Interview with Dr. Ricki Heller, chatting about all things candida, including what candida is, what candida does in the body, how candida affects keto, how to develop an anti-candida protocol to support your ketogenic diet, and so much more.
If you’ve been following the podcast for a while, you know that gut health is one of our most covered topics, and candida plays a big role in gut health! Candida is one of the topics I get asked about most, and I wanted to share this interview because it’s SO informative, especially because it relates to candida on keto!
Transitioning to a ketogenic diet can be difficult, but add in a candida issue? Well, let’s just say it’s not something I’d volunteer to experience. No worries, though, because Dr. Ricki Heller has you covered! Ricki has some great insight into what candida is, how it presents in the body, how it impacts a ketogenic diet, and most importantly: how to slay the candida beast!
In today’s podcast, I chat with our guest Dr. Ricki Heller, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, food blogger, and candida survivor about overcoming candida and thriving without sugar.
This episode is all about understanding the causes of candida, how it affects your body, how candida presents on a ketogenic diet, and how to heal your gut and free yourself from the candida monster by developing an anti-candida protocol.
Let’s get to the interview!
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- Get your FREE 7-day keto meal plan
- Grab your copy of The Keto Holiday Cookbook
- Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app
- More from Dr. Ricki Heller on her website
- Get Ricki’s Living Candida-Free Cookbook
- Get Ricki’s Freebie on Candida
- All things candida: what it is, what it does in the body (08:31)
- How to develop an anti-candida protocol to support your ketogenic diet (20:20)
- How candida affects your ketogenic diet (29:30)
paleovalley makes two of the best things – grass-fed beef sticks with one billion probiotic CFUs per stick, and a whole food Organ Complex supplement. With the paleovalley coupon code KETO20 you can get 20% off everything at paleovalley.com.
Thrive Market 35% savings – get an instant 35% off your favorite premium organic products. All you have to do is enter your email address, and the discount will be applied to your cart!
Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketones raise blood ketone levels up to 1.5 mmol, which can be helpful for keto-eating warriors who need a boost in mental performance, energy production, fat burning, or to help adapt to the ketogenic eating style. If you’re struggling with keto flu, take for a couple of days and you’ll be on your way post haste! Use Perfect Keto coupon code HEALTHFUL at checkout for 15% off.
TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 58 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about all things candida: what it is, what it does in the body, how candida affects your ketogenic diet, plus how to develop an anti-candida protocol to support your ketogenic diet. Stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast, where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines.
One of the most challenging parts of starting a ketogenic diet is, well, starting it and maintaining it by preparing healthful, high-fat food that tastes good and is easy to make. Part of the struggle is figuring out what to eat, when to eat it, and how much. Did you know that I prepare weekly keto meal plans and deliver them to inboxes everywhere? Yep! Balanced Keto is a meal plan program that delivers simple keto recipes, shopping lists, and everything you need to chow down on keto, week in and week out. Get more information at HealthfulPursuit.com/mealplan – plus there’s a free seven-day keto meal plan on that page for you to give it a whirl before you jump in.
Now, let’s get this party started.
Hey, guys. Happy Sunday. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. This is the third weekend that I have not watched Netflix because I made a promise to myself mid-October that I was going to stop with the Netflix binging. I haven’t watched Netflix in … I guess it’s almost three weeks-ish and I’m loving it. Instead of watching Netflix, I’m actually reading fictional books. Yes, I still read a ton of health books, but I don’t consider that to be like free time. It’s more just researching and preparing for work, so I don’t consider that to be my free time or self-care time.
I’ve read four books so far. Totally in love with it. I really just made the switch because I found on weekends and evenings I would just sit in front of the TV and endlessly just continue to tell Netflix I was still watching until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning; I just felt like it was a really unhealthy behavior. Now, I’m putting on my blue light blocking glasses around 9:00 PM, reading until I get a little bit sleepy, usually enjoying some tea with it, and I go to bed at a decent hour. I’m waking up a lot more refreshed and I’m just feeling better.
