~~~ This One is All About Candida and Healing the Gut ~~~

A very long time ago, I noticed a big, red spot on my Mother’s back. It scared me – I thought it was skin cancer. Of course I found out it wasn’t but it wasn’t until years later that I determined what it really was – candida.

Candida is a fungal yeast that lives in our gut. Yes, everyone’s gut. It’s not a problem until it overpopulates. At that point it can cause all kinds of problems, everything from brain fog to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and from what I understand, candida overgrowth can be found in most cancers. Now remember, everyone carries candida in their gut. It’s there for a reason and it’s part of our body ecology. It’s only when it’s in overgrowth that it causes a problem. And unfortunately for me, it’s a problem. I have several friends who have determined it’s a problem and I have more friends who never thought about it but once they learned about it, they determined it might be a problem for them. It’s worth looking into; especially if your diet consist of overly processed foods and sugars. Mom’s, don’t let candida overpopulate in your kids!

You might want to check out this article:

There are many seen and unseen ways that it manifest. For me, it’s on my back as small (dime to quarter sized) red splotches. It doesn’t itch, although it can in the heat and humidity. I believe it might also affect my energy level and cravings for sugar/processed foods. Know anyone who eats right and exercises regularly but can’t lose weight? Quite possibly a candida problem!

Donna Gates is a renowned authority on ridding the body of candida but frankly, her approach is far too militant for me. She requires elimination of a lot of things and eating a significant amount of cultured vegetables. I’ve tried those veggies and just cannot develop a taste for them. If it becomes life or death, I’m willing to walk that path. But I’m not to that point. Last night I laid in bed and reread Donna’s Body Ecology. It freaked me out.

I’ve spoken to Ayurvedic doctors about the candida and even at The Chopra Center, was told to, “just follow a kapha reducing diet and then we’ll see what to do about the candida.” That’s great in theory and perhaps if I had adopted a strict kapha reducing diet when given that advice, I would feel differently. But I didn’t, and I believe I need more.

I’m willing to give up sugar and processed foods. I’ve already reduced the processed foods significantly and only recently (while sick) went back to sugar laden treats and sweets. Typically, if I eliminate sugar for three days, my cravings will go away. There are some other changes to diet that I’m willing to make and I think it’s smart to supplement with some things that are specifically targeted to improving the digestive fire. But honestly, I don’t know exactly what I should do, so I reached out to my friend Sammy to get her sage advice.

Sammy is a health coach/consultant, PhD, and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, (IIN). She is currently booked with clients but is always gracious to help me. She called this afternoon and we brainstormed a plan. Based on what I shared with Sammy (she’s already aware of the candida problem but I wanted to remind her about my aversion to things that don’t taste good!) we came up with the following protocol:

For the next two weeks, I’m going to slowly eliminate sugar from my diet and increase physical movement. [I’m taking two weeks because I have company coming from out of town next weekend and I’m serving brunch to a group of friends the week after that. I also think it’s a great birthday present to myself, to begin the full protocol on my birthday.]

I’m giving up all fruits so I won’t be drinking smoothies (I don’t like veggie smoothies without some type of fruit).

I’m going to eat a lot of kichadi and slowly modify my recipe to include quinoa, rather than basmati rice.

I’ve got an annual checkup with a mainstream physician coming up this month. I’m going to ask for a prescription of Diflucan. I’m well aware of the potential hazards of Diflucan, a strong anti-fungal medication. I’ve made an educated decision, although I know many would make a different choice. I believe that a dose or two of Diflucan is the right approach for me.

Back to walking….daily!

I’ll continue to take Dr Ohhira’s probiotics every morning. In addition, I’ve ordered a month’s supply of Donna’s Digestive Care Multi. This will kick-start the healing process.

In addition, since I don’t want to eat fermented veggies, I’ve ordered Full Spectrum Kombucha from Swanson. Much more reasonable than anything offered on Body Ecology and while it may not be as effective, we believe it’s worth a try. Sammy also recommended that I try Synergy Kombucha and Kevita Kombucha (apparently carried by Whole Foods). I know Sweet 27 carries Kombucha (I’m not sure what brand) and I think Breathe started carrying it too.

If you have any experience with candida, I’m interested in your results and recommendations. I believe that food cravings are/can be emotional and are/can be physiological. From the research I’ve done, Sammy’s advice, and the experience I’ve had over the past few years (when I was first diagnosed with candida) this approach feels right.

Yesterday I cleaned out my bedroom closet and saw a closet full of beautiful clothes that I’ve been unable to wear for two years. I want to get back into those clothes and that vision is achievable. While the plan I’ve shared may not sound that difficult, I know the initial execution can be a challenge. But I’m prepared with knowledge, support, and a clear intent and vision. I’m ready for the challenge and really ready for my skinny jeans! More than anything, I’m ready for the physical energy and mental sharpness that I believe will return once I’m in this healing process.

This doesn’t mean that I’m no longer following an Ayurvedic (kapha reducing) lifestyle. It simply means that I’m taking what feels the best from different modalities/experts, and using it to support my healing process. It’s trial and error and only my body can tell me what works. As Frasier Crane would say, “Go ahead body…I’m listening!

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