The diet principles exercised here are sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, yeast-free, processed food-free, and low-carb. The intent is to starve (actually weaken) the offending bacteria so that anti-bacterials, anti-fungals and anti-inflammatories can further damage and kill them off.
DIETARY RATIO – 65% - 20% - 10% - 5%
Keep this tentative ratio in mind when planning meals: 65+% of high fiber foods such as steamed vegies (broccoli, celery, red radishes in moderation, asparagus, cabbage, spinach and kale) with raw garlic, onion and ginger, three natural anti-fungals; 20% of high protein foods like nuts, seeds (and some people eat eggs); 10% complex carbs like brown rice, millet, select beans (carbs actually help promote a healthy body and deter candida, but once there is overgrowth the bacteria must be weakened and so carbs are withdrawn); 5% fresh fruits like lemons, limes, avocadoes and perhaps green apples or blackberries if the person can tolerate them (some people like myself must be very strict with this category). ?? % of oils is unknown but depends on the individual – some oils are very instrumental in fighting against the candida overgrowth, and so some people require more oil than others; for those upping their oils, reduce the carbs as they compete with each other. A word of caution here, a low-carb diet long-term, say for six months or more, has been known to cause electrolyte problems.
Vegetables starve the candida of the sugar and mold that feed it. Vegies filled with chlorophyll absorb fungal poisons and escort them out of the body. Avoid starchy vegies like carrots sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, corn, all winter squash, beets, peas, parsnips and all beans except green beans; the starch quickly turns to sugar which feeds the candida. Vegies are typically very alkaline and should be eaten raw or slightly steamed. Cooking makes all food - vegies included - acidic, the pH which candida thrives in. Seaweeds are good, e.g. spirulina, chlorella, dulse, but many seaweeds are processed with processed salts and corn oil, which could cause reaction and/or feed the candida. Tomatoes are acidic (yellow tomatoes less so) and a nightshade, which affects inflammation and particularly those with rheumatoid problems - best to avoid.
Vegetables : amaranth leaves, asparagus, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber (peeled), dandelion greens, eggplant (controversial as it’s a nightshade), endive, garlic stems, green beans, kale, lettuce (all types), leeks, mustard greens, okra, fresh olives, onions, red radish (in moderation), seaweed, spaghetti squash, spinach, spring onions, swiss chard, tomatoes (controversial), turnip greens, zucchini
Legumes can be very moldy. Some candida diets restrict all legume consumption, some allow low-carb legumes such as chickpeas/garbanzo beans, lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas and adzuki beans. Because of the possible mold factor, soak beans (except lentils) for 8 hours, drain off dirty water and rinse till rinse-water is colorless. Cook as desired. Slow-cooking in a crock pot will retain the most nutrients that higher heats will kill.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts are rich in nutrients, essential fats but can be very moldy. Also they are tough on the digestive system of many candida sufferers; some people react while others tolerate them well. For eliminating mold on nuts, soak and rinse nuts before eating. For the busy person, they can be soaked in bulk and dried in a dehydrator to be eaten when desired. Drying temperatures over 118F (in the oven for example) kill nutrients, essential for the healing candida sufferer’s body. Flax seeds (chia and hemp to a lesser degree) go rancid quickly so buy whole seeds and blend the seeds to a powder just before using. Heat also destroys the nutrients in these fragile seeds so eat raw.
Nuts : almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts (no more than 6 at a time due to heavy selenium)
Seeds : sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds
Grains contain a high amount of fiber, so figuratively they are the pipe-cleaners of the intestines grabbing pollutants, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals and sweeping some of them out. Grains are complex carbs but they do break down into sugars and so must be eaten in small proportion when “starving” the candida so anti-fungals work more effectively.
Gluten-free grains: adlay/Job’s tears, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum (possibly), wild and brown rice
The GI track needs to be continually washed throughout the day to remove toxins, so drink lots of water. The herbal teas listed have anti-fungal properties. Chickory root is also a great prebiotic (it contains 20% inulin) so can help repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria.
Beverages: almond milk, chamomile tea, chickory root, cinnamon tea, clove tea, fennel tea, ginger tea, lemongrass tea, licorice tea, peppermint tea, taheebo/pau d’arco tea, lots of water
Candida loves sweeteners. Supposedly stevia (controversial) can be eaten in tiny amounts every day. Coconut oil is naturally sweet, as are green apples, cinnamon, almonds and almond flour. Blend ingredients considering natural flavors and skip on all sugars and chemical-compound substitute sugars, including xylitol (known to mess up pets’ pancreases) and agave (90+% fructose while corn syrup is only about 50%; also processed at temps around 400F! thus a trans fat?).
Fruits range from very high fructose to fruits with much less fructose. Fruits tend to be slightly acidic, which makes them even more appealing to candida. So, choosing low fructose, low-acidic fruit is important. Limes and lemons are both low acidic, as are avocadoes. Cranberries are very low fructose but high acidic; tomatoes are acidic. The following fruits are “good” fruits for the strict candida diet but must be eaten only upon occasion and as each body allows. Limes, lemons and avocadoes are the first fruits to add to the diet.
