Riding The Candida Wave

This was my journal entry I started Monday morning: “After a few weeks of tightening up on the Candida diet, increasing supplements, and a stress decrease, I have made progress. I realized this morning I have not been waking up with a sore throat the past few days. I also realized the pain in my right wrist is gone. Sometimes, I don’t realize the progress I have made right away. It’s usually the absence of pain/inflammation somewhere in the body that reminds me of how well I am doing. Candida can look like arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, back problems, fibromyalgia, or sinus problems. It just kicks up inflammation in multiple spots of the body. If you are unaware that you have Candida overgrowth, you will be chasing after all these symptoms, trying to ‘put out the fires’ in your body. No treatment will be effective until properly diagnosed and treated holistically.”

By Tuesday night, my body started to take a turn. After getting home from taking my kids to robotics class and running errands, I cleaned our bathrooms. When I went into the kitchen and saw the pile of dishes and messy state, I was overwhelmed. The question of “what’s for dinner?” from family members was especially frustrating. I started saying, “I can’t do this.” My daughter immediately said, “I will clean the kitchen.” I marveled at how soon she responded. I told her that that was great, but I also didn’t know how I was going to cook. I was so tired. I felt like I could fall asleep as I was standing there. She offered to cook too. I was thinking it over. I felt bad for her to do it all, so I offered to order and pick up Mexican food down the street.

After I got to the restaurant and ordered my food to-go, I had time to sit there and think. I just wanted to cry. I recognized my fragile mental state was Candida-related, but I was still overwhelmed. I was not only overwhelmed with my current list of things to do, but also with my body’s health state. How did things change for the worse? I was getting better. I couldn’t pinpoint any stressful event or anything I ate that would have triggered a negative response. That made me even more upset.

By Thursday afternoon, I was experiencing pre-yeast infection symptoms. I started my bath treatments. ¼ C. raw apple cider vinegar with the mother and warm water. I began to think of the recurring cycle. Did it follow any patterns? Sometimes I have ignored the beginning symptoms, hoping it would not amount to anything. It seemed like the last couple of times I relapsed, it started with brain fog and an unstable emotional state followed exhaustion. Then came the pre-yeast infection symptoms followed by pain or inflammation in the body.

Now I recognize the cycle. What’s next? I am honestly not sure. I am grateful to have an appointment with my chiropractor/nutritionist this week to see what advice she has for me. For now, I have to continue doing what I know is best. My no carb, no sugar, no caffeine, no dairy diet with increased probiotics and herbal antifungals is the way to encourage healing. I also think I have to be careful to have variety. It is easy to eat the same kind of food over and over, but I am sure it is best to have variety.  My go-to is nuts. I love cashews and almonds, but I can easily overdo it and miss out on the nutrients I could be getting from organic vegetables. Balancing my diet is key to success. I also delegated more at work this week to lighten my stress load.

I found a new recipe this week. This was a delicious surprise. I am adding this in closing to cheer myself up. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Chocolate Coconut Muffins:

https://paleobreakfast.com/recipe/chocolate-coconut-muffins/

Ingredients

Instructions

(I did not let the ingredients stand as the recipe states. I added a little almond milk as the recipe seemed a little dry. I patted them gently into “hamburger patty” shapes as this helps them hold together. I placed these in a ceramic muffin tin greased with unrefined coconut oil and baked them right away. I omitted the coconut sugar. It makes 6 muffins.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flours with the cocoa, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut oil with the honey and eggs until well combined.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes. Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin or use paper liners.
  4. Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Working Through Gluten-Free/No Carb

I always thought the villainization of carbs was overdramatic. When I read Flat Belly Diabetes Diet a few years ago, it seemed like a good balance. I still think it’s a great diet. I actually lost weight and felt really energized. It taught me a lot about the psychology of eating. The only downside to it was the recommended processed foods, but I always substituted processed foods for homemade. It brought my calorie count down, bad fats down, and my husband’s cholesterol down. The whole family was actually on this diet, or style of eating until I learned I had Candida.

