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About my candida cleanse idea –

Let me explain a little better what will be involved, and ask you some questions so you can tell me further what you think about it.

What Is a Candida Cleanse?

Your digestive system and intestines are absolutely full of yeast and bacteria. Some are really good for you, some are really bad for you and create major stress on your digestive system – this leads to a leaky gut wall, which leads to allergies, toxins entering the bloodstream, and poor nutrient absorption. The most common form of bad yeast that overgrows and causes problems is something called candida.

Having an improper gut flora imbalance and a poorly functioning digestive system is a major root cause of many diseases in the body, including acne. If you have acne and have any kind of food allergies or digestive issues – bloating, gas, loose stools, constipation, stomach aches – or you’ve taken antibiotics or birth control pills in the past – or if you’re a girl and ever get yeast infections – or if you’ve eaten a standard American diet full of sugar and refined carbohydrates your whole life like many of us – well, you can bet that you could do with some bacteria balancing in your gut, whether it’s specifically a candida overgrowth or not.

A candida cleanse works to kill off the candida in your system, while at the same time reintroducing good bacteria so that the good bacteria takes over and keep the bad bacteria and yeast in check, ultimately having an amazingly healthful effect on your body and your skin.

The most important and agreed upon part of a candida cleanse is that you must stop consuming any sugar for a temporary period of time – even natural sugar like fruit or honey. Candida and bad bacteria love to feast on sugar, so eliminating it helps you to cut off their food source.

The other basic rules are:

  • No sugar
  • No alcohol
  • No wheat or gluten
  • No yeast
  • No caffeine
  • No preservatives and additives
  • No refined or processed foods
  • No moldy foods
  • No dairy (except milk kefir, maybe organic goat or sheep yogurt, and quality butter)
  • Low in Carbohydrates, because candida likes starchy carbs

So, this generally means that what you are eating is a lot of lower carbohydrate vegetables and animal products. The best candida cleanse only includes these things, but that’s incredibly difficult and probably not necessary for most unless you know you have a very severe candida problem.

Either way, I still need to figure out what exactly my cleanse will entail, since candida experts don’t always agree on what to do (much like anything in the natural health and nutrition world!) – some say nuts are fine, some say they are bad, some say non gluten grains are okay, some say no, some say you can eat some starch, some say no, some say mushrooms are bad, some say it’s okay, some say all yeast is bad, others say there are benign or beneficial yeast that is okay, some say non gluten grains are okay, some say they’re not. Agh.

My Past Candida Cleanses

I’ve done two candida cleanses thus far, both of which lasted approximately three weeks. Both of them saw incredible healing of my acne, and in the second case, a complete resolution of the painful eczema I had on my hand. The good news is that the cleanses were slightly different from one another in what I excluded and included, and I still saw great results with both! 

Candida cleansing was actually the first thing I ever did to change my diet for the purpose of getting rid of acne, which had recently gone from mild to moderate in the fall of 2007… lots of big papules showing up all over my chin. I had just moved in with a bunch of random people in Victoria BC, I was a student at the time, and I managed to pull it off just fine – on a budget without ever explicitly telling my roommates that my ‘weird cleanse’ was about acne.

Since this was my first venture into natural healing, I didn’t know anything about health like I do now (sigh, I feel like that was a much simpler time in my brain….), so I wasn’t all worried about the details. I also wasn’t as stressed about it. I just chose a protocol and followed it. I even did it with conventional meat and brown rice and it still worked fantastically. After the three weeks, I went straight back to my regular diet and my skin actually stayed quite good for a long time afterward, so it seemed to have quite a lasting impact.

However, when I began changing my lifestyle in 2010 to clear my severe acne, I consumed health information like I was going to starve to death without it. I was swayed by raw foodists, and I ate too many raw vegetables for my poor digestive system and did quite a bit of juice cleansing and fasting – which didn’t seem to work very well at all, leaving me in total frustration. I honestly wish I had just kicked it all off with another candida cleanse… funny how I’ve come full circle to my earlier, less educated, but perhaps better off self.

Either way – candida cleanses work. At least they do for me, and it seems like they do for others.

Here is what I propose as far as a general diet plan and you can tell me what you think:

The Candida Cleanse Plan

To include:

*Animal products (preferably naturally raised and fed, but at the very least, antibiotic and hormone free… antibiotics are bad for gut flora!) – eggs, chicken, beef, buffalo, wild caught fish, organ meats, shellfish, milk kefir and organic goat’s yogurt if dairy is tolerated, butter.

*Super nutritious gut healing foods like homemade bone broth and nettle tea.

*Non starchy vegetables and herbs such as leafy greens, lettuce, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, etc.

*Some nuts and seeds (like a handful per day) if they are soaked overnight beforehand to reduce mould. I’ve also allowed some nut butters and tahini in my last cleanse to make salad dressings.

