My Healing Protocol for Candida
This post is long overdue to share with you all. I have had many emails and friends asking me what I did to get my Candida overgrowth under control. So, here it is. Every little detail I researched, experienced and healed from. I had candida for YEARS and didn’t know it. I hope this post helps you on your quest to diagnose and heal yourself. Be prepared – it is very long.
What is Candida?
Candida albicans (its official name) is a yeast that inhabits the mouths and intestinal tracts of all humans. That’s right! Everyone has candida. When you are healthy, the candida in your body lives in a symbiotic relationship with you. It will help to detect and destroy other harmful bacteria from harming your body, as well as helping to clean up any excess sugar that may be floating around in your bloodstream that your cells are not able to absorb.
Every time you eat, there will be a small candida “bloom” as the candida feeds on the sugars that are in your blood stream waiting to be ushered into the cell with the help of insulin to be used for energy. Then, once that sugar has been processed, the candida will reduce in number back down to their normal levels.
When there is an imbalance in blood sugar levels, candida will be given the opportunity to grow to a level that is not optimal for the human body. It has the ability to morph into different structures and will take advantage of its host.
While it is normal to have some candida in the gut, an overgrowth of candida is problematic. Like everything else, candida creates a byproduct. In this case, the byproduct of candida is toxic to the body. The more candida you have, the more toxicity it produces. I had several of the symptoms listed below. My symptoms were classic: gassiness and bloating upon eating a meal – especially fruit, INTENSE itching all over body and especially in my nose (? I don’t know, but I did!) to the point it drove my crazy at times, lethargy, funked out, foggy headedness, stiff joints).
Candida has been lead to several common issues such as:
- Thrush – in the mouth or other areas of the body
- Poor Digestion (gas and bloating)
- Brain fog – lack of ability to focus the mind
Other imbalances in the body can cause similar symptoms as well. I feel it is important to rule out other issues like gluten or dairy sensitivity, adrenal burn out, blood sugar imbalance issues, emotional issues and even general fatigue before diagnosing yourself with candida overgrowth. There are always “layers” to our healing process.
If you have several of the symptoms for a candida imbalance, following some simple steps for re-balancing your body should help move you in a healing direction whether or not the root issue is a candida imbalance, or if the candida imbalance is a symptom of another issue. If you are experiencing many of the symptoms mentioned above, you may also want to go see a Naturopath or holistic practitioner just to be sure that there is not a deeper imbalance going on that needs professional attention. Never feel bad about seeking help.
What Causes Candida To Grow Out Of Control?
There are several things that support a Candida overgrowth and thus lead to an imbalance. Some of them include:
- Blood sugar imbalances – Poor insulin receptivity of the cell or other reasons that keep sugars in your bloodstream too long.
- Over use of antibiotics without replacing lost beneficial bacteria (probiotics). (All my life I had been off and on antibiotics till my early 30’s). I’m now 43.
- A nutrient poor diet that is rich in refined carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.), processed foods, cola drinks, etc.
- A compromised immune system
- Birth control pill (I took for over 10 years when I was on it – have been off it since age 29).
- STRESS! depletes everything in the body on a physical, cellular and energetic level.
- Lack of sleep and poor sleeping patterns.
- These two things (stress and poor sleep) in particular will compromise your good bacteria balance, as well as your blood sugar balance.
As you can see, the causes can be multifaceted. Our bodies are very wise and have many systems in place to protect us from things becoming unbalanced. It is when the body becomes overloaded with influences that are counter-intuitive to health and balance that issues like candida arise. Our bodies are brilliant energy sources and if we just listen more and pay attention to little nuances and symptoms of it speaking to us – we would be far better along our healing journey. It took me a long time to listen (or even be aware of the fact), so just take it one step at a time and “be there” for yourself.
Do I Have A Candida Overgrowth?
