Saturday, December 30, 2006


As long promised I experimented with fructose over Christmas and the results were pretty good. The type I used was Fruisana (available from Tescos) and you simply use it as you would 'normal' sugar in recipes, except you reduce the amount by a third. Tried it in a red cabbage and apple recipe and cranberry relish, as well as a lemon steamed pudding (yum - first pudding I've had in two years!). Admittedly I cannot accurately determine whether it had any adverse affect, or resulted in the current flare-up of symptoms I'm experiencing (boo), as I also pigged out on illicit chocolate gingers, turkish delight, Roses chocs and chocolate trifle over Christmas Day and Boxing Day (I shan't be doing that again in a hurry)! But, for the occasional treat (birthday cake, anyone?!), fructose would seem to be a good solution to those 'maintaining'.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More good stuff at Marks & Spencers

A couple more good finds from Marks & Spencers:

Lamb Casserole for one, with a mint dumpling. Like the Chicken and Beef Casseroles I've written about before, this dish is absolutely fine for those following the anti-Candida diet, providing you don't have any problems digesting wheatflour. And it's pretty tasty too!

Two chicken breasts with a garlic and herb dressing ('Cook' range). Okay, it would be quite easy to make something similar at home, but it doesn't hurt to cheat occasionally. ;) Again, there's nothing in the dressing which is prohibited on the anti-Candida diet.

Despite my initial reservations, Marks & Spencers seem to be coming out tops in the okay ready-meals stakes!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Prosciutto and how to use it

Errata: When I originally wrote this post I had a bit of a brain freeze and talked about pancetta when - of course - I meant prosciutto ham. Duh! Sorry...

When I first started out on the Candida Diet I was told that I couldn't have smoked or cured meat in any circumstances. The idea being that cured meat has been hanging around in an environment conducive to yeast and mould growth. I've always felt a bit ambivalent towards this prohibition. After all, how much meat these days in cured or smoked in a shed or up a chimney, with no environmental/hygiene controls whatsoever? And wouldn't heating/cooking kill off any organisms which had managed to colonise my rasher of bacon, or slice of smoked salmon?

Over the two years since, these restrictions have been relaxed slightly (not least because I have a different nutritional therapist now): I'm now allowed to eat cured or smoked meat occasionally - mainly because there is a school of thought which considers the chemical changes that occur during curing/smoking as potentially carcinogenic. Nevertheless, the other day - as a treat - I bought myself some prosciutto from Marks & Spencers no least! ;)

Good prosciutto or parma ham should be okay - it shouldn't contain anything but pork, salt and possibly a bit of water. The only thing I found was that it did taste incredibly salty, which I think is a result of me re-educating my taste buds since I went on the diet. Anyway, apart from in a sandwich (made with soda bread) I did come up with a few ideas on how to use the rest of the pack.

Potato farls* with prosciutto and goats cheese

A couple of potato farls or pancakes
Two slices of prosciutto
grated hard goats cheese

Slice each farl/pancake width-ways. Place the farls cut side up on a baking tray/grill pan and toast under a grill for a couple of minutes. Remove, and on top of each farl place half a slice of prosciutto and some grated cheese. Place back under the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.

Delicious! But packed full of calories. ;)

(Sort-of) Pasta Carbonara

Okay, this isn't anything like a real carbonara, but it's kind of the same idea.

Sufficient pasta shells/spaghetti for one person
2/3 slices of prosciutto
goats milk/soya milk
olive oil spread
salt & pepper
Goats cheese
olive oil

Put a saucepan of water on to boil. Add a spot of olive oil to the pan to prevent the pasta from sticking together. When boiling, add the pasta, cover and simmer until al dente. Meanwhile make a white sauce (add a dessert spoonful of cornflour to a pan, with a knob of olive oil spread and a dash of milk - whisk until smooth and cook on a low heat, whisking all the time to prevent the sauce from burning/going lumpy. Gradually add more milk until the sauce is a good consistency). Take off the heat and add the grated cheese, a sprinkle of paprika and salt and pepper to taste (remember, the prosciutto and cheese will be quite salty, so you may not need to add much salt).

Drain the pasta and put back in the saucepan. Tear up the slices of prosciutto into strips and add to the pasta along with the cheese sauce. Give it a good stir and serve.

*I thought that I'd written about potato farls/pancakes/bread before in this blog, but it turns out I haven't, so here goes. Potato farls tend to be candida diet-friendly (with caution). Predominantly made from potato, they do include a small amount of plain wheatflour and occasionally (as is the case with Marks & Spencer's version), vinegar. As ever, it's important to check the ingredients list, and if there's anything you're not sure about, it's best to leave it on the shelf.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More new recipes: Courgette rice with feta and olives & Spanish-style chicken

As promised, here are a couple more candida diet-friendly recipes:

The first, Courgette rice with feta and olives, I found on the BBC Good Food magazine website, so I won't reproduce it here. What's great about this one is that it needs no adaptation or substitutions. Just make sure the neither the feta cheese nor the black olives (Sainsbury's stoned black olives in a ring-pull can are fine) include citric acid and the stock is candida diet -friendly (i.e. no yeast, sugars or monosodium glutamate - try Kallo's 'Yeast-free Stock Cubes' available from Holland & Barrett and other Health Food shops).