If you find that you are addicted to Netflix like I was, or really any TV watching, I don’t even know what you call it, just anything like Netflix or even just TV, if you find you’re sitting in front of the TV endlessly and you are not doing the things that maybe perhaps you promised yourself you wanted to do, or you imagined your life being a lot better than sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix, I encourage you to maybe check out some books and see how that goes for you. It’s quite enjoyable.
Anyways, the show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e58. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
Perfect Keto is a partner of the podcast. Their exogenous ketone supplement is the most effective, best tasting, and most affordable exogenous ketone supplement on the market, or at least what I’ve been able to find. Perfect Keto exogenous ketones increase blood ketone levels by about 1.5 mml/L, which can be helpful for keto eating warriors who need a boost in mental performance, energy production, fat burning, or to help adapt to the ketogenic eating style.
If you’re struggling with keto, take for a couple of days and you’ll be well on your way posthaste. Perfect Keto is available in chocolate sea salt, and peaches and cream flavors. My personal favorite is peaches and cream – just add it to water, shake it up, and drink whenever you need it. Use the coupon code HEALTHFUL, all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off at HealthfulPursuit.com/ketones. Unsure of the link? Simply check out the show notes of today’s episode to get all of the details.
If you have an idea for a podcast episode or want to submit praise over and above the review, which you can do by going to HealthfulPursuit.com/review, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have two quick announcements. The first one is, if you noticed, we just selected some new music for the podcast. I was really excited to just refresh things – now that the podcast is over a year old, I just felt like she needed a good update. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I let you guys vote to decide which music would play at the beginning of the episode, I posted it on my Instagram page. If you don’t already follow me, you definitely should — @HealthfulPursuit – you can even search for Leanne Vogel, that’s with a V, you should be able to find it. I’m starting to do a lot more voting on the Instagram page so you guys can determine what you like, don’t like, what you want to hear, what you don’t want to hear. Definitely watch my stories for more on that. Thanks to everyone who voted, I hope you like the new song.
Second announcement is that we are well on our way to almost holiday season, I can’t even believe it’s upon us. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that last year I created a thing called The Keto Holiday Cookbook. It’s a quick little digital guide that gives you everything that you need to prepare holiday recipes, including over 30 recipes from appies, starters, sides, entrees, desserts, plus four dinner party menus. If you’re hosting a bunch of people over at your house, say like eight people, you look for the dinner party menu for eight for Christmas or Thanksgiving. It gives you the shopping list, all of the recipes. Everything’s keto. It also comes with low FODMAP, nut, egg, and nightshade-free options.
Whether you have keto friends or your family doesn’t like keto or doesn’t know what it is, I’ve tested these recipes on all my friends and family that aren’t keto and they loved them, and some of my friends also that have a lot of restrictions on what they can eat and everyone really loved it. If you’re still racking your brain trying to figure out how you’re going to manage the holiday season while maintaining your ketogenic diet, definitely go over to HealthfulPursuit.com/ketoholiday to check out that digital book. I’ll also include the link in the show notes.
Today’s guest is Ricki Heller. She is the voice behind the popular food blog RickiHeller.com, which celebrates sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-friendly whole foods through a low glycemic vegan lifestyle. After being diagnosed with IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, Ricki first began to change her eating habits and realized how much the food we eat influences our health. Later, after suffering from candida and following an anti-candida diet for more than three years, she was determined to learn more about the healing power of foods and obtained her registered holistic nutritionist designation.
Ricki and I actually recorded this episode quite some time ago, probably maybe two years ago-ish, and it’s been on my YouTube channel for quite some time and it’s just such a good episode. When I was on the book tour recently, candida and keto kept coming up over and over and over again. I understand that so many of you listening weren’t able to come to the book tour so you missed that conversation. Here’s Ricki and I chatting about candida, how it affects keto, and all things of combining them together so that you can feel better.
Without further ado, let’s cut over to the interview.
The Keto Diet Podcast, including show notes and links, provides information in respect to healthy living, recipes, nutrition, and diet, and is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor is it to be construed as such. We cannot guarantee that the information provided on The Keto Diet Podcast reflects the most up-to-date medical research. Information is provided without any representations or warrantees of any kind. Please consult a qualified physician for medical advice and always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your health and nutrition program.
