Friday, May 29, 2009

Anti-candida diet: The first week

What led me to the anti-Candida diet?
About 10 weeks ago I visited a doctor, ailed by what I thought might be a sinus infection. After asking me a few questions and looking up my nose, the doctor confirmed my suspicion and quickly prescribed the antibiotic Amoxicillin for treatment of sinusitis. After ten days of treatment, I felt better but not healed, so she wrote me a new script, this time for SMZ/TMP DS 800-160 (generic for Bactrim). By the time I finished the second prescription, I felt better in some ways, but I also felt worse in a lot of other ways.

Over the next month and a half, my health went downhill big-time. Ever since I ended the antibiotic/antibacterial treatment, I've been in nearly-constant pain and discomfort all over, which just kept getting worse. Here's a list of my most noticeable symptoms:

  • constant headaches and head pain
  • jaw pain
  • tooth pain
  • eye pain
  • vision disturbances (specifically optic neuritis)
  • clumsiness
  • emotional instability
  • neck pain
  • tender throat
  • sinus inflammation
  • nausea
  • uncomfortable digestive gurgling
  • chest pain (respiratory)
  • confusion
  • "brain fog"
  • forgetfulness (I felt very stupid)
  • unexplained general pain
  • fatigue
  • and surely some other things I can't think of right now.

This stuff was constant and it was driving me absolutely nuts, so I scoured the internet for answers. For a while I feared that I might have meningitis or a brain abscess, among other undesirable or deadly maladies. But then I started reading about Candida overgrowth. I'd already come across this condition once during my search, but I didn't look into it. Honestly, I can't even remember what made me click the "Candida" link this time, but I did, and quickly everything started making sense. It connected my recent illness with some issues I've dealt with off-and-on over the last five or ten years, including athlete's foot, toenail fungus, rashes, other skin conditions, numbness, and anxiety, as well as some of the symptoms I listed above.

Beginning the Candida diet
One week ago, after reading about Candida overgrowth, I began a Candida detox, which means I eliminated sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy products from my diet, along with other types of food I don't normally consume anyway, like alcoholic beverages. For the last week, my diet has consisted of only a handful of different foods, including eggs, chicken, fish, granny smith apples, raw garlic, peppers, berries, almonds, pecans, apple cider vinegar, acidophilus tablets, and tons of water, along with some exercise (though not as much as I've intended).

Before I began this anti-candida diet, I ate the same thing almost every day. Usually I would eat a couple bowls of Frosted Mini Wheats in the morning. (Sometimes instead of cereal, I would eat a few "fun size" candy bars.) And almost every evening I would make myself a pepperoni pizza (from scratch). Maybe a little candy at night, too. So essentially my diet consisted of a lot of carbs and sugar.

In the week since I ditched the cereal, pizza, and Milky Way diet for the anti-Candida diet, I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my health. Pretty much all my symptoms have diminished drastically, and many have disappeared. Right now I feel pretty good, and it seems like I'm going to keep improving, as long as I stay disciplined. But I know I'm nowhere near "cured" yet.

I've read a lot about die-off symptoms that occur shortly after you begin an anti-Candida diet, which happens because your body becomes overloaded with dead microorganisms (or waste) that the body simply cannot process very quickly. According to a lot of the information I've read, die-off usually can be felt in the form of the same symptoms you had to begin with, although it's not the same thing. I can't say for sure that I've experienced this die-off yet. Maybe it's because I've forced myself to drink lots and lots of water, which has enabled my body to flush out the waste efficiently. Or maybe I just haven't experienced die-off yet. That's why I created this blog; to share my experiences as they happen so other people can learn from them.

I'll try to keep updating this blog as my condition changes.

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  1. Hi Ryan,
    How is the Candida doing? I think I also have candida. I do not have the same symptoms you have....well, I do have some of them but my biggest complaint is acid reflux that is not cured with medication. I have been what I call sick for 2 years. I do pretty well on the diet I follow but still get acid...not a lot but some.

    About 4 days ago I started taking grape seed extract and acidphilus.
    Believe it or not, I am doing much better. This is probably the best I have felt in 2 years.

    I am going to check out your blog further when I have a chance.
    I have an acid reflux blog....but I think it is not acid reflux but candida.

  2. Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

    Green Tea

  3. I am sure that you are having a great time on your candida diet. I have been doing that diet for over a year now and the results are so amazing.

  4. while you were suffering from candida, did you by any chance notice swollen lymph nodes, or perhaps during die off?

  5. I know this post is a few years old, but I just had to write a response to say thank you for writing it.

    I was also just treated with a double dose of antibiotic hell that included bactrim and penicilian VK. The best part of this being... that I didn't actually have any signs of infection other than ear pressure. It turned out to be a botched root canal. The tooth was pulled and I thought the nightmare of Bactrim was over.(allergic reaction on day 5 landed me in the ER and I was admitted for 3 days)

    So you can guess the rest... I didn't know what bad felt like until the yeast took over. It was like overnight I became allergic to food. Horrible, gut wrenching stomach and digestive issues (hospitalized again, could not eat for 4 answers) Constant headaches, jaw pain, ear pressure, nasal congestion, anxiety, and just general weakness. I am 33 years old and a mother of two. I was nearly bedridden. They have done scopes and biopsies with no answers other than possible food sensitivities. Sure, one day I could eat pasta and the next day it makes me feel like I'm dying, that must be a simple allergy.

    Before this I was in decent health, withstanding my RA which has been in remission for the last 2+ years. Now I wonder if I have arthritis at all. I was a sugar , carb junkie and that coupled with the antibiotics just did me in.

    Good news... I went gluten free 3 weeks ago and am now on the candida diet for one week. I am already noticing a difference in my sinus issues and my stomach has shown some improvement as well.

    I apologize for the novel of a response, I just really related to your words and appreciate them. The diet isn't exactly delightful, but the benefits are so worth it.

  6. No need to apologize, Chellesy. I welcome all comments, and I'm sure your comment will be helpful to other people who find this post the same way you found it. Also, it motivated me to read this post for the first time in a couple years, which is probably something I needed to do. You're welcome and thank you.