[blog updated July 2019]
Do you constantly feel drained, have trouble concentrating, and experience strong cravings for sugary and high-carb foods? Perhaps you have skin problems, depression or anxiety, or frequent yeast infections. These are all classic indicators of yeast overgrowth or candida overgrowth. It is possible to manage your severe candida symptoms by making significant lifestyle changes.
At Mitchell Medical Group, we specialize in the treatment of Candida overgrowth. The symptoms a patient with Candida can have may range from an irritable stomach with excessive gas, to digestion problems (that may be referred to as reflux) and rashes in many parts of the body.
Women are acutely aware when they get a vaginal yeast infection that goes away with medications. The majority of these patients feel a lot better when they go on the Candida diet to reduce the overgrowth of yeast.
An added benefit most patients enjoy while following the Candida cleanse diet is losing a significant amount of weight!
What to Know About the Candida Diet
In ideal circumstances, your body maintains a delicate balance of microorganisms. However, certain factors can throw off that balance and cause yeast overgrowth. The candida diet eliminates foods that candida thrives on, including refined sugars, and restores the healthy balance of microorganisms in your gastrointestinal tract. For results that last, you’ll need to follow this meal plan for your lifetime. Most people see significant improvements in their candida symptoms within two to four weeks, with drastic improvements in two to three months.
Weight Loss Diets
There is no shortage of diets claiming to help you lose weight fast and easy. One diet that was all the rage for many years was the Atkins Diet. Following this diet, you have to avoid bread, simple carbohydrates and sugar. You are allowed to eat all of the steaks you wanted and you would lose weight. Sound too good to be true? I think so.
Avoiding bread and pasta is a good thing if you want to lose weight, but really what happens is you mainly lose water weight. This weight will come right back once you deviate from the diet.
Then, of course, there are Juice-Fast Diets. Again, these diets can be helpful if they are done carefully but realistically, no one in our modern environment can stay on this type of diet for long without giving up.
Weight watchers is a dieting program that focuses on portion control and group support to keep your weight under control. Both of these are good concepts, except this program does not teach you the ‘right’ foods to eat. I have seen weight watchers meals that have pasta dishes and chocolate cake. These meals may appear microscopic but are they really satisfying and healthy?
Candida Diet Basics
I like to tell my Candida patients that they are not alone if they join the ‘celebrity crowd diet’. Many athletes and actors follow a variation of the Candida diet. Celebrities say they are on a ‘Gluten-free’ diet or some say they are going ‘Paleo’ – like a caveman. All of these diets follow some basic common premises. The average American diet consists of heavily processed foods, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, and chemical additives. The candida diet removes these junk nutrients and replaces them with healthy foods your body truly needs.
What to Avoid
On the candida diet, you’ll avoid alcohol, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and refined sugar and carbs. You’ll also need to avoid dairy products because of the high sugar content. On the candida diet, meat is allowed; however, you should avoid any meat products that were produced with antibiotics and hormones. Typical lunch meats should be avoided because of the chemical additives. Additionally, watch out for hidden sources of sugars, such as condiments like ketchup.
Avoid the foods below while on the candida diet.
- Animal protein such as bacon, hotdogs, pork, processed and packaged meats, sausages, tuna
- Grains including barley, bread, cereals, corn, crackers, oats, pasta, white flours, white rice, refined wheat, whole wheat
- Beans and legumes
- Cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, pistachios
- Caffeinated beverages
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fast food and fried foods
- Processed foods like TV dinners
Candida Diet Best Practices
It may seem like the strict requirements of the candida diet do not allow for a varied diet, but actually, you might be surprised to learn just how many delicious and nutritious foods you can enjoy. Vegetables are excellent for your health and may be enjoyed in significant quantities-just exercise caution with sauces and salad dressings. You can also enjoy cold-pressed oils, small quantities of nuts and seeds, and organic fruits (except for dried fruit and fruit juices). Enjoy fresh, organic meats, wild-caught seafood, and herbal teas. Although you should avoid dairy in general, it’s considered acceptable to consume live yogurt cultures because these replenish the good bacteria in your gut and combat yeast overgrowth.
- The 4 big No-No’s: No wheat (bread or pasta), processed sugar, milk or cheese, and for Candida patients, no sweet fruits (in the beginning).
- What can you eat? Eggs, chicken, turkey, fish and even red meat. The key is eating reasonable quantities of 4 to 6 ounces (the size of a deck of cards).
- You can have all the vegetables you like, except no corn, mushrooms or potatoes.
- Nuts can be a great snack (if you are not allergic!). Again, the rule of thumb is a handful, not a jar full.
- For snacks: apples, berries, and coconut are all good choices.
- Drinks: good quality water, herbal teas.
- If you need a sweetener, the Sweet Leaf stevia is the best choice.
The Beauty of the Candida Diet Program
One of the best things about the Candida Diet Program is that you do not need to feel deprived or starved! Of course, if you have been addicted to pizza and pasta your whole life this will be a major transition, but one of my patients once told me: ‘I lost 15 lbs over the past 3 weeks with the Candida cleanse diet and it was so easy!’
I always say weight loss is a good ‘side-effect’ for many of my patients who are looking to strengthen their immune system and overcome Candida overgrowth.
If you are one of those rare people who want to gain weight but you need to follow the Candida diet, this will be challenging. But the good news is I’ve figured out ways to do it.
- What is Candida Brain Fog and How is it Treated?
- The Best Probiotic for Your Candida
- How to Test for Candida
- Candida Diet – Less Restrictions, More Options
Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC
About the Author – Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. is a Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist based out of NYC. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine and completed training at the Robert Cooke Allergy Institute in New York City. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the author of Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution: The Ultimate Program for Reversing Your Symptoms One Drop at a Time. Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. has also been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fitness Magazine, Dr. Oz and News NY 1. Dr. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Smartest Doctor in the Room – a combination of a lively, personal and in-depth interview with top healthcare specialists.