Having been put on medication after medication last year until I was finally at a daily total of 6 (7 if you consider I have to take one twice a day) and still not feeling 100%, I decided to try natural medicine. One of the massage therapists I’ve seen since the June car accident is very into natural and holistic medicine so I asked her if she could recommend someone. After asking me my symptoms, goals, etc. she referred me to her naturopath.
In preparation for my appointment today, I had a four page health questionnaire to fill out. The natural health clinic also checked out my insurance coverage for me and I was happy to find that my health insurance covers naturopathic medicine 100% subject to my normal co-pay. This is pretty amazing, actually.
When I arrived and met with my naturopath we discussed all the issues that are concerning me, allergies, the new diagnosis of asthma, the constant weight gain since moving to Seattle, digestive changes, and just my overall feeling of not being 100% myself. I told him my goal was to get off as many meds as possible and to get back to 100%. He asked me many questions, all of which elicited a “yes” response but that I had forgotten to mention. At that point he was pretty confident of the problem but wanted to do some applied kinesiology tests as well. These are muscle tests that quite frankly seem odd and would send my skeptical husband’s eyebrows soaring. Basically, while putting different things up to you (to my stomach in this case) such as almonds, candida (yeast), etc. they test your ability to resist a gentle push down on your arm. If your resistance ability changes dramatically, that’s a sign that the substance being introduced to you is an issue. The tests confirmed the naturopath’s suspicions and he diagnosed me with an overgrowth of candida (yeast).
According to the naturopath, and articles I’ve since looked up on the web, when candida (yeast) grows beyond its normal limits (due to antibiotics – I was on four rounds last year and have taken a low-dose antibiotic daily for more than 2 years – diet, etc.) it wreaks havoc on your system causing inflammation, poor digestion and a condition known as “leaky gut” where nutrients and large protein molecules from food leak into your blood causing your body to attack them as allergens. Lovely. The result? It varies, but common symptoms are fatigue, sinusitis, joint and muscle aches, headaches, asthma, indigestion, weight gain, skin inflammation, etc. Sinusitis, asthma, indigestion, weight gain and skin inflammation? Bingo.
The cure is to get “your gut” back in balance. This is where the challenge comes in. You can do this two ways: diet only or diet and supplements. As I’m a wimp, I chose the easier way of diet and supplements so I could be a little less stringent with my diet. So, I have 4 kinds of supplements to take and a diet overhaul to undergo. A really, really hard one as I basically have to completely change how I eat.
First, sugar has to be eliminated – no refined or brown sugar, honey, fructose and fruit juice, my naturopath allows whole fruits and veg, other sources say no fruit period. Sugar is everywhere – ketchup anyone? – and I LOVE IT so this change is going to be super hard.
Just as hard? Step 2, minimize all yeasted or fermented food. So, no yeast breads, crackers, rolls, bagels, pastries, muffins, no soy sauce, no aged cheese (goodbye blue!). Other sources also say to minimize dairy and eliminate peanuts and peanut products, foods containing gluten, and all processed and refined foods.
The kicker. No alcohol. None, zero.
What’s left? Protein and veg. So that New Year’s resolution to eat less meat is off the table at least for now. I will try to eat fish at least two-three nights a week but eliminating chicken and meat on this candida diet doesn’t seem wise.
I’m not going to lie – this diet really kills the pleasure of eating for me. On the upside, it’s not forever (once things are back in balance you can reintroduce the forbidden foods), I will definitely lose weight and more importantly, if it works, I’ll be off most of my meds and feeling like myself again. I can give up bread for that – I think 😉