After learning I had Candida overgrowth, it felt like the world was caving in. I had so much new information, not only on the details of my condition, but also on the new diet I was supposed to be on. Much of the information I had discovered about “healthy eating” was about to change. I had to cut carbs completely. At first, the changes were overwhelming. Honestly, any diet change can be. I’ve been through this a couple of times. Making those changes are emotional and stressful. The first phase of the ultimate candida diet is detoxing. You can find the diet here: https://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/  There are many candida diets. Choose one that works for you and stick to it. The detoxing phase was challenging because I could only eat a list of primarily greens, a few other vegetables, and eggs. I felt positive physical results within a couple of days. Even though I struggled to stick to it, I could see the benefits.

After the detoxing, you go on to the next phase of the diet. This includes a lot more choices. It got easier over time, not only because there were more choices, but also because my brain started to adapt to the whole concept. I also learned what foods personally affected my health in a negative way and others that benefitted me.

In general, cooking gluten-free was a challenge for me. I used to enjoy whole wheat muffins, banana bread, open-faced sandwiches, or whole wheat pancakes with fruit and nuts. At first, I tried to “replace” my tried and true recipes with gluten-free alternatives. When I had that mindset, it was harder to enjoy those things. They taste nothing like the gluten alternative. My kids didn’t like it either.

Now, I have learned that I don’t always need a replacement. Eating vegetables and nuts or well-seasoned meat is more enjoyable than eating a coconut bread sandwich with chicken salad on it. Instead of replacing muffins I used to make, exploring new recipes were better. There was no expectation when I never had it before. This worked so much better.

Cooking gluten-free has other challenges. Sometimes the texture is off. Having Candida, I can’t be adding sugar either. It is double challenging finding gluten-free, sugar-free recipes. I have stumbled across a couple ideas to improve my recipes. One thing I learned was when I kept the mixed dry ingredients in one bowl and kept the mixed wet ingredients in another bowl until the very last minute, the recipe had a softer texture. I made sure the glass or ceramic baking pan was well-greased with coconut oil. Then I mixed wet and dry ingredients together, put it in the pan right away, and baked it. I think the gluten-free flours suck up all the moisture otherwise which led to a drier denser product. I also learned that “sifting” the almond flour takes away some density from your finished product as well. I rub my homemade almond flour through a mesh strainer into the dry ingredients bowl. Even though I buy my coconut flour, and flax meal, I try to make most of my other flours. I also avoid gluten-free processed foods because there’s usually a lot of sugar or unidentifiable ingredients in those. On a side note, I happened to read an article about mercury and arsenic levels being linked to gluten-free diets. The findings were based on people eating a lot of processed rice products. Since rice pulls mercury and arsenic out of the soil, people eating large amounts were having high levels of mercury and arsenic in their urine or blood. It just further proves that staying away from processed foods is best. Then it is easier to regulate how much rice or other foods you are getting and be able to identify your ingredients.

IMG_20170228_073024[1] “sifting” almond flour

I’d like to close with a delicious gluten-free recipe I have been enjoying. I use the gluten tips I just mentioned.

Lemon Berry Coconut Muffins:

http://myheartbeets.com/lemon-berry-coconut-flour-muffins/

Author: Ashley Thomas

Serves: 14 muffins (I get 12 out of this)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk (coconut milk or almond milk will work)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or melted ghee (I use organic butter)
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (raw, local honey is always a great alternative)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries, pureed (I use fresh pureed blackberries or blueberries)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add the coconut flour and baking soda to a bowl and mix well. (Remember, I keep wet and dry ingredients separate until ready to bake. It comes out totally different.)
  3. Add the non-dairy milk, eggs, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, and oil to the bowl and using a hand mixer, mix until well combined and smooth. As you continue to mix, the batter will thicken.
  4. Pour the batter into silicone baking cups. (I use a greased ceramic muffin pan)
  5. Drop a teaspoon of the berry puree on top of each muffin. Using a knife, make a twirly design.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, serve.

 

This Is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Candida. Any Questions?

