An effective candida cleanse takes determination. That’s it, and it’s a lot to ask. Determination includes incorporating three major elements into lifestyle practices: proper diet, antifungal supplements, and probiotics.
I had to flip my kitchen to prepare for a proper cleanse. The trade-offs needed for a successful candida diet can be extreme with having to find substitutes and replacements for normal foods and additives that won’t really fool your body, but will have much better health benefits and offer some solace. I suggest starting early and experimenting with what acceptable foods and beverages will substitute foods regularly consumed. I thought of my needed diet changes as a heist film where a diamond (sugar, carbs) is switched out with an equally weighted object with less perceived value.
I’m not the most creative cook when planning meals for just me. I like to dump prepackaged meals on the stove and see what happens. However, I’ve always been good about balancing my nutrients. As a vegetarian, I’m sure to eat my protein, B’s, and balanced amino acids. The most difficult part of the diet for me was to have enough food on hand for a variety and to make time to prepare wholesome foods instead of reaching for premade meals.
When planning, I bought frozen veggies like organic broccoli and spinach, and canned low-sodium soups if I was going to be working late into the night or found myself in a pinch. I realized pretty fast that for me, hot foods were more satisfying; I had to wait to eat them so that by the time a dish was cool enough to consume, I was happy to have anything in my system. Salads, too, which take an unfair amount of time to prepare, were also satisfying if not for the fact that I didn’t just want to have it all at once after all the effort I spent chopping up my cucumbers into insanely tiny cubes.
Drinks were another important ritual in my day, particularly tea and wine. I knew that part of what I loved about tea was just sipping on something while I worked and relaxed, and so introducing herbal tea alternatives into my diet wasn’t too difficult. I concentrated on a few teas that could double up and fight yeast, such as peppermint. I’ll discuss these duel-wielding teas in the a section about which products are needed.
Wine was most difficult. I had to figure out what I liked about it: the flavor, texture, or–let me be honest–the alcohol. I had to experiment for a few nights I found herbal tea with fruit peels and no natural flavors (we don’t know where those come from!) made excellent hot or iced tea prepared in advance and was close to a wine substitute with complex flavors. Tonic water and just a squeeze of lime, or lemon, was another option.
For a proper candida diet, the following foods are welcome:
- Gluten-free grains: legumes (like lentils), brown rice, millet and quinoa are high in fiber, protein, and amino acids to help provide necessary nutrition to you and not the yeast.
- Raw and Steamed Vegetables: With the exception of starchy foods, you can get creative with what veggies you incorporate into your diet. Low-sugar fruits such as avocados are also okay and versatile (mash up and add in spirulina for an awesome dip. Or skip the spirulina and add stevia, cinnamon, and nutmeg to call it a pudding). Be careful for sugar content and those tricky foods, like tomato, which is actually a fruit but often mistaken for a vegetable.
- Herbs and Spices: Use these to enliven your foods. Spices like garlic and oregano also have anti-fungal and immune supporting properties. Basil, cumin, and cayenne pepper have been some of my favorites. I live near a grocery store that sells spices in bulk, so I could pick up as little as I liked when I needed to satisfy a craving.
- Good Oils: Oils like olive and coconut not only add a creamy texture to meals, but have anti-fungal activities, too. Use only extra-virgin, unrefined oils. Avoid vegetable oils, as these are often heavily processed.
- Raw Nuts: Rich in protein, fiber, and omegas, nuts make a great snack or flavorful addition to any meal. Don’t have any salted or roasted nuts, as the nutritional content is altered, and often unhealthy oils are added.
- Eggs: Rich in B vitamins, amino acids such as lysine (another immune-supporting ingredient), and high in protein, eggs are great to add into a meal. I personally have trouble digesting them, so I buy high quality ones and just poach one per day.
- Nutritious meats: Red meat (beef) is high in zinc. Chicken is light in calories, and fish such as salmon have omega-3 oils to help support your immune system. The only meat I’d avoid, if I weren’t vegetarian, would be anything from a pig as I haven’t run into much research on their benefits. Sorry, bacon-lovers; you’ll have the same struggles as me and my chocolate. Just make sure that you consume meat in small portions, and be aware of the fat content.
