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Candida overgrowth is a symptom many people seem to be struggling with these days. Everybody hates candida and everybody wants to kill it. I am here to challenge your beliefs around this topic and bring you the truth so you can finally heal yourself.
I want to rewind and start from the beginning. I want you to understand everything from exactly what candida is, to what it does and how the healing solution got confused and thrown so far out of proportion.
WHAT IS CANDIDA?
It is a fungus. There is good and bad fungus. Candida is a good fungus and every single person has candida in them. In fact, we can’t sustain life without it in our intestinal tract, and it helps protect us by consuming debris from poor quality food and toxins. In other words, Candida cells intentionally consume food waste and poisons to prevent harmful bugs, such as E. coli, C. diff, and Streptococcus, from feasting on these things and building their armies. It also feeds on excess sugar in the blood stream to bring our blood sugar level back down.
Without candida, we’re in big trouble. It is like a messenger – letting us know that something is going wrong with our health. When it’s overgrown, it is a warning sign that something needs attention.
SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA
Possible symptoms of candida overgrowth are bloating, gas, yeast infections, thrush, fatigue, brain fog, bad body odour and more. Some people even experience a “drunk-like” feeling. This is because when the candida feeds on the sugar the by product is alcohol which is what it produces after eating the sugar. So it lowers your blood sugar, but also increases your blood alcohol level.
Unfortunately, what happens is you go to the doctor or naturopath and they pick up that you have lots of candida and think that is the problem. When in fact, it’s not the underlying problem. For instance, a vaginal Streptococcus infection could go unnoticed by doctors, while yeast that’s also present is blamed for the patient’s symptoms.
Candida is not the greatest thing in the world, we don’t want it going through the roof, but it’s there to help us. Why would you want to get rid of something that protects you? Once you put an end to the primary issue, Candida levels will naturally return to normal.
WHAT CAUSES CANDIDA OVERGROWTH?
Cause which contribute to candida overgrowth include birth control pills, antibiotics, high alcohol consumption, and a weak immune system. The main cause of an imbalance in candida though is diet. There might be too much processed food going in to your body that shouldn’t be there, so the candida has to work over time to eat all of the rubbish which you’re consuming.
Another reason is a diet too high in fat and sugar. Obviously if you’re eating a diet full of processed food, it is going to be high in both fat and sugar. But maybe you’re eating a whole food diet with lots of animal products, nuts, seeds, oils, and then lots of fruit as well.
If fat levels stay chronically high, it will coat your cells, and the sugar will get stuck in the bloodstream and feed the large candida colonies instead of feeding the 18 trillion cells of your body. Starved for fuel, these cells can no longer metabolise energy and you become tired.
I’m sure some of you out there are asking “Well why not just cut out all sugar and eat high fat and protein?”
Yes you could do that, but I personally do no recommend this. Why? Glucose is the body cell’s number one source of energy, so you’ll be starving your cells of their life force energy which can have detrimental effects long term. Another reason is because I believe protein and fat actually feed candida. Your symptoms might improve at first because of the decrease in blood sugar level, but this approach can backfire because an excess of protein and fat provide a feeding ground for bacteria, cancer cells, viruses etc. which can trigger candida growth as your body attempts to combat these things.
HIGH FAT VS. HIGH FRUIT
If you have been diagnosed with Candida, odds are you have been advised to cut out all processed foods from your diet, avoid sugar (including fruit), and to consume a high-protein, high-fat diet. It is important to avoid processed foods such as doughnuts, cakes, and cookies, but cutting out natural sugar from fruit will not heal the underlying issue.
Importantly, the natural fructose in fruit is bonded with beneficial compounds, including antioxidants, minerals, phytochemicals, and even cancer-killing micronutrients that help kill pathogens such as strep, E. coli, C. diff, staph, and viruses that are likely responsible for your increased candida. Thus, fruit is actually your anti-candida secret weapon.
Keep in mind that the sugars from fruit (if eaten on an empty stomach without being eaten with fat) leave your stomach in about three to six minutes, and the sugar doesn’t reach the intestinal tract. What does reach the intestinal tract is the skin, pulp, and fibre in fruit, which actually helps to clear the intestines of things like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and other pathogen-related conditions. You just need to ensure it digests rather than ferments.
I see eating high fat and protein as a short-term, bandaid solution to the underlying issue which is a toxic, inefficient body with too much fat in the bloodstream which will cause more negative health issues in the future. Thus, the best approach is to eat a lower-fat diet that includes fruits and their pathogen-killing nutrients. It’s not that healthy fats are bad for us, it’s just that it is best to keep fat intake in check.