I have been stuck in the Candida cycle the last couple of weeks. I had made a lot of progress, feeling better overall after tightening up the Candida diet and increasing supplements. On the other hand, I have had additional physical and emotional stress during that time. I think that is what is keeping me in the cycle at this point. I have been feeling achy, really tired, and mentally foggy.

Work and home have provided additional stress over the past couple of weeks. When additional issues pop up in the middle of the recovery process, it slows things down and sometimes makes me go backward. My job is very physical most of the time and when it gets super busy, there can be a lot of emotional stress. Some people may scoff at the wages wait staff can potentially make, but there’s a physical/ emotional cost that comes with the job. Not to mention, all the nights and weekends you miss with your family and friends can be taxing. When I want to take a day off, there is no pay.

After one tumultuous night at work last week, I was driving home around 1 a.m. I was so tired. I was a mile away from my home when I reached for my phone to help stay awake. I was going to call someone. At that moment, I felt the car pull to the right. In an instant, I was off the right shoulder. I corrected to the left and literally felt like I got flung across the road. I was in the dirt off the other side of the road, heading towards a telephone pole. I didn’t think I was going to stop in time. All of a sudden, the back of the car flung around counterclockwise and the car stalled out. I was facing the opposite direction. I was shaken up, confused, and exhausted. I started the car and tested whether it was drivable. It wasn’t and I couldn’t get in touch with anyone because it was so late. My husband called me after a few minutes, and he was able to pick me up. The next day, I was finally able to put it together when we saw the flat passenger front tire. It wasn’t something I did. The tire blew, pulled me to the right and got caught on the shoulder. When I pulled the wheel to the left, it flung me across the road.

We have also been dealing with a lump on my daughter’s neck. We had initially gotten advice from my chiropractor/nutritionist while at my appointment who said, “it looks like an inflamed lymph node, due to a virus. If it gets bigger, you should get it checked.” Two days after that, my daughter passed out in the shower. We have been in and out of doctor’s and labs all week. Obviously, this has been an additional stress.

The “Candida state of mind” is an interesting state of mind to be in. There is never a dull moment. Trying to stay on top of it all nutritionally and making health assessments as it fluctuates is challenging. I have a few tell-tale mental signs that prompt me to assess more closely. My tolerance for unpleasant circumstances goes down. I have less perseverance power. My mind becomes overtaxed most of the time, which makes it difficult to focus, and multi-tasking becomes extremely difficult. I tend to blurt things out that I wouldn’t normally say. I lose control over my “inner filter” whether it is out of lack of patience or forgetfulness. I also may stutter or blurt out nonsense words that are all jumbled together. Sometimes I have an inability to recall words for things or become forgetful in general. This is especially embarrassing when waiting on tables. I have gotten used to it. Sometimes I make a joke out of it because I can’t control it. My kids will point out these “words”  sometimes and laugh. I guess I should laugh too and most of the time will. Other times, it makes me frustrated, and I feel that other people will think I am not very intelligent. Most of these issues would fall under the category of “brain fog”. The chiropractor/nutritionist I see recommended Omega-3 EPA-DHA. It works, but sometimes, I still struggle with brain fog when having a Candida relapse.

I am tired right now of fighting this battle. I started to give in a little on the Candida diet last week thinking, “I’m not pulling out of it, why try?” My family continues to encourage me to stay the course. I have for the most part. I’m trying to deal with my personal discouragement at this point and push through it. Every day, I stare down the coffee pot before having my Pau d’arco, antifungal tea. Sometimes I hear “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” theme song as I fight off the desire to have coffee. Why does Candida have to like caffeine? Candida is so unforgiving.

I also keep thinking of my cat. She has been fighting a parasite for the past 3 years. She was taking medicine prescribed by a vet that could potentially give her neurological problems. We tried a couple of courses of this, but it is not recommended for long-term use. She would improve while she was on the medicine and regress when taken off. Parasites are tricky. They go dormant for a while if they are threatened. It’s hard to kill the adults and all the eggs. We have also tried homeopathic parasite medicine prescribed by my chiropractor/nutritionist. The good news is that this medicine will not hurt her. We are now trying the 3rd course of this with modifications to see if we can finally kill everything.