The second recipe is one I made up, so as usual the instructions are bit a vague!

Spanish-style Chicken

Serves one

1 chicken breast (I'm enjoying Sainsbury's free-range, organic West Country chicken at the moment - it's a bit more expensive, but the texture and taste far surpass 'normal' processed chicken breasts)
half a can of chopped tomatoes (no citric acid)
half an onion, sliced
clove of garlic, chopped
oil (sunflower or olive)
a handful of black olives (use the leftovers from the courgette recipe above), sliced
half a red pepper, sliced
a dash of paprika
about a tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
seasoning to taste

Lightly fry the garlic and onions in the oil. Slice the chicken breasts into strips and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add the red pepper. Cook until the chicken is golden brown. Add the tomatoes and stir in the sliced olives. Add a dash of paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about ten minutes, and then add the parsley.

Serve with brown rice and a green salad.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

New recipe: Palak Paneer

It's December! Hardly seems possible. Looking back over the archives for the last couple of months it's clear how slack I've been at posting new blog entries just recently. I've just finished writing a MAMMOTH chapter of my thesis and now I can relax a bit. I have loads of new recipes and ideas to try out, so expect the pace to pick up over the next few days.

First up, the best recipe (so far) I've found for paneer (which I'm quickly developing an addiction for). It's from the manufacturers, Long Clawson Dairies. They have a lot of recipes on their site but not, unfortunately, this one (which was printed on box):

Palak Paneer

I get my paneer from Sainsbury's, 'though I'm not sure how widely available it is around the rest of the country (I live in Leicester which has a very large South Asian population, so getting hold of ingredients for Indian cookery here isn't a big problem).

This recipe serves two.

227g paneer, cut into small cubes (I'd suggest one square inch)
butter or oil for frying
227g fresh spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic*
small piece of ginger, chopped*
1 fresh green chilli, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
seasoning to taste

* Try grating the garlic and ginger - much, MUCH easier than trying to slice/chop them!

Now, the recipe also suggests 1/2 tsp mixed spice - I'm assuming they mean garam masala and not the stuff you put in mince pies!

Heat the oil or butter in a large pan. Fry the paneer quickly until golden brown then put it to one side. Roughly chop the spinach leaves.

Using the same pan, fry the onion until golden brown then add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Cook for a further minute. Add the tomato, salt, pepper, turmeric and garam masala. Cook until the oil separates.

Add the spinach. Cover and cook on a low heat until the spinach is tender and the mixture is almost dry.

Add the paneer, stir and cook for five minutes on a low heat. Add a small amount of hot water if too dry.

The recipe suggests a tomato and onion ring garnish and to serve the dish with naan bread or rice. I had it with poppadoms, which was a filling enough combination for me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Belgian waffles - yum!

Just a quick post, so I can brag about all the wonderful treats I've got while basking in smug chocolatey-loveliness. A friend just came back from visiting another friend in Belgium with a bag full of treats pour moi!

I've already devoured the dairy-free, sugar-free (sweetened with maltitol) slab of plain Belgian chocolate - those Belgians know how to make chocolate, and GOD! Do they know how to make diabetic chocolate?!!! Better than that Boots cr*p I was writing about the other day!

I've just eaten a mini chocolate waffle. Well, what can I say? Just sweet enough without cloying, no bitter aftertaste. Really...very special indeed. So, what's in it? I hear you cry. Well, drawing on my rudimentary French language skills (with a little bit of help from Babel Fish), I reckon the ingredients are as follows:

Pure chocolate (23%), sweetened with maltitol
Vegetable oil
Fructose from chicory (which is a new one on me)
Fresh egg
Inulin fibre (another type of fructose)
Soya flour
Maize starch
Raising agents: mono-calcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate
Emulsifier: soya lecithin
Sea salt
Natural flavourings

Plus, it also contains bifidogenic fibres (i.e. 'friendly' bacteria). They're also lactose-free and GMO-free.

They're made by a company called Damhert Natural Products. From their website, it looks like they offer a massive range of 'free from' products. Wouldn't it be fabulous if they were available here?