I’m super excited to ask you a bunch of questions. We should just get right down to business, if you’re ready.
Ricki Heller: Sure. Can’t wait.
Leanne Vogel: Can you clarify for listeners what candida is and what it does in the body?
Ricki Heller: Sure. Candida is actually a form of yeast. It’s usually candida albicans that lives in the body and it actually lives in and on the body in all of the mucous membranes, so in your digestive tract and in your eye, in your nose, and also on the body. Normally, it sort of is one of a number of inhabitants of your inner ecosystem and they all live in harmony together. When the conditions change that allow the candida to proliferate, which it does at the slightest provocation, then it grows out of control and it can mutate into a fungal form, where it becomes dangerous for your health and it causes all kinds of varied symptoms that people can suffer from with candida.
What it does is often times will create a condition called leaky gut, where it basically has these kind of root-like extensions that bore right through the intestinal lining and create little ruptures that can allow undigested food to get into the bloodstream. That causes problems. Then you have a whole host of symptoms that are very familiar to people, which are things like, as you well know, we all have these sugar cravings, intense sugar cravings, and all kinds of fungal infections are the two major ones, plus this concept that’s referred to as foggy thinking or foggy brain where people just can’t focus. They just can’t concentrate on things. From there, you get satellite issues all over the whole body if it continues to go on after that.
Leanne Vogel: Interesting. Because we’re talking about keto and candida, something that you just said resonated with me because a couple people in my keto group … for people that don’t know what keto is, maybe it’s your first introduction to this. Basically, keto is a low-carb, high-fat approach to nourishing our bodies where we basically starve our bodies of the glucose and then switch over to burning fats as energy instead of glucose as energy. In nutritional ketosis, our bodies become fat burning machines, basically, where we’re breaking down fatty acids into ketone bodies that are used, even by the brain, as fuel.
I started a Facebook group. There was a conversation in the Facebook group the other day where people were saying that they had really foggy brains after a couple months of being ketogenic. Now I’m wondering, because your brain is supposed to get better on keto, if maybe there’s some sort of interaction there. What are some of the symptoms of that foggy brain? Can you explain that a little bit more and what one would experience?
Ricki Heller: Yeah. I never really understood it until it happened to me. It didn’t even happen to me right at the beginning when I had candida. It took the second bout of candida for me to experience this. It’s literally feeling like you’re thinking through a fog. Everything, there’s no sharpness or clarity to your thoughts and your head, not like a sinus congestion kind of full, but almost like there’s a curtain inside your brain. That’s the only way I can explain it. For me, what happened was, I started getting very frustrated because I’ve always had a really good memory. Suddenly, I couldn’t remember things and I couldn’t focus. Like if was trying to write a blog post or write anything, let’s say something would normally take me 20 minutes to write a letter, it would take me an hour. I couldn’t keep track of my sentences. I would get to the end of a sentence and think, “Oh, no. What am I supposed to do next?”
I didn’t realize how bad it was until it cleared up. Then, all of a sudden, it was like someone had taken a vacuum cleaner and cleared out the inside of my head. All that fog and all that debris was just gone. Suddenly, it’s almost like the difference between an old photo that’s a little bit blurry and a really new sort of technologically, new, sharp, sharp photo where the edges are just sharp all of a sudden. It’s very subtle. When people are experiencing it, they may not always realize it. They just are frustrated because they can’t think as fast or as clearly as they used to.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. A lot of the women in my group were talking about their memories and they can’t remember anything. We’re going to chat about this a little bit later and how ketones and candida can work against one another and we’ll definitely get back to that brain fog piece, because I feel like that could be really huge.
Now that everyone knows what candida is, and I had no idea that it was something that was already on our body, it’s just a matter of when it gets imbalanced. We would love to hear your story, how you got to where you are. I know that your journey will resonate with a lot of our listeners today.