Questions to determine if you may have Candida Albicans:
1. Have you used antibiotics or birth control pill in the last 2 years?
2. Do you have gas or bloating?
3. Do you have sugar cravings?
4. Do you have low blood sugar?
5. Do you have history of yeast infections, vaginal, oral, athletes foot, or jock itch?
6. Does your partner have a history of yeast infections, vaginal, oral, athletes foot, or jock itch?
7. Are you sensitive to smells?
8. Are you sensitive to alcohol?
9. Do you suffer from symptoms that your doctor cannot explain like; headaches, migraines, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, IBS (Irritable Bowel syndrom), itching, menstrual or sinus problems?
10. Do you feel fatigued all the time?
11. Do you have a hard time concentrating?
12. Do you just not feel right?
I had candida for several years (if not longer). I sort of suspected it for several months, but the symptoms had gotten worse and (upon learning more about Candida), I thought it was worth a try to do a cleanse. I was able to confirm that I “officially” had Candida from an iridologist back in April 2011. Muscle testing can also be utilized by a qualified holistic practitioner, yet if you don’t have access to these avenues, there is a simple test to do at home. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to do the At Home Candida Spit Test.
Candida Spit Test
This is an easy way to test for yeast overgrowth in your gut. When you wake up in the morning (before you eat or drink anything or brush your teeth) fill a glass with room temperature water. Then work up at least a dime-size amount of saliva in your mouth and spit it into the glass of water. You will be watching what happens over the next 30-45 minutes, looking for where the saliva goes.
- If it stays on top it indicates that there is not excessive mucous in your mouth harboring candida.
- If it grows tentacles that hang down toward the bottom you have some candida in your gut that likely needs to be addressed.
- If it sinks to the bottom you likely have significant candida overgrowth in your gut and you need to take action.
OK! So, if you suspect or you’re pretty sure you have Candida overgrowth to some extent, what to do about it? It starts with altering the diet. A few dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way to bringing your body back into the balance it naturally wants to be in. Remember that your body is designed for health. It wants to be and fights to be in balance. Choosing dietary and lifestyle habits that support your bodies natural balance will help lead your body back to balance. You want to remove anything from the diet that will help feed candida albicans.
- all forms of sugar (white sugar, honey, maple syrup, dates, yacon syrup, coconut sugar, etc) ** STEVIA is really the ONLY safe alternative and NuNaturals STEVIA was a life saver for me during this time (and still continues to be!)
- gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oatmeal) – No crackers, breads, etc.
- packaged or processed foods (including meats)
- condiments (ketchup, BBQ sauce, pickles, mustard, soy sauce) – hidden sugars and refined ingredients.
- dried or candied fruit
- Reduce or Eliminate Dairy – Dairy is one of the worst offenders when it comes to candida imbalances.
- alcohol (no beer or wine)
- Vegetables that are high in carbs (potatoes, peas, corn, winter squash)
- non-gluten grains. ** I didn’t have quinoa or millet just to be sure.
- nuts, and fruits should be limited. ** (green apples, pears and bananas (yes, BANANAS are OK) in moderation. Even the iridologist guy said bananas were OK when on a candida cleanse. Good!
- These are the basis of the diet.
So you’re thinking, “What the heck DID you eat?!” I used the following protocol for 60 days and it got those little buggers under control – back to being my friend rather than my foe.
1) Lots of veggies! Any way you want it: steamed, raw, blended, juiced. I stayed away from carrots and beets during this time, just to be sure! Avocados are great! I did a lot of steamed broccoli and roasted veggies during this time. Sweet potatoes and winter squash are great baked with goat cheese. Baking the carrots and beets really cut down on their sugar content, I put those in from time to time. LOTS of salads! See RECIPES page for ideas.
2) More protein. (No meat for me!) I did opt for some organic eggs in the form of HEAVY VEGGIE frittata’s once a week with a large green salad prior. Just practice proper food combining. Food combining is also a HUGE factor in digestive health and made such a HUGE difference for me when I implemented it. Still does.
3) Herbal teas and tonics are fabulous at strengthening the system and body. Boosts immune system and increases energy levels.
