As many of you know, I have been struggling with candida overgrowth for many months. I was officially diagnosed in January, 2018 where I began a cleanse to reclaim my health (and sanity!). I was tired of having yeast infections and feeling tired, bloated, and brain fogged all of the time. There were several steps I took to heal from candida overgrowth. Note: I believe in healing the body naturally with herbs and a clean, plant-based diet. I did not take any medication, even though I was advised because my candida overgrowth was very developed and affected my entire body. I am eager to share my journey and experience with you because I believe my relatively quick healing is a testament to the power of plant medicine. I am proud to say now 3 months later, many of my symptoms have subsided and I am finally feeling normal again.
The Three Principals of Vegan Candida Diet
There are three main principals to follow if you want your Candida diet to work.
1. Eat the Right Foods
Foods to Avoid on Candida diet
- Fruits – all fruits, including dried, fresh and canned + fruit juices.
- Starchy vegetables – potatoes, beet, yams, sweet potato, corn, peas, parsnips, carrots
- Legumes – all beans, chickpeas and GMO soy products. Non-GMO, unsweetened soy products are fine.
- Mushrooms and molds – mushrooms can cause inflammatory reactions, if you have Candida. Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitake are fine to consume.
- Some nuts – cashews, peanuts and Pistachios as they may contain mold.
- Grains that contain gluten and glutinous foods – rye, wheat, spelt, barley, oats (except oat bran and gluten-free oats), anything with corn, white rice.
- Sugars – all syrups and artificial sweeteners, except stevia and xylitol
- Additives and preservatives – citric acid, anything you don’t know.
- Some beverages – coffee, black and green tea, any drinks that contains sugars, i.e. any drinks other than plain water, herbal tea or chicory.
- Condiments – read the labels really carefully and look for sugars or any other additives that you don’t know. As a rule, it’s not possible to find a suitable condiment from a store when on Candida Diet. You can check from organic stores for natural products or make your own.
- Vinegar – all vinegars except apple cider vinegar.
- Yeast – brewer’s, baker’s and even nutritional yeast.
Eco Goddess tip: after two months I slowly introduced some low glycemic fruits such as berries. Still, these are best to eat on an empty stomach away from fatty foods.
Foods to Eat on Candida diet
- Non-starchy vegetables – asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, raw garlic, kale, lettuce, olives, onions, rutabaga, spinach, summer squashes, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips.
- Gluten-free grains – millet, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, gluten-free oats and oat bran.
- Nuts and seeds – almonds, coconut meat and milk, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, poppy seeds.
- Legumes – non-GMO and unsweetened soy products (milk, tofu, tempeh) without any unwanted additives.
- Yogurts and plant-based milks – anything unsweetened based on non-GMO soy, coconut, hazelnuts, almonds, quinoa, millet.
- Seaweed – nori, kelp, wakame, dulse, sea lettuce.
- Herbs, spices and seasoning – apple cider vinegar (organic), basil, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon and lime, juice, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sea salt, thyme, turmeric.
- Beverages – water, chicory root coffee, herbal teas.
- Sweeteners – stevia, monk fruit sugar and xylitol.
2. Taking Antifungals
Antifungals help kill candida. It is recommended to start antifungal therapy at least a week after the beginning of Candida Diet, otherwise you can experience severe candida die-off symptoms. I took the following antifungal from my father's line of holistic medicine:
- Dr. Q's Candibactemycin
- Dr. Q's Parasite Cleanse
Other natural antifungals include aloe vera, cinnamon, cloves, coconut oil, garlic (2-4 raw cloves a day), ginger, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract, onions, lemon & lime juice, pumpkin seeds, cayenne pepper (see my candida cleanse glowing detox tea recipe here), rutabaga, olive oil/olives, seaweed and turmeric.
3. Taking Probiotics
Probiotics help maintain healthy balance of gut flora and therefore support your immune system. They also help restore correct acidity in your gut after antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics make your gut too alkaline because they kill the acid-producing bacteria. It’s important to fill your gut with healthy bacteria so that there is no room left for Candida yeast. I was recommended to start taking probiotics after two rounds of each of the supplements I mentioned above. I took the following probiotic:
- Dr. Q's Daily Probiotic
Note: this probiotic supplement is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan probiotic supplement for a balanced, healthy internal environment. Probiotic foods include – yogurt (non-GMO soy or coconut), fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi. You need to make sure that it is raw and not pasteurized as pasteurizing kills all the good bacteria. Prebiotic foods don’t contain any good bacteria, but they help the good bacteria to survive and grow. Chicory root contains an excellent prebiotic named Inulin – so, have chicory root coffee with almond milk or non-GMO unsweetened soy milk and sweeten it with stevia or xylitol.
Your body won’t get better if you sit around all day. Get up and move your body! This was huge for me. Right when I began my cleanse, I joined a gym where I took weekly boxing classes. I sweat SO much, which was a fun way to get in my exercise. I also noticed I began sleeping better and my skin cleared up. Not to mention, my body toned up which boosted my confidence and self-esteem.
What to Expect During Your Cleanse
A candida elimination diet will likely involve some big changes in your lifestyle, but it can be made much more difficult by something called candida die-off. This is particularly important because die-off symptoms are one of the biggest reasons why people prematurely abandon their Candida diet. Being prepared will help you to avoid this ‘bump’ in your treatment and complete your recovery successfully. Read more about it here.
What is Candida Die-Off? When large numbers of yeast and fungal cells are rapidly killed, a die-off (or Herxheimer reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body. The amount of Candida cells being killed makes this very different from the regular cell elimination that forms part of the Candida albicans lifecycle. When these cells die, they release all the noxious substances that they contain, including (according to some sources) at least 79 different toxins. This long list of toxic substances includes ethanol, uric acid, and acetaldehyde.
Die-off symptoms include nausea, gas, bloating and more. I certainly had my share of symptoms, so I had to slow down my treatment and reduce my dosage of anti-fungals at one point. It is important to drink a lot of water during this cleanse and to avoid candida die-off in the first place through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. Knowing your body is a process. We are all different. Do not be hard on yourself! And good luck.
For questions, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.