Ricki Heller: Sure, I’d love to. For me, I mean, I really think I was sort of beset by this I’m going to say before birth, because apparently your mother transmits to the fetus what’s going on in her body. My mother was diabetic, Type 2 diabetic, and apparently had a hard time also with my pregnancy. I may have inherited a little bit of that predisposition towards excess candida just from her, but even as a little kid, I mean, the two things that I associate for me the most with candida are fungal issues and sugar, sugar cravings.
I grew up in a house of bakers. There was always something homemade and baked in our house. At age six, I learned how to make chocolate chip cookies for the first time. Then I was off on a tear, baking as often as I could. My sisters and I, we used to fight for the beaters after my mother made a cake or whatever. Always, always drawn towards sugary foods. Just to give you one little snapshot, when I was in university, I lived in residence as an undergrad. Turns out, of course, my roommate was sort of similar in terms of sugar addiction. We would buy like bags of Quaker Oats chocolate chip cookie mix and we would just mix up the dough and eat it. That’s how drawn to sugary things we were.
Leanne Vogel: Amazing.
Ricki Heller: Yeah, really, really horrible eating habits through most of my young life. Then, when I was married in my 30s, I started having these recurrent yeast infections that nobody could get rid of. Even then, nobody thought that there could be any kind of special issue. They consider it superficial and not important so they kept giving me creams that didn’t work. Then, as I got older in my 40s, this is where it all kind of came to a head because I had four sinus infections in three months. I could not get rid of them, I had six courses of antibiotics. Finally, I thought, “Okay. I have to do something about this.” Little bit of a slow learner there. I went, finally found a holistic doctor who diagnosed me and put me on the diet and my sinus issues cleared up and I felt so much better. That was actually my prompt to go to holistic nutrition school and learn more about the connection between food and health because I wanted to know why did I have to follow this diet? What was it about the diet that would help my candida?
From there, I just got better and better. I was great for about I think 10 years while I ate a completely healthy holistic diet. I was feeling so good that I ended up, the Christmas of 2008, I thought, “I’m just going to have a little piece of cake. I’m just going to have one piece of chocolate.” I’m talking about, you know, with sugar in it. In very short order, like I’d say, in a couple of months, I was right back to my old eating habits. I know, horrible. I got this really awful rash on my chest and went to my doctor. She gave me a cream but nothing would get rid of it, like nothing. It just kept growing and growing and growing.
Finally, I went back to the holistic doc and it took sort of a conventional approach and a natural approach and the diet and all kinds of detoxification all together before I finally got rid of that. That started in 2009, which is when I started blogging about my journey with candida on my blog. Everything since 2009 on my blog is related to an anti-candida diet, sugar-free, gluten-free, and also plant based. That was how I cleared that up the second time.
One of the things I learned through this experience was that when you have candida, when you’ve had it once, you’re more prone than the average person to get it again, to have a relapse, so you really do have to maintain a healthy diet. If you have a relapse, it’s usually more virulent. It’s going to be stronger and it’s going to be harder to get rid of the second time and even more so the third time, fourth time, however many times you let this go on.
For me, that was a really tough lesson, but it was a good one that I know I can never again, in my whole life, eat white sugar, ever, ever, ever. At first, it was this whole mourning period. You know what? I know we’ve talked about this before. Once you realize that you can still have delicious food within the boundaries of your dietary restriction and it doesn’t feel like any kind of issue for me anymore. I still have my favorite desserts, they’re just made out of ingredients that will not harm my body now.
Leanne Vogel: You’re so good at making those beautiful foods that don’t have that stuff in them. When you start to see it’s one thing, when I was told I couldn’t have gluten anymore, I was like, “What do you mean? I don’t even know what gluten is. What do you mean I can’t have it?” I thought gluten was bread. “How is there bread in like desserts? I don’t even understand how this works, or mashed potatoes.” By seeing images on your website, RickiHeller.com, and everything that you put out there in your cookbooks and guides, it makes it so much more attainable for people when they can see that visual of, “Oh my gosh. Okay. I still can have all these things.” If you’re the type of person where you’ve had candida, and I know I’ve been one of those people, you have to, like you said, it’s a lifelong eating style. It doesn’t have to be a sentence.
