In my last post I shared the beginning of my health issue I have spent the past five months trying to get under control. Being diagnosed with intestinal parasites and Candida (systemic yeast infection) was one of the best and least enjoyable things that has happened the me. I believe that when we are over stressed and experiencing inner conflict, our bodies develop physical dis-ease. In the months before being diagnosed, I was working myself too hard, not resting enough, consuming far too much sugar and caffeine, and questioning some very big life decisions. I was stressed on the inside and it started to show on the outside. Luckily, I was referred to a great functional medicine doctor and was prescribed a very strict cleanse-type diet and supplement regime. This post will detail the types of foods I was including and excluding from my diet.
6 Months of Clenase Details
(Before I met with the doctor and just intuitively knew I needed to cut down on my sugar consumption.)
- No alcohol
- No refined sugar or natural sweeteners
Months 2 & 3
(Prescribed by my doctor)
- No alcohol
- No refined sugar or natural sweeteners
- No fruit
- No grains or gluten
- No starchy vegetables
- No beans or legumes
- No vinegar
- No processed and/or cured meats
- No dairy (besides Greek yogurt or goats milk yogurt)
- No artificial sweeteners
(I eased up on the cleanse a little bit)
- Added in sweet potato once a week
- Added in 1/2 cup servings of brown rice and/or quinoa 1-2 times per week
- Added in 1/2 cup servings of berries 2-3 times per week
- Added in Suzie’s thin brown rice cakes 4-5 times per week (one of these spread with almond or cashew butter was my work week snack)
- Added in 1/4 cup beans or hummus 2-3 times per week
- Added in the occasional slice or two of procuitto or salami
(I started feeling well enough to add more foods into my diet)
- Added in corn tortillas and corn tortilla chips 1-2 times per week
- Added in 80% and higher dark chocolate 2-3 times per week
- Added in a glass or two (or bottle - haha) of red wine 1-2 times per week
- Added in non-dairy (Daya brand) cheese as well as goat and sheep milk cheese 1-2 times per week.
- Added in oatmeal once per week
- Added in various fruits 2-3 times per week
- Added in small amounts of honey (but found that it was too much sugar for my body)
(I started to pull back the reigns on my cleanse diet because some of my symptoms started to reappear)
- Cut out all sources of sugar (dark chocolate, honey, fruit, plus everything else I had cut out before.)
- Wine one or less times per week.
- Limiting how many servings of grains, beans, and starchy vegetables I have daily.
- Basically just experimenting with what my body can tolerate.
I naively thought that I would eat clean, take some supplements, and be done with the cleanse and back to normal within two months. This was not the case! Candida and parasites can wreck havoc on one’s body for years on end. They do not simply go away after a few weeks. I’m learning that it can take up to a few years, if not a lifetime of diligent diet modifications and lifestyle choices to rid the body of these two.
I’m going to continue to strive for a balance between eating a clean diet and allowing myself to relax a little during the weekends and indulge on special occasions like my birthday, vacations, and holidays.
I can tell that my body has fought off the overgrowth of yeast and parasites (I know I still have some, all of us have at least a healthy amount in our system) but I think that I will be susceptible to future overgrowths if I am not careful with my diet, rest, and mindset. Once I feel 100% again, I think that I’ll abstain from refined sugar, limit my fruit, grains, beans, and starches, and be mindful of my wine consumption. I definitely will not be drinking vanilla soy lattes and keeping a dark chocolate stash on hand after learning what sugar does to my body.
Once I started looking at the sugar content of EVERYTHING that I ate, I was amazed at how much sugar is in our food supply. Seriously, I had to pass up ketchup, soups, sauces, and such. It was eye-opening because I took the no-sugar rule so seriously, I was diligent about making sure that not an ounce of sugar entered my body. I’m a little more relaxed about it at the moment, but I challenge you to try to go a week without eating a gram of sugar. It’s hard!!!
So now that I’ve shared what I wasn’t eating, I’m excited to share what I was eating! This was not a calorie restrictive diet at all. I craved and ate more healthy fats (especially extra-virgin coconut oil) than I ever have. Cutting out so many food groups made for repetitive meals, but also encouraged me to experiment with new foods and recipes. I wish I would have kept track of all the recipes that I came up with, but I made them off the cuff and didn’t want to be bothered with keeping track of every measurement.
I created a video of my first set of groceries when I started the strict cleanse at the beginning of month two. It was full of green vegetables and healthy fats. And now that I've watched the video, I want to apologize for saying "organic" for every item! I didn't mean for it to come out that way. I guess the point I was making was that it is very important to try to purchase, organic foods when possible for this cleanse.
I plan to create a Candida/Parasite Cleanse cookbook at some point and will actually write down my recipes. In the mean time, I’ll share some photos with you of meals I ate and the usual breakfasts, lunch, and dinner plans.
Usually one of three rotating meals:
- Greek yogurt with chia seeds, flaxseed, cinnamon, and stevia
- 2-3 eggs with salsa and/or avocado
- VEGA protein shake made with unsweetened coconut or almond milk
Almost always salad with lots of healthy fats and a little lean protein. Typical salad would include greens, cucumber, avocado, hemp seeds, onion, olive oil and lemon juice or Tessemaes vinegar-free dressing.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Suzie’s Thins brown rice cake with almond or cashew butter
- raw veggies.
- Protein - salmon, steak, chicken, or tempeh and
- Vegetable - basically any veggies
I wish I could say that I just had a cup of tea in the evening, but my sweet tooth was too strong!
Most of the time I just mixed some melted coconut oil with cocoa powder and stevia. I think I ate more coconut oil (very good for getting rid of Candida) in the past few months than the rest of my life! My body craved it and I happily obliged to including it in my diet.
The candida/parasite diet can be challenging to adhere to at times, but after a week or two, you feel so good that it becomes easier and easier to stick to it.
If you would like to view a list of the foods I mostly ate and avoided, check out “The Yeast Connection’s Grocery Shopping List.”
I’ll be back next week to review other aspects of my cleanse which contributed to overcoming the yeast and parasite overgrowth.