How I'm Healing from Candidiasis
Wow, what a year it has been! I self-diagnosed myself with candidiasis overgrowth last year. I had been searching for answers to my sinus and digestive issues and really was not sure if the two were connected, or completely separate. That’s when a friend wondered aloud if I had Candida, because she had had it once and some of my symptoms sounded similar. At that point I began researching and found out everything I could about Candida/candidiasis, which is an overgrowth of yeast in your body.
I found out that candidiasis usually starts in the gut/intestines but if allowed to progress can spread to the sinuses. This seems to be what happened to me.
You're likely to have a an overgrowth of candida if you have any of the following (and I had all of them):
-skin rashes, constipation, and PMS
-muscle or joint pains
-fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, depression or poor memory
-chronic symptoms that don’t go away
-history of drug use, over the counter (such as antibiotics) or illegal drugs
(from the book The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates)
Having a candidiasis overgrowth means that your immune system is overwhelmed and in order to heal you must improve your immunity. You can do this through diet, rest, exercise and making lifestyle changes to reduce stress. To reduce the overgrowth of candida requires killing the bad yeast and any other parasites that might be present and also recolonizing the friendly bacteria that will restore proper digestion.
The way I have been healing my body is by adding in a daily probiotic, changing my diet quite a few times, eventually adding in fruit and celery juice, doing a liver cleanse, making sure to get rejuvenating exercise and by making lifestyle changes. In my opinion, all of these things together are what are helping me to heal, but it definitely has not been easy or linear.
Beginning a probiotic gave me immediate relief! At the beginning I started with an intense whole food probiotic with 400 billion CFU and over 30 strains that was meant to be taken for 5 days. It helped with the heart burn and the stomach pains I was feeling, and since then I have rarely had heart burn at all. After that I went down to one that has 100 billion CFU and have taken that consistently ever since.
The most popular theory is that Candida feeds on sugar, so you want to cut out all the sugar from your diet. You also want to cut out processed foods and anything with gluten, soy, dairy and of course, alcohol. At the beginning I ate pretty close to the Whole 30 or Paleo diet as these are easy to follow and it was easy to find recipes. Most of my meals would be centered around a protein, with a small amount of vegetables. I felt some relief eating this way, but real healing started when I found a book called The Body Ecology Diet. (Thank you, to my dear friend Kim for giving it to me).
In The Body Ecology Diet book, Donna Gates says to cut out the same things- processed food, gluten, dairy, sugar- but to also practice food combining and the 80/20 principal. Food combining is a way of eating that is easier on your digestive system- you eat proteins with vegetables, and grains with vegetables, but you don't eat proteins with grains. Your stomach is able to digest the proteins and grains more efficiently when they are separate, and so this alleviate many digestive symptoms.
The 80/20 principal states that you eat 80% of each meal as vegetables and the other 20% can be a grain or a protein. In the past I think my meals were generally the opposite, 80% protein and 20% vegetables. Once I started increasing my vegetable intake and following the food combining rules I really felt a difference in my digestion. Things started changing and I could feel my body healing.
Fruit and Celery Juice
I then discovered the Medical Medium books. Anthony William says that an overgrowth of candida is usually a sign that something else is going on as well, which is bringing your immunity down and allowing the candida to overgrow. He says to treat the root cause not the candida itself.
He also says that it is not necessary to cut out fruit. He says there is a difference between the sugar that is found in nature and sugar that is processed. Sugar that is in fruit is digested before it reaches the intestines, where the candida lives.This was music to my ears, as I really missed eating fruit. I began to add in a little bit of fruit to see how I felt and I still felt good, and so happily I now eat fruit with breakfast and as a snack.
Anthony William also proposes that celery juice is pretty much a miracle juice and can help heal the stomach and intestines by helping the body to produce more hydrochloric acid. I decided to give it a try and have been drinking 16 oz. of celery juice every morning for the past two months. After the first week I felt my sinuses began to significantly clear and felt less stuffy. My skin also significantly cleared up, so I continue to start my day this way.
I did a 9 day liver cleanse to help to support my liver clear out the candida. The liver is a very important organ that does so much already, so it is important to support it when healing from candidiasis. The liver is responsible for flushing out all of the dead candida that are being killed off, so you want it to be able to do this very efficiently.
During a liver cleanse you eat mostly fruits and vegetables and limit your protein and fats, as those are the most taxing on the liver. I did the 3:6:9 Liver Cleanse from Anthony William's book Liver Rescue. See my separate post on that for more info.
I look at exercise differently now. It used to be about burning calories and trying to get in shape but these days it's more about unwinding and connecting to myself. I try to walk in nature a few times a week, and this is probably my most favorite thing to do. It really rejuvenates me, makes me feel grounded and puts a smile on my face. :)
I also do Kundalini and restorative yoga. They both help me to reset my energy and feel more connected to my body and what it is trying to tell me.
I read somewhere that most people with candidiasis focus so heavily on diet and don't change their lifestyle at all, and they also tend to have trouble healing. It can take years. Diet is important, but the other aspect of lowering your stress and allowing for more down time is even more important. If a person eats a very strict diet, but doesn't address the other aspects in their lifestyle that got them to this place they will never heal.
I began meditating and it has become almost a daily practice. I am now sleeping much better and I feel like I get less upset and stressed about little things. Both of these things I attribute to the meditation practice. It has helped me to be more connected to my body and notice when I feel tension in certain areas, and how to breath and relax through those moments.
I have also slowed down a lot. I don't over schedule myself the way I used to. I make sure to have down time each day where I can sit and read or write in my journal or talk on the phone to a friend. I listen to my body and if I feel tired after work I allow myself to just relax as opposed to forcing myself to exercise. I have made sleep a priority, and so I don't allow myself to watch anything violent and I limit my social media time after dark. I now realize how sensitive I am to things like that and make sure that nothing interferes with my winding down time and beauty sleep.
Most nights I end the day with a bath before getting into bed with a book, and this routine has helped me fall asleep without any anxiety or having to take any supplements or medications at all. Such miracle for me! Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night has been a game changer.
I can't say I'm completely healed yet, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I'm on the right track. I think the biggest lesson I have learned in all this is to not always follow the "rules" of any diet/healing modality in particular and really listening to my own body. Every body is different and what works for one person may not work for another. This is a process of trail and error, and I learn everyday more of what works for me.
I would love to hear about anyone else's experiences with candida, so please comment if you have struggled with it. I would love to (virtually) meet you. :)