Operation: Kill the Yeasty Beasties

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on April 9, 2011

A little over a month ago, I had just finished my allergy testing and was preparing for additional tests/shots with my Naturopath.

In an attempt to begin ridding myself of low energy, control my blood sugar, decrease my fuzzy brain and get rid of my bad skin while I went through additional testing, I set the following goals:

  • Reduce sugar. I switched my sugars to coconut sugar [low GI] and stevia [which I'm totally obsessed with now!]
  • Increase fiber. I’ve been able to increase my fiber by ~35%
  • Increase antioxidants. camu camu has been a nice addition to many of my smoothies.
  • Control blood sugar. I have increased legumes, but haven’t been able to get to meditation.
  • Remove all allergens. I only cheated once. I really wanted to try the juice Kevin brought back from the UK.
  • Improve absorption. I switched over 1 supplement to powdered form but that’s it.
  • Continue gluten free [even though tests showed I don't have a sensitivity to gluten or celiac disease]

Well, the results are in and I’m happy to report that it’s definitely not as bad as I thought it was going to be!

I always expect the worst. I need to work on that.

The results

I have a rare form of yeast [it's called saccharomyces cerevisiae] that is killing off all of my healthy bacteria, causing sensitivities to food, blurring my brain, and causing issues with my hormones. aha! Caught you, you little bugger!

Other than that, I’m in pretty good shape!

Intestinal yeast is natural to our intestinal system. The problem starts when this natural bacteria begins to overgrow. When we ingest antibiotics, sugar, birth control pills, sleep aids, drugs and medications of any kind, we kill off the bacteria that keeps the intestinal yeast in check. In other words, when we ingest something not natural to the body, the good bacteria dies off and is suffocated. Then the yeast start to run rampant in the body.

Great news is, that it’s easily fixed with a change to diet, a couple of additional supplements, and patience.

The entire process from killing the yeast > reducing inflammation caused by the yeast > repopulating my gut with healthy bacteria will take about 6 months.

If after 6 months I have reduced sensitivities, a clear head, and normal hormones, I’m in all the way baby, ya!!

The plan

I’m so happy that I started my cleanse when I did. Other than the fresh juices; which contain high amounts of sugar, many of the steps I’ve made have been in line with an anti-yeast [also called anti candida diet]. So, the changes I’ll have to make are quite minimal.

Intestinal yeast feeds off sugars – fruits, high starch veggies, simple carbohydrates, and complex carbohydrates [in larger doses]. The foods you want to focus on when you’re on this type of diet is fats + proteins + non-starch veggies.

So, the plan will be to:

  • Live ‘sugar free’. Coconut/palm sugar + stevia only.
  • Reduce carbohydrates.
  • Increase non-starch vegetables.
  • Eliminate dried fruit. I’m giving myself 1 pass a week at first or I may die.
  • Rely on almond and coconut flour. These are great alternatives for low carbohydrate intake.
  • Decrease fruit.
  • Fall even more in love with coconut. It has caprylic acid that’s good for killing of yeast!
  • Supplements. Take caprylic acid in the morning on an empty stomach + potent probiotics before bed.

Daily portions will include:

  • 2 servings of complex carbohydrates
    • quinoa, rice, millet, kamut, spelt, rye, oats [yes, these are glutenous grains! I'll explain below]
  • 2 servings of fruit
    • high fiber fruit like apples and berries are best
  • unlimited protein
    • animal proteins are best, but I’ll also be having 1 serving of lentils/beans per day
  • unlimited fats
    • hemp oil, flax oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds
  • unlimited non-starch veggies
    • cucumber, zucchini, onion, greens, bok choy, celery, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Ending the cleanse

I was quite successful in completing all of my goals and managed to hold on for 14 days.

Results: my digestion sped up, I added more fiber and vegetables into my day, I’m drinking more water than I ever have before, I’m getting better with my chewing but I’m not there yet.

