1 tsp vanilla, 1TBS cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 cup organic dried cranberries.]

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt coconut oil, honey/maple syrup in a small saucepan until starting to bubble and simmer.
  3. Add vanilla if using.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the coconut chips and nuts and any optional ingredients if using.
  5. Pour honey/maple syrup/coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. The consistency will vary some depending on the honey, coconut chips, and coconut oil you use. If there is not enough of the honey mixture to lightly coat all of the ingredients, add slightly more melted coconut oil and honey in equal parts.
  6. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking dish.
  7. Bake for 15-20 until starting to brown. [Mine only takes about 12-15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as coconut chips over brown quickly if you are not careful.]
  8. Remove and let cool, then crumble into granola pieces.
  9. Store in an airtight jar and use within two weeks.