It’s weird, but I feel a kinship with my cat. If she could talk, she’d probably be telling me how tired she is of fighting her battle too. Between her situation and mine, I have to quote my Papou (grandfather), “a bullet’s cheaper.” Once things go awry in the gut, it takes so much effort to straighten it out. I just keep running the race before me, hoping to finish well. My advice to anyone not suffering from gut imbalances would be to keep sugar low to no, keep processed foods out as much as possible, get 3 different probiotics in per day, eat lots of fresh organic vegetables, eliminate toxic chemicals as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to get dirty. It’s healthy to take in dirt. It improves our immune system. Oversanitizing and over antibiotic use are killing our gut health too. For more information, I highly recommend Dr. Josh Axe’s book called Eat Dirt. Do as much as possible to steer clear of this journey. If you are on this journey, God bless you and give you the strength to endure. May He turn “your ashes” into something beautiful so that your struggle has a great purpose.

For now, I am caught in the “Candida hills”. Going up and down until my body can get back up to the top. I will continue with increased supplements and a tighter diet. If I did it before, I can do it again. With God’s help, I can press on toward the goal to which He has called me. I have had it much worse than this, and I have to remember that.

Recipes For The Candida Railway

I felt terrible about last week’s blog. I didn’t really want to post, but the content was honest. I was feeling overwhelmed and not really excited about it. I was scrambling to do all I could to pull myself back out of the mud. Thank God for a new week!

After undergoing more homeopathic treatments and being very careful about my diet, I have come around the corner. My mind is in a better place. I am not quite so stressed or overwhelmed. I physically feel better for the most part. I have been having lots of stomach cramping the last few days, and I’m not sure if that is linked to anything. For now, I will stick to easily digestible foods, like cooked veggies instead of raw and soups.

Besides taking probiotics and herbal antifungals, I find certain foods also help me to navigate Candida. I notice when I saute many different vegetables in coconut oil, I have more energy and feel better overall. I use coconut oil because it is an antifungal. Make sure to get unrefined organic as refined coconut oil is bleached. I use carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, onions, peppers, and sunflower seeds. I love using turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefits. You can read more about turmeric here: https://draxe.com/turmeric-benefits/ I also use seasonings like garlic, Himalayan pink salt, ground pepper, oregano, paprika, and sometimes cayenne. Organic coco aminos can also add a “soy sauce” flavor. This is a great lunch dish. I usually feel refreshed after eating.

I found a few great breakfast recipes as breakfast seems to be the most challenging for me to make low to no carb dishes for the whole family. It is especially hard to find a good gluten-free pancake, so I included that recipe below. Some of these recipes have moderate amounts of honey, so depending on where you are on the Candida journey, these may be acceptable or not.

Last but not least, all I can say is, occasionally, a girl has to have a donut. I included that recipe at the end. Apparently, some paleo people get fired up about whether it’s appropriate to consider this an option. From my perspective, if this keeps me from going to get donuts, I have benefitted immensely from this recipe. Will I make it every day? Of course not! This would be too many carbs and too much local honey (sugar) for a regular event. If I have it once or twice a month, it is safe and curbs the desire for the dangerous alternative. On a side note, I actually tasted a real donut recently and noticed my tastes have changed. I do not enjoy them as much because they have way too much sugar and have a chemical taste. I guess another benefit of this Candida diet is that over time, my taste changed so I don’t want some of the “danger” foods. I would rather have my homemade donuts now. I bought a cheap donut maker at the thrift store. Someone there gawked at the idea, but it was my answer to a gluten-free, healthier alternative. I topped my donuts with cinnamon and organic stevia instead of this recipe’s topping.

