Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After nearly four weeks...

This is kind of an update, I guess. Not much to report, though, because the anti-Candida diet has made me feel tons better. Almost four weeks into the diet, I have felt fantastic for at least the last three weeks.

The last couple days, however, I've felt some minor symptoms like headache and nausea. Nothing like the headaches and nausea I had before I began the anti-Candida diet, though. Not even close.

I suspect one of two possible causes for these symptoms:
  1. Candida die-off, or
  2. Slacking on my diet.
Here's why I think it could be die-off: I gave myself a garlic enema two days ago. (Yeah, I know it's funny. Get over it.) Sending raw garlic straight to the source (my intestines) certainly may have caused some pretty serious die-off, but I really can't say for sure.

Here's why I think it might be my diet: I've eaten some things the last couple days that don't fit into the anti-Candida diet. It's not like I've gone on a binge or anything, but I've certainly loosened up the rules. The no-no items I've eaten include Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, milk (with the cereal), sour cream, cheddar cheese, and corn tortillas. I'll get back to the program and see if that makes a difference.

I don't know; maybe it's a combination of both prospective causes. Since I never experienced any serious die-off symptoms when I began the diet, I don't know what true die-off feels like. But because I'm pretty sure I've already killed off a lot of the pesky Candida, I also don't think the dietary cheating is responsible for the slight return of symptoms. We'll see.

And if you're wondering why I never experienced any serious die-off symptoms, it's probably because I've forced myself to drink tons of water. Probably at least a gallon of water per day (which is supposedly a lot more than adequate for a 150-pound guy like myself).

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From Fungus Focus:

According to a research report from Loma Linda University, garlic extract strengthens the immune system by helping the body's white blood cells gobble up enemy germs. Garlic has demonstrated significant antifungal activity against Candida albicans in both animal and test tube studies. Greater anti-Candida activity has resulted from exposing Candida to garlic, than to nystatin - the most common prescription drug used to fight Candida. No clinical studies of garlic in the treatment of candidiasis have yet been conducted. However, some doctors suggest an intake equal to approximately one clove (4 grams) of fresh garlic per day; this would equal consumption of a garlic tablet that provides a total allicin potential of 4,000 to 5,000 mcg.

Garlic is commonly used to fight infection, increase circulation and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Garlic has been known to detoxify the body by cleansing the kidneys and increasing urine flow. Furthermore, Garlic's healing properties make it an ideal agent for fighting colds and flu, bacteria, and fungi. Garlic has also been used for lowering cholesterol, reducing high blood pressure, and treating respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma.

What they're saying here is that there is absolutely no need for you to take any prescription drugs to combat your Candida overgrowth. There is basically only one drug that can even help at all, but this drug is less effective than simple, cheap garlic. Additionally, with garlic you'll never have to worry about side effects.

I just ate ten spoonfuls of raw chopped garlic. That's equivalent to about one head of garlic.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's the cause?

Have you ever wondered what causes your chronic illness or illnesses? Yeah, well so have I. Not just my own illnesses, but some of your illnesses, too. So I did a little digging, and here's what I found out about the causes of many common contemporary illnesses (listed in alphabetical order):

"The cause of pimples is unknown."

"The exact cause of asthma isn't known."
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Attention Deficit Disorder
"Despite intensive research, the exact origins of ADD and ADHD have yet to be determined." - The Health Center (See my note near the end of this post.)

"There is no known single cause for autism..." -Autism Society of America

Bipolar Disorder (Manic-depression)
"The cause of bipolar disorder is not entirely known." -Psych Central

Canker Sores
"The precise cause of canker sores remains unclear..." -Mayo Clinic

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown." -Medicine Plus

Crohn's Disease
"The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown."

"The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) is unknown. Most experts do know, though, that it is not caused by poor hygiene." -Medical News Today

"The cause of eczema (atopic dermatitis) is unknown."

"Seizures are symptoms of abnormal brain function. With the exception of very young children and the elderly, the cause of the abnormal brain function is usually not identifiable." -Epilepsy Foundation

"The cause of fibromyalgia is not known." -WebMD

"Experts do not agree about what causes headaches, but they agree that more studies are needed." -eMedicineHealth

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
"The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not known." -WebMD

"The exact cause of migraine is not fully understood."

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
"Experts don't know the exact cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder." -WebMD

Optic Neuritis

  • "Optic neuritis in young adults is believed to most commonly develop when the immune system attacks myelin covering the optic nerve, resulting in inflammation and damage. It's not certain what causes your immune system to attack its own tissue." -Mayo Clinic

  • "While other disease processes can cause optic neuritis, MS is the most likely cause in a young, otherwise healthy individual." -National MS Society
OK, so what causes MS?

