Thursday, May 24, 2012

Death to Candida!

Today's post is one of those posts where I hum and haw over whether or not I want to write about something very personal that is going on in my life, but I have thought about it and have decided to share my story in hopes that someone out there reads it and it ignites an epiphany within him/herself.

Where to begin. After years of feeling horrible with strange and seemingly untreatable symptoms (mostly involving the GI tract), I have come to the conclusion that I might have systemic candidiasis. Might is the word I stress here because I was not diagnosed by a doctor (he pushed me out of the walk-in clinic examination room faster than I could say, "I think there's something wrong with my mouth,") and have taken it upon myself to take matters into my own hands and try to cure my 18 years of pain and discomfort.

Candida is a type of yeast that is natural to all human and can be found on the skin and in various areas of our internal membranes. For some people, such as those who take a lot of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or who have diabetes, a stressful lifestyle or some kind of internal parasite, this yeast can grow out of control and produce toxic by-products that can make the host sick.  The problem with trying to diagnose yourself with a candida overgrowth is that a lot of the testing can come back as a false negative and the range of symptoms is so huge and various from one extreme to the other, that basically any person in this world could think that he/she has this.

For example, here is a list of some symptoms: acid reflux, bloating, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, indigestion, burping after meals, mucus in stool, hemorrhoids, acne, cysts, hives, night sweats, psoriasis, eczema, athlete's foot, body odor, swollen lower lip, metallic taste in mouth, bad breath, canker sores, bleeding gums, persistent cough, mucus in throat, sore throat, sinus congestion, chronic post-nasal drip, flu-like symptoms, hay fever symptoms, sinusitis, asthma, eye pain, blurred vision, ear infections, yeast infections, PMS, food sensitivities, weight loss, weight gain. headaches, chronic pain in the joints, inability to focus, poor memory, irritability, anger, dizziness, depression, crying spells, panic attacks, low libido, fatigue, hyperactivity, cravings for sweets and alcohol, insomnia, poor coordination...and the list goes on. As you can see, pretty much anyone can associate themselves with many of these symptoms at any point in their life.

I've heard about Candida Diets before since I work with a Holistic Nutritionist and she has worked with people with this problem before, but I never really looked into what they were all about. It took a fungal infection in my mouth to finally put it all together and start to really research what this problem involved and if I fit the mold for someone suffering with this. And yeah...I fit it pretty damn close.What really struck home with me is when I started to talk to Rachelle about this and she told me that one thing people really start to notice when they have a Candida overgrowth is that they get really moody and irritable when they're hungry. HELLO!! I wrote a post about that back in March, Spring in my Step, and blamed it on just getting old.

So after lots of research, planning, shopping and preparation, I began my Candida Diet last Thursday. Ugh. Take a look at my "Foods to Completely Avoid" list.

- Sugar honey, syrup, lactose, sucrose, fructose, chocolate, molasses, rice syrup, artificial sweeteners (e.g. Asulfame, Nutra-Sweet), agave nectar, coconut sugar
- Fruit - Yep...all of it, including tomatoes
- Vegetables – potatoes, carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas, parsnips, all squash (except zucchini)
- Beans - beans and other legumes, tofu, soy cheese, soy milk, all soy products, carob powder, cocoa powder
- Yeast
- Foods Containing Gluten - Anything made with wheat, rye, oats or barley, e.g. white bread, rye bread, pasta, spelt products, corn and corn byproducts
- Vinegar - Includes all types of vinegar, such as white vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, and any food made with vinegar, such as mayonnaise, commercial salad dressings, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, shrimp sauce, soy sauce, mustard, pickles, pickled vegetables, green olives, relishes, horseradish, mincemeat, and chili sauce.
- Mushrooms
- Peanuts, Peanut Butter, and Pistachios
- Alcohol
- Coffee, Black Tea, Cider, Root beer
- Aged, Moldy and Processed Cheeses
- Processed, Dried, Smoked, and Pickled Meats
- Packaged, Processed, and Refined Foods
- Dairy - except plain yogurt.

On top of the diet, I am taking a Candida cleansing kit from Advanced Naturals called Candida Therapy and am also taking a fibre supplement by Renew Life called FiberSmart and of course a strong probotic. The kit is supposed to detach the yeast from the mucous membranes and the fibre is to remove it from the body while the probiotic replenishes the good bacteria in my body which the evil yeast has taken over.  Not gonna lie, taking the fibre is the best part of my day because it has a sweetness to it which my body is craving for madly.

I'm on day 8 as of today and so far it's been...alright. The first few days were easy since I've done cleanses before so staying away from sugary things and wheat wasn't difficult at all. Not having any kind of beans, tomatoes or carrots have been definitely the hardest things to avoid since I eat an obscene amount of all three. Also, I am eating more meat now then I have eaten in years. I am vegetarian for most of my meals and really only eat meat if I go to someone's house for dinner or on the rare occasion I'll cook it at home. Now I am eating so much animal protein and I am finding it so time consuming! Beans and lentils are so quick and easy and cheap! But alas. No beans for me.

Around day 5 I hit a mental wall. I just felt horrible. I was irritable and chronically exhausted and my mind wandered so easily it was just ridiculous. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I was gapping out every 5 minutes and just disappearing mentally for minutes at a time. Productivity and upholding a personality was low on the priority list to say the least. But I woke up this morning feeling good. After 3 days of constant brain-fog, it felt good to wake up and feel a bit more like me. I was actually very productive at work today which I am sure my boss enjoyed. I am lucky to have a boss that 100% understands what I'm going through and it very understanding of my symptoms and dietary needs (she even cooked me some quinoa and brought it to work...what a doll). 

So this post is getting long so I will leave you all here. I will keep you updated on my journey through my Candida Diet and hopefully you'll learn a little something along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment