My story of healing candida overgrowth took me some time, but I was able to sustain my results without having to do a super strict candida diet. Healing candida naturally is 100 percent possible when you find a sustainable candida diet that works for you long-term.
One of the first tests I took back when I first started to make changes in my health was a candida test, where I tested at a level of 4/6 through bio-resonance testing. Having high candida levels was part of the reason why I constantly felt bloated, had a coated tongue, a noisy growling stomach, was prone to headaches, had tearing and burning eyes, and felt tired at times.
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But the symptoms of candida overgrowth are broad as this opportunistic yeast takes over and causes a host of symptoms.
Common candida symptoms include:
- leaky gut
- abdominal pain
- feeling tired
- vaginal burning or itching
- joint pain
- rectal itching
- inability to concentrate
- fungus infections of the skin or nails
- brain fog
- oral thrush
- strong sugar or refined carbohydrate cravings
Healing Candida with food
Healing Candida overgrowth requires more work than just short-term “candida cleanses” to kill off the Candida. Overcoming Candida overgrowth for good requires a commitment to a long-term diet plan that works for you, along with initial supplements to help knock down Candida. Still, Candida will return and grow if an optimal diet is not maintained as Candida is opportunistic and feeds on sugar and refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta.
Therefore, healing Candida with food is essential for preventing and overcoming candida overgrowth for good. The most crucial foods to avoid on the candida diet are sugar, alcohol, sweetened beverages such as pop, fruit juice, and refined carbohydrates that are everywhere.
It took me four months to knock my candida levels down from a 4/6 to a 1/6. After one month of cutting all processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol from my diet, along with using a probiotic and caprylic acid to kill Candida, my levels dropped to a 3/6.
When I went in for the retest, I was disappointed that my candida levels had only dropped one point after being so strict. That was when I realized that I had to find a way to make this a long-term lifestyle to maintain the results I had gotten while continuing to get my candida levels down even further.
I continued to follow a candida diet low in refined carbohydrates and no processed sugar except for my gluten-free eggs benny bun that I would eat on weekends, and raw chocolates made with xylitol to curb my sugar cravings. I allowed myself to have a couple of drinks throughout the week, but instead of having ciders, I drank vodka waters with lime and a tiny splash of cranberry juice.
How I used the 80/20 rule to heal candida naturally
I also had to switch my mindset and asked how I could enjoy my life now and for the long term while still being healthy and knocking down my candida overgrowth?
Instead of being 100% strict, I practiced being 80-90% strict, so I could have a social life and enjoy my summer while hitting my health goals of healing Candida overgrowth.
A strict candida cleanse or diet can work for the short term, but it doesn’t work for the long term if it isn’t maintained. Candida is always present in our bodies and will get out of balance and overgrow if given the opportunity. A sustainable, long-term candida diet is needed for healing candida overgrowth for good.
Maintaining low levels of Candida can almost be just as challenging since Candida will return if someone goes back to their old ways of eating foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrates.
I remember telling a friend that I would rather take a year to slowly knock down my Candida and maintain it than do a super strict diet with antimicrobials and antifungals to have Candida come back as soon as I stopped the diet and supplements.
I was able to find the perfect balance where I made enough changes to my diet and rotated through different supplements that I was able to get my candida levels down from a 4 out of 6 to a 1/6 in 4 months. I ended up being pleasantly surprised by my results when following the 80/20 rule.
Often we associate having to make healthy changes as stressful or not enjoyable, but what is the point of becoming healthier if we can’t enjoy our life simultaneously?
And on the flip side, how can we enjoy life if we aren’t healthy? We must find that balance.
Funny enough, when I started to make changes to my diet to improve my health and overcome my candida overgrowth, I also met my partner that I am still with today. That summer was filled with lots of social activities and nights out drinking my vodka waters.
Seeing my results taught me that I didn’t have to be 100 % perfect to achieve my health goals, so wherever you are now, ask yourself what pace/changes feel comfortable for you and fits into the lifestyle you want to live. Can you make sacrifices, find substitutes, and new healthy recipes that you love?
