If you ever wonder why your energy and focus have all but vanished, it might be more than just sleep deprivation. Over the past few months I’ve been living it up. We’ve had tons of fun with family and friends over the summer months at cookouts and the lake, among other places, all while eating deliciously addictive food. I ended up paying dearly for the unbridled feasting in the form of my body rebelling against me in a variety of ways, but the worst parts have been the fatigue and “Brain Fog”. If you’ve never lived through the hell of Brain Fog you can trust me when I say you don’t want to; it’s like trying to move while stuck in glue, except your mind, focus and memory are being held hostage instead of your feet. I feel spacey and air-headed, like I’m in la-la land, and mentally numb. Sometimes this mess creeps up on me slowly, so that I don’t notice the effects at first. I chalk it up to being overwhelmed and tired, and then usually comfort eat things that I shouldn’t, which winds up making the situation even worse.
Last week I finally hit rock bottom and knew that I was likely dealing with a systemic Candida overgrowth throughout my body as I have in the past. Having done a lot of research in the past when this has happened to me, I knew what needed to be done and begrudgingly set out to conquer the sugar-devouring Candida. One of the evil ironies of this mess is that it makes your body crave more sugar to feed the nasty fungus, so in the midst of other symptoms, cutting myself off from sugar was HEINOUS. My mouth started to water if I so much as thought about chocolate or a Coke or Cocoa Krispies or anything else sugary that I love. It’s really hard to serve the kids something sweet and not have some myself, but I know that it’s the only way I will eventually feel better. Let the Candida Detoxing begin!
Here are the most effective strategies I’m using to kick Candida out:
1) Dietary Detox- Basically, for a month’s time, I am cutting out sugar every way I can. That means No fruit (other than berries because they have a low glycemic index), no dairy, and for now nothing super-starchy like potatoes and rice. I’m permanently off of anything with gluten, so anything with wheat flour (like most bread and pasta) has been long as an option for me. No alcohol (I know… the horror! But if I can go nine months, four separate times, without the good stuff I can last a month). Lean meats, veggies, and good fats (like almond butter and guacamole/avocado) are my diet right now. It’s hard to begin with, but the self-denial is really paying off. I can actually think straight and not feel like I’m going to fall asleep all of the time. Chewing sugar-free gum with a fun flavor like Strawberry helped to ease my cravings without making me want to commit a crime over not getting to eat dessert.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar- There are tons of health benefits associated with ACV, but one of them is whipping a Candida overgrowth back into control. It’s an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial food, but also helps to strengthen the “good” bacteria in your gut that we need to overcome the leaky gut situation. It flushes out the toxins and mucus that can also linger in the digestive system that makes it difficult for a Candida-ridden system to function properly. But let’s face it, ACV smells atrocious and burns like Satan’s spit, so taking a shot of it every morning can be a dreaded chore. I’ve found a way to make it more palatable and actually enjoyable, though! Take a chilled can of La Croix sparkling water (no caffeine, sugar, or sodium), pour in a glass with a tablespoon of ACV, a bit of lime juice, and a couple of squirts of Stevia liquid. It’s seriously delicious, and it gives me a little bit of an energy pickup, too! Also, be sure to get this kind of ACV… you need to have the “mother” in it that makes the good bacteria.
3) Bone Broth- Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is a totally disgusting process but the benefits of the end product are WELL worth the trouble. I first heard of the benefits of making bone broth from my friend Deva at MyLifeSuckers (you know, the amazing mom parody video guru). Deva deals with autoimmune issues, which are connected to leaky gut, and gives an easy recipe for making the bone broth that aids in healing the digestive system. I make big batches, freeze part of it and then keep just enough in my refrigerator for the next three days. During this flare-up. I’m drinking an entire pint jar a day of the broth, spread out throughout the day. When my system calms down, I will back down to drinking one cup a day. It’s not bad… add a little garlic salt and I’m all about it. And it’s helping.
4) Candida Cleanse Supplements- A naturopath doctor introduced me to this regimen a few years ago, and it’s my go-to when I have a flare-up. Massey Medicinals Candida Freedom and Digest include enzymes that helps the body process the Candida being removed from the body and lessen the “die-off” symptoms that the detox process can produce. I seriously swear by this stuff, but I really feel it’s only one tool out of several that are helpful in ridding the body of Candida and restoring the balance to the gut which in turn restores overall body health.
Keeping Candida in check makes my life much more enjoyable and helps me to manage my Bipolar symptoms. It’s not always fun, but it’s well worth the self-denial of treats because when Candida takes over like an unstoppable rebel force, I can’t think straight enough to enjoy what I’m eating anyways.