I've been thinking about doing this particular cleansing diet for a few years now but always found an excuse to put it off. But finally, even though I can think of some really good reasons not to do it, I willed myself to start anyway.
The detox I'm doing now is the part of Stage 1, the Detoxification Stage of the anti-Candida cleanse. Even though I don't get yeast infections, I just know that disgusting candida fungus has spread it's filthy tentacles throughout my body and I want it gone! How do I know? Well first of all, pretty much everyone in today's day and age has a candida overgrowth. If you've ever taken antibiotics or eaten meat fed with antibiotics or been on the pill or eaten too many sugary foods or not enough vegetables or have silver (mercury) fillings, or drunk fluoridated water, or you're under a lot of stress, chances are you too will have an overgrowth of candida. And candida can be quite noxious. It normally lives in your gastro-intestinal system along with millions of other micro-organisms, but if you treat it right (stress, antibiotics and bad food, for example), it will happily grow and grow and will break through the lining of your stomach to infect all other body systems and causing innumerable health problems.
Some of the conditions caused or exacerbated by candida are:
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn's disease
- skin and nail fungal infections
- gallbladder disease
- multiple sclerosis
Not nice! And the symptoms of Candida paint an equally ugly picture:
- bloating and indigestion
- bad breath
- chronic fatigue
- chapped and dry flaky skin
- stiff shoulders or headaches
- sexual dysfunction and impotence
- urinary tract infections
- irritability and mood swings
- muscle pain and fatigue
- menstrual irregularities
- memory loss
- short attentions pan
- learning difficulties
- chronic allergies and gluten intolerance
- cravings for sweets
Hmmmm, there's more than a couple of these symptoms I suffer!
So the cleansing diet will go on!
By the way, the seven day detox is not a compulsory part of Candida cleansing, but a detoxifying fast like the one I'm doing (that includes lots of nutritional broths) is a good way of cleaning out the colon, providing a good foundation for the actual Candida cleansing diet.
During weeks 2-3 food is reintroduced but only those foods that Candida does not have a taste for. The idea is to starve and kill the Candida fungus. Candida particularly loves sugar so during these 2 weeks absolutely no sugar is allowed, not even fruit sugars. The hardest part of this diet for me is sure to be not eating any fruit... Candida also loves starchy and high carbohydrate foods which the body converts to the sugar. So out with all glutenous grains and no potatoes either. And since I'm cleansing my system, all other baddies like caffeine and alcohol are also no no's. Eating lots and lots of vegetables is extremely important because they absorb some of the toxins being worked out of the system by the cleanse.
End of week 3 marks the end of Stage 1 of the cleansing program. By this time, a lot of that nasty Candida will have died off. One way to know if the diet has been working is to look at how you've been feeling. If you've been feeling yucky with flu-like symptoms or headaches and nausea than you know the diet's working. These symptoms are a result of the Candida cells releasing by-products into the bloodstream as it dies off. Drinking lots of water and taking lots of vitamin C are a couple of ways to reduce these symptoms.
Stage 2, the Elimination Stage, takes 4 weeks. During this stage the diet is a lot less strict and we can reintroduce some foods like green apples and berries back into our diets. Complex carbs and beans can also be slowly reintroduced. Throughout these 4 weeks, some specific anti-fungal treatments are used to really attack that Candida. Things like oregano oil, garlic, goldenseal and olive leaf extract are particularly effective. The worst part about Stage 2 is that the Candida die-off symptoms will get worse before they get better...
Okay, Stage 1 involves detoxifying the system for 3 weeks. Stage 2, which takes 4 weeks, will hopefully eliminate every last bit of Candida. That's 7 weeks so far. At the 2 months mark, it's time to start Stage 3, Repopulation. The idea here is to repopulate the gastro-intestinal system with all the good bacteria it needs to function efficiently and keep us healthy. So during this stage probiotics are added to the diet. But the best part of Stage 3 is bringing back all those foods that were avoided for the previous 2 months! Mmmm grapes, cherries, mangoes! It's important that these foods are reintroduced one at a time and if any adverse symptoms or reactions are noticed then this is a sure sign that the body is (and probably always has been) allergic or sensitive to that food and so it should really always be avoided.
I had this blog saved in my drafts folder and didn't realise I hadn't posted until now when I planned to update you on how I was going ...
It's actually 4 days after I started the diet and I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't able to continue with the fast. I thought the nutritious broths and all the vitamins and minerals I was taking would be enough to keep feeling strong but I didn't realise just how much breastfeeding was taking out of me! I lasted only one day... However, as I mentioned in my post, the fast isn't absolutely crucial, so I moved on to the second part of Stage 1 and I'm currently doing pretty good on my strict diet of no sugars, or grains (besides brown rice), or dairy (besides natural yoghurt and kefir).
I'll keep you updated.