I ate like a queen on this cleanse. My favorites were:

Black Bean and Ginger Pasta Fry

Cinnamon Raisin Flatbread

4 Ingredient Itty Bitty Strawberry Coconut Tarts

Hidden Gem “Butter” Cookies

Coconut Curry + Miso Gravy Luscious Bowls

Vegan Creamy Honey Dijon Salad + Omega Croutons

5 minute Apple Quinoa Flake Bake

Peach Pancake Cobbler

Overall, I’d say it was a success!

Introducing gluten

The allergy tests have said that I have 0 sensitivity to gluten, but that wheat is problematic for me.

I have no doubt that my allergies will improve with the plan I’m on, but in the meantime my Naturopath has given me the green light on a couple of glutenous grains.

Kamut, spelt, rye, oats.

Eak!

I’m super nervous. I haven’t had gluten in over 3.5 years minus the couple of weeks I ate gluten during my allergy testing… and that didn’t go over very well.

I’m going to start with oats today and see how things go. Guess what I’m having for breakfast?

Apple cinnamon Vegan Overnight Oats!

I’ve dreamed of this day… I really have.

Coming up later today: I’ll fill you in on how my first day of anti-yeast is going, what recipes I managed to come up with, and how the oats settled with me.

If all goes well, I’ll try spelt in a couple of days.

Journey to health is a series of posts dedicated to my trials and tribulations in optimizing my personal health.

Missed my previous posts? Check out:

Steps to health, Gratitude, Relaxation and Breathing, Know yourself to love yourself, Steps in the right direction, 6 years to find myself

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Clarkie @ Beloved Green

Very interesting! I like that you have an action plan ready though, good for you.

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fullofyeast

Thanks very much for writing about this. I’m having an awful job with yeast right now. Awful. Weeks of pain and suffering. Could you tell me more about your diet? What allergens did you remove? Did you eat dairy?

Thanks!!!!!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hey – I wrote a post about my allergens a couple of weeks ago. Try checking out: healthfulpursuit.com/2011/03/journey-to-health-steps-in-the-right-direction/
I went a different route with my allergen testing and opted for blood work and stool analysis. I’d tried the elimination diet but found it to be too open for interpretation and I wanted a solid answer on what I was allergic to. If you already know you have yeast though, I would suggest doing the most you can to remove the yeast and then get the allergy test as yeast will make you have sensitivities you don’t actually have. I eat dairy very rarely. When I went through my allergy testing I had to begin to eat dairy again so my allergy would show up on the test. I’m lactose intolerant, so I’ve always avoided it. Best of luck :)

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Sarah

I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what kind of allergy tests did your doctor run? I’m going to ask mine to do a full panel on me when I get home because I feel like crap all the time, even without gluten (which did improved things and cleared up some health issues). Bah.

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Sarah

Oops! Nevermind. You already posted that information in another entry. Thanks!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Let me know if you have any questions about it Sarah. The test I was referring to today was a stool test. It wasn’t all that pleasant, but totally completely worth it!

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Jillian

Thank you for bringing up coconut sugar for anti-candida diets. I’ve been using it too but I wondered if it was hampering my efforts.

When you get to the kamut, try kamut puffs. Since I’m allergic to corn, this is my popcorn. Melt about 3 tbsp of butter in a large saucepan, add half a bag of kamut (about 3 oz) and salt to taste. Stir like a mad woman so that butter coats each piece and the kamut doesn’t burn. When the kamut has absorbed all the butter and is salty and crunchy, fight off everyone one else and enjoy!

If you really want to be naughty, add some of that coconut sugar to the melted butter and you’ve got caramel corn!!!!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

OMG!! Jillian you are a goddess. I can’t have corn either and have been craving popcorn something fierce for about 3 years haha. I cannot wait to try kamut now! Thank you so much.

