If someone asked me two months ago, “What is candida?” I wouldn’t have had a clue although it’s a pretty enough sounding word. Today I am no longer ignorant and my familiarity with this little beastie is growing daily.
This blog has gone through various metamorphoses throughout its lifetime. I always thought that rather than start a new blog each time I start a new chapter in life, I’d just change directions here. So today, I start a candid conversation about candida. Yesterday I was beginning to regale my adventures of becoming a full time auntmom to my sister’s three precious littles, months earlier I was posting my favorite recipe remixes, and in the early years I was grappling with everything from God to guys. These are all glimpses of me, where I’ve been and where I am ever striving.
The only constant about me, is that I am ever becoming my true self.
If you’re interested in learning about what the heck is this candida thing anyway, stick around, pull up a chair…you’re always welcome to hang out on this front porch
Being Introduced to Candida
One not-so-fine mid April day I had had more than enough of some shoulder/neck pain which persisted well over 24 hours and would not relent no matter what modest interventions of ice, heat, and ibuprophen I attempted. With muscle tension turned migraine, I decided it was time to call a professional to help the situation. Being relatively new in town (which is now Waco, Texas for those who’ve been following my sojourn) I looked up a few area massage therapist and quickly browsed a few reviews. I found one woman, Theresa Surley, whose practice is called, House of Healing; I figured that was exactly what I needed and after reading several rave reviews, I called crossing my fingers she’d have an opening that afternoon.
My massage that day changed my life. It was the most educational and not-so-relaxing massage I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Theresa has amazingly healing hands and worked my sad, aching body into a state of relief. While I was, to be quite honest, a bit annoyed by all that I learned about my body that day, as I reflected on the information given to me I began to consider one of the most life-altering changes I’ve ever undertaken.
This is coming from the same woman who gave up gluten just one year ago.
G L U T E N. Yeah. Remember me, super passionate baker girl? Giving up flour and all other things bakey.
This new feat is even bigger than that.
“What could be bigger than giving up things like bread, pasta, and baked goods?” You ask? How about cutting out everything but clean, organic, free-range, non-antibiotic, chicken, beef, and veggies (and only the non-sugary veggies)?
I told you. It’s intense.
You see, what I learned from Ms. Theresa, is that I have what is called a Candida Yeast Overgrowth. Blech. That sounds awkward and like something you don’t discuss in public, Mav. Okay, okay, you’re right. But bear with me, because as I am learning, this is really super important…and incredibly common. So it just might matter to you. Personally.
In a nutshell: candida yeast comes standard in all makes and models of humans. It’s part of the good bacteria our body uses to get stuff done internally. Unfortunately there are certain occasions in which food, medicines, stressors, and circumstances all malfunction just so perfectly creating a prime habitat for candida to grow out of control and wreak all sorts of havoc on various systems around our bodies. The symptoms of Candida Overgrowth are pretty vast and often go undiagnosed because—no offense Western Medicine, but you often do fall short in this area—many Western physicians are not in the practice of examining whole body systems and are instead more apt to settle on the most simplified symptom-addressing answer.
For years…Y E A R S I have had a series of one random, seemingly isolated, weird ailment or symptom after another. I was starting to think I was some kind of hypochondriac because every time I’d go to the doctor, list my symptoms, get various tests done, I’d be told the same thing: lose weight, reduce stress, and sleep more.
Thanks. So helpful. Isn’t that something all of us could practice?
Yet the weird rashes, aches, pains, tingling, numbness, respiratory, and GI problems persisted. Not to mention that super frustrating bouts of dizziness and periodic blurred vision in my left eye.
So when Ms. Theresa started telling me about Candida Overgrowth and listing all the symptoms while I said, “check” after almost every one, the puzzle seemed complete. My relief about possibly, finally having an answer to years of weird and mysterious body problems far far outweighed any grief I felt about my impending radical diet and life-style change.
I told Ms. Theresa I’d give myself until the end of May to enjoy a “Farewell to Food Tour” of all my favorite eats. I explained that my birthday is at the end of May and I definitely planned on having cake and ice cream, especially if it would be my last taste of either… probably for forever.
At first, I rebelled against the notion of such a drastic dietary and life style shift. I never wanted to be that weird food person who could never gather for a simple meal with friends or who always had to bring her own thing to the potluck. I never wanted to offend others with my limited diet restrictions. I H A T E the idea of ever putting anyone out of their way and inconveniencing them. And my affinity for chocolate and ice cream is more than a passing school-girl crush.
But as I reflected on the new information I was absorbing about this thing called Candida and how it was devastating my body, I decided it was time to change my unhealthy and abusive relationship with food, once and for all. I decided it was time to take back my body; to stage a coups and fight off the rogue candida threatening my very thriving. It is time to enjoy being, physically. To dance and run and bike and swim and play. I’m done with being and feeling so old when I am on the early side of my mid-thirties.
So, be warned Candida, I’m comin’ for you. It ain’t gonna be pretty.
I know my body will hurt and go through withdrawals—especially from sugar. I understand as the candida dies off it’s a pretty rugged road with many flu-like symptoms. There are supplements and teas I will be taking to assist several areas: probiotics—to promote the repopulation of the good bacterias; anti-fungal—to assist in killing off the excess candida yeast fungus; die-off support—to diminish the negative effects of the candida die off; and several other things to help my body strengthen and return to a balanced and thriving state. My diet will consist, as I said, of locally grown/raised, organic, clean, non-antibiotic, grass fed, free range chicken, eggs, beef, and veggies. Thank goodness for the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market!
I’ve done a lot of work on my heart, my mind, and my soul. Now it’s time to give some love and attention to my body.
I understand that there is no quick fix for candida overgrowth, that eradicating it is the work of a commitment to a radically different diet and life-style…for good. Some people will say there are pills you can take, others will say you only need to diet for 60 days. I plan to create a new life style for myself for the rest of my life. Hence my Farewell to Food Tour. Ms. Theresa recommends a candida diet for at least one year; I figure if I can go without chocolate, ice cream, and pizza for one year I won’t want to reintroduce those things into my diet again—why undo all the work I just did?
So, I’m about 6 days from diving in head first. Stay tuned and maybe, just maybe, if you’re sick of being sick and tired of being tired all. the. time. you might find something revolutionary among my stories. I won’t make any promises here about how often I’ll post but I will when I can and I’ll share all the info that I find useful to me.