I also got a pack of Canderel brand plain chocolate with hazelnut bars and strawberry flavoured 'laces' from the Hema supermarket. Now, both of these contain illicit substances, like aspartame and glucose, so I'm saving them for Christmas Day, when I'm planning one almighty PIG OUT! :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Maltitol is a sugar alcohol (polyol) derived from corn, which is often used as a sweetener in diabetic food products because it is metabolised by the body less quickly than sucrose, and does not, therefore affect blood sugars to the same degree. And, depending on who you believe, it doesn't feed and promote yeast overgrowth either. Neither does it have much of an unpleasant chemical after-taste like many artificial sweeteners.

The nasty side-effects of aspartame are well known, so when I'm looking for an occasional treat (let's face it, we all need a bit of comfort food from time to time), I tend to avoid anything containing it. Much of Boots' (the Chemists) range of diabetic sweets, chocolate and biscuits contain both sweeteners, but their dark chocolate mint discs and shortbread fingers, just use maltitol, and the chocolate discs are dairy-free to boot! So I've availed myself of a couple of packets to get me through that 'time of the month'. And they're really not bad. Diabetic chocolate is never going to be the same as normal chocolate (and I still crave a bar of Dairy Milk from time to time), but it's not far off and the shortbread fingers are a revelation: buttery and delicious, with no perceptible difference from 'normal' shortbread. Great!

My nutritional therapist assures me that products containing maltitol are fine occasionally - possibly not for someone just starting out on the diet (it's a really good idea to deal with that initial sugar craving and in time lose your sweet tooth), but for me - maintaining - it's okay. Of course, excessive consumption is not recommended; for a start large amounts of maltitol can laxative affect!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More good news

Marks & Spencers' Deli Greek Salad is anti-candida diet friendly. Hurrah!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ready-meal: Sainsbury's

More good news! As part of Sainsbury's new 'Designed not just for Vegetarians' range, they have launched a new ready-meal, 'Bean and vegetable casserole' suitable for those following the anti-Candida diet. And it's not bad. A generous portion of kidney beans, chickpeas, red and yellow peppers, courgettes and BROWN (!!!) rice 'steeped' (I'm quoting from the packaging here) rich tomato sauce. You'll find it in the chilled food section.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Anti-candida friendly products at Sainsburys

I've made a couple of really useful discoveries at Sainsburys recently. The first is an organic seed bar, manufactured by 'The Village Bakery' and sold in packs of four. It's similar to the Wallaby Bar I've already written about, but less sticky and more crunchy, a bit like a Jordan's Crunch Bar (or at least, how they used to be - haven't tried one for years!). The ingredients are:

Rice-syrup 38%
Oats 14%
Puffed Rice 12%
Concentrated Apple Juice
Pumpkin Seeds 4.8%
Sunflower Seeds 4.6%
Linseeds 4.4%
Sesame Seeds 4.4%
Low sodium sea salt

Okay, to be fair, there are a couple of things in there to regard with some caution, the puffed rice is probably not brown and the concentrated apple juice is a no-no if you're just starting out on the diet (though the bars really aren't very sweet), and I'm still not certain about the status of rice syrup, but as an occasional treat I can't see how they could do too much harm. The manufactuers also make a nut bar which looks okay; will try them next! As an added bonus (especially to me as I currently attempting to single-handedly save the planet!), they are - according to the label - baked using renewable energy sources.

The other new find is a liquid vegetable stock produced by Knorr. Unlike so many other ready-made stocks it doesn't contain yeast extract, or monosodium glutamate (assuming you can trust the ingredients list!):

Vegetables (Leek, Mushroom, Celeriac, Carrot)
Garlic Puree

Damn those mushrooms though! If it wasn't for them it would be perfect. But as mushrooms are hotly contested (with regards to whether or not they are allowed on the anti-Candida diet), I think their inclusion here can be excused. The only real disadvantage I can see with this stock over the cubes produced by Kallo, is that the whole packet has to be consumed within three days (450 ml). That's a lot of soup, especially if - like me - you only cook for one. Still, it's a useful store cupboard standby.

By the way, I've started to get my food delivered by Sainsburys. One big advantage they have over Tescos is that the complete ingredients lists for many products, including home brand ready meals, can be consulted online.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New recipes

I had a fairly successful day of culinary experiments yesterday. I'd been invited to a party where everyone was asked to bring a national dish (I belong to an international community of research students). So, I decided to make my own 'national' dish, Suffolk Rusks and a vegetarian Shepherds' Pie, just in case the rusks were revolting, which they weren't. :)

Suffolk Rusks

Traditionally these are eaten with lashings of butter, but they're equally good with a soft goat's cheese.

225g self-raising flour
85g butter
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
goats milk or water

Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees. Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the beaten egg and enough liquid (milk or water) to produce a smooth dough. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1 inch, and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds (I used a tall glass, in place of a cutter). Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cut in half (width-ways). Reduce the temperature of the oven to 190 degrees. Return the rusks to the baking sheet, cut side up, and cook for a further 10 to 15 mins, or until the rusks are crisp and golden-brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Vegetarian Shepherds' Pie

Rather than finely dice the vegetables, I left them quite large which stopped them turning to an unidentifiable mush!