*Unrefined oils like extra virgin olive oil.

*Coconut products including lots of unrefined coconut oil.

*Low sugar fruits like avocados, lemons, limes, sour green apples, and all berries.

*Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir.

(Update: After writing the program, I decided kombucha should be avoided in the early stages of candida cleansing. It can be introduced later.)

*Powerful probiotic supplements.

*Some kind of yeast killer – I have used a grapefruit seed extract called Canplex that seemed to work very well. You can also use Pau D’arco, Garlic, Olive Leaf Extract and some others.

To maybe include sometimes, depending on how intense a cleanse you want to do:

*Higher sugar vegetables like beets and carrots.

*Winter squashes like acorn and butternut.

*Lower starch legumes like red or green lentils.

*Maybe* brown rice, millet, or quinoa if you’re vegetarian and have to fill out your meal, but I honestly think it’s better to give your gut a break from all grains.

(Update: After writing the program, I decided that winter squashes should be out except for spaghetti squash because it doesn’t have as much sugar. Beets are also out, but carrots can be eaten raw. All beans and legumes are out, as they often create gastic distress. For grains, all are out except the 3 pseudo grains that are actually more like seeds than grains – quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth – and only if they are properly prepared by soaking overnight.)

To avoid:

*All processed foods, conventional seed oils, table salt.

*All refined and natural sugars such as honey, date sugar, raisins, blackstrap molasses.

*All fruits except the low sugar ones mentioned above.

*All wheat and grain products.

*All starchy carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn.

*Most cheese because it’s made from mould.

*Conventional non-fermented dairy products.

*Most beans and legumes.

*Mushrooms

Anyway… I might have forgotten some things, but that’s the gist of it to give you an idea if this is something you could handle. I think it’s important not only to reduce carbohydrates and sugars, but also to include really nutritious foods and ferments (like lots of greens, bone broth, and kefir) in order to give yourself the nutrients necessary to actually heal your gut and detoxify. Your body needs nutrients to do these things.

What You’ll Need to Buy

Most of this food you can find at your regular grocery store – organic is better but not necessary, although you really want to be getting your animal products as quality as possible. You will have to locate some really good probiotics, kefir grains if you can to make milk or water kefir, and also yeast killer supplements.

How It Will Work

I propose the structure of it to be something like this:

The cleanse will begin each month on a specified date so that everyone doing the cleanse starts together. I would like to close registration at least one week before we start the cleanse so that people are able to mentally prepare and get their hands on the items they will need…. so registering earlier rather than later is more beneficial!

When you register you will get some kind of document from me that will give you the ins and outs – the instructions – the how to’s – grocery lists and meal plans – how to prepare, etc.

On the start date, I will open the community forums for everyone in the cleanse to talk and support each other. Everyone will also begin receiving videos each day that I will record – probably motivational stuff or cooking demos or things like that.

The actual meal plans/videos will probably go for somewhere between 7 and 10 days. I know this is shorter than most people will want to do the cleanse, but since candida cleanses can go for an indeterminate amount of time, I need to cut it off somewhere – this will be kind of like a challenge to get you started and you can continue afterward if you want to – if not – you will still gain great benefits!

The fee for the whole thing will be $19.95, which I feel is very reasonable for this as I do expect it to be quite a lot to put together, so I hope this is okay. I appreciate your support with this!

Other Things to Consider

Because candida produces toxins as it dies off, when you begin the cleanse, you may not feel very good for a few days and have a flare up of any symptoms you have, including a slight worsening of your acne… so you need to be aware of that (it’s a slight worsening okay, not crazy, and it absolutely does not happen to everyone).

If it does, this is a good thing and embrace it as that – it means you are releasing toxins and things are going to get better, so no panicking, okay? It’ll pass and put you well on your way to permanent healing.

Something else to consider is that you will want to be eating quite often during this cleanse because you might feel quite hungry on it. This is because your body is not used to eating healthfully yet – it’s used to eating tons of calories in order to get minimum nutrition. Suddenly it has lots of nutrients in fewer calories, but it’s not used to this and craves more until your body adjusts. So make sure you are eating often and plenty in order to feel satisfied.

I’m Vegetarian, Can I Do The Cleanse?

I’ll be honest, it’s difficult to do the cleanse properly as a vegetarian, but it can be done (if you don’t eat eggs or fermented dairy though it can be nearly impossible). The menu plans that I set out will not be vegetarian based, but you can eat more grains and carbs if it is necessary for you – you will likely still get plenty of benefit (like I said, the first time I did a candida cleanse, I ate brown rice every day and did fine on it).

Okay… what do you think? Is this still something you think you could do? Is it what you imagined when I proposed the idea last week?

*** CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE UPCOMING 7 Day Candida Cleanse Challenge ***

photo by Carolines Hope