ALMOND COCONUT BARS

http://www.eatgood4life.com/almond-coconut-bars/

Miryam’s original recipe

YIELD: 12 BARS

TOTAL TIME: 10 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

Line a 9x 5 inch loaf baking pan with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor place all the ingredients except the water. Pulse. If the mixture doesn’t come together add 1 tablespoon of water at a time pulsing the food processor in between. If needed, add more water until the mixture comes together.

Place the mixture in the prepared baking pan and with a spatula press until it is uniform on all sides. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cut into squares and keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Paleo Chewy Granola Bars

https://www.goldenbarrel.com/recipe/paleo-chewy-granola-bars/ 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine nuts, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and almond flour.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together coconut oil, honey, and almond butter. Microwave for 10-20 seconds if needed to get smooth.
  4. Pour coconut oil mixture on the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Add the egg and stir again.
  5. Dump mixture into the prepared pan and press down to make very firm, as evenly as possible. This is an important step to get them to hold together.
  6. Bake for 30-32 minutes, the edges will be slightly brown.
  7. Once removed from the oven, press down again using a spatula.
  8. Once cool, cut into 10 bars.Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 10-second intervals until smooth and drizzle over bars if desired.
  9. Store covered at room temperature.

 

Paleo Banana Pancakes

http://paleospirit.com/2013/paleo-banana-pancakes/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)
  • coconut oil, ghee or butter for frying
  • maple syrup and fruit for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the coconut milk, mashed banana, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  4. Preheat a pan or griddle on medium heat and coat with a layer of coconut oil, ghee or butter.
  5. Pour, or spoon out about two tablespoons of batter to make small pancakes. (They are much easier to manage if you keep them small – You can use your spoon to spread them out a bit.)
  6. Cook the pancakes for 2-3 minutes per side. (I usually end up cooking them longer on the first side than the second.)

Serves 4-6

Maple Cinnamon Paleo Donuts

https://paleoporn.com/paleo-donuts/

Yield: Makes 10-12 donuts

Ingredients

  • dates, pitted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Note: The frosting for these donuts are optional but taste best when prepared a day ahead.Add the dates to a medium bowl filled with water and soak for 10-15 minutes, or longer. Add dates, coconut oil and cocoa powder to a food processor and process until dates are no longer lumpy. Continue to mash the mixture with a spoon to smooth. Add to a 1 cup glass dish and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. When it’s time to prepare the donuts, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine coconut flour, almond meal, sea salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Add eggs, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and combine well with a hand mixer until mixture is smooth, no lumps.
  6. Pour the batter into a donut pan. Remember the donuts will rise while baking so you don’t want to fill beyond the center piece.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, flip over to remove the donuts and transfer to a drying rack.
  9. Fill the donut pan with the second round of batter, bake for 20 minutes and repeat step 8.
  10. Cool donuts for 1-3 minutes and serve immediately. Use a knife to spread the pre-made frosting on the donuts and serve.
  11. Enjoy! 🙂

I hope this has given you some great ideas and encourages you to achieve your health goals. We are a work in process. Keep up the fight for better health. It is well worth the effort.

 

 

Groundhog Day Or Candida Assessment Day?

Is this really groundhog day? That is a question that seems to come up from time to time. The Candida sufferer is always looking for the monster around the corner because one never knows if they are fully recovered. A symptom may pop up that makes it look like Candida is on the prowl, but maybe my iron was low or my neck was out of place. Any of these problems could cause lethargy or headaches or other pain.

Early last week was a little different. I started the week with pre-vaginal infection symptoms. Being mildly concerned, I took a vinegar water bath. If you have been reading my blog, you will know that this is simply ¼ to ½ C. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and the rest is water. This is an excellent way to kill unwanted bacteria or yeast. In fact, this may help avoid an infection if treated early enough over a couple of days.  It seemed to be under control until I started driving to work on Friday and found myself in tears. My forgetfulness and brain fog seemed to be increasing as well. What was happening? I couldn’t put my finger on it until I remembered glimpses of events from the week.

