I’ve decided that pre-Holiday season or not, I need to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. See lately I’ve been feeling somewhat of the hypocrite and in all honesty, my diet has been atrocious. A combination of jet-setting, a new job where lollies and alcohol flow like water, a cross town commute to and from the workplace (long workdays), and a little too much socialising on the weekends means that I have no time for cooking, let alone eating right (except for breakfast – that always happens). I feel so horrid saying that because for years now I’ve wondered how people couldn’t have time to nourish their bodies. Does this mean for all that time I just had nothing to do? Maybe. But in defense of my social life, I was immersed in the topic of health day in-day out in my job and in study, that thinking of what exciting meal I would cook up with the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge that night was a part of my day.
The other significant point is that I religiously went grocery shopping on the weekends; whether it be at the farmers market, green grocer, organic wholesalers up the road, Mediterranean supermarket, or bulk organic supplies store a couple of suburbs away. I knew what I had to get and where, and I also had a car to run around in. Problem number 1 right there. Before embarking on my “New York trip of a lifetime” I sold my car. Something I’ve wanted to do for 3 years as a means of living with less, commuting by bike, getting fitter, more fresh air while doing my bit for the environment. It’s all great, and I am having fun but I just can’t manage running around like I used to.
Prompted by a growing list of ailments, I am now turning to desperate measures and embarking on a 30 day candida diet. What are the signs of candida? Candida can show up as frequent colds (depressed immunity), lethargy, mental sluggishness or even forgetfulness, digestive problems, bad breath, mucus in stools, chronic oral or vaginal (females) thrush, craving of sweets and yeasted products such as bread. Lets get it out in the open that everyone has the fungus in their system and nominally there’s a bacteria balance of 80% good / 20% bad ratio that keeps it in check. But when the scales are tipped in the opposite direction then we see pathological symptoms, like the above, arise.
Thanks to my overindulgent year, I think I’m in the later group. Never having suffered allergies or intolerances, I can feel myself reacting to wheat (gut pains), I’m tending to the back and facial pimples (which were usually rare), I’m bloated, bowels not working like they oughtta and of course I’ve done a Chinese Medicine self diagnosis reading my pusle, and particularly toungue which has a greasy thick coating at the root with red dots, a sign of damp-heat which can indicate candida. I’m also incredibly tired and my moods are pretty flat. I’ve even used the word “glum” recently, and this is really out of character for me.
When considering a diet approach to correcting health, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s bloody confusing! In the space of 2 days I have read 3 different doctrines – all contradicting one another. Some of this advice from highly qualified and others from people who have read and researched and trialled and error-ed, and I’m not likely to exclude the latter just because they haven’t been to school for it.
First step was to download Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” ebook. Candida being a fungal infection, is feed by sugary and yeasty products. Yeast not so hard, sugar a different ball game. Previously the thought of giving up sugar was in the too hard basket so I didn’t even consider it. Reading this book has given me the confidence that it is achievable to quit sugar and change your preference for it. Reading all the fantastic feedback has egged me on even further. In a nutshell this book touts quit sugar and fill up and energise from good fats. Fabulous.
Second step in my preparation was to check out what self development guru, Steve Pavlina says on the topic of giving up caffeine, since I can manage to avoid sugar but not in my daily tea/coffee (yet). Steve’s approach to combating the mental slumps is to eat truckloads of fruit which has phu-lenty of bioavailable energy in the form of fructose. Exactly the type of sugar Sarah is teaching us to quit. Hmmmm.
Thirdly, I turned to my bible, Healing With Wholefoods. This is where you can insert an intimidating soundtrack because I’ve read up on the Candida Diet in HWW before and literally you can just cancel out aaaany kind of fun food (beside vegies of course) including the fulfilling good fats (I was planning on avocado being my new best friend during the diet). What I was really reading between the lines was “be prepared to be hungry, unsatisfied and unstimulated…but candida free!”. Not what a foodie wants to hear. Groan.
Still inspired, I’m going to do a 30 day trial and record my progress here. Out come the scales, the tape measure and mood diary. Also the creativity. In order to remain engaged, I’m going to have to make sure that I’ve got some food to look forward to, and plenty of it to curb cravings until my body finds it’s balance. Do note that I’m also taking some Chinese Medicine herbs in conjunction with the diet which will help accelerate results, but I figure this is offset with the fact that it’s the festive season and I am, without a doubt, going to slip up. Recording the after effects of such a slip up will be part of the experiment.
So as I write this blog, I’m at day 3. I have had 1.5 teaspoons of sugar (in 2 coffees) until this afternoon when I couldn’t resist a small piece of cherry ripe chocolate mud cake. I can happily report that I did feel a slight peak in moods and energy on day 1 and 2. Today was quite different, which was also my first no caffeine day, and I fought with the urge to have a coffee all day, thus the caving to the chocolate cake. After a delicious taste sensation, I held the cake in my mouth for a bit, because I actually didn’t want to swallow knowing that I wasn’t going to feel great. The guilt afterwards wasn’t worth the cake and I hope I can bottle that feeling to resist temptation in the future.
Do you suffer from candida overgrowth? What kind of diet or foods have your tried?