Sunday, 21 January 2018

My Candida Diet Experience

As many of you know I am currently on a journey to be the best version of Kelly and a huge part of that journey is to try and better manage my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). I generally cope by managing my activity and getting early nights. I was recently asked if I feel I have improved or gotten worse over the past two years. My answer is that day to day I am better but that is because I haven’t worked for over a year, if I was working I think I would be worse now than I was back then.

Candida Diet Recipes

The only time I felt my condition improving was after completing the Candida Diet. I started the diet in April 2016. I will summarise the diet in this post, to find out more information on the exact diet I followed see

I tried the diet as the symptoms of Candida are virtually the same as those of CFS and it is wise to rule out Candida when trying to tackle CFS. Candida overgrowth is a body wide yeast infection. There is no test in the UK as the NHS don’t recognise the condition. (There may now be private testing, but I cannot confirm this.)

The regime is a strict exclusion diet that cuts out all sugars and anything your body converts to sugar and so starves and kills the yeast cells. As they die you will experience ‘die off’ symptoms, I didn’t so I believe I did not have candida then and don’t now. So why do the diet?

Candida Diet Recipes

During the diet I didn’t notice much improvement in my CFS however I did feel so many other benefits. My nails were stronger, my skin was clear of spots for the first time in my adult life, my hair felt in better condition, my IBS symptoms disappeared, My eczema patches cleared and I slept better. My body and my immune system so thanked me for this diet.

To summarise, I did phase one of the diet for seven days. During this stage you can east just non-starchy vegetables and 2-3 eggs a day, plus spices, herbs and garlic. My god is this stage hard. I had my green smoothie for breakfast, recipe here. My egg meal for lunch, usually an omelette and salad or boiled eggs and stir-fried veg or eggs in a spicy tomato and red pepper sauce. Dinner was courgette noodles in an avocado and tomato sauce or cabbage masala with cauliflower rice. I would have a snacks of broccoli soup, an extra egg or a dip with vegetable sticks.

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

Phase two went on for fifty-three days. In this stage you can add chicken, beef, oat bran (not oats), most nuts, coconut products, some flours such as millet, the sweetener stevia, quinoa, swede and live natural yogurt.

I would make my Cajun and fajita spice mixes (recipes here) and cook my chicken in them and serve with salad, or home-made meatballs in a tomato sauce with salad, homemade burgers (recipe here), swede fries, cauliflower rice or mash etc. I also made my own granola, (recipe here.)

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

Candida Diet Recipes

I drank water, peppermint tea and red bush tea with almond milk.

It is not an easy diet to do, not just because of the limiting food choices but because everything must be prepared from scratch. It is also hard seeing, smelling and sometimes preparing the kids and my husband’s food. Last time I even had to break the kids up some Cadburys Easter egg, that tested my willpower like you’ll never know.

Eating out was a nightmare, if I did then I would have steak with salad or vegetables.

It is not a diet you could maintain long term. I saw it as a detox, a reset if you like, that I then built upon by slowly reintroducing healthy foods such as starchy vegetables, fruit, brown rice etc.

By mid July 2016 I had completed the sixty days and a further five weeks of slow reintroduction and was seeing an improvement in my CFS. It was so rewarding, especially as the diet had been the most challenging thing I had ever done.

Candida Diet Recipes

Then we went on a family holiday to Portugal. At first, I managed to resist temptation and eat healthily on holiday. Until we walked to the beach on the hottest day and everyone else was getting ice cream, I caved, I had my first sugar (other than fruit) that I had eaten in over three months. It tasted divine. I love food, adore it, I always have and once I had slipped that was it.

I do think I could have gone back to my healthy ways on my return home however within days I had been thrown into two stressful situations with my employer that took over fourteen months to resolve and my diet and all my progress went out of the window.

In May 2017 out of desperation I decided to try the candida diet again. I did phase one for five days and then decided that instead of commencing to phase two I would try to eat a gluten free and vegan diet. I managed to do so for almost three months but felt it didn’t suit me at all. I had spotty skin, was constantly bloated, put on weight and just generally didn’t feel good so I stopped.

Since then my diet has had periods of being ok but mainly I have slipped back into all my old habits. I think the only ones I haven’t slipped back into are eating cereal and drinking squash.

I love food too much to cut anything out for good. Imagine life without an occasional chocolate bar, bacon sandwich on white bread, cream tea, afternoon tea, fry up, chips etc. I am lucky that I have concluded from my diet experiments that I don’t have any intolerances so don’t need to cut anything out forever. However, whilst I am not intolerant to certain things it doesn’t mean they don’t do me harm. I am not intolerant to mars bars or Indian takeaways, but I think we all agree my body would not thank me if I ate them in excess.

Recently my skin has been spotty, I am sleeping badly, have weak nails, patches of eczema, and have had a cold for three months as well as all my CFS symptoms. 

I want to feel how I did after the candida diet, so I am doing it again. I started phase one on Friday, 19th January 2018. I am doing phase one for just three days this time (seven is just too hard) and then plan to do phase two for between twenty-seven and fifty-seven days depending how I am feeling.

This weekend I have prepared for phase two by batch cooking granola, a chilli, a bolognaise and a Mexican chicken dish. 

Candida Diet Recipes

I want to treat it as a detox and reset my system, relearn my good habits and sort out my sweet tooth. Last time after sixty days of not eating fruit it tasted like the sweetest treat ever and I didn’t miss things like ketchup at all.

I so regret letting all that hard work go to waste. This time I want this diet to be a springboard to a healthy maintainable diet and lifestyle that allows for occasional treats.

Let’s hope it works.

You can follow my progress on my social media and in future posts on here.

Many thanks for reading.

Kelly x

1 comment

  1. Your food looks delicious Kelly!! Ruth :-)


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