So, I’m back in college. Wow. That is so awesome!! I’m going to school again! I get to let someone ELSE teach ME!! I love it!! I’m almost done with my first quarter back in school and I compulsively check the website that lists my grades. I’m doing pretty well! But between homework and the kids, it doesn’t leave me as much time to write. However, I was able to use my candida cleanse as a topic for a speech I gave. It was frustrating though, because there was so much I wanted to say, but I only had 7 minutes, so I had to keep cutting things out! And even so I went about a minute over. But here’s a copy of the text of my speech. And here’s a link to the YouTube video of me giving it.
You get into your car in the morning, put the key in the ignition and turn it and you get sputter, sputter, petewee. Or you accelerate and your car hesitates. Or worse, you’re driving down the highway and your engine just dies!! Something is wrong with your fuel or something is keeping your fuel from getting where it needs to go. This is very similar to what can happen to us. If the food we consume isn’t properly digested it can’t fuel our bodies. Candida overgrowth interferes with this process. Bodyecology.com says that at least 70% of Americans have a candida overgrowth and most don’t even know it. A little over a year ago I discovered that I had a candida overgrowth. I worked hard to diagnose and then heal this problem. Luckily, candida overgrowth is a condition that can be easily remedied without any medications or medical procedures.
First I’d like to explain what candida overgrowth really is.
I. Candida overgrowth can affect many areas of your health and it can be caused by different things but it is relatively easy to diagnose.
A. Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions explains that Candida is a naturally occurring fungi in your intestines that helps to break down foods, but it can grow out of control and cause perforations in the intestinal wall that allow undigested food to enter your bloodstream. This is very bad. Food does not belong in your blood stream and it causes your immune system to go into overdrive. This overtaxes your immune system which can result in any number of auto-immune issues.
B. Candida overgrowth can be caused by many factors. Candida lives on sugar. Eating too much sugar or foods that metabolize as sugar will cause an overgrowth. In America today, sugar comes in many forms, so you really have to be careful in your label reading. For our purposes, sugar includes agave, anything with “malt” in it, anything with “syrup” in it, anything with “cane” in it, dextrin, anything with “ose” in it, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, molasses, treacle or xylose. In addition to sugars, foods that metabolize as sugar, like wheat and alcohol will feed the candida. Lastly, anti-biotics kill both the good and the bad bacteria in your gut, throwing everything out of whack.
C. So how do you know if your candida has gotten out of hand? It can present in several different ways, depending on how bad it has gotten, your overall health and how your particular body reacts to it. Candidamd.com gives this list of symptoms to look for (slide 1). As you can see the symptoms can have quite a range. When I first went through a candida cleanse I was suffering from frequent migraines, depression, irritability, acid reflux, major sugar cravings (I actually used to plan ahead when I was out to make sure I always had sugar available, like an addict), and I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. The thing that made me look for answers, though, was when I suddenly got severe asthma that put my lung function at 52%!
Transition: Next I’d like to explain how to do a candida cleanse.
II. The first step in getting your candida under control is the hardest.
A. You need to go on a candida cleanse. Doctor’s disagree on exactly how long and which foods are most important to avoid (slide 2), but Fred Pescatore recommends cutting out all sugar, grains (including wheat, rye oats and barley), white rice and white potatoes, fruit, yeast, dairy, preservatives and artificial colors. And you can’t cheat your sweet tooth with aspartame as it weakens your immune system in general. You do need to be very careful cutting out every single form of sugar as it can cause adrenal failure. I recommend having about half a piece of actual fruit each day, to help prevent this.
B. Just because you have cut out most of the foods you are used to enjoying doesn’t mean that you don’t get anything fun to eat. For instance, candidadiet.com has some wonderful recipes. My kids still ask for avocado omelets as one of their favorite breakfasts! You can eat most nuts, meat, fish, and all kinds of vegetables. Some experts even suggest a serving of live culture yogurt or kefir each day to help rebuild the good bacteria in your gut. But be careful with this because the lactose in milk is essentially sugar. You can also eat buckwheat, millet, oat bran and quinoa. My family had a lot of fun experimenting with these almost-grains.
C. Another thing to consider during your cleanse is nutritional supplements. There are lots of supplements to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming. When it comes to candida, there are 3 important categories; probiotics, omegas and anti-fungals,. Probiotics like L. Acidophilus and B. Bifidum help build up the good bacteria in your gut that the candida has pushed out. A good omega like cod liver oil or flax seed is a wonderful anti-inflammatory for your whole body. It can help your body just “calm down” from all the stress of its immune system battles. Anti-fungals like oregano oil and garlic help kill the candida. However, using anti-fungals can kill off the candida too quickly and you may start experiencing headaches, fatigue, gas, joint pain or other negative symptoms as the bacteria recedes. But this is only temporary.
Transition: Last I’d like to share how you can maintain the good gut health that you’ve worked so hard for.
III. Once you’re done with your cleanse, there are a couple of things you can do to maintain the balance in your gut and several things you should see as a result of all your work.
A. Once you feel like you’ve fought back the candida you need to re-introduce foods one at a time (slide 3). Choose a food that you’re missing and eat it once a day for a week. If you don’t notice any reactions from your body then continue to add other foods, one at a time, remembering that moderation is key. Good foods to add back in are beans, honey, maple syrup and non-homogenized dairy. You still want to avoid conventional dairy as the homogenizing process severely alters the milk’s molecules making it nearly impossible to digest.
B. There are a lot of foods you can add back into your diet once you’ve tamed the candida but if you want to maintain optimal gut health there are some “foods” that you want to avoid permanently. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat these things again, but you need to make them a rare addition to your diet. These things include processed foods, artificial preservatives and dyes and white sugar (try turbinado if you need sugar). Look for new foods to try, visit your local farmer’s market, experience all the whole foods that are out there, experiment in your kitchen and make your own amazing recipes.
C. Different people will experience different results of course, but if nothing else you will feel much better in general. Many people experience healthy weight loss and renewed energy. My asthma has been completely healed, I’ve noticed major behavior improvements in my son and his seasonal allergies have disappeared. You will find that your immune system is stronger. You won’t get sick as often and when you do catch something you’ll notice that your body fights it off much more efficiently. This past winter my family was sick maybe twice. Once with a cold which lasted for about 24 hours and once with a stomach bug that lasted for 72 hours. That’s pretty phenomenal for a household with 4 kids in it.
Transition: So as negative as candida overgrowth can be, you can fix it.
Today I hope you’ve learned why candida overgrowth is bad, how you can overcome it and how you can maintain good gut health. Discovering that I had a candida overgrowth and then working so hard to correct it literally changed my life. It’s so amazing to me that something going on in my gut can have such a profound impact on the rest of my health! Thank you very much for your time.
Bodyecology.com. December 1, 2006. May 15, 2014. Web.
Candidamd.com. January 12, 2011. May 12, 2014. Web.
Fallon, Sally. “Nourishing Traditions.” NewTrends Publishing, Inc; Washington, DC. 2001. Print.
Pescatore, Dr. Fred. “The Allergy and Asthma Cure.” Wiley Publishing; Hoboken, NJ. 2008. Print.
Richards, Lisa. Thecandidadiet.com. 2014. May 12, 2014. Web.