4) Have regular colonics (talk with your therapist about this) the first few weeks to flush the candida out of your system quicker. If you don’t have access to colonics, just implement enemas during this time and you’ll be fine. With the higher protein usage, I got constipated a little more, so the enemas were good.
5) Taking food grade diatomaceous earth can assist in killing the candida and allowing it to be removed from the system. You can mix it in water and drink it (neutral taste) to incorporate it into your diet. First thing in the morning and before going to bed – for best results. DE is great at killing parasites in the body also. I periodically add this to my dogs food to assist with critters in their gut. You can also go to your local feed and seed store and purchase very inexpensively – just ask for FOOD GRADE quality.
6) I took a product that did wonders at speeding up the KILLING of those little buggers and getting the population under control. It is called A.D.P. by Biotics Research Corporation – it is emulsified oil of oregano -natural anti-fungal, anti-biotic. I started with one tablet at every meal then after a week, I went to taking 2 tablets with every meal. I still keep a bottle on hand to use if I ever feel the symptoms pop up – not very often at all. Within a few days of these supplements and changing diet, I am back to normal. Remember, listen to thy body.
7) Coconut oil was very helpful! I started with 1 tsp./day and worked my way up to 2 TB./day. You want to start slowly, b/c it is so effective, the “die-off” from the yeast might be too fast and you’ll experience really bad detox symptoms – you don’t want that!
8) I also employed SWEATING to detox and cleanse more effectively. Infrared saunas are nice or just get out in the sun and sweat.
9) Reduce stress and rest more! This means taking more time for yourself in a loving, compassionate, SLOWER way. Learn to slow down by practicing deep breathing (your yoga practice should have this down for you), but practice it when you are traveling to and from work, during work, during food preparation, anytime that you can consciously be aware of it. When you sit down to eat, relax before you put food up to your mouth so that your body is calm and NOT stressed. Eat in awareness – slowly – chew more – act like it is foreplay – take your time with it – make your meal something that is beautiful to you and for your body (I know this sounds weird, but it has been helping me). Take a bite, put down utensil and enjoy the food, enjoy your company and chat, make meal time fun, with no distractions of smart phone, internet, tv, chaos, etc. Some good music in the background is great!
*SLEEP – When you sleep your body is busy repairing damage, filtering out toxins, absorbing nutrients and generally healing. Without adequate rest it is very difficult for the body to bring itself back into balance. Try to aim for at least 7.5 hours or more, if you can swing it.
10) Take a quality probiotic to replenish the GOOD flora and bacteria in the body to help balance out bacterial imbalances, and help to fight candida. I made almond milk kefir (see recipe link below). Great way to drink your probiotics and it tastes great (especially with lemon or orange slices in it).
Here’s the green smoothie I made every a.m.:
(serves 1 +)
I had some days where I felt sluggish and slow – it was a way my body was telling me to slow down, rest and let the healing occur. This is part of the detox – cleansing the candida out of the system. Don’t push yourself on these days. Listen to your own intuition and not your ego.
Once I felt comfortable that the candida was back in its box, I slowly started incorporating some quinoa into my diet and saw I how I felt/reacted. I did the same for sweeter fruits (mangoes, pineapple, persimmons, etc.) in my green smoothies – as long as I didn’t get any symptoms or reactions, I continued with them. Always listen to your own intuition and body response.
I know this is a lot of information, but once you get it down, it’s very do-able. It’s only temporary and will spark you to get a bit more creative in your life. Some of you will probably lose some weight during this candida cleanse.
I look back on it and say “Thank You” to my candida overgrowth and healing protocol journey. It taught me so much about myself, my lifestyle patterns and habits (that needed tweaking and changing), stronger connection with my body – deeper intuition and so much more. So, embark on this cleanse with a positive attitude of “What can I learn about myself and draw from on a deeper level?”
What it boils down to: having a balanced lifestyle is your best defense against a Candida overgrowth. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
Don’t hesitate to connect with me if you have any other questions that I might be able to address for you. ♥
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