candida

What Is Candida & How & Why Does It Present Itself

Candida is a type of yeast responsible for a number of health problems.

Candida is actually short for Candida Albicans which is normally present in small amounts in the intestines, mouth, and skin.

Let’s take a look at how Candida can become a problem and common symptoms and side effects.

How does Candida become a problem?

If Candida is a fungus-like bacteria that are naturally present in the body, how does it become a problem?

The problem actually arises when Candida overgrows.

Things that cause imbalances in the body leading to Candida overgrowth include but are not limited to eating a diet high in refined sugar and carbs, taking oral contraceptives, taking antibiotics, high alcohol intake, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and high-stress levels.

Causes of Candida

Candida overgrowth causes a number of problems. These problems range from vaginal infections to digestive disorders, fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and weight gain.

So we know that Candida causes a number of problems. However, what causes Candida to overgrow in the first place?

One of the most common causes of Candida overgrowth is a compromised immune system. People with HIV/Aids can be particularly susceptible.

Young children and the elderly are also susceptible. However, if you’ve been sick and dealing with other illnesses, you can also be susceptible to Candida overgrowth.

For example, people fighting cancer or diabetes can be particularly susceptible to Candida overgrowth.

One common cause of Candida as it relates to previous illness is the prescription of antibiotics.

Antibiotics kill bacteria including the good bacteria that help balance your body and your digestive system. This means antibiotics can have a direct influence on Candida overgrowth.

Another common cause of Candida overgrowth is actually quite simple to reverse.

Candida grows naturally in the gut. However, if you have infrequent bowel movements and become constipated, you’re giving Candida fuel to grow.

Candida thrives in moist, dark environments like your intestines.

If you’re unable to completely process the food you’ve eaten you’re also providing Candida bacteria with a food source.

To reverse this process, eat plenty of fiber so you clean your digestive tract and eliminate the food source Candida needs.

One of the most common causes of Candida overgrowth in the average individual is a diet that is high in sugar.

There is some controversy surrounding this however many sufferers have found that simply changing their dietary habits and lifestyle virtually eliminate Candida overgrowth from their life.

This is because Candida thrives on sugar. If you eliminate sugar from your diet you subsequently starve Candida.

It’s purged from your body and then you can resume a normal diet that is high in protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables, and low in sugar.

Finally, because your immune system is affected by a number of factors, your lifestyle can play an important role in your Candida recovery.

Things like stress, depression, nutrient deficiency, and simply hormonal imbalances can cause Candida to grow. Personal hygiene also plays a role in some Candida cases.

Candida overgrowth has a number of causes.

If you suffer from frequent Candida overgrowth problems, assess your lifestyle and diet, and see your doctor.

Treating the symptoms will provide immediate relief and treating the cause will provide lifelong relief.

You don’t have to suffer from Candida overgrowth. Understand the causes and learn what’s behind your Candida symptoms.

Live Candida free!

Like yeast or other fungi, Candida thrives on sugar and lives in warm dark environments.

This means places like your stomach, genitals, mouth and even your eyes can be hospitable environments for Candida.

Candida can actually become systemic meaning it is present throughout your entire body. It takes over your organs and invades your bloodstream. When this happens, death is a real risk.

Notice I mentioned that Candida thrives on sugar. There is real evidence that poor dietary habits, or diets high in sugar, tend to cause Candida overgrowth.

This is great news for people who suffer from overgrowth symptoms. Often a change in diet will alleviate the problem.

So what problems arise from Candida Overgrowth?

The most common symptoms of Candida overgrowth are yeast or vaginal infections.

The data tells us that about three in four women suffer from a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their life.

Yeast infections are exhibited by irritation in the vaginal area, whitish discharge and inflammation, and itching.

Treatment is generally over the counter though your doctor can prescribe medication as well.

However, if you’re susceptible to Candida overgrowth then you’re likely to see a recurrence unless you change your habits and lifestyle.

Oral thrush is a common sign of Candida overgrowth. It’s commonly seen in babies and children and presents as a white almost cottage cheesy coating in the mouth, tongue, and throat.

Generally, mild antifungals are prescribed and habits are assessed. For mothers of nursing babies, dietary changes may be required.

Candida also presents as skin infections. It can affect folds of the skin where it is dark and moist or it can affect the surface of the skin depending on the individual. It’s caused again by overgrowth and a weakened immune system.

