What is Candida? How do I cure Candida?
We all have Candida. Every single one of us. Yep, that means you, too. Candida Albicans is a very pesky fungus (or yeast) that can cause many undesirable symptoms ranging from fatigue, joint pain, headaches, memory loss, gas/bloating, weight gain, acne, eczema, bleeding gums, hair loss, athlete’s foot, halitosis, you name it; it’s probably a result of Candida overgrowth. The range is broad and so you can imagine it’s extremely difficult to diagnose and most people have to self-diagnose themselves because it is way too often mistaken for something else. It can mask itself as IBS, Crohn’s, athlete’s foot, arthritis or even chronic fatigue syndrome.
In order for us to remain healthy, it’s imperative that we have a greater colony of “good” intestinal bacteria (or flora) vs. “bad” intestinal bacteria. Can you guess which kind Candida Albicans is? Our beneficial bacteria can be wiped out whenever we are forced to take antibiotics for one reason or another, we are under a lot of stress, we take birth control (ladies) or we eat SAD (Standard American Diet), which includes consuming tons of refined white sugar, flours, processed foods, soda, etc. Hmm, think this would apply to anyone you know? Yep, as I said, it’s pretty much well assumed that we all have Candida. And a normal amount of “bad” bacteria is not so terrible; it’s when we have an overgrowth that there can start to be major problems.
So, how do you know if you have candida? Well, as I said it’s hard to tell. The best way is to do some research and perhaps log your symptoms. No offense to Western med, but if you see your primary, it’s most likely they will not be able to give you a clear and honest diagnosis. It’s best to see a Nutrition Coach (such as myself) or an N.D. (naturopathic doctor).
If you do think you have a Candida overgrowth, not to worry. You can kill off the bacteria, but it does take a lot of work. This is where diet truly comes into play. Most literature/websites that are devoted to educating people about Candida recommend you get rid of Candida in stages; a cleanse, an elimination diet (or the Candida Diet) and then a reintroduction of certain foods.
Let’s face it, we all know we should not be consuming a diet rich in refined anything, processed junk or be taking globs of antibiotics right? Also, we can all stand to keep our stress levels regulated by having some healthy outlets such as yoga, meditation, other exercise, massage, painting…whatever it is that helps you become more centered and calm.
I write this post today because I myself am dealing with an overgrowth of Candida. I have known it for years, and have basically been in denial. For those of you who follow my posts on Facebook, you know that I have a slight obsession with Bunnies Cakes (these adorable and super tasty mini vegan cupcakes) or I am always making something chocolate. I admit it. I LOVE sweets, but you know what? My body doesn’t, and it’s screaming at me at this point to STOP. So, I have to listen because I have to honor what is best for me.
On April 1, 2012, I will begin my journey through the Candida Diet and this is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges I have ever gone through since I love food so much and the diet is extremely limited. The entire process will probably take about 2 months (or longer; remember, I mentioned Candida is pesky) to kill off the bad bacteria. On the one hand though, I am really excited to finally walk this path and go through this experience because I know it’s time. It will also give me perspective to be able to service my clients better. All I can say though, is thank goodness I can still eat avocados on this diet! I don’t think I would be on board otherwise!
I plan on documenting the process either with videos or written blog updates to keep you posted and share my experience with you. Please leave me comments on anything related; if you’ve done the diet, if you think you may have Candida overgrowth, if you have any words of wisdom, I’d love to read them.
As I update, I will fill you in more about the foods I am going to be consuming. Believe me, there are tons of things I can’t eat, so I am choosing to focus on the delicious things I can, for instance TONS of veggies, hemp seeds, flax, almonds, pecans, brown rice and quinoa! I will also be taking in some antifungals such as coconut oil and grapefruit seed extract. I will be more than fine, but I do admit I am a bit nervous. Quitting sugar is like quitting any other drug. I posted a quote on my Facebook page recently that said, “If you don’t think sugar is a drug, just try to quit” and I couldn’t agree with this more. Just the thought of losing my Bunnies Cakes makes me die a little inside, but some things in life are worth letting go of, especially if you want to feel good!
Please stay tuned and wish me luck… I will need all of your love, help and support to get through this challenge. Also, if you are interested in combating your own struggle with Candida, you can always contact me for support and coaching.
So for now, it’s sayonara sugar and vamanos veggies!