Candida Diet - Dietary Changes
Beginning a Candida Diet presents a challenge that requires practice and patience. Most people find that after an initial adjustment period, they feel so good that the efforts expended seem more than worthwhile. You'll discover that the comfort and pleasure you derive from living in a healthier body can be tremendously satisfying.
Eventually, your inner wisdom will guide you to choose only the foods that nourish you and starve the candida. You'll probably misunderstand this instinct a few times at the outset. You may even choose to ignore it a time or two. This is all part of the learning process.
The following helpful hints will serve to keep you on track during your transition.
- Remember, you are making dietary choices to nourish you. The candida diet is designed to deprive the yeast - not you. Counter any feelings of deprivation by exploring exciting new foods and recipes that are delicious and nourishing to the body and the soul.
- Focus on what you can have, instead of what you can't and remember the benefits of your choices.
- Empty your cupboards of those items that are inappropriate for your program, so you won't be tempted.
- Plan ahead; utilize rotation-diet and recipe books that help you to organize your groceries and meal plans. Also, visit our Support Forum pages at http://forum.wholeapproach.com/ for help with diet questions and recipes.
- Ask your loved ones to participate in the diet with you or, at a minimum, to respect your choices.
Once you have felt even a day or two of the reassuring comfort that comes with improving your health, it will be even easier for you to find the inspiration you need to optimize your nutritional self-care.
Change can occur overnight, but it usually takes place over several weeks.
For some personality types, change can be relatively easy. For others, the transition to new habits can be difficult. Rest assured that once you get into the habit of focusing on wellness instead of sickness, your new habits will feel more natural to you.
No matter how good your intentions are, you can't expect to be able to follow the diet perfectly - at least initially. You're bound to go back and forth for the first little while. If you feel symptoms creeping back, you can revive your determination and start again and again if need be.
Handling Transitions Through Your Diet Program
Try to be as objective as possible when you fill out your weekly candida questionnaire so that you don't become overly-optimistic about proceeding to the next stage of your candida diet (or overly pessimistic about your progress). See Candida Questionnaire page for more information.
Food cravings can be powerful. Cravings can be caused by candida die off, allergies, dehydration, protein deficiency and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Of course, the best way to manage intense cravings is to understand why you are having them.
Sorting out cravings and their origins comes down to careful self-observation and learning to recognize the different types of cravings. If you feel that you can't live without a certain food and the need to eat it is overwhelming, you will probably be better off resisting, because it is not a real body need.
Types of Cravings
Candida Die-off: The survival of the candida depends upon sugar. As the yeast are dying, they can initiate a craving for sugar or starch. The habitual use of sugar for short-lived bursts of energy can also perpetuate sugar cravings.
Simple thirst and protein deficiency can also create sugar cravings.
If we are allergic or intolerant to a food, that intolerance may come along with an uncontrollable desire to eat that food. That is especially true of foods that create either a stimulating or sedating effect when we eat them.
Anxiety, depression, grief, self-doubt, fear, anger and almost any stressful emotion can trigger a craving for a comfort food. Sweet and starchy foods temporarily increase serotonin levels, "comforting us" for a short time.
As our health improves, our bodies adjust and begin to send food signals that are more in tune with our true nutritional needs. For example, when we need calcium, we may crave broccoli instead of craving ice cream. We'll come to recognize nutritional imbalances that can create unhealthy urges and learn health-boosting strategies to overcome them.
What If I Experience a Relapse During My Program?
If your symptoms worsen after an initial improvement, there are several common reasons for this. One or more of the following may be true for you.
- You could be experiencing a die-off reaction. You can read a lot about this phenomenon on the Whole Approach® website (Die-Off). Die-off can continue to be an issue for you throughout the beginning and middle of your program. As you move towards recovery, your episodes of die-off related symptoms (and candida-related symptoms) become fewer and farther between.
- Your body may not be ready to proceed to the next stage. In this case, you'll want to return to the previous diet stage/product protocol that you were comfortable with and stabilize yourself for another couple of weeks before you attempt to make this transition again.
- A worsening of symptoms can be caused by a food intolerance/allergy. It is possible that anytime throughout the program, you could uncover a long-standing hidden food allergy/intolerance or you could develop a new food allergy/intolerance. See our page on Allergies for allergy info. You are much less likely to develop a new allergy if you are following the Rotation Diet. Sometimes you won't discover a food intolerance until you've abstained from that food for a while. By taking a break from the offending food, your immune systems will have a chance to recover from the chronic exposure. Reintroduction can trigger an easily recognizable reaction. Even if the reaction is delayed, you'll be more likely to identify it than if you had continued to eat the food without a break.
- You may be experiencing a healing crisis (A.K.A. an intense healing event). A healing event involves detoxification, repair, and/or rebalancing work that the body undertakes during healing. This process can stimulate some temporary, uncomfortable symptoms.
- You may be experiencing symptoms of environmental illness, or a viral and/or bacterial infection that is making you feel worse.
Eating out when you're on the WholeApproach® Candida Diet© requires polite and assertive communication skills. You can usually get excellent support from the wait staff if you just ask them for their help in avoiding some food intolerance that you have. In most cases your server will be compassionate and helpful and look upon making sure you get the right food as an interesting challenge. Your server plays a very important role in your dining experience as he/she is your representative to the cook who will prepare your meal for you.
In the unfortunate circumstance where you find yourself at a restaurant that has very few "safe" choices on the menu, you may have to hand your server a list of the foods that you can eat and ask them or the chef to recommend something appropriate.
A wise, preventative strategy is to arm yourself with as much knowledge about hidden allergens as possible. In this way, you can provide specific instructions and ask very direct questions. Your server can write them down, go to the kitchen and return with answers and/or suggestions.
Different types of restaurants will pose different types of challenges for you. For example, in both Chinese and Thai food, look out for sugar hiding in the sauces and dips, and for MSG. There may be hidden MSG in pre-made sauces even if the restaurant doesn't add any. You may have to ask that they check the labels of their pre-made ingredients.
In Chinese cuisine, soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce and oyster sauce usually contain wheat. Avoiding these sauces is rather hard to do. Your chances of getting a custom-prepared meal will be much better if you choose a quality restaurant that you know prepares food fresh for each customer. In these types of establishments, you can usually get them to prepare yours differently. If you are set on eating Chinese food but are allergic to wheat or soy, you might even want to bring your own wheat free soy sauce to let them use or to add to your food at the table. In Indian cuisine, watch out for corn starch, sugar and wheat flour in sauces. Ask lots of questions and you're sure to find something suitable to eat.
Please don't be discouraged! You'll soon find some candida-friendly restaurants to frequent (and they'll probably remember you too).
The Restaurant Survival Guide - When You Find Yourself in the Wrong Restaurant and You're Starving.
If there is nothing that looks appropriate for you on the menu, consider the following options:
- Steamed veggies, fish, rice, scrambled/boiled eggs or chicken. If you are really stuck and there is nothing but deep-fried, battered chicken or fish, you may need to just pull the skin off and hope for the best. Note: this doesn't work for vegetables. Deep-fried veggies are much more saturated with the allergenic grease than meats.
- On the highway or in your typical "greasy spoon" establishment, your best option may look more like broiled potatoes or hash browns with eggs and canned veggies.
- Thai Restaurant - fresh, raw spring rolls (veggies rolled up in rice paper). Ask for a peanut free, wheat free, sugar free, MSG free dip if they can find one for you, or plan to bring something from home.
- Chinese Restaurant - MSG-free chop suey (bean sprouts) with steamed veggies and wheat-free soy sauce.