What is Candida?
Fungus lives naturally in our mouth, on our skin and predominately in our gut, keeping our gut flora in correct balance. It lives completely without harming us, most of the time! We need it for survival and for efficient nutrient absorption. However, this fungus can grow out of control and spread throughout the body. This condition is known Candidiasis, or Candida for short. The specific strain of ‘bad’ yeast cells are known as Candida Albicans.
When the body is subjected to certain factors, candida can grow into a systemic infestation. The following factors being the main causes of a candida overgrowth:
Prolonged stress – When someone experiences long periods of stress, high levels of the hormone cortisol are released. Cortisol is accountable for a number of vital functions in the body. However, when too much is released like during periods of stress, then these high levels can be dangerous for the body. One of the factors being increased blood sugar levels, which encourages the Candida cells to grow.
Extreme lack of sleep – Lack of sleep also releases an increase of cortisol and also lowers the immune system thus creating a greater chance of an overgrowth of Candida cells due to the immune-system being suppressed.
Frequent use of antibiotics – Antibiotics wipe out the bad AND good bacteria in the gut and therefore causes the gut flora to become imbalanced, again compromising the immune system.
Prolonged use of the contraceptive pill – The gut lining can also become unbalanced by prolonged use of the contraceptive pill – the contraceptive pill leads to a huge increase in oestrogen, which can lead to Candidiasis.
Malfunction of the adrenal glands – When a person suffers from adrenal fatigue from prolonged stress, the immune system efficiency is dramatically decreased. Thus, this causing a higher chance of Candida to spread throughout the body.
Bad food-choices – yeast / fungus cells love sugar and yeast, this is their main food source. Therefore, if one consume high amounts of sugars or yeasts in any form and yeasts (such as breads) combined with one or more of the above factors, you are likely to create a perfect feeding/breeding ground for Candida cells. However, don’t be fooled, it is possible to have a Candida infection if your immune-system is strong! Chances are it is most likely low-grade and chronic, and you may have had it for years without even realising.
Metaphysical counterpart – Yes! There is so much more to Candida than we think! There is always a metaphysical meaning to any illness or dis-ease as the mind, body and spirit are so intricately connected all working synergistically:
“This disorder occurs mainly in people who have been psychologically, emotionally, and physically over-active and are in serious need of stabilizing their lives. …candidiasis corresponds to issues regarding the creation of a stabilized living situation, specifically what is known as the “nesting bug”. The stress emerging from the unfulfilled desire to lay down roots and establish a home and family is directly connected to this virus.” Caroline Myss ~ The Creation of Health
The Silent Health Epidemic Amongst Most Adults
Candida can cause a whole range of problems if not recognised and managed properly. This really is the silent epidemic amongst the health world. Apparently 70% of adults are said to have Candida. So why is it most people don’t even recognise this debilitating illness? I think I know why. The symptoms of a Candida infection have become too well-recognised as just a ‘normal state of being’ in this crazy busy, non-stop world we live in that people mistake the symptoms for ordinary human feelings! It’s ridiculous! Also some of symptoms are so similar to those of many other every-day ailments. If you have many of the Candida symptoms stated below, it is most likely you have an infection.
So What Are The Symptoms of Candida?
It can be really hard to detect Candida just by looking at someone. They could be the healthiest looking person from the outside. However, I have started to recognise the signs now from my own experience. My cheeks are often red and puffy with small red dots underneath the skin layer. This is one way you can recognise Candida in someone; redness in the cheeks often indicate a dysbiosis in the digestive tract. Other symptoms include the following:
Bloating, belching, intestinal gas, and/or abdominal pain
Constipation or diarrhea
Fatigue and chronic fatigue (candida cells release 180 toxic byproducts into the blood including acetaldehyde, alcohol, zymosan, arabinitol, and gliotoxin)
Loss of sexual desire or feeling
Endometriosis or infertility
Pain and/or swelling in joints
Muscle aches, weakness, or paralysis
Troublesome vaginal itching, burning, or discharge
Poor memory, foggy thinking, or feeling “spacey”
Weight gain and/or unable to shift unwanted weight
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, I would suggest you seek out a blood test to get clear results, as it is important you get the definite diagnosis of Candida before embarking on the ruthless eradication diet.
What Needs to be Eradicated
In order for the Candida cells to die-off, their food sources must be taken away, to be more precise the following sources need to be eradicated from the diet for at least 2-6 months depending on the severity of the case (symptoms range from moderate to severe):
All forms of sugars including fruits
All forms of yeasts
Grains such as wheat, rye, buckwheat, white rice
Gluten in all forms
Inorganic meats and fish – in particular pork
Refined, processed oils
Nuts such as peanuts and cashews
As well as these food sources, the factors stated previously must also be taken into consideration. Candida really is an all encompassing dis-ease; every angle of the persons life must be considered and reassessed in order for you to overcome the infestation.