1 tin of mixed pulses
tomato puree
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
1 large carrot, sliced and chopped
About 5 mushrooms (okay, not strictly anti-candida friendly, but a few won't hurt!)
Couple of large potatoes
1/2 yeast-free stock cube
sunflower/vegetable oil
boiling water
salt and pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes. Place in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked. Meanwhile, slice the garlic and lightly fry in the oil. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onions start to soften. Chop about three of the mushrooms into fairly small pieces. Add to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes. Then slice the remaining mushrooms and add to the pan with the tin of pulses. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the the stock cube and a good quirt of tomato puree (about a dessertspoon full). Season to taste.

Mash the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetable mixture in a deep dish and top with the mashed potato. Cook in the oven (at about 200 degrees) for about 15 mins, or until the potato starts to brown.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good news! Ready-meals at Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencers have relaunched their ready-meals, and now I'm no longer a smug vegetarian, a whole host of opportunities have presented themselves, namely M&S Chicken Casserole and Beef Casserole. Both are fine for the anti-Candida diet - providing you're not gluten-intolerant (there's a bit of wheatflour in the herb dumplings) - with no hidden nasties or additives. Both dishes come in two portion sizes, i.e. serves one or two people. I'm going to try the chicken casserole tonight...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Watercress Soup

Apologies for my recent absence. I've been up to my neck in it recently and not feeling terribly positive, so I've been trying to cut back on the myriad of extraneous stuff I do just to relieve the pressure a bit; this blog being one one of them.

Having said all that, I had a bit of exciting news recently: I can have cakes and biscuits made with fructose now! Just need to find some good recipes and time to try them out now. Will post the results as soon as I'm able.

Continuing working my way through Miriam Polunin's book at the moment. Made Watercress Soup (p. 103) yesterday and about to have the second serving for my lunch. Pretty good, but quite gloopy, probably because I didn't add the soured cream recommended in the recipe. Perhaps a spot of goats milk will slacken the texture a bit...?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Book Review: 'Healing Foods: A Practical Guide to Key Foods for Good Health' by Miriam Polunin

I found a copy of Miriam Polunin's 'Healing Foods' in my local Oxfam for £1.99 the other day. It's packed with great advice on the nutritional and health benefits of different types of food and includes some fantastic healthy recipes designed to support the body and counteract the effects of a range of conditions (inc. candida overgrowth). Recently I've made Carrot and Corinader soup (good for heart health and the body's defences, apparently) (p. 100) and Dhal (which helps to protect against respiratory infections, anaemia and support circulation, heart and diabetic health) (p. 127). Both recipes were easy to follow and the results were very tasty. Looking forward to having a second helping of carrot and coriander soup for my lunch shortly!

Monday, October 02, 2006


At long last I've found a range of snack bars (which are actually quite delicious) and suitable for an anti-Candida diet! They're made by Wallaby Australia and are available from 'Holland and Barrett'. I've tried the yoghurt fruit and nut bar (see picture) and the macadamia and cashew bar. Both really, really good :)

They probably wouldn't be suitable for someone just starting out on the diet (because of the nuts and fruit), but for those maintaining, like me, they should be fine.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


For the last six months or so, I've been trying really hard to be a good vegetarian, but all those good intentions came to a sudden halt this week when I really couldn't control my meat cravings any longer and ate some sausages. I'm most disappointed with myself...I really don't like the idea that I can't control my basic carnivorous instincts. But, I guess, a strategic 'dose' of steak from time to time would help to boost my iron levels. Anyway, here's one of my favourite sausage recipes.

The sausage and courgette thing

Serves one to two

3-4 pork sausages (make sure they don't contain any nasties like yeast or breadcrumbs - rusk is okay, providing you can tolerate wheatflour)
1 large courgette
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (watch out for citric acid!)
tomato puree
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

Grill the sausages until brown. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Slice the garlic and onion and fry until soft. Finely slice the courgette (on the slant). Add to garlic and onions and fry until brown on both sides. Add a good squirt of tomato puree to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the liquid is reduced. Slice the sausages into three pieces and stir into the courgettes and tomatoes. Heat through and serve with brown rice, or soda bread and a salad.

N.B. You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the tomatoes before you add the sausages to spice up the sauce if you choose.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Recipe: Lemon Pulao Rice

I had a few friends round for dinner last night and made a really very good lemon-flavoured pulao rice, to accompany my speciality halloumi kebabs and a green salad.

N.B. The recipe was adapted from the Veetee website.

Lemon Pulao Rice

Serves four very hungry students!

