Candida

I had a nutritionist appointment on the weekend which included a live blood cell analysis. I’ve suspected for a while now that I have had an issue in my gut, and after doing some research on my symptoms I thought it might be Candida. Sure enough, my blood indicated that I was chock full of it. Plus, I have leaky gut. My symptoms haven’t been as severe as some, and I think it’s because I don’t eat a lot of sugar and white/processed foods, thereby not giving the Candida enough to thrive off of. But I do consume agave, honey etc which are all sugars at the end of the day, and I do indulge in white (i.e. not whole grain whole wheat) when a healthier option is unavailable. And of course, I imbibe in wine on occasion.

Candida is a yeast overgrowth in the gut caused by many things. In my case it was prolonged stress (job) and a diet high in carbs (all I could eat while pregnant, everything else made me nauseous). My symptoms are brain fog (where I literally feel like I can’t concentrate), a feeling of being hung-over despite not having alcohol for days, cramps and indigestion. Some severe cases can result in much worse symptoms, and if left untreated can be debilitating. If you think you might have Candida, or you have some symptoms you can’t identify, look into it. Especially if you’ve recently had antibiotics, or eat a refined food diet, or are under a lot of stress (or all the above!). From what I read online, most allopathic doctors don’t recognize it as an issue, so some people have gone to their doctor with these symptoms to be told to relax, or take anti-biotics (the WORST!) or put on anti-depressants (a side-effect of Candida is depression due to the toxins that permeate the blood-brain barrier. Also, we have a lot of serotonin receptors in our gut, so if our gut is compromised  that serotonin won’t be processed properly in the body, resulting in low moods). So you may be better suited to seeing a Naturopath or a Holistic Nutritionist.

Getting rid of Candida is not easy. It’s quite happy to hang out in your blood so long as it’s getting “fed”. So that means I need to starve it. So no sugar, no diary (lactose is milk sugar), limit my fruit intake (sugar), increase my veggies, drink lots of water, and kill it with probiotics.

The worst part of this is that the nutrients I am consuming, whether by supplementation or via foods, aren’t being absorbed because of my leaky gut. Everything is permeating the gut lining and not being absorbed properly via the liver and into the blood. So in a nutshell: this sucks.

A quick search online will show you that you have to do a pretty austere elimination diet to get rid of candida, but I disagree – I think it depends on the severity of your condition, and how healthy you are otherwise, and your compliance to sticking with healthy eating. For someone who has severe symptoms, plus recently had antibiotics, is getting sick all the time etc, I would definitely go to a more stringent candida protocol since at that point it’s seriously systemic and needs something drastic to reduce colony numbers, but otherwise, I would recommend a few steps to begin with, more of a gentle cleanse, then evaluate. If symptoms persist, then we can move towards a more rigorous protocol.

If you suspect you have candida, please send me an email via the contact me page and I will connect with you in Fall/early Winter of 2014 to discuss a consultation at that time.

In the meantime, here are two Candida friendly recipes for you to try:

Oat Bran Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups raw sweet potato, peeled & grated (about 1 large, or 1.5 medium)

1/2 cup grated apple (leave peel on for extra fibre)

2 cups oat bran (or you can use oatmeal – not the instant kind)

1/2 cup almond flour (basically ground almonds, can find this in health food store)

1 tbsp baking powder

4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice (or nutmeg)

1 cup water

3 eggs, separated

2 tbsp melted butter

(if you can have sugar, you may wish to sweeten this a little bit by adding a tablespoon of agave, honey, or  sucanut)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Scrub, peel and grate the sweet potato (or put thru food processor). Grate the apple. Add apple and sweet potato to a mixing bowl and add oat bran and flour. Add baking powder, cinnamon, allspice (nutmeg). Mix well. Make a depression in the centre of this mixture and add the water, egg yolks and melted butter. Beat egg whites and fold into batter. Fill 12 greased (use coconut oil to grease) muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean.

Mint and Almond Pesto

Ingredients

50g blanched almonds, lightly toasted (1/2 cup)

large bunch mint

1 garlic clove, chopped

finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and its juice

half tsp Dijon mustard (if using for candida, get vinegar free dijon)

75ml olive oil (5 tbsp)

sea salt & pepper

Put almonds, mint, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add mustard. With motor running, add oil slowly until you have a thick consistency. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Use as you would any pesto!

Garlic and Coconut oil are terrific foods for Candida. Fresh garlic helps to kill the yeast, and coconut oil contains caprylic acid which is anti-fungal and helps to kill Candida.  Fresh garlic tastes fantastic, and coconut oil is a great oil substitute, so these are both safe to use regardless of your health state – but if you are concerned please consult your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.

 

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