For more in-depth information on candida, please visit: www.yeastinfection.org. Dr Eric Baker is incredible and has provided me with some invaluable knowledge regarding candida.
My Journey with Candida
I pretty much had most of the symptoms mentioned above, minus the male-related ones! I have had these symptoms for about 15 years but more so intensely for the past two years. When I was 15, I was on antibiotics for a few months for acne. I believe that this was the start of my immune-system depletion, only to really manifest when I subjected myself to a great deal of stress once I’d moved to London in my late twenties.
Candida can lay dormant for years and manifest when subjected to stress later on in life. I became so stressed after such a life-changing move, stopping all drugs and alcohol, my insomnia became constant and sugar became my only comfort; soon of which, become an addiction. We always swap one addiction for the next, right? All of these things combined made a perfect recipe and breeding ground for Candida.
I have been on the diet for pretty much a whole year and I can tell you with certainty that my experience has not been the most joyful time of my life! I have relentlessly attempted to get to the bottom of this, quitting sugar in February in 2016. This was the first attempt to help reduce the symptoms, everything with sugar including refined grains and fruits. I have managed to overcome many things in life, but this one is still one of my challenges!
I can honestly say that this candida journey has been by far one of the most challenging, frustrating, tedious and pain-staking experiences I have ever encountered. But the irony is that the stress involved with the eradication diet has actually contributed to the worsening of my case.
Despite the challenges however, one great positive from the diet has been eradicating sugar and completely over-coming my sugar addiction. From cutting out sugar in my diet, I have noticed improvement in my skin clarity, the depth of my sleep has improved and I no longer carry unwanted weight – I can see muscle definition again!
There are Some Awesome Supplements, But Be Mindful!
In 2016, I must have spent thousands on supplements, natural doctors, homeopathy, you name it! The most expensive individual item being a tub of colostrum bovine for £115! Have I noticed an improvement? Well, I’ve noticed some changes through some of the supplements, but overall I definitely still have candida to some degree. I don’t have any changes to my bloating than I had two years prior if I’m completely honest. I still get brain-fog from time-to-time, food-sensitivities, muscle pain, facial redness and chronic fatigue. This is pretty much a fairly constant experience – however, one I am not going to give up on!
At the bottom of the page are images of the extortionate list of supplement products I purchased over the past year in order to attempt to rid myself of this insidious infestation! You can also see that I carried out various detox cleanses and candida programs.
What I Have Learnt From My Journey With Candidiasis
I am going to be completely honest with you, now I don’t know if you have ever suffered with Candida, but if you have, you may be able to relate to what I am about to share with you. So many other factors need to be analysed and assessed; your environment, your relationships, stress-levels, how you feel about your job, your status etc. You can be eating all the rights foods, but if there are other factors that aren’t right in your life, then the strict Candida diet is pretty much obsolete.
For quite some time, I was in a job that did not serve me, I was worn from city life, I rarely saw any friends or family because of the exhaustion from Candida and general stress. My insomnia was also more prevalent than ever. Combined with all of these factors with the most insanely restricted diet of: no sugars, no fruits, no gluten, little grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no beans, no legumes or no inorganic produce – I found myself experiencing a fairly borderline-insane-state-of-being!
The diet itself was hard enough, let alone with all the other factors. The diet is so restricting that you are constantly depriving yourself. Additionally, I became so incessantly obsessed with every bite of food I was eating and analysing in my head ”is this going to affect the Candida more?” I feel that I accidently created a borderline eating disorder – also known as Orthorexia where you become obsessed about the health factor of everything you eat. I would go to bed every night and analyse everything I ate that day to a meticulous level. However, luckily, I am becoming much more relaxed now than what I was.
Candida is far more than just the food we eat, the functioning of our organs and the external factors; the root-causes of it can actually go into the depths of our being and how we were as a child growing up, entering into adulthood.
For me, I was a confused soul throughout my teens and twenties, not really knowing who I was or where I belonged in the world. I hid behind artificial highs and just about made it through reality! I was quiet about how I was really feeling in the world and generally kept my inner thoughts to myself. When I stopped all drugs and alcohol, I no longer had this regular release in life. I then swapped my addiction to sugar. This, along with the stress, caused the dormant candida cells to manifest to an infestation later on in life.