2 mugs of brown basmati rice (I get mine from 'Sainsburys')
4 mugs of boiling water
Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida powder
1/2 ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lemon
fresh coriander leaves
salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Cook in the oil for a few moments until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add asafoetida powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and basmati rice. Stir for a few moments, coating the rice in the oil and spices. Add water. Bring to the boil, stir once, put on the lid and simmer until the water has been absorbed.

Chop up some coriander and stir into the rice, cut a few slices of lemon and add the juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon slices and serve immediately.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mother Hemp Red Pesto

Another of my finds at Tescos was 'Motherhemp' Red Pesto. It's fairly strong and flavoursome, so you only need a little bit to liven up pasta. For dinner this evening, I had it with oven-roasted vegetables (red pepper, courgettes, onion and aubergine) on Orgran Tricolour corn pasta, topped with crumbled feta for protein.

Here's a pic (from the Motherhemp website).
There was also green pesto version, but I believe that included Parmesan in the ingredient. Shame :(
Bty, the oils in hemp seed are supposed to be good for inflammatory skin conditions. And I'm sure we're all familiar with the sort of nasty inflammatory skin conditions Candida overgrowth can cause!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Frozen smoothie mix

I'm very penitent. Following my refined sugar slip-up the day before yesterday I've just been eating pure, unadulterated, healthy food. Though having said that, it was the first sugar I'd knowingly imbibed since 20th May. That's not bad going!

In my continued quest for something anti-Candida friendly and sweet I've discovered frozen smoothie mix from Tescos (see pic - from the Tescos website). I'm trying the Strawberry and Banana flavour at the moment, but they also do a tropical fruit and red berries version. The smoothie mix consists of just fruit, basically; chopped and frozen and packaged in individual bags. The directions suggest you defrost it slightly in the microwave and then whizz it up with fruit juice. I've been trying it with goats milk and plain yoghurt instead, and very good is it too!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I've done it again!

Ummm...I ate a small(ish) piece of chocolate birthday cake last night. :(

(God, it was good!)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hokkaido-style corn, chicken and cabbage soup with miso

Have just made the most FANTASTIC soup for lunch, which is perfectly anti-Candida diet* compatible - courtesy of Maki at 'I was just really very hungry'. I substituted the chicken for firm tofu.

Highly recommended!

* just make sure that, if you're using tinned sweetcorn, it isn't sweetened.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A great find

During my very successful trip to Tescos last Friday I came across 'Clearspring' Organic Apple and Apricot Fruit Puree Dessert (see pic). They also do Apple & Blueberry and Apple & Strawberry varieties: two 100g tin foil trays of pureed fruit per pack, great mixed into yoghurt with a sprinkling of cinnamon. And they contain nothing but fruit...even better!


Have recently been experimenting with paneer (Indian cottage cheese, which comes in a block, similar in look to tofu, and in texture to halloumi cheese). A couple of days a go, I used it as the main ingredient in a coconut curry with aubergine and onion, and tonight, I finished off the remainder by making Paneer Shashlik (or 'kebab'). I cobbled together a recipe from various online sites, tailoring it to the ingredients I already had (not intending on going shopping for a few more days). It was pretty good, even if I do say so myself:

Paneer Shashlik

Makes two kebabs

1/2 a block of paneer
Red onion
Red Pepper
1/2 red chilli
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
splosh of lemon juice
clove of garlic
piece of ginger
kebab sticks/skewers

Finely dice the chilli and mix with the cumin, grated garlic and ginger and a good splosh of lemon juice. Cut the paneer into large cubes. Place in a dish and coat well with the chilli, ginger, garlic and lemon and marinade in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (the longer the better).

Cut the onion into quarters and the red pepper into about eight regular pieces, retrieve the paneer from the fridge and skewer onto the kebab sticks, alternating each piece of paneer with onion and pepper.

Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven at a fairly high temperature until the paneer is sizzling and starting to go brown on the edges.

Serve with a green salad and wholemeal chapattis.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Flare-up :(

I've suffering a major flare-up of my symptoms at the moment, which is very disappointing because I'd been making some good progress recently. On looking back over my posts I've realised it's nearly a fortnight since I had that pizza and tapas slip-up. I remember my nutritional therapist saying something about it taking around fifteen days for any reactions to become apparent. Interesting. I'm not always 100% convinced that this diet really helps, but for want of any other suggestions (I've given up on the conventional medicine profession COMPLETELY) and while I'm still pretty certain that stress and 'mental buoyancy' have the biggest impact, I'm sticking with it. But, perhaps this shows that there really is a definite connection between what I eat and how bad my symptoms are. Would be fantastic in I could get to the point where I could identify exactly what, or what combinations of food, give me problems.