Multiple Sclerosis
  • "Doctors still don't understand what causes MS..." -WebMD

  • "While the cause (etiology) of MS is still not known..." -National MS Society
Yeah, that's what I thought. Now tell me what causes the immune system to attack the myelin covering the optic nerve. I already know what causes it, but I want you to explain it to me, doc.

Pre-menstrual Syndrome
"Experts say that the definitive cause of PMS is not yet known." -ehealthMD

"The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown."

"There are many theories about the cause of schizophrenia, but none have been proven." -WebMD

Tourette Syndrome
"The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn't known, and there's no known way to prevent it." -Mayo Clinic

OK, so let me get this straight: Doctors have no idea what causes any of these things, yet doctors continue to treat all of them with prescription medications anyway? Does that seem wrong to anyone reading this?

In just one sentence I've already identified two things these conditions all have in common. But there's more: Another thing they all have in common is that they are Candida symptoms.

Taking it a step further, all but a couple of these conditions can be explained by Candida. And unlike the medical establishment's approach, it all makes sense when you look at them as symptoms of Candida overgrowth. Additionally, Candida overgrowth does have a cause. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine does not even recognize the existence of Candida overgrowth (because it doesn't show up on MRIs). Worse, they treat many of these Candida symptoms with precisely the same medications that are responsible for causing Candida overgrowth.

This list only contains conditions that didn't require tons of detailed research. There are plenty more illnesses out there that your doctor knows nothing about but doesn't hesitate prescribing dangerous medications for them anyway.

ADD Note: I have taken medication for ADD since December 1992. Although I willingly take this medication every morning, I really don't even like calling it ADD anymore, first of all because it is not a disorder; it is simply a difference in how some people's brains process information. In fact, I'd call it an attention surplus because that's what it really is. The only reason it seems like an attention deficit is because "non-ADD-brain" researchers don't understand that the "ADD brain" is constantly trying to focus on 20 different ideas that are boucing around inside the head at any given time. When you're trying to focus on 20 different ideas at the same time, none of the ideas will receive as much attention from your brain as your teacher or parent expects from you. But every once in a while you get one of those magic moments in which you are able to turn off all the unwanted thoughts and focus on the most important one. It's during these moments that brilliant, world-changing ideas are born.

In the 16+ years since I began taking Dexedrine (or occasionally Adderall) for ADD, I have never experienced any side effects. If the medication didn't help, I wouldn't take it. After all these years, it's difficult for me to imagine that I could make the foundation of my "ADD" go away just by changing my diet for a while. However, now that I'm learning about Candida's link to all these illnesses, I envision a day when I will be able to focus and concentrate without the aid of Dexedrine.

Do doctors or scientists know why Dexedrine helps treat ADD? Nope. They just know it minimizes the symptoms. In my case, it also addresses the problem, and I consider myself lucky to not feel any side effects. But I also wonder now if ADD medication played a role in feeding Candida or allowing it to take over my body. I don't think it plays any role, but I'm going to try to find out.

I'm not out to debunk all the illnesses that other people suffer from. I'm just out to find an answer, and in finding that answer I'm willing to crush my own long-held beliefs if the evidence tells me I should.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A very clear sign

For literally as long as I can remember, there has been a bump (or small lump) on my gums behind my bottom left front tooth (beneath my tongue). I wouldn't call it a canker sore, and it's definitely not a cold sore or fever blister. I really don't know what to call it, but it is annoying and I've always just figured I'd have to deal with it forever.

Whatever I should call it doesn't matter anymore, though, because it's gone. A few minutes ago, as I ate an apple, it was there and then it was gone. No pain and no blood. Now, as I run my tongue against the spot, I can barely feel any sign that it was ever there.

I had actually noticed that the sore had been shrinking lately, only since I've begun the anti-Candida diet. Almost three weeks into the diet, there is no doubt that my Candida treatment caused this sore to disappear, so I'd say it's a very good sign of things to come.

There's one thing I wonder about, though. Did oil pulling have anything to do with the disappearance of the sore? I've been oil pulling for two or three days now--since yesterday, I guess--so oil pulling may have played a role.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Oil pulling

I've been reading about oil pulling today. Lots of positive testamonials. Here's a good page to begin learning about oil pulling.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Candida questionnaire

Here's a good Candida questionnaire (PDF) from The Yeast Connection. Print it and follow directions to find out if your problems are (or may be) caused by Candida overgrowth. I have not answered this questionnaire yet.

