Candida (Yeast) overgrowth:
Yeast can cause symptoms all over your body- brain, nervous system, muscles, joints, energy, mood- depression, anxiety, insomnia, Respiratory tract or sinuses, GI tract, skin. Live yeast releases an endotoxin that can travel in your blood system and make you sick. When you kill the yeast at first the dead yeast will release more of this toxin- this could cause a temporary condition called “die off.” See this section below labeled die off for more information on this. You can treat yeast by starving the yeast (do not feed it sugar, gluten/wheat or other starches) and by taking herbal or prescription antifungal medication. Probiotics also will kill yeast.
There are blood and stool testing for candida but some can be negative even when you really have candida overgrowth. For this reason often symptoms guide treatment better than testing. You can click here to take a candida symptom quiz to see if you may have candida overgrowth. You can also learn how to do a saliva test for candida by clicking here.
3 Day Cleanse:
You can skip this section and go directly to the Candida diet if you wish- but if you prefer to get a quick start to killing off yeast in your body start with this three day cleanse. A cleanse is sometimes the best way to give your liver and internal organs a fresh start. Fast food is overloaded with additives, most beef has added growth hormone, and fish are full of the various chemicals that are pumped into the oceans. Cutting out these toxins and replacing them with fresh vegetables is a great way to start your fight against Candida. (if you notice that eating raw vegetables cause your symptoms to worsen then stop the cleanse and notify the doctor- this usually means you have an overgrowth of the wrong bacteria in addition to the overgrowth of candida and the fiber from the raw vegetables is feeding them – you will need to go on a LOW FODMAPS diet)
Eat only raw salads and steamed vegetables
Avoid starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, corn and winter squash
If you are following a liquids-only cleanse, you should drink 2-3 bowls of this vegetable broth each day to replace depleted minerals. And even if you are not doing such a strict cleanse, this can still be a tasty addition to your diet. The quantities in this recipe should last you for about 2 days of your cleanse, and you can keep it refrigerated during this time. Use organic vegetables if possible!
Recipe: Vegetable Broth
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large handful of kale or chard, chopped
4 stalks of fresh grown celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Place ingredients in 2 quarts (about 2 liters) of pure or distilled water. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes, then strain the liquid and discard the veggies. If you’d like to spice it up a little, throw in some cayenne pepper.
What to drink on your cleanse
Drink lots of water during your cleanse. This will give your body the absolute best chance to expel as many toxins as possible. All that water keeps your digestive system moving and speeds up the elimination process.
The below detox drinks are designed to support your liver, promote bowel movements and encourage your body to expel the Candida toxins more quickly.
The Fiber/Bentonite shake
A bentonite shake is a popular drink to assist cleansing. This is a detox drink designed to remove toxins from your gut. The fiber supplement gets your digestive system moving and scrapes clean the walls of your gut, while the super-absorbent bentonite clay sucks up any toxins sitting in your intestines and carries them safely out of your body.
For the fiber supplement, there are several different options. Psyllium husk is very effective, but can be quite harsh on the intestines for those who suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome. Other good alternatives are Acacia Powder and Pure Apple Fiber. For example, Fiber-3 by NOW Foods – which contains soluble fiber from Golden Flax Meal and Acacia, plus Inulin as a prebiotic or Advanced Naturals Organic Triple Fiber Max (Oat, Flax and acacia). You can order either product by clicking here.
Regular Bentonite clay doesn’t mix well with water so buy it in liquid form, like Great Plains Bentonite or activated charcoal. This will make the detox drink a lot easier to get down. Add it to your fiber supplement and shake up the mixture for a few seconds, then quickly drink it before it settles. Drink another extra large glass of water immediately after. Both these ingredients are great for detox.
Recipe: Fiber/Bentonite Shake
1 large cup water
1 flat Tbsp. fiber supplement
1 flat Tbsp. liquid Bentonite Clay or Activated Charcoal
This detox drink should be taken on an empty stomach, so don’t eat anything for an hour before and after you drink it. The easiest times are usually first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, and a couple of hours before bedtime. You can drink it 2-3 x per day
The Liver Flush
There is another drink that you can use to support and protect your liver during your cleanse. Known as a liver flush, it is also popular among cleansers and combines olive oil, garlic and ginger. You can drink it once a day in the evenings, but it should be at least an hour after your last fiber/bentonite shake. It is best to only do this once a week- once your symptoms of liver congestion are gone you can discontinue this until symptoms return.
Recipe: Liver Flush Drink
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
Small chunk of fresh ginger
Just blend all the ingredients together and drink. If you don’t have a very good blender, chop the garlic and ginger first before blending.
Foods To Eat
Visit the candida diet website to find a detailed list of foods to enjoy while on your candida diet.
We all have yeast in our body to a small degree- when the yeast grows above a certain amount they release an endotoxin that makes us sick and creates chronic disease or disrupt your hormones. When treating yeast we want to reduce the yeast population back to normal levels or even below normal levels so that they don’t just grow right back. As you kill yeast they will temporarily release larger than normal amounts of toxins. It takes the body time to clear out the toxins released by the dying yeast cells. They can go into the blood stream and strain the organs that assist with detoxification- liver, kidneys, colon and lymph/skin producing uncomfortable symptoms known as “die off” symptoms.
Some people feel great from the beginning of treatment and continue to feel great- other patients will start to feel die off a few hours to days after treatment starts and others not for a few weeks after starting treatment. The symptoms of die off can be – rash, increase sinus congestion, vaginal mucus, cough, fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, constipation or diarrhea. These symptoms usually only last for a few days- but in some people it will continue until they reduce their medications or probiotics and allow the elimination organs to rest before they take more to kill more yeast
Actions that help lessen Die off:
Temporarily stop herbs or prescription antifungals
Temporarily stop probiotics
Increase water intake, Increase vitamin C, Use fiber supplement when first starting candida treatment to sponge up and eliminate the yeast toxin, eat more vegetables ( raw if you tolerate them or cooked if raw makes you feel worse)
When you resume medications or herbs – ease into the full dose more gradually
Monitor your symptoms with the Candida symptom Questionnaire- modified from the book “The yeast connection” by William Crooks MD