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DIY Candida Cleanse

“Marinated Kale Salad-2” by Jules is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” 

Many people have a problem with Candida due to poor diet and lifestyle. You could argue that the majority of Americans have a problem with candida, and it’s important to understand the relevant health issues as well as how to properly address it.

Candida is yeast and bacteria that live in our gut. It is what we consider the “bad bacteria.” We also have “good bacteria” in our gut, which promotes a good immune system and healthy digestion. When we have higher amounts of candida than we have good bacteria – a candida overgrowth – it can cause serious health issues.

Some common health problems associated with candida overgrowth are:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Skin rashes and acne
  • Digestive disorders (Crohn’s, IBS, etc)
  • Yeast infections
  • Hormonal imbalances

These are just to name a few…

 

How does someone develop candida overgrowth?

Candida feeds off of sugar and yeast. Eating foods high in refined sugars, high in carbs, and processed foods all contribute to candida overgrowth. Not eating enough foods that contain good bacteria also contributes to the problem. Taking antibiotics, birth control pills, and steroids all create an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.

 

How can I tell if I have a candida problem?

If you’ve eaten a conventional American diet throughout your life, you likely have a problem with candida. However, there are a couple of other clear indicators. If you have a white film on your tongue in the morning, this is often an indicator of candida overgrowth. Nail fungus can also be a sign of candida. You can conduct a “spit test.” Fill half of a glass with room temperature water. First thing in the morning, spit a dime-size amount of saliva into the glass. It should float at the top. Check it several minutes later. If the spit sinks, starts to form strings hanging from it, or you see a cloudy residue at the bottom, it indicates candida.

 

How do I get rid of candida overgrowth?

Doing a candida cleanse can help kill off the bad bacteria and help rebuild healthy bacteria in your gut.

 

There are two steps to a candida cleanse:

  1. Kill off the candida
  2. Add good bacteria

 

Killing off the candida:

  • Eliminate foods that feed the candida: 
    • Eliminate anything with sugar. No artificial sweeteners either. 
    • Avoid natural sweeteners (maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, agave). Stevia is ok.
    • Eliminate foods with yeast (bread, crackers, pasta, etc).
    • Avoid fruit (berries other than strawberries and apples are ok in small amounts).
    • Avoid starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, other root vegetables, etc).
    • No alcohol.
    • Avoid dairy.
    • No processed food.
    • Take supplements that kill bacteria, yeast, and fungus at breakfast and lunch (garlic, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract). Candida can become immune to a supplement, so it is best to take one for 4-5 days and then switch to a different one. You can rotate with a couple different supplements.

 

Adding healthy bacteria:

  • Eat plenty of fermented, cultured foods that contain natural probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables).
  • Drink apple cider vinegar (I drink it as a “shot” – a tablespoon of vinegar in a shot glass then diluted with water).
  • Add unrefined coconut oil to tea or smoothies (it has anti-fungal properties).
  • Gluten-free grains in small amounts may be alright (brown rice, quinoa, oats). Listen to your body.
  • Eat lots of cooked vegetables (especially dark green veggies). Cooked veggies are easier to digest.
  • Eat lots of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, etc). Make sure they are free of antibiotics and hormones.
  • Take a probiotic with your dinner (raw, refrigerated is best). 
  • Take an L-Glutamine supplement to help heal the lining of your intestines. 
  • Get plenty of fiber to help clean out your colon. Eat ground flaxseed, ground chia seeds, or make chia pudding.

 

Follow this diet and supplement routine for at least two weeks. You may need to go longer if your candida overgrowth is particularly bad. You can slowly start to introduce starchy vegetables and fruits into your diet, and gradually cut back on the antibacterial/anti-fungal supplements. Keep sugar, high-carb, and processed foods out of your diet altogether to prevent candida regrowth. Make eating probiotic foods and drinks a part of your regular diet as well.

 

Die-off:

It is common to experience “die-off” symptoms while doing a cleanse, because of all the toxins flushing from your body. You may feel tired, have a skin breakout, headache, or need to use the bathroom more frequently. However, if you are someone who has not been eating very healthy, I recommend changing your diet to more whole foods 2-4 weeks prior to starting the cleanse. The good news is that the die-off symptom are temporary and usually last 3-5 days. You will then start to feel much better as your body regains balance.