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nevernotdreaming

I actually think I have troubles with this also. The trouble is that I’ve been trying to increase grains to make things easier for me (so brown rice wraps, crackers, breads, oats, etc etc)…plus I’m in love with dried fruits, fresh fruits , and jams – and can’t seem to get rid of them. I just can’t seem to give up the sugars and the carbs now at this point…ugh.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It’s hard, I know it is. I find whenever I’m craving sugary things [like dried fruit, jam, etc] I go for nut butters, especially those with coconut and I’ll have that with a couple of slices of apple. It seems to do the trick for me. Your body doesn’t know the difference between coconut + carbohydrates, so it’s easy to fool! I understand the easiness factor, changes to your routine take time and it can be frustrating when you’re trying to understand how to make things quickly and efficiently. Just push through it, making little changes over time will start to add up quicker than you realize. You can do it :)

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kate@ahealthypassion

I went off bc a few months ago and have already noticed a huge change in my health its sad how easily drs just prescribe that crap!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I need to do that! I went off of birth control for 2 years when I was 20 and it took 1 year for my body to normalize. Once it did though, I felt fantastic, so I can totally relate. Good for you for cutting it out of your life!

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Megan

I first want to say that I’m so glad I stumbled on your website via Lexie’s Kitchen one day. I’ve been a huge fan of Elana’s Pantry since going gluten free and now that I have a handle on cooking/baking in general, I wanted to expand my knowledge (and culinary experiments). I love that you’re in Calgary and are talking about stores I know and frequent when talking about various products. It’s fantastic!

I use gluten free oats quite frequently (I purchase up at Amaranth Whole Foods in a fairly large bag). Have had no issues digesting them. Best of luck today adding back to your diet!!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It’s so great to hear you’re from Calgary! It’s always hard when I recommend products and the person isn’t from around here. I completely forgot about amaranth. I used to live in Arbour Lake and went there all the time. I’ll have to find those oats. Thank you :)

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Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

Wow I didn’t know that birth control pills can cause damage to the intestines. I suffer from such bad tummy problems that it might actually be the birth control. I can’t relate the cause to anything else that I know of. Thanks for posting, I’m going to try to reduce sugars, fruits, etc :)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It’s tough, birth control is one of those things many of us cannot go without, but personally I know that it has caused so many issues with my digestion. There are other ways around it, like removing sugars and reducing your fruit consumption is a great start!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

That’s great news that you’re getting to the bottom of the problem! And how exciting you get oatmeal again! :)

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emma

This is a great post :-) I think I needed this went I was placed on high strength antibiotics for ages! It reaked havoc with my good bacteria the side effects were not plesant!

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Petra

Good luck with the diet! I’m doing the Yeast Buster’s cleanse right now, i’m on week 5 (hopefully only 3 more to go…) The diet is a little more restrictive then yours (absolutely no fruit) and i’m taking olive leaf extract in addition to the fiber/caprylic acid/bentonite drink and probiotic. It’s a pain but i can’t afford to see a naturopath right now so hopefully it does the trick!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’ve been reading about olive leaf extract and just put an order in for it this morning! It is a pain, I agree with you. I’m only a couple of days in and I’m craving dried fruit like MAD! How have you found your appetite? Since starting with the caprylic acid, I’m rarely hungry.

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Petra

Also grapefruit seed extract, black walnut and oregano oil are supposed to be potent anti-fungals. If anything, I think my appetite has increased. I’m always looking for a snack. I’ve had some mega fruit and chocolate (and WINE) cravings! But I’ve gotten used to the diet by now, and have tried so many yummy new recipes and foods, so it’s not so bad.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Good for your for fighting those cravings and sticking with your goal. I can say with 100% confidence that it’s a very, very tough goal to follow. It’s great that you’ve found amazing foods and recipes along the way. I just discovered that cashews are so much sweeter than I’d originally thought [maybe because I haven't had sugar in SO long!] yum!

