If you haven’t been following my health journey I have a pretty comprehensive overview here, but to sum things up, I suffered from severe fatigue and stomach issues for years. After being told by multiple doctors that I had nothing wrong with me but anxiety, I visited a naturopath who gave me a new vitamin/supplement regimen and techniques to help manage the stress that she believed was causing me adrenal fatigue.
After a few months of following this regimen, I would say I felt about 70% better. My anxiety became nearly non-existent (I knew it was being caused by the state my body was in!), I was dealing with a lot less stomach issues, but I would still get some bloating and distress (especially when eating carbs, sugary food and caffeine). I have made a big point to stop being afraid of food and labeling things as healthy or unhealthy, but I found myself avoiding these foods because of the way they made me feel, and who wants to live like that.
I’m not going to give a full run down on the candida diet (there is a website for it with more info here), but basically, candida is a type of yeast that is normally present in your body, but when it becomes present in excess, it can cause some uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, fatigue, and stomach distress. The diet consists of 30-90 days of supplements that kill the excess candida in your body, along with a diet eliminating the foods that feed it to help restore the proper balance. Please don’t do this diet without consulting a doctor first – like I said, candida should be present in your body (in a normal amount), and killing it off if you don’t have an excess can harm the balance in your body. The supplements are strong, and the diet is strict.
I also had a personalized plan from my doctor, which was modified for my food restrictions (being plant based definitely makes it more challenging) and I was on some additional vitamins and supplements to help support my body. I know I’ve said this like a million times but I’ll just mention it again – I have come a long way in creating a positive relationship with food and understanding the harm in fad dieting, and this was a short term plan that was for health reasons, under doctor supervision.
So, considering I generally eat in what I consider to be a healthy way, I didn’t think the diet would be that bad, but boy was I wrong. The first 2 days were okay, but the week after that was rough. It kind of felt like flu like symptoms, and I was sleeping a lot. This is a normal thing that’s supposed to happen during the diet and means that it’s working (it’s called “die off”), but after the symptoms continued into the following week I started to get really worried. What if I killed off the healthy bacteria I had been working so hard to build up in my gut, destroying years of progress? Not to mention, I was on a super limited diet and really bloated, which will always make you a little grumpy.
After week 3, I started to feel amazing and I was so relieved. If you are familiar with Whole 30, my experience pretty closely followed their calendar (you start with a hangover feeling, then get really grumpy, then tired, then bloated, all before starting to finally feel amazing). I felt so good that I decided to completely ditch the diet and supplements after 30 days, which was probably a mistake. I did start to have some symptoms come back, although to a much lesser extent. I finished about 3 months ago and was considering restarting again in January, but oddly enough, I recently started feeling better than ever. I’m not sure where it came from, but I’ve been eating whatever I want and feeling great. I’ve been learning what a huge part stress plays in it, and I’ve been a lot less stressed about food, which I think lessens my symptoms. I still eat gluten free and vegan, but I’ve been having pizza, desserts, lattes, chips – honestly pretty much anything I want, without any symptoms. I would say I feel about 95% better.
I also wanted to mention that I previously had a post about being alcohol free (mainly for health reasons), but I’ve recently had a drink here and there to see how I would feel, and I can’t believe that I haven’t had any kind of hangover a single time. Before, one drink would give me a debilitating hangover for days. I still don’t plan to drink too often because I feel great without it, but it does feel nice to know the option is there.
My overall thought on this diet is that you should only do it if it’s necessary and you have the overgrowth, but for me personally, it made a huge difference. I know it was working based off of the die off symptoms I was experiencing. I planned on doing another 30 days in January, but based on how I’ve been feeling recently I’m not so sure I need to. If I start to feel any kind of flare up I will probably give it another 30 days, but for now, I’m just grateful to be where I am! As always, I will keep you updated. ❤