Fruits: avocadoes, blackberries, cranberries, green apples, green papaya, lemons, limes, red or black currants
CONDIMENTS, VINEGARS & SEASONINGS
Condiments are typically fermented but people with candida have huge intolerances to yeast and/or fermentation, so they must think simple, eat simple … but feel well. Coconut aminos is a great alternative for soy sauce. Salt, by the way, is processed and often has dextrose and chemical ingredients in it; eat unprocessed sea salt which is loaded with accessible nutrients and minerals. Dried herbs are known to be moldy, not to mention irradiated. Dehydrated garlic and onion powders might have sugar additives.
Condiments: fresh garlic, fresh ginger, fresh onion, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil, hemp oil; mustard powder (rarely; very arguable); apple cider vinegar (very very arguable!)
Seasonings: (unprocessed) sea salt, black pepper (very arguable)
HERBS & SPICES
Certain herbs and spices contain antioxidants and anti-fungals. Some increase circulation and reduce inflammation. Some improve digestion and alleviate constipation. Most herbs and spices are beneficial in the fight against candida. Avoid the nightshades, that is, any in the red pepper family.
Herbs and spices: basil, black pepper (very arguable), cardamom, cayenne (very arguable), cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander (good cinnamon substitute), cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, turmeric
OILS & FATS
Eat carefully selected oils only, and always choose cold-pressed and extra virgin if given the option. Heating or boiling destroys oils, especially fragile oils like hemp and flax oils.
Oils: coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil
Fats: avocado, cleaned nuts (almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts)
FOODS TO AVOID
Sugars exacerbate candida. Soft drinks are loaded, and even if “sugar-free” there are chemicals and the drinks are very acidic. Artificial sweeteners can impair the immune system.
Avoid: honey, syrup includes brown rice syrup, lactose, malt, sucrose, fructose, chocolate, molasses, artificial sweeteners (e.g. asulfame, nutra-sweet, saccharine, maltodextrine), agave nectar, coconut sugar, yacon syrup
Alcohol is high in sugar, plus it is fermented, both of which cause candida to thrive. Alcohol puts stress on the organs and immune system. Mixing alcohol and candida is like opening all the windows in a house fire!
Avoid: beer, cider, liquors, spirits, wine
GRAINS & GLUTINOUS FOODS
Most candida sufferers have high sensitivities to glutens, so avoiding them allows the immune system to repair itself and spend more energy attacking the bacteria rather than the introduced toxin. Corn products like popcorn are highly contaminated with toxic fungi. White rice causes rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.
Avoid: glutens (wheat, rye, barley, oats and wheat variations like spelt, couscous, cream of wheat, durum, semolina, farina, triticale, etc); corn (popcorn, blue corn, hominy, grits)
Most legumes are high in carbs, moldy, as well as hard to digest and so should be avoided. Lentils, garbanzos and black beans are probably the easiest to digest and have the lowest glycemic count. Soy products are toxic to people with candida, probably because the majority of soy is GMO, which has been linked to immune system damage and other health problems. Soy is also disruptive to the thyroid, a common problem with candida sufferers. Cocoa powder, even unsweetened, contains caffeine and weakens the adrenal glands. Bean sprouts contain high levels of bacteria and sometimes e.coli – those grown at home can be safe.
Avoid: all beans except later on the lentils, garbanzos and black beans; all soy (tofu, tofu cheese, textured vegetable protein, soy milk, tempeh, etc); carob powder; cocoa powder; bean sprouts
Nuts contain high amounts of molds/fungal toxins, which can inflame candida. Some nuts are extremely moldy like the peanuts and pistachios while almonds and walnuts are easiest for the candida sufferer to clean and eat. Coconut meat is inflammatory while coconut oil fights against the candida bacteria (the body uses these materials very differently).
Avoid: all nuts, especially peanuts and pistachios; coconut meat, milk and cream; pecans cause inflammation; cashews can be very moldy
Mushrooms often have mold on their exterior. Eating fungi can further the spread of candida, as they are a mold; however, some molds have been used to fight the candida mold-bacteria, ex. reishi and maitake.
Fruits have high sugar content, which candida thrives on. Melons and especially cantaloupe tend to be very moldy. Oranges and grapefruits cause inflammation and are acidic (even orange peel as a flavoring must be avoided) while lemons and limes are alkaline and low-inflammatory. Dried fruits and fruit juices are sugar intensified and must be avoided as they heavily tax the adrenals; processed canned fruit with natural fruit sugars and the added sugars does too!
ROOT/STARCHY & OTHER VEGETABLES
Root vegies are dense in nutrients but have high starch that easily convert to sugar. Winter squash are incredily starch and thus speedily convert to sugar. Hot peppers (capsicum family) and other peppers, including sweet peppers, are in the nightshade family (along with potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes) and therefore cause inflammation in many people with autoimmune diseases, particularly those with rhuematoid problems.