Candida skin rashes vary from person to person and there are many types of Candida skin rashes. One of the most common is diaper rash. Treatment is a topical antifungal.

Candida Albicans overgrowth causes a number of problems ranging from basic but extremely uncomfortable vaginal infections and skin infections to digestive disorders, fatigue, weight gain, and hormonal imbalances.

If you suffer from chronic yeast infections treat the symptoms but also take measures to treat the cause.

Dietary and lifestyle changes can make a dramatic difference in your overall health.

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Fact & Fiction: 5 Myths About Candida

When something is as common as Candida and Candida overgrowth is, myths tend to pop up.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about Candida. Believing these myths can affect your recovery.

Let’s dig deep and look at the 5 most common myths about Candida.

Candida Myth #1 Only women suffer from Candida overgrowth.

This isn’t true at all.

Both men and women have Candida living naturally in their body and both men and women can get Candida infections.

In fact, men can get yeast infections on their genitals just like women can get vaginitis caused by yeast infections.

Many studies have shown that Candida overgrowth is present in 90% of the population.

Candida Myth #2 Only drugs and antifungals can kill Candida.

Drugs and antifungals can treat the symptoms of Candida. However, they don’t treat the underlying cause.

In fact, many Candida drugs and antifungals can cause a number of other harmful side effects and symptoms.

If you suffer from recurring Candida infections it’s important to look at the underlying cause.

Relying on drugs and antifungals will not alleviate the problem and you’ll continue to suffer.

Candida Myth #3 Home Remedies Don’t Work To Treat Candida

This is partially true however it depends largely on the home remedy.

One popular home remedy for Candida overgrowth is to eat more yogurt. This actually can work if the infection is mild and you don’t have other risk factors.

Yogurt contains probiotics which are the good bacteria in your gut.

When there’s a balance of bacteria, Candida overgrowth can be eliminated.

However, other home remedies like drinking vinegar do not work and can, in fact, worsen Candida overgrowth symptoms.

If you have a home remedy for Candida overgrowth, consult your health care practitioner first.

Candida Myth #4 Candida overgrowth isn’t a big deal.

Candida overgrowth can actually kill you. It can become systemic, and take over your blood and organs so it is a big deal.

Candida overgrowth can also cause other surprising problems like weight gain, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and a wide variety of pretty serious problems.

Yes, Candida is a big deal.

Candida Myth #5 Only people with compromised immune systems get Candida infections

While people with compromised immune systems are in danger of more serious complications from Candida, the truth is that anyone can get a Candida infection.

Healthy, unhealthy, good dietary habits, poor dietary habits, male, female, young, and old – Candida exists in everyone and everyone is at risk.

However, you strongly improve your chances of avoiding Candida overgrowth if you take great care of yourself.

This includes making sure you reduce stress, eat a nutrient-rich, low sugar diet, eat lots of fiber and you don’t smoke or drink heavily. 

Candida is an organism that lives in everyone. It can cause real and serious health problems and no one is immune.

If you suffer from Candida overgrowth, find a qualified health care practitioner to get the help you need to begin the healing process. Then start changing your life for the better.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in living a Candida free life.

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Woman hanging over edge of chair

20 Candida Diet Approved Snack Ideas (that are easy and delicious!)

Gluten FreeDairy FreeLow Carb

When you go on the Candida diet and start making your health a top priority you might realize that your favorite snacks are no longer suitable for your new lifestyle. Fear not! There are SO many delicious sugar-free snack ideas that are tasty, nutrient-dense and totally guilt-free.

I remember feeling so discouraged after learning about all the foods I had to avoid when starting the Candida diet. All the crazy emotions from sadness to anger arose when I knew I had to get off of sugar plus I felt so overwhelmed when it came to figuring out what I was going to eat.

This was back when the internet was very new and Candida information was hard to come by. Fast forward 20+ years and now there’s an overload of information on the interwebs and it can make your head spin! My goal is to help make things easier and less stressful for you.

Jar of chia pudding with raspberries.

