Your body works hard to keep itself healthy and functioning. During a cleanse, the body is put under more stress as routine is disturbed and Candida releases toxins in the body when it dies. Candida’s refusal to go down easy is known as die-off, and has undesired effects such as fatigue, dizziness, and bloating. Your body has to work overtime to clean out these toxins, and certain activities and foods must be avoided so that the yeast are not fed or strengthened, and the body can focus on healing.
Excessive Physical Activity
While exercise is good, straining the body while its cleansing can have detrimental effects, such as weakening the immune system, adding to stress, or overworking the body, especially the heart.
Just as exercise can do more harm than good, unhealthy levels of stress will also overwork the body, affect mood, and cause physical distress (inflammation, heart palpitations, pain, etc).
Antibiotics and Other Medications
Absolutely avoid cleansing while on antibiotics, preparing to go on antibiotics, or immediately after taking them. Restore your system with probiotics before embarking on a cleanse.
Food and Nutrients to Avoid
Knowing what foods to have will depend on the acid-alkaline (pH) balance in your body. Avoid over-alkalizing your body, as this provides an ideal home for yeast to grow, while highly acidic bodies crave sugar. The catch is that the gut always leans toward acidity, while the bloodstream (where yeast can translocate and grow) is more alkaline. pH strips are available specifically for determining your levels. Your needed diet for a cleanse will be influenced by achieving a balanced pH: ideally a slightly alkaline level at 7.5. The levels will range throughout the day, so regular testing is needed for accuracy.
There are nutrients that must be avoided for a successful cleanse.
The main culprit for excessive candida. All forms of sugar, from fruit, sweetners such as agave and honey, cane sugar, and partially hydrogenated corn oil will feed the yeast and harm the body. Avoid artificial sugars, too.
Substitutions: coconut oil (also has antifungal properties), unsweetened coconut shreds, or cinnamon (can help regulate blood sugar levels to cut down on cravings). Stevia is questionable, however those with a sweet tooth would best take the risk of using a couple drops rather than ending their diet early because their cravings are too much.
Fruits and Certain Vegetables
Any sweet fruits, especially grapes and bananas, should be avoided. Citrus fruits are controversial, however many cleanses will include a squeeze of lemon into tonic water or as a garnish to a meal. After the initial phase of cleansing, citrus may be reincorporated into the diet.
Certain vegetables, such as beets and carrots, can be steamed to reduce their sugar content.
Carbohydrates and Grains
Grains to avoid 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). This means no regular pasta, cereal, or tortillas. 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.
Aside from the yeast present in cheese, and sugars in cheese and milk, many people are sensitive to dairy without realization. The exception to dairy would be yogurt or kefir that is plain, from whole milk, and unsweetened. Both of these have been fermented and contain probiotics. Many people confuse eggs as dairy, however eggs have no correlation to milk or milk products.
Substitutions: Vegan-based substitutions contain so many ingredients that the best way to substitute dairy is to either just use water (in oatmeal, for example), or make your own milks from scratch, such as almond milk.
Kefir, while a bit sour, can be used in place of milk. Many people even make their own kefir by acquiring grains (usually sold through a private natural practitioner), mixing the grains with 1 cup of whole milk in a glass mason jar (large enough to let the kefir expand), and let it sit for 24-48 hours unexposed to light before straining it into a glass that can be refrigerated and consumed within one week. No metal should be used when making kefir, so use a wooden spoon and plastic strainer.
Coffee, tea, chocolate, soda. Caffeine may weaken the immune system.
Substitutions: herbal tea, spritzer water, herbal-based coffee (be cautious of carobs in these blends, as they contain sugar).
Alcohol is the golden ring for yeast, as it contains starch, carbs, sugar, creates hard work for the liver to clean out its toxins, and weakens immune function.
Substitutions: Find what you like about alcohol and experiment with different drinks to find your alternate mixture. I’ve heard of tonic water being used, or fruit peel tea infusions with hibiscus.
There are some foods that have unclear standards as to whether to avoid or embrace them. Here are some nutrients to watch for:
Vinegar: Except for raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (which must always be diluted) which may combat candida, vinegar weakens stomach acidity and can cause inflammation for some individuals.
Citrus Fruits: Some people will incorporate lemon into their candida cleanse. For the same reason that vinegar can disrupt the stomach’s acidity, so too can citrus. If using lemon for flavor, only use a quarter slice.
Soy and Corn: Most soy and corn have GMOs. Using organic, or at least non-gmo tofu or soy is acceptable, however fermented soy is preferred. Corn should still be avoided for its sugar content.
Mushrooms: Even though they are fungi, they don’t necessarily feed candida. However, while the body is fighting yeast, it may turn on mushrooms and cause inflammation. Healing mushrooms like maitake can be used as a tea.
Green tea: Contains low amounts of caffeine, but also candida-fighting properties. Avoid decaf green tea, as the industrial process to remove caffeine often use undesired chemicals. You can decaffeinate your own tea. Here’s how:
Use only organic green tea. If using tea bags, make sure they are non-bleached and say that multiple brews are acceptable. Add 180 degree water (wait 3-4 minutes after water is boiled) to 1tsp or 1 bag green tea. Brew for 2 minutes, discard tea but save tea leaves or bag. Rebrew at same temperature for 3-4 minutes. The tea will taste diluted, but most caffeine in tea comes out in the first brew.