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Petra

well, it helps to know that other people are going through the same thing! so thank you for sharing your story : )

Julie

I have had an almost identical story/journey against candida. I started 7 years ago…after rounds and rounds of antibiotics, Accutane etc…which almost killed me I might add. There are many interpretations of an anti candida diet but basically the less sugar/carbs you eat the faster you get rid of the yeast. I went “cold turkey” not even any fruit for several months. After just 2 weeks into the program I noticed major changes, I felt like a new woman. I too stopped the BC pill. Take every possible supplement that will kill yeast. Try to cheat as little as possible…I found every time I cheated I would have setbacks. The longer you follow the diet, the more you learn to control your eating and the foods that you used to crave become engrained in your mind as the ones that bring you pain and/or breakouts making it easier to refuse them.
This change of diet is a LIFETIME thing, you can never go back to eating poorly or you will succumb to various disease processes.
The hardest thing for me has been dealing with other people. Family that think you have gone loony. Or to see family members obviously sick from their eating habits and you want so desperately to help them but they will not listen.
Over these last few years I have met others on this same journey who have become a source of help and support. I used Erica White’s beat candida cookbook extensively for the first 3 years…found it to be really helpful. The recipes are graded by how much effort required / how sick you are on a scale of 1-3.
But now I center my meals around doing creative things with vegetables. I am loving all your raw food recipes! Good luck on your journey…stick with it no matter how many setbacks. Every day/meal that you eat right is adding to your health.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks for your encouragement, Julie :)

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Angela

I’m so glad I found your blog! I’m interested in the coconut info, since I thought Stevia was the only sweet I could use while fighting my candida. I went cold-turkey no sugar, carbs, (even fruit!) almost 2 years ago and the results were amazing – I even conceived after years of infertility! However, the pregnancy was difficult and I didn’t stick with it very long, and here I am again. It’s easier this time, since I was so tired of feeling rotten, and I knew this would work. Anyway, it’s nice to read other stories, recipes and reaffirm my commitment – thank you! Also, I have used and taught the Creighton Model FertilityCare System for years as a natural and effective alternative to birth control. Thankfully I was always resistant to using BC and was introduced to this method while engaged. It’s been amazing for us, since I did have underlying health issues that were easily identified once I learned the system. Check out the website for more info – we have teachers everywhere, or can work with you long distance.

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Brittany

Ah I have been self-diagnosing myself with candida lately because I have 99.9 % of the symptoms. It’s so difficult to start a cleanse or even eliminate food! It’s weird because when I began eating a vegan diet, it was painless. Overnight I just said: That’s it! No more! And it’s been no turning back. But other foods, or additives I guess I could call them, like anything with sugar, beer, and wheat are harder to give up!!! Everywhere I go I’m confronted with temptation!
So- good for you! You are an inspiration and a half! I’m going to keep some of these recipes in my bookmarks folder so when one day in the future I decide to actually take my health and well-being seriously, I can use them. Hopefully that will be soon!!! Thanks for blogging!

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Sarah

Hi Leanne. Thank you so much for your wonderful website, it is so helpful and truly an inspiration. I was wondering if it’s possible to find out more information about consultations/cost etc.? I worked with a nutritionist previously, but found the diet/restrictions involved in eliminating yeast were virtually impossible to maintain – or at least the way it was proscribed in this case. Is it possible to e-mail you some questions privately? Or at least get an idea of what a consultation would cost? We’ve made *extensive* changes to our diet & lifestyle as a family in an effort to generally get (and stay!) healthy, as well as to specifically heal me of very severe digestive problems. We’ve made some headway, but I am positive that I still have problems with yeast – and I feel that if we could eradicate it, many of my other “issues” would disappear! Thank you, again, for your time and efforts!

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Magdalena

Hi Leanne! Can You write more about using coconut palm sugar on an Anti Candida Diet? I use Stevia and Yacon Syrup, but I’m very interested in this Coconut Sugar ( it’s low glycemic and quite healthy ).
Thanks for all Your tips :-)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

For sure! I’ll put that on the list of things to write in the future. Perhaps I could add it to a candida episode on Healthful Hints!

