Would you believe me if I told you that 70% of us have some type of candida albicans (aka fungus) inside of our gut? It's true. (source) The more I continue researching about candida, it seems as though it affects more of us than we think. But, just because you have candida at some level doesn't mean you should freak out.
There are levels to candida and some people's bodies are capable of handling it better than others. Mine, on the other hand, is having a very hard time dealing with the excess fungus hanging out in my gut. They've moved in beds, couches & even grabbed a beer. They're far too comfortable, leaving me very uncomfortable.
If you've read my candida & leaky gut story then you're a bit familiar with what I've been experiencing over the last four years. And as you poke around this site looking for the next delicious recipe, you may notice a few things are different with my meals.
That's because I'm currently on a candida diet (or sometimes called the anti-candida diet) to heal my gut from the inside out. Diet is such a weird word these days so I'd like to clarify a few things. This is not a diet in the sense that it's to lose weight or do anything to change my body composition except for healing my gut. Also, this diet can seem quite strict to the average individual and may not be suited for everyone. This was recommended to me by my Functional Medicine doctor so please consult your physician before drastically changing our eating habits.
Now that we're clear on that, let me explain what the candida diet is.
What Is A Candida Diet?
The candida diet is a plan that eliminates added sugar, starchy vegetables, most fruit, caffeine, gluten, dairy & anything with a high Glycemic Load. (source) And in addition to that my doctor also recommended that I eliminate grains and legumes. In other words, your meals will consist mostly of protein, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats & low glycemic fruits. Below are sample meals that I've personally had in the last week:
Scrambled egg tacos in almond flour tortillas with cherry tomatoes, arugula & salsa verde
Grilled steak with roasted cauliflower, green beans & peppers with cherries for a snack
As you can see from the sample menu above, the meals are veggie heavy and clear of high sugar, wheat & dairy.
Why Is This Necessary For Candida?
The main reason to eat this way for an extended period of time when trying to heal your gut from candida is that the candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls, expand & transform into a more fungal form. (source)
Think of it this way. You have these little cells in your gut hanging out, swimming around (just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swiimmming, swimmming) and then you eat those delicious Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Yum! Now, these cells are throwing a massive party in your gut. They're dancing around, whipping & nae nae-ing and doing all the line dances you can think of. Those dance moves give them the energy to expand & transform into a stronger form of themselves. Like, the Hulk on the dance floor.
How do you turn the Hulk back into a little boy again? By taking away what made him transform in the first place. Aka, sugar.
Just in case you're unaware, starchy veggies like white & sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, etc break down into sugar when they're digested. And, unfortunately, your body doesn't recognize the difference from a PB cup & a carrot, even if we certainly do. It just recognizes that it just got sugar, and I need to move this sugar along just like every other time. This also goes for fruit. High glycemic fruit like bananas, mangos, pineapple, grapes, etc. would be digested in the same way a bowl of ice cream would. Now, the fruit is natural sugar, yes, we know. But again, your body doesn't know the difference.
Why Am I Doing The Candida Diet?
Well, you can probably guess by now that since I have candida it would make the most sense to follow the candida diet to cure it. And you're absolutely correct. I am committed to healing my gut once and for all. I've been in excruciating pain & discomfort for the last four years and I finally have answers as to why. I would be silly (& would be throwing precious $$$ right down the drain) if I didn't follow my doctor's direction to a healthier, happier life.
For the next 12 weeks, I'll be following the candida diet as closely as possible. And thankfully, I'll be sharing it all with you! And whether you have candida or not, these meals will still work for any eating preferences. If your body tolerates gluten, dairy & sugar, add those babies in! No harm, no foul.
I am so grateful that I know my way around the kitchen and enjoy exploring foods. Having that passion on my side makes it so much easier to navigate through this plan right now. If you're struggling to find variety and satisfaction with the restrictions involved with a candida diet, I recommend you try something new. The American cuisine is not the easiest to candida style. Explore other cuisines & be adventurous! Now's the time.
So far, my introduction into the candida diet hasn't been awful. The first few days were rough because I was still closed off to the idea of eliminating all carbs & sugar. I had no idea how I was going to eat this way for the next 3 months. I was always hungry, grumpy & sometimes would just go to bed to avoid wanting bread or ice cream.
But, as the days go on and the more I explore and research candida, the easier it becomes. I'm learning to take some of my favorite meals & turn them into things I can enjoy during this new journey. Like, how do I make compliant hamburger buns? Or what desserts can I enjoy during summer holidays? How do I partake in social situations when alcohol is flowing?
These things make me giddy & excited because I have the space to create what works for me. Take out a few things here, and in a few over here. On top of my commitment to the plan, I'm also dedicated to learning about my body and about candida overall. And of course, as I continue to learn I'll share it here with all of you.
What is your gut health story? Are you familiar with candida or the candida diet? Let's continue the conversation in the comments!
The information provided in this post is for information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.