Using a different questionnaire (long version--second test on the page), my score was 198 just two weeks ago. (Any score over 140 in men indicates that "yeast-connected health problems are almost certainly present.") However, after adhering to the anti-Candida diet for the last two weeks, my score is down to 93. (Scores over 90 indicate that "yeast-connected health problems are probably present.)

With just a little more work, I'll be comfortably under 90, which will put me in the range that suggests "yeast-connected health problems are possibly present." Of course, I didn't have to retake the test to know I feel way better now than I felt two weeks ago.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Candida spit test

OK, so this acne-related web site disputes the validity of Candida spit test results (scroll to the bottom of that page for spit test info), saying almost everyone 'fails' the spit test and that all the web sites with spit test directions are trying to sell you something. In their argument against the spit test, this web site begins its case by stating, "First, nobody explains how the spit test diagnoses Candida."

But I've looked at a lot of web pages about Candida, and most of them are not trying to sell me anything. (Or maybe I just instantly hit the back button every time I realize I'm on a web site that is trying to sell me something.) Anyway, I have learned enough to know that I have no reason to buy anything from any web site for Candida treatment. (Threelac comes to mind.) Mostly my treatment involves some things that cost nothing, and other things that are just a normal part of a grocery shopping list. ACV, coconut oil, garlic, and good foods.

Furthermore, I have read explanations for why the spit test is a pretty good indicator of Candida, though I wouldn't call it a diagnosis, nor has it been presented to me as a diagnosis. It's just a preliminary indication, which probably is pretty reliable if you 'fail.' The problem, in total constrast to the acne web site's claim, is with some people who don't fail. To the best of my understanding, some people who do have Candida don't receive positive results from the spit test.

Looking deeper into the acne web site, I see that their dietary recommendations are very similar, if not identical, to the anti-Candida diet. They vehemently attempt to assert that acne and Candida are not related, yet they propose the exact same 'cure' for acne as Candida web sites suggest for 'curing' Candida.

The creators of this web site seem to have a militant agenda to make their readers believe acne and Candida are totally unrelated, which, for all I know, may be true. It doesn't add up, but it may be true. This is one reason why I advise you not to just believe everything you read, including the things I write. There is bogus and conflicting information on a lot of Candida-related web sites, but if you look and learn, it all starts to add up. You have to decide for yourself which information makes the most sense.

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Apple cider vinegar

There are two kinds of apple cider vinegar:
  1. The crap you get at the grocery store; and
  2. The kind that works.
Most, if not all, of the ACV you'll find at the grocery store is pasteurized. This includes Heinz and Meijer brand ACV. It might help a little, but it's not what you want (if you want to get rid of your Candida overgrowth).

What you want is organic, raw, unfiltered ACV.

Last night I found what I was looking for. I bought two quarts of Bragg ACV from Whole Foods Market. It's pretty expensive--$5.69 per quart, at least where I bought it--but it's an expense you can deal with because you need it.

Here's why I know there's a difference between the two varieties of ACV: I have tonail fungus. The pasteurized stuff I used yesterday didn't do anything visible to my toenails. But today, after adding a little of the Bragg ACV to the other vinegar, then soaking my feet in the mixture, my toenails were different. The most noticeable difference was that some of the crusty outer layer came off of a few nails.

This stuff (the Bragg ACV) is making a difference. The other stuff did not.

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Finding the right combination

Almost a couple weeks into my anti-Candida treatment, I've been learning a lot and settling into some behavioral and dietary patterns. Here are the main components that have been helping me fight Candida overgrowth so far, along with my primitive explanations for why these methods have helped me:

  • Garlic
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Diet (starving the Candida)
  • Exercise
  • Water
As an integral part of the anti-Candida diet, raw garlic is more a supplement than a cure; it's just part of the fight. Garlic has anti-fungal properties, and Candida, as you should know, is a fungus.

Raw, Organic, Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Same as garlic in ways. It's not the cure; just an important part of the fight. From what I've read, ACV is very acidic, but in the stomach it ends up making your body less acidic and more alkaline, which is one of your major objectives when fighting Candida.

In addition to drinking a shot of ACV every morning and evening, I've also been soaking my feet in ACV for at least half an hour a couple times a day, to fight athlete's foot and toenail fungus. It almost immediately fixed the athlete's foot (a few days), and it seems very clearly to be helping the toenail fungus. However, it's going to be at least a few months before I'll know for sure how effectively it works on the nails. (The anti-Candida diet will probably do more than the external application of ACV to help my toenail fungus in the long term.)

Diet (starving the Candida)
NO sugar (not even from sweet fruits). NO carbohydrates. NO dairy products. NO alcohol. This stuff feeds Candida, which makes you miserable. (Read more below in "NOT CHEATING ON THE DIET!")

