Candida/Parasite Cleanse

Hi! I know that it’s been awhile.... like a good 4+ months since I’ve checked in with you on here. A lot has taken place over this time and I’m going to try to go back to where we left off and share my journey with you.

When I last hopped on here I had just completed two months worth of a crazy work schedule. I was sleep-deprived, waking up by 4am most mornings of the week, consuming way too much sugar and caffeine, and stressing about some major life decisions. I didn’t have any free time to put towards maintaining my social life, my relationship, or taking care of my health. I was literally just trying to keep up with day to day life. When the health screening schedule came to an end, I chose to put my health first and started my wedding shape-up. In true “Kilee” style, I dove right into a rigorous daily doubles workout routine and healthy eating plan. I chose to abstain from refined sugar and alcohol for a whole month as a challenge and reset for my body and mind. I felt completely exhausted from my new routine and was experiencing symptoms that I intuitively knew I needed to get help with. I made an appointment with a functional medicine MD who was recommended by a co-worker. About a week before my appointment I developed a very unsightly rash along my hairline and mouth. 

Candida Rash - gross I know!!!

Candida Rash - gross I know!!!

I freaked out and went into Whole Foods that Saturday morning and asked the women in the Health and Supplement department what I could do to get rid of the rash. They kindly recommended Neem oil and shampoo along with Candida-specific probiotics. I also realized at that time that the women’s multivitamins that I had started taking a few weeks prior contained yeast. 

Neem oil for rash

Neem oil for rash

When I was finally able to get into my doctor, I explained my constant upset stomach, bloating and gas. How I pushed myself with exercise and a healthy lifestyle and could not break past a weight-loss plateau. That I felt exhausted and much hungrier than normal. How I experienced PMS symptoms each month no matter what supplements I took and how many acupuncture sessions I booked.  I told him that I felt like I was investing so much into my health and not reaping the rewards of a healthy lifestyle. 

Knowing that the previous months had put extreme strain on my health, I told him that I was committed to improving my health and looking radiant for my upcoming wedding.

He did some testing and confirmed what I suspected; I had a systemic yeast overgrowth known as Candida, along with an intestinal parasite infection. I hadn’t experienced Candida before, but had had a few parasite infections over the years. He prescribed a strict anti-yeast diet consisting of no sugar, starches, fruit, alcohol, or dairy besides some organic yogurt. I pleaded to let me enjoy one cup of organic coffee with coconut milk and stevia each morning. He laughed and said that I could have that one cup of coffee each morning if I stuck with the rest of the diet. 

Coconut Milk Creamer Recipe from http://hip2save.com

Coconut Milk Creamer Recipe from http://hip2save.com

When I was given the prescription of yeast-fighting antibiotics, supplements and a strict cleanse diet, I knew that I had to commit myself 100%. The first two weeks of the cleanse were very rough on my system. The sugar cravings drove me crazy, I had zero to no energy and could barely make it through a 30 minute walk with Layla. I now know that all of these are normal symptoms of Hexamer’s die-off. As the candida and parasites were killed off, they release toxins into your system. This is why some people advice easing into a cleanse instead of cutting out all sugars and starches overnight. I also think that because the only carbohydrates I was eating were vegetables, my body did not have the amount of instant energy for fuel that it was accustomed to. Luckily, I slowly started to feel better after the initial two week period.

Layla enjoying the view on one of our many evening walks.

Layla enjoying the view on one of our many evening walks.

Soon, my body stopped craving refined sugar and I was only tempted by fresh summer berries or the occasional glass of wine. I got creative in the kitchen. I experimented with new recipes and sugar substitutes. I researched the best foods for killing candida and parasites and ate them like they were going out of style. I gave myself permission to eat as much and as often as my body needed and rest more than usual. My daily walks were my only form of exercise for at least the first month of the cleanse. I reminded myself that the only way that I could heal my body was if I honored it and supported it’s healing process the best that I could. There were several days at work where all I wanted to do was crawl under my desk and take a nap. Slowly, I started to feel like I had more energy each day. During month two, I did Barre3 workouts at home working my way up from 10 to 30 minute workouts. I started jogging for one minute intervals during my walks. About two and a half months into my cleanse, I was able to jog to the top of Pilot Butte without stopping and that was a huge accomplishment for me. I felt so proud of how dedicated I had been to my cleanse and that my body was now capable of more physical activity. I might not have been able to do that again anytime soon, and took it easy on my workouts the rest of the week, but I did it :)

I was so happy when I made it to the top!

I was so happy when I made it to the top!

Now I was not 100% perfect with my diet throughout the whole cleanse. The night that I was diagnosed by my doctor and once a month there after, I had a few glasses of red wine. And, I paid for it the next day! I actually judged how far along I was on my recovery based upon how I felt the next day after having my wine. After three solid months of  being off of sugar and alcohol, I woke up feeling fine the next day. After this benchmark, I would indulge in a glass or two of wine every other week or so. As far as food goes, I stayed away from grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables throughout months two and three. I think I made sweet potato fries two times and had a quinoa salad one weekend. After that three month mark, I would occasionally mix fresh berries into my morning Greek yogurt or have a green apple as a snack.

Summer berries in my Greek yogurt

Summer berries in my Greek yogurt

What I started to notice was how my body responded to all of the foods that I did not eat during the stricter time of the cleanse. Brown rice was okay if eaten in ½ cup or smaller portions and mixed with vegetables. When I tried to have a chicken curry with rice, it upset my stomach. The rice noodles in my favorite pho soup made me bloated for the entire following day after I ate them. A gluten-free brown rice bread and veggie sandwich upset my stomach the rest of the afternoon that I ate it on, however if I made a breakfast burrito with a brown rice tortilla, I felt fine. Small amounts of fruit were okay, but if I gorged on it, it made me crave sugar the rest of the day. I still choose to eat all of these foods now, but am more aware of how my body responds to them.

One of my favorite types of meals.

One of my favorite types of meals.

I got a little cocky with my body’s ability to process sugar and excess carbohydrates around month five. I had a two week period before my birthday where I was drinking wine with dinner maybe 2-3 nights a week. I was stealing big bites of Blake’s highly addictive gelato. My lunches swapped from salads filled with veggies and lean protein to whatever I felt like eating. My stevia-sweetened chocolate bars were edged out by traditional dark chocolate bars. Then it hit the Monday morning after my 10-year high school reunion (and you HAVE to drink a lot for those, right?!?) I felt like crap. A dull, hungover feeling with an upset stomach sank in. I didn’t beat myself up too much. I just decided that I needed to reign back in on more of a cleanse-like diet for the next month and then reassess how I felt.

My interest in sharing all of this with you is to hopefully help you identify if you might be suffering from a Candida or parasite infection. I will continue to share my experiences with you and hopefully be a resource for those going through a similar experience. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or similar experiences to share.

Feeling good on a hike/run at Smith Rock

Feeling good on a hike/run at Smith Rock

In my next post I’ll share the specifics of what I did to help heal my candida and parasites. I’ll fill you in on what I was eating, which supplements I took, and what I did in terms of my exercise, emotional, and spiritual health.

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