More on my interview with Dr. Ricki Heller after this message from one of our podcast partners.
If you’re not familiar with paleovalley, they make two of my very favorite things. The first, a 100% grass-fed and finished fermented beef sticks. Each stick contains one billion probiotic CFUs to benefit the health of your gut and the strength of your immune system. Their gut-friendly sticks are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, freaky chemical, additive, dye, and preservative-free, as well as being 100% free from carbs and sugar and made with the highest quality ingredients.
The second, a whole food based, ultra-primal, super nourishing Organ Complex. It’s a mega nutrient dense, super supplement. The nutrients in just one daily dose read like the best multivitamin out there, and it’s a whole food. Vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, CoQ10, folic acid, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, DHEA and EPA, phosphorus, the list goes on. Organ Complex is a combination of beef liver, heart, brain, and kidney, all sourced from 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef organs, which are non-GMO and never given antibiotics, steroids, hormones or grain. The capsules are 100% pure with no fillers or flow agents, gluten, grains, soy or dairy.
Now you can shop all things paleovalley, load up your cart and apply a super sweet coupon code on everything in your cart. Take advantage of this offer by going to paleovalley.com/keto20, fill up your cart and enter the coupon code KETO20. That’s K-E-T-O-2-0 at checkout to apply a 20% off discount on your entire purchase. Unsure of the link? Simply check out the show notes of today’s episode to get all of the details.
What kinds of foods do people have to cut out if they’re on this anti-candida diet?
Ricki Heller: Well, there are stages. The first stage is the strictest where you give up basically anything that has sugar or will easily be converted to sugar, so white sugar, white flour, white rice, white potatoes, except in my book, Living Candida-Free, we do allow red skinned potatoes because those are less starchy than the other potatoes. Otherwise, potatoes. Then, you want to give up any foods that are naturally high sugar like fruits as well except for lemon, lime, avocado, and cranberries, which are very, very low sugar. You also want to eliminate any moldy food so things like mushrooms, peanuts. Peanuts and pistachios are the two nuts with the highest mold content, those are out. Well, fruit is out anyway, but I was always surprised to discover that melons are very high in mold on the skins.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, they are. Totally, they are. It’s scary.
Ricki Heller: I know. Citrus fruits too, unfortunately. Those things and anything that’s going to stress out the immune system because you want to really boost your immune system and help it and support it so it can fight the candida. Anything that’s like a common allergen, so dairy, eggs, citrus is another one there. If you eat animal products, you can’t have things like shellfish. Red meat and coffee, I’m sorry to say, because they’re acidic, which is what candida loves. It loves an acidic environment. Then, I just had another one on the tip of my tongue. Initially, anything with caffeine. There’s a whole host of food. People often will say to me, if I start lining up what you can’t eat, they’ll go, “What can you eat?” There’s so much left. There’s vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes. If you eat animal products, you can have some forms of animal protein. There’s lots.
Leanne Vogel: That’s really interesting. Something that you mentioned, I’ve been looking a lot more at mycotoxins lately and the molds and stuff that grow on our foods. I actually posted on my Instagram the other day, well, quite some time ago now I guess, but coconut oil and coconut products. I was listening to a podcast, I believe Bulletproof Radio, and he was talking about coconut milk. I’ve always reacted to the coconut milk that I keep in the fridge for a day. When I first open up a can of coconut milk, no problem. The next day, I react to it.
I was reading that actually coconut milk grows a lot of bacteria or fungus or those mycotoxins really quickly. That’s why people are reacting to it. I don’t know if you’ve had that type of reaction to certain foods. I know when I’ve had foods that I know have mold on it, I get really tired and lethargic or I have a hard time breathing, like I get wheezy. That was helpful in my candida process.