I recently helped my husband move from his store front location to another location before I had to go to work. It was a lot of physical labor. I was so glad we had other people helping that day. For lunch, I ordered pizza for them and a gluten-free pizza for me. When I went to pick-up the pizza, they told me they were out of gluten-free crusts. I just ate the regular pizza. Let’s add this up so far: we have dairy, gluten, and tiring physical labor. I went to work that night and closed. I didn’t get much sleep that night.

My husband and I unloaded the truck the next day. We were doing pretty well until faced with the last two items. While unloading the large wooden cabinets, one slipped and pushed me back. I fought hard until it pushed me into a table and hit my knees. My kids and husband were upset, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I went inside to ice the knee that took most of the force. After seeing everyone emotional, I said, “Who wants to go for ice cream? We need to get out of here and have some fun.” I enjoyed a lot of ice cream, thinking the old way, “I did a lot of physical work, I can have ice cream.” I think I was thinking about calories. What I should have been thinking about was the toxic load on my body. The total I was up to was dairy, gluten, lack of sleep, tiring physical labor, and now sugar, more labor, an injury, and more dairy.

For the first time in several months, I felt like I was slipping back into the clutches of Candida. I felt overwhelmed as I was sinking back into the pit. Looking back, my interactions with my kids were short again. I was losing ground and felt helpless. I had to get back into the “war” mindset. In between the tears, I thought, “I have to fight before it’s too late. I know how to do this. Ready or not.” I was already armed with information. I would have to force myself to cut out any small amount of carbs I had added back into my diet and up my supplements.

It’s interesting how the emotional side of it took a while to take root, but once it did, it took hold of me deeply. The anxiety multiplied quickly whether there were tangible reasons or not. Every stress was amplified, making me emotional. I started to question whether I was doing anything right…homeschooling, mothering, working.

The battle that raged and still rages in my mind is the most challenging part of the process, but it also got me to reevaluate my health again. What next? I have to go back to the mechanics of it. As much as I can, I have to breathe through the emotions and dispel them. I have to increase my antifungals, taking 2-3 grapefruit seed extract tablets per day and drink pau d’arco tea two times per day. Increasing my probiotic tablets to 2 per day, and my kombucha (fermented tea) to 3-16oz bottles per day is necessary. Remembering to take antifungals and probiotics an hour apart from each other is key in order to get the most effectiveness out of the probiotics.

Whether you are here again or doing well, take heart, because we know how to fight. It was much harder before, especially when undiagnosed. The information we have is priceless. Engage the battle so you can win.

One More Night With the Frogs or Candida Annihilation? Your Choice

I used to be very skeptical about many things. I was never one to buy into the “organic” hype, especially because it was more expensive. I didn’t understand chiropractic services, so I never desired to go. I didn’t really understand how sugar could be dangerous except for tooth decay or people with diabetes. GMO food, who cares? Why do I need to know? I didn’t understand why different people were on different eating plans or diets. As I contemplate the current health problems people have, I think about our diets and how we process or modify our foods. Did these health issues exist before? When did they start becoming more prevalent?

About a year and a half ago, my view of eating and diets changed drastically. I ate fairly healthy already, but when I suspected I had Candida overgrowth, I had to reevaluate my eating. I would have to cut carbs, sugar, caffeine, and dairy. When faced with this “giant”, I had a crisis of belief. “Was this condition real or imagined? Could I really diligently follow a Candida diet? Could I afford it financially? What if I lose too much weight? Will I have the time to prepare all my food? Can I get away with following the diet half-way?” I came up with a myriad of excuses all because I didn’t want to do this. What I came to realize is that my body has a threshold. It can only sort out a certain amount of toxins, whether they come from food, emotional stress, or physical stress. I had to lighten the load my body was under.

Hear me on this: If you have Candida overgrowth and you want to be healthy, it will require nothing less than a full commitment to the diet. No excuses. The minute you come up with an excuse, reject it, and move on. If you give an excuse validity, it will keep you from getting well. If you remain unwell, even if you can tolerate it now, over time Candida will become parasitic and travel all over your body. I have seen others suffer more as Candida spread to their lungs and other parts of their body. It will do a lot of damage. It is best to get a handle on it sooner rather than later. You may go through a “die off” period that makes you feel worse as the Candida is dieing in your body; however, over time, that will diminish and you will feel better.