Here are a few of my favorite snacks that will work perfectly for you if you’re on the Candida diet, going sugar-free, or if you’re just wanting to eat healthier:

Easy and delicious sugar-free,
dairy-free, gluten-free Candida diet snacks:

  1. Olives
  2. Veggie sticks with dairy-free cream cheese spread
  3. Roasted almonds or other nuts (avoid peanuts, pistachios, cashews on the Candida diet)
  4. Apples and almond butter
  5. Unsweetened Coconut milk and berries
  6. Pumpkin puree with cinnamon and stevia
  7. Sprouted pumpkin seeds
  8. Sprouted Sunflower seeds
  9. Sprouted Watermelon Seeds
  10. Kale chips
  11. Cauliflower florets with nutritional yeast (check out this excellent article about nutritional yeast and Candida overgrowth)
  12. Frozen blueberries or raspberries
  13. Sugar-free Chocolate chia pudding
  14. Turkey jerky
  15. Grass-fed beef jerky strips
  16. Salt and vinegar zucchini chips (use apple cider vinegar for the Candida diet)
  17. Green smoothie with a scoop of protein powder (I like this one or this one may be a good option for you)
  18. A spoonful of coconut oil
  19. Egg muffins
  20. Hard-boiled egg or Deviled egg

There can be so much confusion and frustration related to what to eat on the Candida diet. My hope is that these ideas will help give you some relief, hope and maybe even some excitement to try new foods!

Instead of looking at the diet as what you can’t eat, let’s shift this thought into the amazing amount of yummy things you can eat. These foods are going to boost your nutrition while being satisfying and delicious.

Everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to food so you’ll need to make choices that agree with you.

Deprivation, stress and overwhelm should not be a part of your plan when it comes to getting healthier be it the Candida diet or any other change you’re making with your food plan

These snacks will work for you if you are wanting to avoid the health-damaging effects of refined sugar, want to shed some excess “lb’s”, want to lower inflammation, and just want to feel better overall.

The Candida diet also forces you to get creative in the kitchen like never before.

Experiment with new ideas and you’ll be shocked by what you discover. Some of my all-time favorite recipes came from the creative discoveries I made when I finally chose to change my life and put my health first for once by ditching sugar for good.

Here are some more snack ideas:

Sugar-free Coconut Cupcakes

Sugar-free Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Keto Macaroon Fat Bombs

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Nuts, kale chips, raspberry chia seed pudding and blueberries.

Have you tried any of these easy and delicious snacks? What is your go-to snack while on the Candida diet? Let me know in the comments!

The Top 10 Best Kitchen Tools for the Candida Diet

A juicer, an instant pot, a food processor and a blender.

  

When you start the Candida diet it can be very overwhelming so it’s important to take it step-by-step.

This way you will have a better chance of kicking your Candida overgrowth to the curb!  To help you create success with your eating plan you will need quality tools and appliances in your kitchen. That’s why today I’m sharing with you 10 of the best appliances and tools to have in your kitchen. I have these in my kitchen and I know they will help you gain confidence in your cooking while helping you create delicious and healthy recipes you’ll love.

Click on the pictures below to read more about each tool or appliance. Let’s get to it!

1. MAGIC BULLET OR NUTRI-BULLET

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

When you’re really hungry, and you want to whip up something fast this is what you want to have at the ready. I’ve had mine for more than 15 years now (can’t remember exactly, it’s been a looong time!) and I’ve used it almost daily since I got it.  You can make smoothies in it, chop nuts, blend eggs, make salsa, make sauces, salad dressings and more!  It’s so convenient to use and clean and the price is right. You’ll need to decide if you want the Magic Bullet which is smaller and less expensive or the larger, higher-powered Nutri-Bullet. Either one will work and is a must for anyone wanting to eat healthier.

2. VITAMIX

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

Ask anybody that is on the health bandwagon and they will tell you that having a Vitamix in their appliance arsenal is a must. It is definitely an investment, but the rewards are great.  The Vitamix has impressive power and will last a long time even with a lot of use. It can handle the toughest of vegetables and can grind coffee beans, nuts and seeds. Another feature that is amazing is that it makes hot soups without turning on your stove. It also makes the most healthy and delicious frozen treats (no sugar added!) in minutes. The warranty is excellent and ranges from 5-10 years depending on the model you choose.  Tip: if a Vitamix isn’t in your budget check on your local FB marketplace or Craigslist for great deals.

3. MASTICATING JUICER

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT: 

Juicing has been around for a long time and has been up and down in its popularity, but it’s stood the test of time in the benefits it offers.  Having a quality juicer (if you use it!) will be a boon to your health in so many ways. I absolutely love having a 16 oz juice in the morning before breakfast, it boosts my energy like nothing else. 

I recommend purchasing a masticating juicer because it juices slowly and without heat that can destroy the nutrient and enzymes in the fruits and vegetables.  Choose one that has good reviews and the highest quality you can afford, you can find good ones at a great price too. 