Ricki Heller: You know what’s so interesting to me about the mycotoxins is like with peanuts and pistachios, it’s right there on the nuts. To some extent, the aflatoxins on peanuts, they’re on all nuts and grains as well, apparently, like anything dried like that. The thing is, peanuts and pistachios are just so much higher than the others. That’s why. You could cut out all nuts and some of the candida diets do, but what I find so interesting about the coconut milk, and I actually saw that on your Instagram, is that coconut contains antifungals. It’s often used in candida because it’s so antifungal. It makes me wonder if it’s how they process it or something that the fungus gets in there.
Leanne Vogel: I’m learning that there’s only four different places where coconut oil is made. If you’re reacting to one coconut oil, you’ll react to most of them because there’s only like four places. I’m trying to find a coconut oil. Yeah, I think the processing definitely plays a part too. Maybe perhaps there isn’t as much antibacterial properties in certain types of coconut oil even though they claim that there is because I agree with you. Why the heck isn’t the coconut oil just killing off these things? It’s cool that you mentioned too a lot of the things that you eat on an anti-candida diet would also be really good with the keto practices even if you’re doing a plant based keto practice like your vegetables, fiber. You mentioned like oils and fats and nuts and seeds that don’t have those toxins on them.
I know that you follow a diet that’s vegan and lower carb. Can you tell us how you came to eat this way and how it relates to your candida?
Ricki Heller: Yeah, sure. As I said, the early stages is very low-carb anyway because you don’t want those carbs to convert to glucose in the blood and spike your blood sugars and feed the candida. Initially, I was only eating one grain and it was a very specific, lower carb, like a seed-like grain, like buckwheat and quinoa and amaranth, one serving of those a day and one serving of legumes a day. I would have chickpeas or something like that.
As I went on, I reintroduced more of those, but because I’m primarily I guess still a baker, I was kind of waiting for the stage where I could get flour products back in because, since flour is more processed than the straight up grain, I saved the flour for stage two. As I just went on, I realized the more I ate of the flour products and the more grain servings that I had in a day, that would sometimes flare my symptoms because I might have had too much or if I had grains too many times in the week, it would flare my symptoms. I should say refined grains like pasta or something like that
I just decided to see what would happen if I cut back a little bit and went back to really the equivalent of stage one on the anti-candida diet, which is where I probably spend I’d say 80% of my eating time now. I’ve cut back my fruit as well. I just find that my symptoms are gone when I do that. If I increase that too much, I do get a flare up of that rash that I had sometimes. I just don’t feel as good in general. For me, it’s just a matter of following what seems to work best with my body. It’s almost like, also similar, we’re talking about the similarities in the diets and paleo is also very similar, right?
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, exactly. You’re saying, “I wasn’t eating as many grains, I wasn’t having as much fruit.” Would fat have played a pretty big role in your candida protocol or how did that go for you?
Ricki Heller: It did at the beginning and, again, when you’re on stage one, because when I go lower grain, I tend to increase my fat content. There was a period when, particularly when I was testing for my book, because I wanted all of the recipes in Living Candida-Free to be accessible to stage one because that’s the hardest stage and that’s when people are buying books that they want to help them on the anti-candida diet. I think it’s like 97 out of the 100 recipes that were okay for stage one. Of course, they’re also okay for every other stage.
For me, now, I ended up eating a lot of those kinds of foods in a day. When I go grain-free, I need to watch because if I have too many nut based products and on top of that coconut oil and on top of that coconut milk, which I tend to do if I’m having dessert as well, then I find that’s a little bit too much fat for me in a day. That’s when my candida symptoms can also flare, interestingly.
Leanne Vogel: Interesting that you say that. To get back to the whole mind fog thing, what I’m finding is that if you have a history of candida or you’re healing yourself of candida, like you said in that stage one, by eating too many fats, you’re not eating a lot of carbohydrates, you’re eating a ton of fats, your protein is probably pretty moderate, you are in ketosis or if your body is easily switched into that fat burning state. What’s interesting by you saying, “I had a little bit of a flare up,” I’m finding that people that become in that state of ketosis, by creating those ketone bodies, the candida loves ketone bodies for fuel just like it loves sugar.
More on my interview with Dr. Ricki Heller after this message from one of our podcast partners.
