Candida and Cultured Foods

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happiness #2I get hundreds of emails about the subject of Candida and a lot of them are asking me why so many health care practitioners don’t recommend the consumption of fermented foods if you have candida. Most physicians and well meaning practitioners only know of fermented foods made with vinegars rather than the cultured or fermented foods that I teach people to make. The ones made with vinegars should not be eaten when you have candida. They are a completely different food than the ones I recommend, because these foods don’t have probiotics in them. Probiotic foods are the key to finally bringing candida into balance; but as they do, it can often seem that you are getting worse instead of better.

Candida is a yeast/fungal organism that lives naturally within the human body. It is normally found in the body in low levels but an overproduction of this yeast can cause many problems, including the fungal infection known as Candidiasis.  Candida can spread as a fungus does throughout the intestines and sinuses. Candida penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body, which can cause a myriad of problems.

Candida is something that everyone is talking about and seems to be afraid of. This same thing happened many years ago with bacteria when everybody and their brother came out with antibacterial soaps and disinfectants. It was the new buzz and this caused so many problems. I believe this was the wrong approach to keeping pathogens at bay. Most thought if we could just stamp out the bad bacteria, and now candida, all our problems would go away; but this is not the case. If we will build up the good yeasts and bacteria, they will solve the problem for us and also create a balance that otherwise wouldn’t exist within our bodies. Killing bacteria kills both the good and the bad, and the same with candida – you want a small amount to remain but you really are looking for balance, not complete extinction. It’s the same story again and again, good versus evil. If you focus on the good instead of only destroying the bad, the good will be in control, will dominate, and will bring things into balance. The struggle will cease.

So what is the solution? I have always been hesitant to tell others what I have done to remedy  candida because my regimen is not for the fainthearted. It has been very effective for me and I have used it many times for other ailments. It works every time by bringing me back into balance. It is intense and I am not a health care physician so I am only going to share with you what has worked for me and let you discern for yourself what is best for you. Here is what I did that was so effective in ridding me of an overproduction of candida.

Blue DayThe first thing I did was build up the good bacteria in my body with A TON of cultured foods and flooded my system with billions of probiotics. This influx of probiotics became a very powerful weapon that cleaned house and brought me back into balance. However, it did cause a Herxheimer Reaction as the bad bacteria and bad yeasts left my body. They give off toxins, and when they died off it was not pleasant. I was going to the bathroom a lot and had body odor and a slight increase in body temperature and itching that was short lived. I was not going to put up with feeling bad so I dosed myself with even more probiotic foods and – my goodness, did that work! All of that good bacteria inside of me became dominant and took over the bad bacteria and candida, and these harmful pathogens had to exit the body. Doing it slowly can also work, but I have never been one to do anything slowly – ever! I also think this was more effective in the long run, but the symptoms can be unpleasant and really vary depending on how much imbalance there is. This is why I don’t recommend this for everybody. It can make you feel very uncomfortable, even with small amounts of cultured foods, because there is so much harmful bacteria and yeasts that will put up a fight before they leave. Yeasts, like candida, have an interesting way that they fight with each other to determine who will dominate. They shoot at each other with a liquid substance like a shootout in an old corral and the ones that survive will dominate. I bet you didn’t know all of this was going on inside of you, but you may feel it with bloating and gas. There is a whole world inside of you carrying on jobs you know nothing about, but you should know! You’re the captain of your ship and the more you know, the more you can help.

For years I took yeast killers. Although these were effective in the short term, they also killed good bacteria and left me struggling. They never really returned me to the balance I was seeking. One thing I do recommend is ingesting coconut oil. The caprylic acid found in coconut oil is a powerful candida killer that works well with cultured foods; but it, too, can make you feel worse before you feel better.

lemon Breakfast

Here is what I did to flood my body with good bacteria.

  • I reduced all sugars to zero.
  • I had 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in my smoothie, or I cooked with coconut oil, or ate it plain.
  • I ate only whole foods.

For breakfast I had a lemon kefir smoothie (made with fresh lemon juice, kefir, and a little coconut or almond milk with stevia).

Lunch was 1/2 cup of cultured veggies mixed with kefir cheese, some sprouted chips, a bowl of soup, and 8 ounces of kombucha.

Dinner was a huge salad with some protein and 6 ounces of kombucha.

Right before bed I drank 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cultured veggie juice and 3 ounces of my kefir smoothie from breakfast.

If you take probiotics right before bed they work significantly better. They have time to grow and multiply while you are resting, which is when the body can repair itself best. Now here is a warning. This is a lot of good bacteria – it can make you have a strong reaction if you have not had a lot of cultured foods, which is why I hesitated to write this blog. I know my body pretty well, and we are friends; and it will make me well if I help it. I have a lot confidence in what it can do and you can do this too as you start to really work with your body. I pay attention and when things aren’t going right in Shelley's cultured veggies and kefir cheesemy life, my body will produce symptoms and I always listen. So I encourage you to at least start incorporating these foods into your life a day at a time, and if you have been eating cultured foods for a while you can try this stronger version. Remember, even if you are only adding small amounts of cultured foods, such as a spoonful of cultured veggies or kefir, you can still have symptoms of a die off. Bacteria work in numbers and they sense you the host, determine how big you are, and then determine how many bacteria are needed to do the job. When your body has enough of these bacteria it will do its job. Your body contains many different strains of bacteria which is why I recommend eating the Trilogy: kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables. These three types of food contain the different strains of bacteria and good yeasts which can bring you back into balance.

After a day or two of this regimen, you can reduce this amount of cultured foods or continue with this increased amount; but keep eating some of these foods every day and you will build a foundation inside that is unshakeable.

I hope this helps you find your balance and I hope we can focus on the good that we are. We are 99% good, or harmless, bacteria and yeasts. When things get out of balance, just feed the good bacteria with more probiotic foods and talk about the bad less. Then watch and see what happens. Love is stronger than hate; all is well when the good yeasts and bacteria outnumber the bad, and cultured foods are loaded with both. It’s just how I approach everything in my life, looking for the good, and I have found that nothing has been more effective at making the bad and harmful things disappear.