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Magdalena

Ok,thanks! I just ordered this coconut sugar, but I don’t know if I can use it in my breakfast smoothie when I’m on the ACD? It has low GI, but will it feed the candida? ( of course using it in small amounts:-)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Candida suffers can usually tolerate a couple of tablespoons of coconut sugar/week.

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Magdalena

Thanks Leanne:-)
Great pictures, so I just must try your recipes :-)

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Courtney

Bad skin, you say? I’ve been dealing with bad skin for over a year and a half and I can’t figure out what the problem is. My doctor just prescribed me stuff, and it worked temporarily, but I didn’t feel right taking antibiotics and rubbing gel on that gave my skin the appearance of a daily chemical peel. I need to find a local Naturopath to visit, but hearing that intestinal yeast could be causing my bad skin, and that flushing the bad yeast out could get rid of it, gives me some hope. I may try this simply to try it. I’d imagine it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It might be worth meeting with a Naturopath to get some insight into your specific conditions. Good for you for listening to your body and avoiding getting caught into the game of relying on antibiotics!

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Candice

This article, as well as your video has really opened my eyes. I’ve been struggling with some symptoms you mentioned in your video- fatigue, fuzzy memory, confused, weight gain, join pain, digestion issues, occasional depression… I also have issues with insomnia, problems remembering things, lack of motivation (to a ridiculous extent, very difficult to motivate myself).

I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and I have anemia. I’ve been put on oral contraceptives to try and help the anemia, as well as iron twice a day. I had hoped that I would start to feel better as these things were treated, but the only significant change is I lost 5 pounds. The joint pain isn’t AS bad, but it’s still there. I had started eating a healthier diet before I read this, and now I’m really going to try and kick myself in gear. I’m going to try and order that test, through my GP if I have too.

Thank you for writing this!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks for sharing your story, Candice. I hope you get to the bottom of it all :)

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Michelle

Leanne,
Great to find your website! I’ve been dealing with Candida issues for about 9 years and it turned pretty chronic in the last 2. I started with a pretty strict diet (no sugars, no carbs) right in the middle of december ’11. Then on the second week of January I went even more cold turkey to a Phase 1 program designed by Dr. Trowbridge (a leading expert on yeast problems), this phase “Limits” one to eating Meats, Veggies (non-starchy), Eggs, and Plain Yogurt. I find the lack of breakfast and “light dinners” a pain!! Since I can’t have any bread or oats, I am egged out, literally! BUT, and this is the MOST important part for me, the difference in how I’ve been feeling ARE TREMENDOUS! Fatigue is gone, ithcy scalp and ear lobes gone, fever blisters gone, I suffered with ‘morning-sickness’ type nausea for 2 years GONE! Among other symptoms which are GONE!
Another GREAT side-effect of this diet, the sugar cravings have mostly gone! I used to think I was a ‘sweets’ eater, that those were MY cravings… well, two weeks into the diet, and I no longer even get a ‘salivary reaction’ when I walk by the pastry section at the supermarket… unbelievable, how we make our bodies addicted to refined CRAP! The only things that I salivate over are the crunchy slices of juicy apples I cut for my kids’ lunches! haha, I find it amusing to get huge cravings over fruit (which I’ll be able to incorporate soon enough)!
I am grateful to have finally found something that is making me feel back to what I remembered ‘normal’ was! And I wanted to wish you a good ‘yeast-fighting’ journey! The results are worth it!!
And I have a quick question over the coconut sugar. I’ve been off of all sugars and starches, except I’ve used a teaspoon of coconut sugar a couple of times on my plain yogurt (plain yogurt gets a bit boring after a while), is this not counted as a sugar? does it not convert into fructose/sucrose/etc.? How does it work to be able to use some of this coconut sugar as a sweetener and how much of it is it ‘allowed’ in a yeast-starving diet? I’d truly appreciate your opinion and input on this!!
And to all who are going through this, stick it out, it’s worth it!!