I love being Canadian, the home of the true north, strong, and free, but gosh, am I jealous that y’all in the US get access to Thrive Market. For all of my pals south of the border, my friends at Thrive Market are offering you 35% off your first box of groceries, plus free shipping, and a 30-day trial.
Imagine spending only $9.99 as opposed to the $20.99 on raw cacao powder, or $7.45 on avocado oil mayo as opposed to $13.99 on other online shopping sites. On top of their other everyday wholesale prices, the extra 35% off your first box of groceries, plus free shipping is going to transform a regular $100 grocery run into a $50 to $75 Thrive Market order for the same amount of things!
Go to thrivemarket.com/hp to get your instant 35% off. This offer’s available to new Thrive Market customers only. Unsure of the link? Simply check out the show notes of toady’s episode to get all of the details.
I’m wondering if people that are following a ketogenic eating style and they’re getting a lot of ketone production, if they had a history of candida or maybe didn’t know that they had candida and all of a sudden, they’re getting this brain fog that you’re talking about and these other symptoms that I’ll ask you about too and what symptoms are signal of candida. There’s definitely a link there. If you have candida, perhaps keeping the ketone creation quite low, like you said, there’s that fine line between too much fat when you’re following this protocol, it’s interesting to see the two tie together so synergistically.
Ricki Heller: Yeah. That’s interesting. I bet that is what is going on with me. I find I do much better if I’m grain-free, if I can increase my beans and legumes versus increase my fat. That’s interesting.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. For people that are thinking, “Oh my gosh. Maybe I have this candida thing or maybe I don’t. I don’t know.” What kinds of symptoms are associated with this? How do we know?
Ricki Heller: Well, we’ve talked about a couple. Brain fog, for sure. The number one symptom that most people have is sugar cravings or carb cravings, like really overwhelming, not your average once a month kind of cravings. The kind where, you know, you’re willing to go out in your pajamas at a quarter to midnight to the gas station to buy something sweet.
Leanne Vogel: Totally guilty. I have done that.
Ricki Heller: I’m sure I’ve done that too, for sure. You know what? I just make it.
Leanne Vogel: Screw it. I’m not going out. Make me a cake at 2:00 in the morning.
Ricki Heller: I’ve done it. For sure. We used to have a recipe in our house that my sisters and I all knew because from start to out of the oven, it was less than 30 minutes. You could be eating it in less than 30 minutes. Anyway, that’s what they do. They’re really, really intense sugar cravings.
Then, all of those symptoms that are associated with yeast, so vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, fungal rashes, toenail fungus of any kind, athlete’s foot, all these things that are connected to fungus in some way or another that doesn’t clear up in the normal way. I have a client who’s had yeast infections for like a year or something and every two weeks it just keeps coming back. That’s what happened to me in my 30s as well. Or you’ll have some kind of other rash, like my rash that wouldn’t go away. That’s that.
As I was saying earlier, it can also lead to leaky gut. Some of the complications of that are obviously digestive issues and lots of gas and bloating and constipation is a big one that goes with that and allergies. Undetected food allergies are another big one that’s kind of a consequence of the leaky gut. All kinds of things. It can go on beyond that, but once you get to a certain stage, you start getting symptoms in all other parts of the body. Those are the main ones initially, if you’re concerned.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. For all listeners out there that are thinking, “Oh my gosh. Okay. Wow. I maybe have candida,” what can they do?
Ricki Heller: There are lots of things you can do. I mean, you can certainly go to a naturopathic doctor or a holistic nutritionist or if you can find a functional medicine doctor and they can test you, there are all kinds of tests they can do. There’s a blood test. There’s a urine test. There’s a stool test. There’s also a saliva test, the one test that people may have heard about online that you can do at home. I was very skeptical of this test until I did it when I was having a huge flare up and it actually correlated perfectly with my symptoms. I would say for me, this test what accurate.
What you do is first thing in the morning, when you wake up, you have a small glass of water by your bedside and it’s about half full or you can just go and fill one, but don’t brush your teeth, don’t eat anything, don’t drink anything before you do this test. It’s got to be fresh saliva, first thing in the morning. You build up a nice ball of spit and you just spit into the glass.