This is the juicer I got, and it is working fine for me. You may want to check out this juicer or this one depending on your needs and budget. I’ve owned a Breville juicer and I don’t recommend The Juice Fountain since it’s not masticating and the pulp is quite wet so you’re not getting the full amount of juice from the fruit and vegetables. I also owned a Champion which is an excellent brand but I just found it clunky and messy to use so I didn’t use it. You want to purchase one that is easy to use so you’ll use it! 

4. FOOD DEHYDRATOR

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

If you’re trying to change how you eat and how you cook, then I recommend purchasing a food dehydrator.  I was all gung-ho about it when I first got it because I wanted to make dried fruit but I ended up using it for quite a few other things and am glad it’s in my pantry for when I crave these crackers and it’s needed for when you soak your nuts (to get rid of those pesky enzyme inhibitors) and want to crisp them back up again.  My husband is also a beef jerky fan and makes his own with the help of this dehydrator.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive one do to the job. If you do a lot of dehydrating then you’ll need to look for a larger one with more trays like this Excalibur which is an excellent quality brand. I own this Nesco one and it works great and fits my needs. 

5. SPIRALIZER

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

This tool has become very popular in the last few years and for good reason. For those of us that are food conscious and don’t eat wheat, we miss pasta!  This is a good alternative, although not the same thing, it does quench the desire for some type of “pasta” type dish.  Use it to spiralize zucchini, cucumber, sweet potatoes and more for fun and delicious meals. There are a couple of types that may fit depending on your specific needs. I actually have both!  This larger size spiralizer is for heavier duty use and comes with a large variety of blades for different sizes and shapes. This handheld one surprisingly works quite well for zucchini and cucumbers and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your cabinets.

6. INSTANT POT or POWER PRESSURE COOKER XL

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

This one appliance can do more for your cooking than almost anything else.  Its versatility is impressive and makes cooking so much easier.  I own the Power Pressure Cooker XL and I use it for pressure cooking and it also has a crockpot feature. I use it to make bone broth, chili, meats, and casseroles. It’s an impressive appliance that will take the stress out of cooking.

7. CROCKPOT

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

If you’re not ready for or just aren’t sure about an Instant Pot, then be sure to have a crockpot in your kitchen. Yes, most people own one, but they usually get stuck in the back of your cabinet and not used enough! If you don’t have one then invest in one since they are really reasonably priced. You can throw a bunch of healthy ingredients in it in the morning and then have a wonderful smelling house all day and stress-free dinner time.  I love doing that and the food always tastes amazing.

8. FOOD PROCESSOR

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

A food processor is great to have to make so many healthy things including pesto, dips like hummus, and healthy treats.  It’s easy to use and will save a lot of time in the kitchen.  I have a Cuisinart and although it’s not my most used appliance I wouldn’t want to be without it because it makes my favorite Almond Energy Balls!

9. SALAD SPINNER

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN IT:

I don’t know about you, but I get lazy when it comes to cleaning vegetables like lettuce.  A salad spinner is so handy to have and makes it simple to just toss, rinse, spin and eat.  It is handy for washing all types of veggies too.  Don’t forget to use a veggie wash! I use this brand of veggie wash because it’s organic and it works.

10. TOOLS: LEMON JUICER,  GARLIC PRESS, JAR SCRAPER

WHY YOU SHOULD OWN THEM:

Okay, I must admit that I just recently purchased these items and I absolutely love them!  I don’t know why I waited so long but sometimes things just go that way.  Now when I want fresh lemon on my salad or on my cooked greens I just load up my lemon squeezer and it’s done and without making a mess with using multiple tools and having those darned seeds falling in my food. It’s really easy to clean which also love.   My old garlic press went kaput a few years ago and for reasons unknown, I hadn’t replaced it until a couple of months ago and I missed it!  The jar scraper was an impulse purchase but come to find out it’s wonderful to get the last bit of mustard or healthy mayo out of the jar. Plus it can be helpful to get the last drop of your smoothie out of your Vitamix!

What is the kitchen appliance that you couldn’t be without while on the Candida diet?  

Various cooking utensils including tea kettles, pots, plates and silverware.

Best Kitchen Appliances and Tools for Candida Diet Warriors from Amazon – The top Kitchen Appliances and Tools for Candida Diet warriors to help make eating healthy much easier!

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

When starting a Candida diet or even when a person wants to eat a healthier diet, I always get questions concerning which sweeteners are a good choice:

*Can I have honey?