I eat healthy because I love eating healthy, but I also had to get creative and try new recipes to enjoy all the healthy food I was eating.
One of the recipes that saved me from the sugar cravings I experienced when I was healing Candida with food was these raw coconut chocolates in which I substituted the honey for xylitol.
Xylitol is an alcohol sugar that doesn’t feed Candida. Using xylitol as a sugar substitute was a crux that I used as I needed something to curb my sugar cravings. A square of raw chocolate made with xylitol got me through my day. I don’t think there was a day when I didn’t have these raw chocolates stocked in my fridge for several months when I was healing Candida naturally.
The chocolates are also made with coconut oil with antimicrobial properties that are great for inhibiting candida overgrowth, so if you need a crux as I did, go ahead and make these raw chocolates but be sure to substitute the honey for xylitol to make them a Candida friendly recipe.
At the same time that I took my candida test, I also had a food sensitivity test where I discovered that I was reacting to dairy, soy, kefir, wheat, bananas, corn chips, msg, and processed sugar. So I had to make some significant changes to my diet.
I was pretty much a vegetarian at the time. I had been for years, so if I was going to remove all my food sensitivities, I was going to need to do a vegan diet, but that felt so restricting to me, so instead, I took a second look at my sensitivity test where I looked at all the foods I could eat.
My Candida diet to heal candida overgrowth naturally
I was okay with all my vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, beef, chicken, fish. So I thought to myself, well, at least I can eat all these foods, and they are healthy; thus, I created a candida diet for myself where I removed my food sensitivities and refined carbohydrates such as bread, rice noodles, corn chips, and high sugar fruits.
I still managed to overcome candida overgrowth while having a berry smoothie every am, lots of vegetables, salads, quinoa as my go-to grain/seed, and green apples. I made homemade veggie burgers with no bun, sprouted buckwheat granola, and Thai chicken curry. I chose chicken tenders with salad when out at restaurants.
My main focus when on my candida diet was to stop eating refined carbohydrates such as pizza (my favorite food), sandwiches, rice noodles, and corn chips. These foods are all essentially sugar that feeds Candida and necessary foods to avoid on the candida diet.
Beating candida taught me how personalized I had to get with a diet that suited me. I also had to take a step back, look at my diet, and say what threw me out of balance and allowed Candida to overgrow. For me, it was those vegetarian refined carbohydrates that were in my diet.
Family and friends who knew me at the time considered me a very healthy person with a healthy diet and would say, but you’re so healthy! Why do you have these problems?
I was eating healthy, especially when comparing my diet to the standard American diet. But I had my fair share of partying, grew up on a fairy high carb diet with oatmeal for breakfast, lots of sandwiches and pasta along with lots of healthy salads, fruits, vegetables, and meat.
When I first became more health-conscious, I removed the gluten but still ate high-carb refined rice noodles, which is essentially sugar, so not any healthier!
Sometimes when we need to adjust and look at our diet, it can feel overwhelming but trust yourself and your intuition and ask yourself some honest questions.
Is the diet you are eating working for you? What do you need to take away, and what can you add-in? What foods make you feel good? What foods are problematic? Do you feel bloated after eating high-fiber foods or refined carbohydrates? How do you tolerate high histamine foods?
There is no one size fits all diet that will work for everyone. And if you’re like me, I was constantly bloated after all foods back in the day, which is why I used food sensitivity testing to find out what were the most problematic foods for me. Along with the food sensitivity test came the surprise of high candida levels.
I look back to this time in my life where I made some profound changes to my health for the better and am forever grateful. Changing my diet and healing candida overgrowth had such a significant impact on me that it led me to become a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and down the never-ending rabbit hole of health, genetics, digestion, SIBO, insulin resistance, and so much more!
If you have candida overgrowth, specific probiotic strains can help to heal Candida overgrowth naturally.