Have you heard of the expression “one more night with the frogs”? In Exodus, Moses asked Pharaoh to let his people go (out of slavery and out of Egypt). Moses threatened that if Pharaoh refused, the Lord would send a plague of frogs. Frogs would be everywhere. They would be in their houses, in their beds, in their ovens, etc. As you probably know, Pharaoh refused and there were frogs everywhere. It was so bad that Pharaoh summoned Moses to come back and get rid of the frogs. Pharaoh decided he would agree to Moses’ terms. Here’s the passage:

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.’

Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.’

Tomorrow,’ Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, ‘It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.’”

Exodus 8:8-11

What? Tomorrow? All I know is that if I had frogs in my bed and in my oven, I would beg animal control to come to my house now. I would probably give them extra incentive to drop everything and rescue me right now! I would not be willing to spend one more night with the frogs, especially jumping on me all night in my bed.

The comparison may seem theatrical, but I know many people who put the diet off, and I was one of them. Why should we spend one more night with the frogs? Wellness can be on the way today and as time passes, there will be no regrets. I doubt as one gets better that anyone will be thinking, “Gee, I really miss those vaginal yeast infections. The head aches, sore throat, extreme fatigue, and anxiety were really beneficial to my life. The bloating made me look better. The brain fog actually added to my work performance. The aches made me feel like I was alive, and I really want the depression back.” Those statements sound crazy, right? We are telling ourselves the same thing when we minimize our condition. Maybe part of it is that our body chemistry starts to change with Candida overgrowth. Candida is “smart”, it changes your thought processes too. The mind/gut connection is strong. Candida will make you crave the foods that feed it. We have to step out of the stronghold and start the healing process. No excuses. One foot in front of the other is the only way to breaking free over time. It starts with a diet change and reducing stress. You can buy this ebook if you need help with diet information https://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/ . You can also find a functional medicine doctor that will help you navigate this journey. I recommend doing both. It is invaluable to have informed support and encouragement during this journey.

Holistic Candida Treatment

I’ve talked a lot about the treatment of the whole person in this blog. Candida overgrowth is not just a gut imbalance that can be fixed long-term by going on a temporary diet. I believe certain life changes are the best way to engage this daily battle and win.

If you have read past blog posts, you have learned that there are 3 major reasons for getting Candida. The first is repeated exposure to antibiotics. The second is a high-sugar/high processed food diet. The third is stress. Sometimes stress is due to a traumatic experience and sometimes it is daily high-stress levels over time. Physical/emotional stress is a huge factor and it cannot be minimized.

If you manage the diet and start to beat Candida, but you don’t manage the stress in your life, you are not on the best path. Sooner or later, relapse is inevitable. Candida is a tricky beast. It will retract for a while, lying in wait for some advantage to “rebloom”. If the stress you are undergoing, starts to trigger chemical changes in your body, you may exhibit symptoms again. Stress is the hardest issue to manage. It is silent. When I think I am handling it, there may be subconscious issues that are festering.

When I look back a couple of years ago and see the emotional/physical stress I endured, it is obvious why I am walking with Candida. My husband and I were working 12 plus hour days to open his store. He was solely self-employed. I was homeschooling my kids during the day and getting just a few hours of sleep per night. I was cleaning houses and started waiting on tables as he opened the store. At the time, I felt like God was telling me to “let go”. My husband is a risk taker and I am not. We ended up taking on twice as much debt for the business as I thought we would and life was very scary for me. We had no other debt except our mortgage, and I am a “Dave Ramsey” follower (debt-free living). So life was starting to feel like it was controlling me. I tried my best to work as hard as I could so we could pay all our bills. I was always good at living modestly, but the financial stress of business and home was consuming me.

