Thursday, 17 December 2015

Does the Candida Diet Really Work? Candida Diary Day Zero: The Beginning

From the information I have garnered, Candida Albicans, the cause of many ills, is a form of yeast and the most common type of fungus.  It can be found in our guts and on our skin. Normally, it is harmless and poses no problems to health. However, bad lifestyle choices and diet can cause it to overrun, dominating our guts and killing off neighbourhood friendly bacteria. Candida running rife is bad for your health and can pave the way for degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

Sweets and Fizzy Drinks
I have suffered vague, recurrent and sometimes debilitating symptoms all my life. After recurrent visit to the doctors have learned the NHS favours the local approach, dishing out costly and inconvenient treatments in the form of steroids, creams and antibiotics. But I suspected my symptoms were linked, leading to one suspect. Candida.

Are These the Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth?

So the symptoms that kept driving me to the doctors came in the form of some of the following:
  • Eczema of the scalp and general itchy rashes on the body, particularly the back, hairline and on chest.
  • Private itching, unbearable at night.
  • Puffy eyes, despite not being tired at the time.
  • Hair losing its youthful gleam, replaced with dry, crisp consistency.
  • Hairloss around the crown, eyebrows and particularly one or two patches of eczema in the scalp causing localized peeling of skin and small bald patches.
  • General tiredness and fatigue with difficulty getting up in the mornings
  • Dry eyes, mouth and skin, worse at night.
  • Blurred vision with stinging in the eyes in the evening.
  • Stale taste in mouth in the mornings with coated tongue.
  • Snuffly nose with frequent sneezing despite low pollen count and no cold/flu.
  • Dizzy spells.
  • Forgetfulness that would seem to fit ‘brain fog.’ Difficulty remembering names. Having to write notes to remember things.
  • Lethargy with vague flu-like symptoms, achy joints
  • Vague nausea
  • Despite having no weight problems, have developed a spare tyre around the middle that hung over my jeans.

And let’s not forget problematic menstrual cycle. Painful cramps, heavy blood loss with regular migraines, tiredness and muzzy head. Bad PMT and bloating. I read somewhere that hormone changes in the woman’s cycle can trigger a disruption to the Candida, bringing on Candida die off. Could it be that I had suffered recurrent Candida die off per period?

Admittedly, the groggy feeling was akin to a hangover. When Candida dies off, toxic substances are produced, like to the toxins after a drinking binge. The organs, particularly the liver goes into overdrive to mop it up. This causes terrible stress to the organs and symptoms that leave you feeling yuk.

A Time when No One Knew Sugar Was Bad for You

Candida Hates Coconut
I have had a love/hate love affair with sugar. In the seventies, no one knew that sugar was bad for you, so I was the typical kid who ate sugar in the form of chews, sherbets and smarties, like lots of other kids of the time.

I used to have 2 sugars in my tea (I shudder at the thought now), as well as guzzling cordial, lollipops and tiptops (remember those?). In my mid-twenties, I cut sugar in tea, but continued a love affair with chocolate. Easter, Christmases and birthdays was a binge of chocolate, as well at that time before the period was due. Yes, I love chocolate.

In later years, I have cut a lot of chocolate, but is now replaced with a love affair with biscuits and cookies, especially chocolate cookies. So it would seem I am simply replacing one sugar product for another. I am still eating lots of sugar (as well as bread).

So, OK, it would seem I would be the perfect subject to experiment for myself if the Candida diet really works.

After researching the Net, I have found the overwhelming conclusion that in order to beat this nasty bug, you have to do 3 things:

Cut sugar
Take antifungal agents
Have prebiotics and probiotics.

On the day of beginning this trial, I had just completed a course of antibiotics after a short illness. Antibiotics are good for Candida and bad for you. So the day I completed the course, I considered this as Day 1. Day 1, by the way, has occurred on 14 December 2015, so I have a few days to catch up here.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic
On the day of completing the antibiotic course, I got myself probiotics, natural yoghurt and changed my diet.

Cut Sugar I cut: all chocolate, bread, cereals, pasties, cakes, sweets, honey, jam, biscuits and other foods that are refined carbohydrates. Basically, grains, gluten and sugar are OUT. Also out are high sugar fruits and fruit juices.

Also out are stuff that yeast likes. This includes anything with yeast or mould, condiments, booze, mushrooms and mouldy cheese.

What is left? High protein and high fibre foods. These includes yogurts, (organic) milks,eggs, fish, poultry, beef, pork and other organic meats. Most vegetables are allowed, but root vegetables contain a lot of sugar (potatoes, carrots, beetroots etc.) so I went easy on these. I cut chips and crisps.

Nuts and seeds are OK. Not salted roasted peanuts that are mass produced, but raw, organic nuts and seeds including almonds, sesame seeds (Tahini), walnuts, hazelnuts and coconut. Get good quality, for the mass produced sort could contain traces of mould. Yeast likes mould.

Anti-fungals: Some everyday foods are natural antifungals, as they contain caprylic acid and a natural antibiotic called allicin that the good bacteria love. Anti-fungal foods include onions, garlic, leeks, spring onions, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, seaweed, lemon juice, olive oil, and particularly coconut.

Coconut is very important in the Candida diet as Candida hates it. I include coconut wherever I can in coconut milk, cream, coconut flakes and coconut flour (not coconut sugar, as it is high in sugar).

Probiotics: Get a good, recommended brand. I used Holland and Barrett’s Acidophilus which contains a lot of good bacteria. You can also try psyllum husks that feeds good bacteria and has lots of fibre.

Raw veg will act as a natural prebiotic, which are the foods the good bacteria likes.

So now I am prepared for Candidacide! Find out how I began my journey into 
Go forward to Fighting Candida on day 1
View all my posts on candida
My horrible hair loss experience
12 ways to use coconut for good health
Read also the rest of my My candida diary
The truth about breakfast cereals
Net carbohydrate of breakfast cereals