MY CANDIDA STORY
Six years ago when I was seriously ill and decided I need to begin rebuilding my health, chronic systemic candida was something I was diagnosed with. When candida has been overgrown for an extended period of time, it can get in to your blood, and effect your heart, brain, eyes, bones etc. This is what systemic candida is. This is what I experienced for many years. I was basically experiencing the “drunk-like” effect 24/7. Yes, I literally felt drunk all the time. It might sound funny, but it’s awful, and anyone out there who has experienced this knows what I mean.
I went to a naturopath where I learnt about the anti-candida diet and gave it a go. I’m kind of an extremist so when I got told that fruit needed to be reduced to some berries and green apples every now and then, I thought, well I might as well just cut out all fruit until I get this thing under control. So for six months I literally had NO fruit. I ate a high protein, high fat diet of meat (back when I wasn’t vegan), oils, nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut, legumes and leafy greens. At first I started to feel a lot better so I continued on this path. After a few months though a few of my symptoms slowly started to return and my digestion got a lot worse. I felt really blocked up, and my gosh, I was seriously craving fresh fruit. My naturopath said I should be able to introduce some low sugar fruits again. I remember adding berries to my smoothies and eating some green apples, and my symptoms came back full force.
I thought how could this be? I had starved my candida for six whole months and it came back SO quickly!? I realised I had two options. I could go back to the high protein, high fat diet (which I wasn’t going to do) or I had to find another way.
Not too long in to the future my friend introduced me to the low fat, raw vegan diet. It seriously challenged my beliefs and everything I had been taught – going from eating hardly any fruit to as much as I desired. But after learning more about how the body works and the negative effects of eating high fat, I decided to give it a go.
I pretty much ate no fats of any kind for that period of time to give myself a good clean out, and just stocked up on all types of fruit, leafy greens, smoothies and juices.
I kid you not, within a matter of a few weeks, my candida was back in balance. I was scared to add fats back in to my diet, worrying that my symptoms would come back like they did before, but that didn’t happen. Obviously I didn’t add in a lot of fat because the aim is to keep it low, but I began incorporating avocados, soaked and blended nuts and seeds and I was fine.
I cannot tell you how liberated I felt and that’s why I’m so passionate about this subject. I believe the best kind of evidence is a personal experience, and I want to get the truth out to all of you so you can finally heal and cultivate true health.
HOW TO BALANCE CANDIDA LEVELS
The first step is to fix your diet. Eat a whole food diet low in fat. Depending how quickly you want to get candida back in to balance, I recommend eliminating oils altogether as they are a very high source of concentrated fat, and reducing your intake of nuts and seeds, animal products and so on. Incorporate fresh and alive foods like raspberries, cucumbers, celery, spinach, arugula, tomatoes, bananas, melons, mangoes, papayas, and avocado (which is an easy-to-digest fat). If you eat cooked food, eat easier-to-digest foods; steamed vegetables like broccoli, peas, cauliflower, potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato.
Avoid fermentation as this feeds candida. This includes things like alcohol and even kombucha. Be careful of food combinations. Don’t eat sugar and fat together consistently as it will cause blood sugar spikes and fermentation because of the sugar being stuck in the blood stream. Avoid slow breaking-down starch or difficult-to-digest food like grains and legumes. Eat light to heavy to avoid lighter foods sitting on top of heavier ones in your digestive tract and fermenting. For example: eat fruits and juices on an empty stomach. Have smoothies throughout the day, and then a salad and cooked food at night.
Note: Depending how bad your candida overgrowth and symptoms are, you may want to introduce higher amounts of fruit slowly into your diet. Fruit is extremely cleansing and some people find the die-off symptoms of candida feel too overwhelming after consuming fruit in the beginning. Focusing on greens and vegetables, while eating a small amount of fruit on an empty stomach or combining fruit with greens in a smoothie, will reduce detoxification symptoms. Listen to your body.
I always look at health from a holistic point of view and other factors which will help are reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, moving your lymph system by exercising to assist detoxification. If you follow these recommendations your candida will reduce naturally because it won’t have the garbage to feed off. One sign that your candida has fallen back into balance is when you feel great after eating a fruit meal.
Everyone has candida, it is normal. Don’t go to war with it. Candida is essential for us to thrive and it protects us. If you have an imbalance it is a warning sign that something else is going on. To get it back in to balance, eat a whole food diet that is low in fat and high in fruit which will feed your cells, cleanse your body and strengthen your immune system.
This information may go against everything you’ve heard about Candida, but if you are someone who has been on restrictive diets, and denied yourself even a small handful of berries, it may be time to try something different. This is what I did and I’m so happy because it was the only thing that worked!
REFERENCE: Anthony Williams (The Medical Medium) The Truth About Candida