 

The first time I did a candida cleanse was about seven years ago. It was a rough experience. Looking back, I did not approach the cleanse properly. I went from eating a high-processed, high-sugar diet to – wham! – complete candida cleanse. I think it was too much for my body to handle all at once. I broke out in acne all over my face and felt really sick. I had intense sugar cravings, and really struggled to stick to the diet. After having made some healthy lifestyle changes over the past several years, I have found the cleanse to be much more doable, and the die-off symptoms are more minor. It’s a good idea to do a cleanse once or twice per year, even if it is only for a week to keep candida at bay.

Guide to Treating Common Female Hormone Imbalance

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I have shared my personal experience with birth control pills, and my journey to finding natural alternatives. I am pleased to say I have been off synthetic birth control for over six years, using the Fertility Awareness Method to track my fertility and prevent unwanted pregnancy, as well as gaining better balance in my natural hormones.

There are some incredible supplements out there that can help support your body to better balance your hormones. If you have recently gone off birth control pills, suffer from PMS symptoms, or get cystic acne prior to your period (those large pimples under your skin that really hurt), there is likely an imbalance in your hormones.

Hormones are very complex and work together in ratios. We can simplify the most common hormonal-imbalances in women to two primary issues: Low Progesterone or High Androgens.

 

Low Progesterone

Progesterone is one of the female hormones. It has several important jobs. It produces the ovaries, normalizes blood sugar levels, and allows for a healthy pregnancy. It is also naturally prevents anxiety and depression. This is the hormone that naturally increases to induce ovulation, and can be detected by tracking your Basil Body Temperature.

Common symptoms of low progesterone:

  • PMS symptoms (moodiness, bloating, cravings)
  • Painful breasts
  • Headaches
  • Low libido
  • Cystic acne prior to menstruation
  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Weight gain around your waist
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping

 

How to Treat Low Progesterone:

There is a strong link between chronic stress and low progesterone. When your body is under a lot of stress, it uses the resources normally used to produce progesterone to produce cortisol instead.

  • Lower your stress
    • Practice self-love,
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Don’t workout too hard too frequently
    • Quit caffeine
    • Reduce the amount of sugar you eat
    • Make sure you are eating enough calories
  • Try taking the herb Vitex (Agnus Cactus or Chastetree Berry) to help support progesterone production
  • Magnesium, B6, and Zinc, and Vitamin C are all needed to support your body in producing progesterone.

Take Fertility Blend for Women by Daily Wellness. This supplement contains Vitex, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B, and green tea. I took it for one month, and right away noticed I had no cystic acne prior to my period. I’ve been taking it ever since!

 

 

High Androgen

Androgens (such as testosterone) are male hormones that are found in both men and women. Androgens are produced in women through the adrenal glands and the ovaries. Androgens are often converted to estrogen, another female hormone. Androgens aid in the functioning of organs such as kidneys, liver, and bone-density.

Common symptoms of high androgen:

  • Acne
  • Excess hair growth on chin or upper lip
  • Hair thinning or balding on scalp
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Irregular periods
  • Blood sugar disorders (such as diabetes or insulin resistance)
  • High blood-pressure
  • High cholesterol

 

How to Treat High Androgen Levels:

Androgens are linked to sebum production in the skin. If the level of androgens are too high in our body, our skin produces too much sebum, which will clog pores and cause a breeding ground for bacteria – leading to acne. Eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates will cause an increase in levels of androgens. Having high levels of “good” estrogens will combat the negative effects of androgens. We also have “bad” estrogen (xenoestrogens) in our body from living in a toxic environment (pollution, eating and drinking from plastic containers, taking synthetic birth control pills, etc).

  • Reduce “bad” estrogen in the body
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Eat a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet (low GI)
  • Use facial oil to unclog sebum in your pores.
  • Try taking a DIM (diindolylmethane) supplement

Estroblock is a supplement containing DIM (diindolylmethane). This is a substance found in leafy green vegetables. DIM works to reduce excess androgens as well as support your liver in removing “bad” estrogens. There has been a lot of hype on the internet over Estroblock, and it has helped many people get rid of their acne. I have used it for about two years, and have found it to be tremendously helpful in keeping my acne at bay. 

 

Balancing your hormones often times requires you to make some lifestyle changes in order to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Simply taking supplements will likely not help much if you are eating a poor diet, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising. Take care of yourself, and start by giving your body the nutrition it needs. 

 

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