Avoid: beets, brussel sprouts (many people react), carrots, daikon radishes, eggplant, parsnips, all peppers (hot and not), peas, potatoes, all squash (except zucchini and spaghetti squash), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yams and yucca
MEATS & FISH & SEAFOOD & EGGS
Avoid all meats: Meats like beef and pork are grain-fed, which increases the acidy of the meat, filled with hormones and antibiotics, and bacterial carriers. Pork cells contain retroviruses that survive cooking and may further harm a weakened digestive system. Processed meats like lunch meat and spam are loaded with dextrose, nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sugars.
Avoid all fish and seafood: Most fish, excepting perhaps sockeye salmon and sardines, contain alarming levels of heavy metals and toxins, which suppress the immune system. Farm-raised salmon is grey in color before factory coloring making it more appealing to consumers, not to mention farm-raised salmon is extremely inflammatory while wild salmon is considered extremely anti-inflammatory, excepting for the fact that it’s loaded with PCBs, mercury and carcinogenic agents, as is farm-raised salmon according to studies. Seafoods are the oceans floor sweepers and are toxic by nature.
Avoid eggs: eggs are inflammatory (one naturopath found that 90% of all people with food sensitivities had an egg sensitivity too)
Dairy is inflammatory, loaded with bacteria, hormones and antibiotics as well as pus. Dairy also contains lactose, a sugar compounded with milk agents, which feed bacteria and create phlegm (bacteria crap). Cheese is created by bacteria by-products aka crap.
Avoid: dairy (all cheese, milk, cream, buttermilk, even kefir and yogurt although many argue that these two are beneficial as probiotics, but these are fermented)
ADDITIVES & PRESERVATIVES
Chemicals disrupt friendly bacteria and allow candida yeast to flourish. MSG and citric acid are in most processed foods and are derived from yeasts as they underwent a fermentation process. The natural citric acid in lemons and limes is not a chemical compound and is beneficial.
Avoid: MSG, citric acid, maltodextrin, chemicals and anything on the list that can’t be pronounced.
Caffeine causes blood sugar spikes feeding candida and stressing the adrenals and weakening the immune system, both already weaknesses in the candida sufferer. Coffee contains mold, one of the most important food categories to avoid; it also contains taurine, another evil. Decaf coffees and teas contain residual caffeine. Coconut water/milk contains a high amount of sugar and so is inflammatory.
Avoid: coffee, black and green tea, diet and regular sodas, energy drinks, sport drinks, malted drinks (e.g. Ovaltine, Horlicks, Caro), coconut water, fruit juices (fresh or packaged), rice milk, coconut water/milk
CONDIMENTS & VINEGARS
Condiments are usually fermented (vinegars, olives, pickles) or have sugar and/or citric acid (ketchup, tomato paste). They may even contain soy (soy sauce, fermented Asian bean sauces, Bragg’s, balsamic vinegar). Vinegars are made in a yeast culture, which depletes the stomach of acids and can cause inflammation in the gut
Avoid: Bragg’s, horseradish, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salad dressings, soy sauce; brewer’s yeast; nutritional yeast (some can tolerate nutritional yeast flakes though)
FATS & OILS
Avoid: Peanut, cottonseed, cotton and canola oils are mold contaminated. Sunflower and safflower oils are highly processed. Most beans in soy oil are GMO. Margarine is dairy plus saturated fat. Shortening is highly processed and has trans fat. Sesame seed oil is inflammatory for people with candida (some can tolerate it though).
Candida flourishes in an acidic environment, and this acidity inhibits the bodies’ ability to absorb vitamins and minerals as well as limits enzyme production of digestive proteins, thus causing gas and a sense of being bloated and an increase in food sensitivities. Therefore, selecting foods from the ALLOWABLE FOODS list is important. A rule of thumb when “starving” the candida is to diet for one month for every year the person has had candida. That is, if someone’s had it for 18 years, then he/she must be on a strict candida diet for 18 months. Candida results in deficiencies; the strictness of the diet does not aim to clean up those deficiencies and may create more; however, once candida has been eliminated the body can be restored. There will never be any kind of restoration as long as candida survives and thrives.
Reverse osmosis water and distilled water are acidic waters and contain no minerals and actually leach minerals from the body. Adding minerals to water does not help as processed minerals cannot possibly duplicate what Mother Nature provides.
Canned foods are high in molds and lack nutrients; frozen is better; fresh is best.
Avoid all yeast: brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, vitamins & minerals (unless labeled “yeast free” and “sugar free”), B-complex (usually vitamin B1 undergoes a major fermentation process … this might affect the vitamin B1 additive in breads too)
Avoid malt products: malted drinks, cereals, candy (fermented)
Avoid sprouts unless home-grown. Sprouts often contain high amounts of bacteria and even e.coli.
Leftovers grow mold. Two hours after putting leftovers in the fridge, mold starts growing. It’s best to freeze leftovers.
Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Consider lymphatic drainage techniques also (dry skin brushing) to keep the lymph system moving, which by the way, has more fluid in it than there is blood in the body. Exercise regularly (cardiovascular) to promote good circulation and oxygen-rich blood, which candida dislikes.