The Candida Diet is one of the most challenging diets there is to adhere to. It is extremely rigid, limiting and bland to the senses and doesn't allow for much variety or flexibility. So much so that many people feel utterly deprived when trying to follow it. No matter how you look at it, that is the truth of the matter. There's just no way around it and really no way to soften the blow.
One of the biggest challenges of this diet is the fact that Candida itself creates overwhelming cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates. It's not uncommon for those following the anti-candida diet to engage in frequent cheating or completely fall off the wagon and go on a sugar/carbohydrate binge.
Another big hurdle to overcome is that it is such a drastic change from the standard diet that most people are accustomed to eating and that is acceptable to society. There is rarely support from friends, family, employers etc. in anyone's quest to give up sugar, caffeine, refined and processed foods, etc., because they fail to understand the seriousness of the matter. Many people are met with a lot of resistance and skepticism from people in their lives as they attempt to make these essential changes in their life.
Additionally, once the body becomes vulnerable to Candida overgrowth, returning to the diet that was once enjoyed is not something that will ever happen again. A certain degree of life long dietary restrictions will be required even after progress is made. If one returns to eating sugar and refined foods, then Candida will proliferate again. So, many people struggle, because they feel they are given a life sentence they can't live with.
These are very difficult obstacles to overcome and therefore success on the Candida diet requires a serious commitment to yourself as well as a great deal of determination, perseverance and self-discipline.
However here are a few tips that I have developed over the years that have helped me and the people I counsel.
The first thing to keep mind is this, change is always difficult and it's a process. It will take time to completely embrace, absorb and incorporate all the aspects of the diet into your life. It won't happen overnight. If it feels too overwhelming to tackle it all at once, take it one step at a time. The most important food that should be removed is white refined sugar, so that is where one should always start. After you conquer that battle, then move on to simple carbohydrates and then complex carbohydrates etc., etc., until you arrive at the place you need to be.
It is inevitable that you will cheat and fall of the wagon sometimes. Don't allow occasional slips to become a reason to completely abandon your diet for days or weeks or go on a binge. Criticizing, punishing or berating yourself will only lead to more self-defeating behaviors. Be kind, loving and forgiving of yourself, however their is a fine line between being accepting of yourself and giving yourself permission to be destructive. You need to find that balance and maintain it.
Once you begin to see results from the Candida diet and start to feel better, you'll become more motivated to abide by your restrictions. Eventually the price you pay will not outweigh the pleasure you experience. Your set backs will become less and less frequent
Keep in mind that your diet will not always be this restrictive. As you make progress with eradicating your yeast overgrowth you'll be able to add more tasteful things back into your diet. Remind yourself that you have something to look forward to.
Reframe the situation and change your mind set. Don't allow yourself to be part of societies delusions and denial about sugar. Instead of seeing yourself as a poor soul who is being denied the delicious treat of sugar, see yourself as being a wise sage who's acuired knowledge of a invaluable piece of information and doing something good for yourself. Refined white sugar is an addictive drug; it is a poison to your body. It is detrimental to your health in many ways. It is basically a legalized recreational drug that most of society partakes in. See it for what it is. Rise above this and don't allow yourself to be part of it.
The way you learned to eat, your relationship with food and it's place in your life were unhealthy. You must relearn all these things in healthier manner.
Retrain your mind to understand that you are better off for learning about Candida and being forced to eat healthier. The human body was not designed to eat refined white sugar and junk food. Your health will benefit in many ways in addition to eliminating yeast.
Bring other people into your life that are nutritionally aware. People who are environmentally friendly, eat organic, avoid sugar and refined foods, practice alternative medicine and live holistic lifestyles.
It will be impossible to stick to the Candida diet if you are bombarded with temptations at every turn. Yes, there may be certain situations like work related functions, or family events when they can't be avoided, but for the most part, changes in the people you surround yourself with can be made in all other areas of your life.
If you have a partner or children in the house then put them on the diet too. They shouldn't be eating sugar and junk food either. Chances are very good that if you have a yeast problem so do your children and partner. Most children in society today have a yeast problem, because they are exposed to excessive antibiotics and diets high in sugar. If they don't, then you are doing them a great favor by getting them on a healthier diet now. Make it a family effort.
Keep sugar, all sugar products, refined foods and processed foods out of the house, so you won't be enticed by them when you're hungry or under stress. Replace them with things like nuts, seeds, fruit and yogurt. Don't feel guilty about the impact it may have on other people in the household. A family member would not bring heroin or a case of beer in the house if their loved one was trying to recover from alcohol or drug addiction and the same principle applies here.
Balance your neurotransmitters with a good amino acid supplement and extra glutamine. Deficient or out of balance neurotransmitters are a big contributing factor to cravings. Candida toxins have a powerful impact on neurotransmitters.
Exercise at least 5 or 6 days a week. This helps reduce cravings, boosts your immune system, keeps Candida toxins from accumulating, stimulates your neurotransmitters and improves your mood.
Get emotional support and encouragement through a friend or a counselor. Someone who can help you keep things in perspective, remind of your goals and why you have them and help you keep on track.
Have a plan of action for situations you know will sabotage your diet. Don't leave it to chance, because this will set you up to fall. For example, when you go to social events or work related functions, eat your healthy meal at home before you go so you won't be hungry or take your own food with you. Take healthy snacks or meals with you when you're going to be out shopping or running errands during meal times.
Remind yourself that cravings are only temporary. Yes, I know they feel like they will never end while in the middle of one and it feels like the end of the world when you can't fulfill it, but the truth of the matter is that they will really only last a few minutes and you will survive. Ride it out. Once you get used to riding them out, they will lose their power over you.
Express your feelings and work out conflict. Don't let them build up. Feelings that aren't expressed can lead to emotional eating and binging. Unresolved feelings often result in sugar cravings as a way to self-medicate.
Remove environmental toxins from your environment. Common everyday chemicals in your environment like cleaning supplies, shampoo, perfume, make up, pesticides, laundry soap, dish soap, air fresheners, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, etc. etc. are a major contributing factor for triggering cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Chemicals stimulate the area of the brain that sets off cravings.
Try to keep from feeling too deprived. Feeling deprived often leads to self-destructive behavior like binging. Replace your forbidden foods with something else that is healthier. Allow yourself something delicious that you can savor at least once a week that isn't too harmful. For example, you could treat yourself to some Rice Dream ice cream or bananas and dates, or carob mixed with almond butter.
When you eat this scrumptious treat, let it be a Zen experience. Become one with it. Allow yourself to be completely absorbed in every aspect of the experience. Take in the smell, the texture and the taste, Don't just gobble it down. Savor it and appreciate it fully.
Incorporate these tips into your daily life and you'll find the Candida diet is a lot easier to stick with. However, it's also important to keep in mind that it will require much more than diet to be successful in reducing yeast overgrowth. The diet is a crucial component, but it must be combined with a comprehensive plan that addresses the breadth and complexity of the Candida overgrowth syndrome.
Learn how Candida Symptoms affect your mental and physical health and how the Candida Diet can help you.
Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is a holistic health counselor who has researched Candida and it's impact on our physical and mental health for almost two decades. Her knowledge is enriched with personal experience in combating the condition herself. Get the facts you need about Candida in her new eBook, Candida Secrets.
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