Anyway, in other news, a friend took me to Tescos last night (in his car!) and I stocked up on about a month's worth of food in one go (rather than my usual couple of shopping trips a week). I had a great time in the 'free-from' aisle and found lots of interesting, anti-Candida diet friendly products which I'll blog about as as when, over the next couple of weeks. Incidentally, I'm really busy with loads of writing and reports and organising events and stuff like that at the moment, so 'The Cardboard Diet' might be a little quiet, perhaps until the end of October. In the meantime, please bear with me. And if you have any comments, or suggestions, or experiences you would like to share, don't hold back! ;)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sweet things

Finally I got around to trying out one of Pamela Singh's recipes. In desperate need of something chilled and sweet, I had a go at her kulfi recipe. Oh dear - wasn't very successful. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the recipe. Personally, I just don't like the favour of cardamon. Bit soapy, like Parma Violets - yuck! The actual coconut, (goats) milk, yoghurt mixture tasted a lot like uncooked victoria sponge mix - which wasn't altogether unpleasant. Shame, cos I wasted half a fresh mango on it.

However, I did find some all fruit snacks (fruit, concentrated fruit juice and natural flavourings) at Holland & Barrett yesterday. Here's a pic from Goodness Direct, so you can know what to look out for. I tried the apple and apricot and the apple and blueberry versions. Not bad - very sticky and quite sweet, but packed full of natural fruit flavour. I don't suppose it would be a good idea to eat them on a regular basis, but for an occasional treat I'm sure they aren't too bad and probably infinitely better than the odd bar of diabetic chocolate I've been known to scoff at weak moments!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

How to use up leftover salmon

I had a nearly successful attempt at using up a piece of cooked salmon this evening. I used Barbara Cousin's white sauce from her Potato and Leek Pie recipe (brown rice flour, goats milk, mustard powder, bay leaf, nutmeg, lemon zest), into which I added the flaked salmon, broccoli florets, wholewheat spaghetti and grated some hard goats cheese over the top. Not bad, but got a bit sick of the spaghetti after a few mouthfuls (not feeling on top form at the moment).

Incidentally I made Leek and Potato Pie (p. 157) the other day. Very good. The best sort of comfort food; creamy sauce and mashed potato. Yum!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A make-over

I've changed my blog template (stating the blinking obvious). All that pink was giving me a headache. This is much more soothing...


Eugh! Once bitten, twice shy. Won't be trying that again! Shame, cos I'd managed to get it frozen from my local health food shop. Thought it would be like a firm tofu, but has a completely different texture. Basically it looks like what it is; fermented and crushed soya beans held together by a kind of fungal 'sponge' (all the anti-Candida advice I could find about tempeh was fairly ambivalent, so - as I'm maintaining - I'd thought I'd give it a go). Had it cubed in a stir-fry with miso paste. Not good, not good AT ALL! Perhaps it's one of those 'acquired tastes'?

Did have some fantastic organic Japanese green tea in a cafe at lunchtime 'though. Wish I could remember what it was called. Came in a little handsewn fabric pouch, rather than a tea bag. It was great.

Friday, September 01, 2006


This is interesting. Researchers found that people who drank fruit or vegetable juice at least three times a week were less likely to develop Alzheimers than those who only drank juice less than once a week. Which brings me on to what to drink when you're following the anti-Candida diet.

I've already mentioned my addiction to Double Dragon Green Tea from Holland & Barrett, but how about cold drinks and, crucially, what to drink down the pub? Well, I was at an advantage in some respects, because I'm largely tee-total. Most of the time I drink water, and perhaps on special occasions I have sparkling mineral water with ice and a slice ;) Yep, it's pretty boring, but at least you keep a clear head. One of the advantages of being completely sober is that you can embarrass your mates with their drunken exploits the next day.

Now I'm maintaining, I am allowed some fruit juices, providing they're diluted (half water, half juice). Fresh cloudy apple juice is nice (my preference - being a Suffolk girl - is for 'Copella'*: their Apple and Blackcurrant juice is fantastic), and I've also tried 'Pomegreat'#: pomegranate juice with raspberry. Orange juice is definitely out and it's important to check that the juice hasn't been sweetened.

As regards hot drinks, obviously 'normal' tea, coffee and hot chocolate are out of question. I've often seen reference to things like 'Barleycup' in anti-Candida diet books. The thought of that turns my stomach! Some people can tolerate Rooibusch (personally I think it looks and tastes like compost). Most fruit teas are good - but make sure they don't contact citric acid or have been sweetened. Most Twinings fruit teas are fine. I regularly drink their Cranberry, Raspberry and Elderflower and Peppermint teas. It's a great shame that my absolute favourite, Ginger and Lemon, contains citric acid, but if you're partial, it's easy to make it at home:

Ginger and Lemon Tea

You'll need:

1 lemon
piece of ginger
tea pot
tea strainer
copious amounts of boiling water

Take a knob of ginger, peel and grate it and put in a tea pot. Pour on boiling water and allow to steep for a few mins (depending on the desired strength). Before pouring (use a tea strainer), squeeze a good glug of fresh lemon juice in the mug. You can keep topping up the pot until you've had enough. Fantastic as a winter warmer, or if you have a sore throat. In theory you should be able to make peppermint tea in the same way. I've recently just taken possession of a mint plant, so might give it a go later.
In fact I did try it. Not bad - steeped a few leaves in hot water for about ten minutes. Pleasantly minty, but not as good as you get in restaurants. Perhaps I'm not using the right sort of mint? Or, should I bruise the leaves a bit first? Might take a bit of experimentation to get it right.

