Not your typical "lose 30 pounds in 30 days" kind of diet, the Candida diet addresses a very specific issue: yeast infections. Yeast, the tiny organism that makes possible everything from bread to wine, can be a plague to some people. The Candida diet (named after a common strain of yeast) is one way to find relief.
Yeast microorganisms are everywhere. 80% of humans live with yeast cells living in their bodies. In most cases, these yeast cells are benign and cause no ill effects. In rare cases, the yeast cells are not kept in check by other microorganisms and the body's immune system. This can cause a broad range of problems ranging from mildly irritating to severe, such as oral and vaginal yeast infections, conjunctivitis, canker sores, bladder infections and colitis.
Step one is a full frontal attack on the yeast infestation. Some people start with a "cleanse" phase, involving an all liquid diet and laxatives to complete empty the digestive system. Following this optional phase, a diet of raw and/or steamed vegetables and plenty of liquids is followed for up to 14 days.
Step two reintroduces many foods back into your diet. This four week period brings back proteins (beef, chicken, fish, eggs), nuts and non-glutinous grains such as quinoa, millet, and wild and brown rice. The diet forbids coffee, chocolate, sugar and honey, breads, dried fruits and alcohol. This can be a deal-breaker for many people. Some people practice this diet for 15 days, then cleanse for 5 days, then back to the step two diet for an additional 15 days.
The goal of step three is to build up a population of probiotics, bacteria that live in the intestines and play a role in controlling the growth of yeast cells. Probiotic bacteria are found in yogurt, miso, cottage cheese, tofu, kefir, sauerkraut and pickles. Adding these foods to the step two diet reasserts the levels of probiotics before the yeast population can be reestablished. After 30 days in step three, you have completed the Candida diet regimen and are ready for maintenance.
The Candida diet maintenance program is an ongoing lifestyle diet that maximizes foods with "good" microorganisms and restricts intake of foods that contain yeast or stimulate existing yeast populations. That means eating a lot of vegetables, proteins, dairy and non-glutenous grains while avoiding simple carbs (sugars, chocolate and honey), coffee, breads and alcohol.
For people with compromised immune systems or a predilection for runaway yeast growth, the Candida diet can mean a return to normal living. Not for everyone, certainly, but for those fighting yeast-based medical conditions, this can be well worth it.
Have you tried the Candida diet? Click on the Comment button and let us know how it worked for you.