I am revisiting this part of my life in order to share with you the weight of stress over time and how it contributes to your health. Whether you are aware of the full weight you are carrying or not, it affects you negatively. We cannot separate our minds from our bodies. At least I haven’t found a way, yet. My thought life became so cluttered, and my gut health was deteriorating. I couldn’t see all the signs until over a year later. I was just trying to keep our heads above water every day, working as much as possible. Then I hit a huge wall when I had to force myself out of bed every day. I couldn’t imagine why I looked so old, and pain became the norm in my body. Vaginal yeast infections became a frequent occurrence. Depression became a guest in my house. I was struggling to be me. I didn’t trust myself or thoughts anymore. “How did I get here? I was physically strong. I was eating well. I was in the best physical shape of my life. Now what? Is this my new norm? How am I going to support my family?” I cried out to God a lot. That’s all I could do. I asked Him to fix it because I couldn’t “do” anymore. I was so tired and desperate. I knew I had to let go, and I didn’t know how anymore. I had been holding on so tightly because I was determined to not let life fall apart for my kids. At the same time, I was becoming a monster. I felt like I couldn’t interact with anyone properly. I was emotionally out of control, especially with those closest to me.

After I started the ultimate Candida diet over a year ago and https://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/ sought medical help from Dr. Crystal, I began to make a lot of health progress. I was also taking supplements including antifungal herbs, probiotics, and fermented foods. Even including mostly organic foods in my diet brought me to a new strength and overall better health. However, I always knew my health improvement would be tied to my stress level. I knew that until my stress level changed, my diet may have to remain more strict. It was easier to see changes in my diet and how they affected my health, however, my stress level was a more complicated issue. Some matters were in my control and some were not. In some cases, I could try to change how I felt about the stressors, but I could not change the root cause of the stress.

Let’s talk specifics about the stress in my life. I cut back some of my church activities that I could no longer maintain. I also eliminated house cleaning as this was a large physical drain. I couldn’t change nuances of my husband’s business or the fact that we took on twice as much debt as I thought we would. I also couldn’t stop working. I informed my kids that their karate would also have to be cut. Our instructor was treating students poorly and using his gym to “perform” a comedy sketch for the parents at the children’s expense. We looked into other physical education options that were encouraging, but fostered discipline in an appropriate way. I had to assess all the different stresses in my life and prioritize what I could change and what I couldn’t. We all talked it over as a family. I had to make strong decisions because the toxic stress load needed to be minimized as much as possible on my body.

Currently, we have paid off the first business loan. I can’t tell you the huge weight that has been lifted off me. Just the process of paying this off and working on the second (last) loan, has increased my hope and renewed my spirit. It has shown me that God hasn’t forgotten me here. Even though I knew this in my head, I lost it in my heart. I was wondering if God wanted anything better for us. The strains of living were just overwhelming, but I had to choose daily not to focus on those difficulties. Even when circumstances weren’t changing, I had to talk myself into a better mind frame. It was especially challenging when Candida bore extra burdens on my mind. Now that this financial stress is improving, it frees up my mind and spirit. I can’t wait for the day we pay this last one off!

Presently, if I veer off the diet every once in a while, there isn’t an immediate negative reaction. The minimizing of stress has helped me in this manner. Instead of an immediate negative reaction from eating a small piece of cake or having a half of a baked potato, my body maintains. Would I include carbs, sugar, or gluten in my daily diet at this point? No way. The groundwork has been laid. The nutrients have been applied daily through the diet. Daily activities have been prioritized. The stress level has been minimized and continues to be evaluated. Sleep has been given a higher priority. The kids have been given extra chores to help lighten my load at home. All of these elements over time lead to a better quality of life for the Candida sufferer.

I am grateful that the Lord has led me here. As difficult as it is to say, He blessed me through this. It hasn’t been easy, but He has enabled me to help others. I am passionate about it because there is not much help out there when it comes to Candida. I had one person in my life to help lead me in the beginning. Without her, I would be taking meds for Fibromyalgia and convinced that this was my new life. Then, I met Dr. Crystal who helped me stay the course and achieve the best health I have had in a couple of years. If I can restore hope and healing to just one person by giving them the appropriate tools, the journey has been worth it.