* available from Sainsburys and Tescos
# available from Tescos and Holland & Barrett

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Wheat & Dairy Free Supermarket

Well, look what I've just found. A UK-based company that sell yeast-free products (including bread mixes - hmmmm, sugar beet fibre? Is that okay?) mail-order! You can even search within each section for 'yeast-free', or 'no added sugar' products. I know absolutely nothing about them, but once I've been paid, I might give 'em a whorl.

Soya: pros and cons

Following on from my earlier post - ostensibly about breakfasts, but also about how I've recently gone off soya milk for a number of ethical and health reasons - there's been some really illuminating posts about the pros and cons of soya products on the Fanatic Cook blog recently. To summarise (and I know this is simplifying the debate somewhat) fermented soya products (e.g. tofu, soy sauce and miso) are good, while unfermented soya products (like soya milk) are potentially harmful, if consumed in large quantities. I, for one, have decided to give up soya milk in preference for UHT goats milk (which doesn't cause me any problems).

Why does life have to be so complicated?!

Iron absorbtion and making the most of the nutrients in your diet

Here's an interesting little article. Obviously, orange juice is off-limits for the anti-Candida diet, but - as I need all the iron I can get - I've taken on board the advice about avoiding tea at meal times. Trying to have a mug of fruit or nettle tea instead.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I've had a pizza relapse (and mushrooms, cheese, chorizo sausage, paella and creamy garlic sauce) today. Pizza al funghi for lunch, followed by tapas for dinner. Oh well, guess I'll have to get back on the straight and narrow tomorrow. ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cranberries - lovely cranberries!

I was delighted to find dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice concentrate - instead of sucrose - in my local health food shop the other day. They're still very tart, but great on muesli. I'm thinking about making up my own dried fruit/nut mix as a snack for when I'm on the move, comprised of the aforementioned cranberries, shredded coconut, chopped dried apricots and brazil nut pieces. Yum!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tea 'healthier' drink than water

Tea is healthier than water, according to a study carried out at Kings College, London. Not only does it replace fluid, it contains antioxidants and fluoride (good for teeth!).

I know you're not supposed to have caffeine on the anti-Candida diet, but I really would not be able to survive without green tea (and crisps - but that's another story!) - I'm an addict. My particular favourite is 'Double Dragon' from Fujian province in China, available from 'Holland & Barrett'. It's not as bitter, nor as strong as some green teabags can be. It still contains some caffeine, but at much lower levels than 'normal' tea or coffee (which I detest). White tea - if you can find it - has even less caffeine and more antioxidants.

Some light relief!

Have just found this fab Retro Food Recipes website. None of them are suitable for the anti-Candida diet of course (but would I really want to actually consume any of them?!), but I just love imagining these God-awful creations. I can remember seeing as a toddler the image of a pink, gelatinous blancmange in glorious, HIDEOUS technicolour in one of my Mum's ancient Good Housekeeping recipe books. I remarked that it looked just like a bottom. I can still see it in my mind's eye today - must have made a BIG impression!

What particularly caught my eye here, was the recipe for 'Felixstowe Tart' in the regional foods section. Hmmmmm - I could add something really bitchy here (my ex ran off with a tart from Felixstowe), but I won't. ;)

Ideas for dinner - Part 2

With a bit of imagination you can come up with lots of ideas for main meals. But it's best not to get stuck in rut - anecdotal evidence suggests that you may become more susceptible to forming new allergies/food intolerances if you have a limited diet. At the moment I tend to eat fairly light suppers, with plenty of salad and vegetables (I'm loving beetroot at the moment - the Co-op sells it ready cooked and vacuum-packed without any added nasties). So, here's a few more ideas for the summer.

Oatmeal goujons

This is a really easy and quick way of cooking chicken or fish. The oatmeal is a great substitute for breadcrumbs and makes a lovely crunchy casing.

1 chicken breast or fillet of salmon (without skin) per person
Seasoning (salt & pepper, or Schwartz Season-all, for example)
Sunflower oil

Place a little oatmeal on a plate or in a bowl. Add a little seasoning (just enough to liven the oatmeal up!) and mix well. Take strips of chicken or fairly chunky slices of salmon (cut 'with the grain'). Roll in the oatmeal mixture until well coated and shallow fry in sunflower oil, turning occasionally to ensure the goujon is evenly cooked and browned.