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alice t

thanks for posting about this really common issue in a realistic and approachable way!

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Michelle

Hi,

Thank you for your great blog. It is so interesting to read, your insight is great!

I was just wondering about a few things. I too have been eating a whole foods diet and doing all the right things in terms of excercising and eating clean. Unfortunately, I too feel like I am constantly naseauted and fatigued no matter how well I eat or sleep. I have blurry vision, odd fuzzy brain feelings, and am feeling so frustrated.

After researching a lot, I found that I may have Candida. I am wondering how your journey went with this, and how long you stayed on this diet? There is so much controversial information that contradicts itself that I am finding it really hard to start somewhere.

Any insight would be great!

Thanks again!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Michelle – I’m happy you found my blog! I wrote this post quite some time ago. Since then, I’ve cleared up all of my issues! I was on the candida diet for a couple of months, then just went to a diet with little to no processed sugar and it went pretty well for me. Everyone’s body is a bit different, so your path may differ. I work with many clients on healing candida and would be more than open to work with you as well, if it’s something you’re interested in! Aside from that, I’ve added a candida-friendly section on my recipes page too: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/recipage/?search_term=candida+friendly&ui=440&d=1

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Michelle

Thank you for your quick response!

I am trying to get referred to a naturopath but I am not quite sure what to ask for in terms of tests or nutrition advice. Which candida diet did you go on? The one listed here? In terms f working with me, how does that work?

Thanks again! Love the recipes

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kelly's healing

I am in tears that I have sisters with these issues out here, though I this is one sisterhood I am praying we can all be cured from. I have done some research. I was never gluten anything until after my second child was born. I had always had” nervous stomach” bad acne, depression, cloudy brain (though one of the smart kids so I was labled a ditz), poor sleep, anxiety (only later in life), anemia and high risk pregnacies. After four years of no solid stool (wow right denial much?) and a slew of WTF conditions and bleeding from whence none ever should, I finaly went to see a GI. The diagnosed me with Celiac, colotis, and said I had a “rip-roaring case of it too boot”. So on the meds I went off the gluten (only with the strenght of GOD!!!! Curse you corner bakery!!) But here I am a year later, still ill and with liver and kidney issues (only a problem on the meds BTW). I always suspected yeast. But now that I am trying to go totaly med free (had to for a while but I feel stronger and can eat solid foods again), I am full force with all o-natural!! I take a kyo-dophilus digestion and immune health pill 2x daily as directed , we lack digestive enzymes ladies so pro biotics are good but look into enzymes. I also did som research and found an amazing link to link to link and found that we are going to very much benefit from anti fungal foods and extracts as mentioned above. I also decided to see a dermatologist becasue bad acne seemed to become cystic! UM, IM 35 NOT COOL!!!!! I was prescribed RX’s for skin too but the Derm didnt care that the antibiotic she RX”d could have sent my delicate self into C-DIff a sever stomach issue by stripping all and any remaining good bacteria I built. I didnt take it, but used the topical. Very little results. I did find that APPLE CIDAR VINEGAR is awsome!!! paired with coconut oil made my skin 60% better overnight!!!! Holy mMoses thank the Lord!!! I am going to continue with this for my skin while I work on the digestive tract. I think we all heal from the inside out anyway. I use the applecidar as a toner 1/10 dilution and then a smidge of Coconut oil as a moistureizer. I was so affraid to do this but it dosent clog pores and it DID NOT mke me greasy!!! It made me soft and it helped heal!!! I drink the ACV too about 3 tbs per 8 oz before bed..strong but not bad. I went off the stomach medication before because of liver issues and then as soon as my levels were heathy, I flared and right back to the pills at an increased dose. Ya know what, ur lives are just not worth some suit getting rich. Meds might be needed for a while but I am determined to be off them. PS my 15 year old daughter is a sever eczma and asthma allergiy gal, we are both glute free and I am de-sugaring her starting today. I will post results.

Just keep swinning ladies!!!!

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