I’m officially done with the Candida Cleanse! That being said… I’ve pretty much just adapted to this way of life now. I feel better. Really stable. I’ve been doing the boric acid thing since I saw the gyno a few weeks ago.
Last night, I got back from a 2-week Colorado trip, where I finished out the candida cleanse, and then some. I was mostly compliant, a little not, and overall feel freaking proud of how I’ve done. I feel stronger, healthier and better than ever. I hiked almost every day. I reckon I probably logged at least 60 miles in total.
All of the nature and physical activity made me feel AMAZING. And my vagina didn’t hold me back for a second. WHOOHOO!
1. Preparation is key.
In the past, traveling would have been a disaster for my diet. It can be really hard to find remotely healthy options on the road. And if you find something healthy, it usually tastes terrible. Not this time! I ate lots of great compliant things, and knew how to recover when I flubbed.
I swung by Erewhon (local health food grocer) before hopping on the plane and bought both prepared food and snacks, so I wouldn’t have to stop once I got to Colorado and could drive straight from the Denver airport to Aspen (~4 hours). I also was apprehensive about what the food situation would be like and wanted to make sure there were things I could eat.
I picked up some seed crackers, kelp noodles, and a salad. Delish!
I also went on a 7 hour, 15 mile hike this past Saturday, where I knew I would need to bring food along. Usually, hike food is a sandwich…which I obviously can’t have. I baked a bunch of veggies and cooked some quinoa ahead of time, and put it in a cooler bag. It was PERFECT.
Honestly, eating out is still pretty difficult, but now that it’s corona time, I don’t usually eat out much anymore, so it’s been easier to stay compliant on the candida cleanse. I’m curious to see what it’s like to start to introduce different foods into my diet, in small quantities (like legumes). I definitely feel better knowing exactly what’s going into my food — even when I order compliant-seeming things at restaurants, there are details about the preparation that end up making me feel sick (like that time I went to Gjelina, ordered compliant-seeming things, and had a terrible stomachache).
2. Your body has all the answers…you just have to listen.
My body tells me very clearly when something is NOT ok. I ate some delicious coq au vin that I think was full of butter and honestly other things that I couldn’t have, and my stomach almost immediately hurt afterward. I drank some ACV, lemon water, and took some probiotics, and it did settle my stomach. I also recently got some FatSnax crackers…and thought MAYBE the butter and cheese would be OK. I was dead, dead wrong. I ate them before getting on a plane and had an upset stomach for the next 2.5 hours. They sure were delicious, though… almost worth it. And at this point, I know what my triggers are — gluten, dairy, + too many chia seeds, tiger nuts, or bee pollen. And now I can make informed decisions. Sometimes, I decide to go for it anyway. And just deal with the consequences, one way or another.
Ingredients: Almond Flour, Egg White, Butter (Cream), Cream Cheese, Coconut Flour, Flaxseeds, Water, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder, Garlic, Onion, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary
3. When you mess up, it’s OK — there are things to eat that help.
For me, fermented foods and ginger really help my tum digest non-compliant foods. My favorite fermented picks: ACV, sauerkraut, kimchi, and Coconut Cult probiotic coconut yogurt. I also drink lemon water and take probiotics. Whenever I mess up, eating these things tends to settle my stomach and help my body better digest.
4. Your partner’s gut situation can really affect you
Yeah, I learned this the hard way…when I started dating my (now ex) girlfriend and immediately started having issues. Cyclical BV, yeast, you name it.. What I learned from reading the Body Ecology Diet, internet research, and seeing the gyno, was that it wasn’t going to go away for me for good if I kept seeing her and she kept having unresolved issues. She didn’t even think she had candida issues, even though she was constantly having an upset stomach and nauseous. Candida can manifest for different people in different ways…mine happen to manifest most prominently in BV/yeast infections, but if your partner isn’t experiencing active BV/yeast symptoms, it doesn’t mean that he/she doesn’t have candida. And what do you know? Since we broke up, I’ve been feeling A-OK.
5. It’s less of a cleanse, more of a lifestyle
A “90 day cleanse” makes it sound like I’m going back to life as normal now. But I’m actually not. Two reasons — 1) I want to make sure my gut really has time to heal. I’ve been symptom free for weeks, not months. I’d rather not mess around and risk feeling terrible by going back to my old ways too quickly.. 2) I do feel better eating this way. I have a lot more energy, feel less bloated, and overall just HEALTHIER.
I already have started doing things that break the food combining rules, like making GF pancakes from almond flour. I notice that I don’t feel as energized on days that I eat that way, but also know that those foods don’t actively upset my stomach. I’ve noticed I seem to be fine with tamari, and in the past when I’ve had tofu, I’ve also been fine. I think that I’ll start to re-incorporate legumes slowly into my diet, but not to the extent that I was before. Overall, I don’t think I do well with all of the starch that comes from legumes, and I’d prefer to eat pseudograins like quinoa or animal protein.
6. The 80/20 rule is key
I’m actively eating more vegetables than I was before the candida cleanse, in an effort to get to an 80 veg/20 grain or animal protein ratio. I think that’s been one of the biggest shifts. Eating more vegetables, period, has been great for me. I feel like it’s helped with my digestion, elimination, and overall energy levels. I notice if I eat mostly vegetables, I can be a little bit more flexible with the remaining 20, and still seem like things are fine. Almost like my gut has a “cushion” of veg and can absorb whatever else I throw at it a little better.
7. Stick with it…it gets easier!
Man, I remember when I first started the candida cleanse, it felt impossible. I was cutting out so many things I normally ate, and accidentally eating non-compliant things like crazy. But after a while, things start becoming habits. And I had the added bonus of being home all the time because of coronavirus, and cooking constantly. So I made sure after the first few trips to the grocery store not to buy things I couldn’t eat. And then, when I looked around for things to eat.
8. Constraints breed creativity
The candida cleanse can feel super restrictive at first, like you can’t eat anything. But constraints CAN breed creativity… if you let them! My best discovery was a spaghetti squash pad thai. I also made other delicious curry dishes and just made them with shirataki noodles or cauliflower rice, and really didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Most recipes can be adapted pretty easily to be compliant. I also got way more creative with spices!
9. Fermented and fatty foods are great for kicking a sugar craving
OK, so there were times I had CRAAAVINGS. And I’m not typically someone who has a huge sweet tooth. But what I found is that fatty foods (especially coconut yogurt) were great when I wanted something sweet. What also works (but in a slightly less pleasant way), are fermented veg like sauerkraut or kimchi. And otherwise, I also figured out how to make a sugar-free chocolate that I now every so often eat a little piece of from the freezer (it’s just monkfruit, erythritol, cacao, cocoa butter or coconut oil, vanilla, salt).
Next for me… I want to dive deeper into the science of candida. I’m finishing up the Body Ecology Diet, and there’s a lot more I’ve learned in reading that I want to share with y’all. I also have a list of clinical trial data and other internet resources that I want to parse through and figure out how to break down and make more applicable. I’m going to continue on with the diet, perhaps with a few modifications, and see if I can continue feeling symptom-free. Today is September 30, 2020. I really don’t think I’ve had an issue in weeks, but I haven’t been disciplined about monitoring the sitch. So here I am, creating accountability on the internet.. let’s see how it goes from here!