Unfortunately and inevitably, there are items to avoid. The red-tape items for a successful cleanse are:
- Sugar: The main culprit that includes sugary fruits along with added sweeteners, from cane sugar to partially hydrogenated corn oil. Avoid artificial sugars, too. Even stevia is questioned, however I used just a couple of drops for my sweet tooth.
Substitutions: coconut oil (also has antifungal properties), unsweetened coconut shreds, or cinnamon (can help regulate blood sugar levels to cut down on cravings).
- Carbohydrates and Grains: These aren’t just limited to bread and white rice, but also include starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Rye, oatmeal (unless specified gluten-free), barley, and wheat (which includes grains like couscous and kamut) must be avoided in all forms. This means no regular pasta, cereal, or tortillas for us burrito lovers. Be careful of any additives, such as maltodextrin, which are secret words for “starch.”
Substitutions: low-carb, gluten-free grains with high protein and fiber. Quinoa, millet, and brown rice are a few options. Make sure to only have one serving though, and spice it up with herbs and veggies.
- Cheese, and even milk: Aside from the yeast present in cheese, many people are sensitive to dairy without realization.
Substitutions: Vegan-based substitutions contain so many ingredients, I just didn’t bother. However, fermented, unsweetened dairy products are okay: kefir and yogurt. They contain naturally occurring probiotics. Just make sure they’re whole milk (low-fat products have added sugar).
- Caffeine: Coffee, tea, chocolate, soda. Caffeine may weaken the immune system.
Substitutions: herbal tea, spritzer water, herbal-based coffee. The only near- replacement for chocolate I could find were carob-chips, which could contain up to 7g of sugar per serving. I went instead for chocolate herbal tea.
- Alcohol: Starch, carbs, sugar, weakened immune function: alcohol for yeast is like winning the lotto for us.
Substitutions: Find what you like about alcohol and experiment with different drinks to find your alternate mixture.
There are some controversial foods to avoid, including citrus and vinegar. These may be used in small amounts, and will depend largely on the acid-alkaline levels in your digestive tract (pH strips are available specifically for determining your levels). Avoid over-alkalizing your body, as this provides a comfy environment for candida to thrive in. This video talks about special foods to eat for candida.
Along with a proper diet, antifungal supplements help eliminate and clear out yeast. Starving those yeast isn’t always good enough, at least not in my experience. I’ve had “dead” spiders come back to life on me, why wouldn’t yeast? Better it be alive and out of my system than playing dead and taking up space. I picked up an all-in-one bottle of CanxidaRemove which has multiple anti-fungal ingredients and prevents die-off and other side effects of the cleanse. I’ll discuss more candida-fighting products in a later section.
I cannot stress how important probiotics have been in my life. Probiotics not only help with immune function, but also affect our mood, and even tastebuds through the sensory organs. In 1999, the American Journal of Physiology published research demonstrating the importance how versatile and critical good bacteria is for regulating a healthy body. I needed a probiotic specific to a candida cleanse, and CanxidaRestore was an awesome choice for focusing on fungal-fighting strains.
- Water: Drink plenty of water, more than you think you need, during the cleanse to really flush out toxins and keep your body functioning.
- Wake up your lymph nodes: While in a warm shower, turn the water up to the coldest setting for a few seconds. Exercise regularly (but don’t overexert yourself during a cleanse) to keep the immune-fighting lymph nodes happy and active.
- Detox your skin: skin brushes or exfoliating bath towels can help exfoliate skin and improve circulation, both of which are important for fighting and removing yeast as it can emerge externally.
- Cleanliness: Replace your toothbrush every month, and use a cover to prevent bacteria in the air from finding a happy home on the bristles. Don’t use toxic cleansers, but regularly clean areas where mold and mildew are prone to live.
- Underwear: Make sure to use cotton-based underwear to avoid jock itch, vaginal candida, etc.
A successful cleanse also meant setting aside time in my schedule so that I could be committed. I’ll talk more about the timing next.
Click here to read Step 3 – When To Do Candida Cleanse.