Step 1 – Preparation

Between free food at work, date nights, lunches where grabbing premade meals was easier than planning ahead, and spontaneous social gatherings, there was never a good time for me to do a candida cleanse. Over time, my migraines started lasting longer and resisting ibuprofen. I chronically felt like I was fighting a cold even though I (thought) I had my allergies and immune system under control. Once my face broke out in patches of acne after I ate two slices of pizza, I knew I had to take action.

There was never going to be a good period of time in my life to cleanse unless I planned. I had to carve the time out and schedule it like I would a vacation. I gave myself a five days to prepare, and then marked my cleansing time on the calendar. I suggest you watch this video below before moving forward.

Research, Plan, Understand

I’ll be writing more later about how to do a candida cleanse, what to expect during the process, and even when to do a cleanse. What I want to stress now is the importance of preparing for a cleanse.

Having never whole-heartily dieted, but always hearing about so many side-effects, what could and couldn’t be consumed, and varying lengths of days for a cleanse, I needed to arrange a personal plan.

Through my research, I found that a typical cleanse lasts 7-10 days, so I set up for 7, figuring that any more days would be a bonus. (I’m good about pushing myself a little farther when I get closer to finishing a goal.) I’d often read that the third day would be the most difficult, and so I scheduled that around my “Saturday” (my Mondays are most people’s Saturdays, since I have to work on weekends), and would leave my “Sunday” (Tuesday) open to take it easy at home, as well, if the fourth day proved challenging.

Before I really began planning for a yeast cleanse, I needed to figure out why I was going through with it. I hear from many people on how a diet or cleanse works wonders for them, from cutting down on allergies to losing and keeping off weight. However, just because they found a great diet doesn’t mean the same plan would work for me.

Knowing Why Candida is Affecting My Health

Yeast overgrowth is a real, and common, problem considering the average western lifestyle. A few major reasons for yeast overgrowth are:

  • Diet: Any form of sugar, including what’s in fruit, becomes food for yeast to thrive and reproduce. Carbohydrates will convert to sugar in the body. Alcohol can lower glucose metabolism, while caffeine can disrupt a healthy immune function.
  • Prescription Medication: Antibiotics kill off good bacteria, thus weakening immune function. Other drugs, such as birth control pills, can affect hormonal levels or disrupt functions in the body, thus increasing chances for yeast infections and overgrowth.
  • Poor Immune Function: The immune system constantly has to fight off diseases, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other invaders. Poor diet, sleep deprivation, and stress can all hinder your immune system, thus allowing yeast to reproduce more rapidly. It’s like leaving a few breadcrumbs on the ground with scavenger ants because you had to run some errands, pay bills, and so on, and you’re in a hurry because you got a late start on your day. You can bet that when you get back to those breadcrumbs, the ants will have multiplied and you’ll have a tougher time managing the situation. (Not that I’ve had experience with this…)
  • Adrenal Exhaustion: Related to stress and immunity, overworking your adrenals can affect how well your body functions and is able to control yeast. If you’re exhausted, so is your immune system.

Knowing the Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

I knew that for a successful cleanse, I needed the right reasons for doing it. Everyone has yeast, but an excessive amount means an unhealthy balance in the system. Symptoms of candida overgrowth may be apparent, such as chronic vaginal infections, thrush, ringworm, and nail function. Not all effects are obvious, though, as many people wouldn’t link unhealthy levels of yeast to:

  • Sugar and Carb Addiction: Always craving sweets and pastries? That’s the yeast asking for more food. You don’t want to give more breadcrumbs to those ants, do you?
  • Food Allergies: While going through a candida cleanse may not cure allergies, the effects can be lessened after proper digestion is restored to the body.
  • Chronic Nasal Congestion: Can also be a cause of yeast overgrowth, in part because of allergies.
  • Recurring Canker Sores: These are not cold sores, but rather small, painful bulbs in your mouth.
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Other common and uncommon symptoms. Watch video below

Adapting My Pantry and Fridge

I’m never one to jump straight into the pool without first dipping my toes in the water, and starting a yeast cleanse works much the same way. If you shock your system by depriving it of foods you suddenly can’t eat, it will fight back. Preparing for a cleanse meant understanding which ingredients I had to avoid (I’ll discuss this further in the next section), and writing out a shopping list of foods to buy so that I had a variety of eating options and wouldn’t have an excuse to run to the local sandwich shop. I began reducing my intake of sugars and cutting back, but not completely avoiding, certain foods and drinks.

At work, before I even started my cleanse, I practiced staring down those free sugar-filled gummy bears and pastries. Even apple slices were the subject of my scrutiny. Were such inanimate objects really going to overpower me? If I found my fingers reaching in for even one bite, I pulled back and just imagined the taste, then left the area if I could.

Caffeine and wine are two absolute no-nos while on a cleanse: I knew this. However, every time I saw an opened wine bottle in the fridge, or box of earl grey on my counter, I was tempted to indulge. The temptation would last until I gave in, even leading to restless nights if I hadn’t satisfied my craving. My solution? Take stock of everything I can’t have during the cleanse that’s in my kitchen and those secret stashes in my desk drawers (sorry, chocolate). Then, pack everything up and throw the container in the back of a closet, garage, or anywhere that I don’t often go. Out of sight, out of mind.

Everyone has varying levels of will power. I had a friend who took what she calls a Mardi Gras approach. She hosted a potluck just so she could eradicate all food and beverage not allowed while also getting in one last hurrah.

Now that I had set aside time for a yeast cleanse, understood why I needed one, and prepared an anti-candida environment at home, it was time to do a proper cleanse.

Click here to read step 2 – How To Do Proper Candida Cleanse.

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