Then, you watch what the saliva does on the water. Normal, healthy saliva is clear and it will float on the water. If you go back 15 minutes later, it will still be floating. If you go back 30 minutes later, it will still be floating. If you have candida, what often happens is it will start to grow what look like roots going downward towards the bottom of the glass. Roots or legs they call it sometimes. You’ll see these lines coming out of the saliva and it will look a little cloudy. That’s what happened to me until my symptoms cleared up and then it got clear again.
For people who are very severe, who have very severe issues, your saliva will actually sink to the bottom of the glass because it’s heavier. You can look for that and that’s just kind of a quick and easy and free way to get a good sense of whether or not you’re dealing with that. It’s not 100% accurate either, but it’s free. If you have a positive result there, then you know you can go and talk to a professional and maybe at that point.
Leanne Vogel: You have a course that kind of walks people through how to deal with candida and such.
Ricki Heller: Yeah, the Candida Kick-Start, I began it because it’s really the beginning of the diet and getting sort of in your groove on this diet. For some people, this can last six months to a year. I don’t want to scare people out there. There are people who are over and done with it in three months. For someone like me who had a lot of symptoms and it’s been going on for a long time, then you have to devote a long time as well to getting rid of it. It’s getting into that groove of understanding the diet and learning how to cook this way and buy the ingredients and what is psyllium husk and what are chia seeds and all the things you need to gather.
The Candida Kick-Start, it’s the better part of a month and it’s a course that actually walks you through all those different issues so that you can feel you have the foundation, you’re confident in what to eat. We have a meal plan. We have a shopping list. We have menus. You get a copy of my book as well to walk you through what candida is and give you more than 100 recipes than you can eat on the plan as well.
I found that once people feel they have that support and, exactly as we were saying earlier, they see that it’s doable. There’s tips about what do you do if you’re invited to a party? What do you do if you go out to a restaurant? How do you live with this over the long term and not cheat? That’s so essential. I think most people fall off because they’re at a loss of what to do or they feel they’re lacking the support around them with other people who are going through something similar.
That’s what the Candida Kick-Start does. We have live support where I answer questions and calls that people can listen to and a group. To me, that’s the most important thing. You know, from your community, your keto community, the group of people who are all going through something similar at the same time, that’s where you get so much of your support too.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, it’s so powerful. Yeah. It’s amazing to see the women in my keto group, now over I think at least 1,200 people in there. They just all support each other back and forth and they’re answering questions so much more. I’m just one person and I have one experience but 1,200 women will all different experiences coming together, that support in and of itself is huge.
Ricki Heller: I agree. It’s the support among each other. I think that’s incredible and sharing experience is so, so important. Yeah, I agree.
Leanne Vogel: Exactly like what you’ve done for us today. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your story and really providing our community with actionable steps to bring their health to that next level. Candida is something that I struggled with for a long time. I know that you, like I said, you’re the leader in all this candida stuff. I’m so happy that you were able to share some tips and I definitely think there’s a connection between keto and candida. Hopefully, over the coming weeks and months, I can start providing some resources for people that, you know, if they have that mind fog and maybe they have candida. Hopefully this call has been helpful for those out there.
Ricki Heller: Can I say just really quick? If people would like a little more information, I’ve actually got a handout that I’d love to offer your audience on candida.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah.
Ricki Heller: I’ve set up a special page on my blog. It’s RickiHeller.com/healthfulpursuit. If you go there, you can sign up to get a handout called Consider Candida. It just lists some of the five less common symptoms that people might miss. If you think that you’re dealing with this, that might be something you want to look at there.
Leanne Vogel: That’s amazing. Thank you so much for putting that together. Please go to RickiHeller.com for any of those resources. I’ll include a link to that freebie below the video, on the blog post, and everywhere, so you can access that. Again, thank you so much for being on the show today, Ricki.
Ricki Heller: Thank you so much, Leanne. It’s been a pleasure.
Leanne Vogel: And that does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit, where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. And check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at HealthfulPursuit.com/shop, and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.