Exercise combats Candida overgrowth in at least two ways. First, it causes you to inhale a lot more oxygen than normal. (Candida doesn't like oxygen.) Second, it makes you sweat out toxins that can't leave your body in any other way (for example, through urination).

Drinking lots of water keeps you hydrated and helps you flush toxins (or bad shit) out of your body. You probably do not hydrate yourself enough. Consequently, your body is unable to expel all the toxic crap you've put into yourself. If you just start drinking lots of water, you will probably begin feeling better just because your body will finally be able to evict the bad shit that's clogging up your whole freaking system.

Do you know why you have to pee so much when you drink beer or coffee? It's not the result of some magical property in these drinks; it's because you're basically poisoning yourself when you drink these beverages, which is why you feel buzzed or energetic afterward. When your body detects the poison, the body's job is to get rid of the poison, which it does by making you urinate. To make sure you expel the poisons ASAP, your body also borrows fluid from elsewhere in the body, which dehydrates you and leaves you with a hangover the next morning.

Although it is very important to put the right things into your body in your fight against Candida, it is more important to keep from putting the wrong things into your body. Every time you put sugar or carbohydrates into your body, you feed the Candida. Until you stop feeding the Candida, the Candida will continue using your body as a hospitable host. Unless you starve Candida, it will continue to thrive and reproduce, and it will take over your whole body once again as soon as you revert to your old dietary and behavioral patterns.

You have to kill all the excess Candida by starving it before you can expect to start living how you used to live. Even if you maintain a disciplined routine of consuming plenty of raw garlic and ACV, in addition to exercising and drinking lots of water, Candida will remain a nuisance in your body for as long as you keep feeding it the sugar it needs.

Not cheating on your diet is probably the most important part of the fight against Candida.

Some other things that will help you beat Candida
  • Acidophilus
  • 35 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • An alkaline pH
Acidophilus is a probiotic supplement that helps you return beneficial bacteria to your body, which you probably killed by taking antibiotics. However, until you kill the Candida fungus that moved into the bacteria's homes, these bacteria will have nowhere to live and probably will not help you much.

I don't know much about 35% hydrogen peroxide or pH yet. When I learn more about these things, I'll write about them.

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Minor setbacks

Friday night (four nights ago), after not eating all day, I ate a beef brisket sandwich at a Columbus Clippers baseball game. To stick as closely as possible to my anti-Candida diet, I could have eaten the meat without the bun, but I chose to eat my sandwich the way it was delivered to me (with only meat and bread). I felt a little foggy later on, and I also experienced a little head pain, but this was nothing like the pain and "brain fog" I experienced before I began the anti-Candida diet.

The following day I also ate a slice of pizza--1/8 of a 13" pepperoni pizza--to which I also had a minor adverse reaction. One clear effect is that my head was even more foggy Saturday than it was Friday, along with more minor head pain. This time, though, I also felt a little pain in my jaw whenever I opened my mouth wide, which is one of the many symptoms that made me miserable until recently. This wasn't so bad, though.

Then yesterday as I drove into town to buy some anti-Candida products, I stopped to offer a ride to a guy I saw walking out into the middle of nowhere. I expected to be home within two hours of leaving, but I ended up driving this guy around for two hours. Consequently, I was hungry before I even started my chores, so I stopped to get something to eat at Sonic. I ordered a double cheeseburger combo with a "Route 44" Dr. Pepper (44 ounces), which I knew might cause a Candida feeding frenzy within me.

Strangely I didn't feel much of a reaction to the poor meal choice. As I walked around the grocery store later on, I felt a little dizzy and fuzzy in the head, but I didn't feel any head pain or worsening of any other symptoms. About 20 hours later, I still haven't felt any kind of major effects. Maybe I'm just lucky.

Even though I haven't felt any signs of regression, I'm sure my unauthorized meal yesterday has slowed my progress, particularly the huge Dr. Pepper. If you are on the anti-Candida diet (or if you are thinking about beginning the diet), I do not recommend straying from the diet like this. Maybe you can do it once a week after you begin feeling better, just for a treat to keep you sane, but probably not any more frequent than that. And leave the Dr. Pepper behind. Order water instead.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Sinuses AOK

Now about ten days into my anti-Candida diet, I've noticed the last few days that my sinuses are great. No pain and no congestion for the first time in a long time. I don't know if this is from the foods I've been eating (or, more specifically, not eating) or if it's a result of the apple cider vinegar or the tons of raw garlic I've been eating, but my sinuses feel fantastic. No minor pain. Nothing. No trouble swallowing, either.

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