*Okay, I’m giving up sugar but is there something else that I can use as a substitute?

*Will an artificial sweetener make Candida yeast grow?

The good news is there are some good options but first I will share the sweeteners you’ll want to avoid.  Even if you aren’t on a Candida/Yeast clearing program this information is beneficial for everyone. Sugar in excess in anyone’s diet is a hazard to your health.  

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

The No No’s

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is at the top of that ‘NO’ list as far as I’m concerned. This means no commercial sodas — which all contain HFCS.

There has been a flurry of interest in a cactus-based sweetener called agave nectar, because of its low glycemic index (which means it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels like honey or sugar might.)

Unfortunately, agave is a processed food, and it has a higher fructose level than HFCS (57% to 90%). It does have a low glycemic number, but its use can actually create insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes over time.

Artificial sweeteners are also on my “NO” list. Beware of the phrases “Sugar-Free” or “No Sugar Added” (commonly seen in baked goods, like pies). This is code that the product is sweetened artificially with products like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), Splenda (sucralose), aspartame, etc.).

Though you will hear much controversy regarding these products the studies on the ‘positive’ side most likely will be funded by the industry that manufactures the artificial sweetener. 

Several interesting studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are counter-productive for weight loss because they actually trigger the desire for sweets — without satisfying it.  That’s the last thing you need!

Makeup of Sugar

The newest studies on regular sugar show that it’s fructose that is the biggest problem. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 2 sugars called glucose and fructose in roughly equal parts.

Honey is 70% fructose and though it has some healthful properties it should be avoided when on a Candida diet and used in moderation for most people.

If you get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables you are going to be okay, especially if you take a quality probiotic supplement because the sugar from these foods won’t interfere with the action of the probiotic.

If you want sweetener in your coffee, tea or lemonade then there are some much healthier choices than those on the ‘no’ list above.

Acceptable Sweeteners on the Candida Diet

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol and Erythritol are from an interesting family of sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’. The body processes them in a completely different way than it does sugar. The body doesn’t really see them as sugars and mostly won’t digest them.

In large quantities, they can cause diarrhea and/or gas but in small quantities, they can make a nice sugar substitute, with the side benefit that they don’t promote tooth decay. In fact, Xylitol is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

There are many different sugar alcohols but Erythritol and Xylitol are my first choice. The others you see (all ending in -itol) are cheaper to make: forms like sorbitol, mannitol, etc.

Erythritol and Xylitol (choose sources made from birch instead of corn) can be found in your health food store or online and is close to being as sweet as sugar.

Recommended brands that are made from 100% Pure Birch Xylitol:  XylaSmartSweet, Morning Pep, and Zveet.

Stevia Plant

*Important note: Sugar alcohols are NOT safe for animals.

One last and probably the best natural sweetener to use is Stevia. This plant-based sweetener is available at your health food store or online. This is a very good sweetener but it does have a bit of an aftertaste that some don’t like.

It will depend on the brand you buy just how much or little of an aftertaste there is. The purer the processing of the plant (using just the leaves and not stems for instance) the better it will taste. I use SweetLeaf Stevia either in liquid (which is my favorite) or powder form because to me it has no bitter aftertaste. 

The food industries are starting to patent various forms of Stevia which are reduced to just the sweetest compound chemicals of the Stevia plant. Truvia is one you might see; another is PureVia.
 

Although these manufactured sweeteners start with the Stevia plant, they add additional ingredients and processes so they can patent their products. I recommend you avoid these and stick with the natural forms of Stevia.  You can also try an all-natural stevia that is not processed at all but has mixed reviews.

Here’s a handy chart to use for Stevia to Sugar conversions in your recipes:

Stevia Conversion Chart

Looking for sweet treats that are Candida Diet approved?

Check out my delicious Coconut Cupcakes or Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding recipes which use only a candida diet-approved sweeteners.

If you have insulin issues, you should avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance).

I hope this has helped you have at least a fairly sweet life despite having to fight off Candida overgrowth.

Don’t be discouraged: the good news is that as you get the Candida under control, your craving for sweets will become much less. Hang in there, steady and focused wins the race.

Keep taking your preventative supplements and eating the recommended foods and stay ahead of the yeast’s attempts to come back. 

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Jar of sugar cubes with tongs

Reader Feedback:  Have you tried Xylitol, Erythritol or Stevia yet?   If so, how did you like them?

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