‘Your own body is the greatest health book you will ever read. When the body/mind is aware and more flexible to our inner energies, we learn not only to hear how to nurture and take care of ourselves, we’re also able to let go of old perspectives, memories, information and patterns. When your nervous system is free of all your chatter and interfering thoughts then you’ll be able hear your body’s own inner requests for self-healing and self-care.’ – Ravenstars Healing Room
Luckily I am one of those people who are very in-tune with their body and can listen to it’s every call for attention. Therefore, I have been able to work on the problem from when it was initially manifest itself. However, a great deal of people tend to be quite unaware of any issues that their body is trying to tell them. It is vitally important to LISTEN to what your body is telling you.
I am about to have a live-blood analysis to see the current extent of my Candida. Also I have been having sessions on the ‘Time Waver’ machine – please see blog page ‘The Magical Time Waver Machine’ for a description on both of these techniques.
The Diet May Become A Way Of Life
People who are susceptible to Candida, may never be able to go back to their original way of eating. This is because a disposition has been created with foods that intensify Candida. If we go back to eating a load of refined sugars and glutenous grains, chances are the infestation will return as I discovered! I have had times where I thought I was healed and so ‘let my hair down’ so to speak, only to be faced with the harsh realisation that my Candida returned with a vengeance. Therefore, cutting out the main culprits in the diet really must become a way of life for most people. After the initial stages of the diet (approximately 8-weeks), some foods can be slowly re-introduced. However, personally I can never go completely back to my old ways and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to anyway. I am far healthier now in terms of what I eat (no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol, no gluten, no red meat) than I ever have been, and will continue this way of life.
Ideas to Help YOU Through The Diet Change and Candida – What I Did & Still Do To Help Myself
Mental Re-Conditioning -The change in diet is tough. Re-condition your mind to love the new food options. For example, when visiting the supermarket, do not even go down the isles full of sweets, chocolate and breads! Remove any sugar items from the house. That way you eventually train yourself to only focus on what you can have.
Don’t Feed Those Cells! – When you see foods that contain sugars, imagine eating those food sources and feeding those Candida cells – this should be enough to put you off when you repeatedly do this!
Visualisation – Visualise your body everyday healing itself and becoming stronger and healthier. Visualise the cells being swept away out of the bottom of your feet
Positive Affirmations – Tell yourself everyday ”my body is becoming stronger everyday”, ”I trust my bodies healing process to completely rid myself of Candida”, ”Candida is no longer a part of me, I release with love”, ”I feel good and secure in my healthy body and I relish in vibrant health”, ”every cell in my body is vibrant and healthy, I am grateful for my incredible bodies healing ability”. Really feel and believe these affirmations. At first they may feel fraudulent, however you will be subconsciously sending your body positive messages and in return it will heal. The mind is beyond powerful.
Exercise – I am a huge fan of fitness and moving the body. I find if I have cravings for anything, I combat it with exercise and lots of water and the feelings will eventually pass. Take up yoga, go for a run, dance around the room to a beautiful track that you love – basically anything that will cultivate and move your life-force.
Meditation and breath-work – Again like exercise, if I find myself craving, I will meditate for a few moments and take a few long deep breaths and ask myself, do I really want this or is it just a craving? Chances are it is the Candida craving the food and not really you.
Occupy Your Mind With Fulfilling and Fun Tasks – Keeping busy is so important. The more time you have to sit around and focus on the Candida, the worse it will get. Busy yourself with things that you love. Go out and explore the world, surround yourself with like-minded, inspirational people who make you feel great and distract you being inside your own head too much.
Preparation– This is imperative. Most restaurants and convenient stores will not contain any of the foods you can eat. Therefore preparing yourself before you leave the house is so important. Stock up on lots of organic veggies (rainbow food!), good protein sources and almonds! However, remember to limit the fat intake as a high-fat diet can also intensify Candida.
Don’t listen to other people’s opinions! – You know what you need to do. Only you really knows your body. People will say to you ”it’s all in your head, go on just have a bit”. But the more you cave into the cravings and temptations, the longer the healing process will take – honestly caving into cravings is like taking one quick step forward of pleasure and ten big steps backward. It just isn’t worth it!
Stay Positive – Be glad that you are on the mend. You are finally giving your body the most incredible opportunity to heal itself – and by the end you are going to feel the most amazing you have ever felt! The regained energy and vibrancy will be so worth the pain and effort.
Stay Conscious, Stay Happy, Stay Healthy.
Below are images of the supplements that I used throughout the candida eradication process. Having a good detox package is a really good pre-requiste to the Candida Diet. That way your body is prepared for the cleanse.
The products were a combination of probiotics, antifungals, colostrum, homeopathic remedies, vitamin & nutrients, organic coconut oil, shilajit (strong antioxidant), activated charcoal, seaweed supplements, apple cider vinegar, King George Bitters, teas, L-gluatmine (to help heal the gut lining).