Serve with salad and new potatoes (or chips!).

Ginger and cashew stirfry

You could add chicken or tofu to the stirfry, if you fancy something a bit more substantial. Just chuck the ingredients in, according to how much of each you fancy (I'm really not a very accurate, 'measured' cook!). The green vegetables and cashew nuts are packed full of iron, and the brown rice and noodles contain B6 (which activates iron) - just what the doctor ordered if like me, you're slightly anaemic.

clove of garlic
piece of ginger
bok choy
chinese leaves
cashew nuts (unroasted/unsalted)
dark soy sauce (if you're allowed it) or miso paste
sesame oil

Grate the garlic and ginger and gently fry in the sesame oil. Quickly add the onion, cut in half and sliced and the broccoli (cut into florets) - try peeling the stalk, slicing it finely and adding that to the pan too! Stirfry for a few mins, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the bok choy leaves and the chinese leaves (sliced) (as much as you want - or fits in the pan - but remember, they'll cook down to nothing in no time at all!). Stir fry until the leaves start to wilt and add the cashew nuts. Fry until the nuts are starting to brown and add a splash of soy sauce or a good heaped teaspoon of miso paste (with a splash of hot water). Combine well and serve immediately with brown rice or brown rice noodles.

If you are adding chicken or tofu, slice or cube and cook until brown on all sides in a separate pan. Add to the vegetables just before the soy or miso.

Variation: Butterfly some king prawns (i.e. de-vein) and marinade in the grated garlic and ginger, with a splash of soy sauce or squeeze of fresh lemon juice, for at least an hour before cooking (remember to refridgerate!). Add to the vegetables (instead of the cashews) just before you add the soy sauce or miso paste.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Errata: Success at Budgens!

Have just noticed that I credited St Helen's Farm with producing UHT Goat's Milk here:

Whoops! I got it wrong. It's actually manufactured by 'Delamere' and you can get it at 'Holland and Barrett' too. Fab website bty, it's got audio of goats 'baa-ing' (do goats baa?)!

Ideas for dinner

Finally, finally the bit of writing that has preoccupied me for the last few days is finished and my thoughts can return to food. Here's a few ideas for more substantial meals.

First up is a recipe I have adapted from one I found in a Cranks cookbook (I think!):

Beany Goulash

Enough for two (will keep in the fridge overnight)

1 tin of cannellini, butter or haricot beans
large clove of garlic
half a large onion, peeled and sliced
olive oil
1 large green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (without citric acid)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of paprika
a dash of cayenne pepper or half a de-seeded and finely sliced green chilli pepper (optional)
salt and pepper
natural/bio yoghurt to garnish

Fry the garlic and onions (and chilli) in the olive oil, add the green pepper and fry until onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, the drained and rinsed beans and the paprika (and cayenne). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about fifteen minutes, without a lid on the pan, to reduce the liquid a little.

Serve with a swirl of yoghurt and accompany with a green salad or brown rice.

Indian style food is pretty easy to adapt to the anti-Candida diet. I make up a basic Korma-style sauce, using Coconut Milk or Cream, to which I add pieces of chicken, prawns or tofu. A quick and easy recipe follows:

Chicken (or prawn or tofu) Korma

Serves 1

chicken breast (cooked prawns or half a packet of tofu)
half an onion
half a green pepper
clove of garlic
piece of ginger
tablespoon of mild curry powder
2 teaspoons of garam masala
tin of coconut milk or half a block of coconut cream

Grate the garlic and ginger and fry in sunflower oil (do not allow to burn!). Add the onion (diced or sliced) and gently fry until softened. Cut the chicken into pieces (cube the tofu, if using instead) and add to the pan. Fry until browned. Dice the green pepper (fairly large pieces), add to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the curry powder to the pan. Give the ingredients a good mix and then add the coconut milk (if using creamed coconut dissolve in a little hot water first). Allow mixture to simmer until the chicken (or tofu) has cooked and the liquid has reduced a little. If using prawns, add them to the sauce and gently warm through. Add the garam masala and serve with brown rice, poppadums or wholewheat chappattis.

I have made a vegetarian option before, using cubes of potato, florets of cauliflower and green beans.

For an extra special version, substitute the curry powder for 2 teaspoons of freshly ground cumin seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Marinade the chicken in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper for at least an hour before cooking. Cook as per instructions above, but add a good dollop of yoghurt to the pan before the coconut milk/cream.

Check back soon for some more recipe ideas!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A temporary hiatus

Blimey! You wait ages for a blog entry and then three come along at once. ;-)

When I'm not worrying about what I'm eating, I'm a research student and, at the moment, I'm heavily engaged in a bit of writing that I must get done for my supervisor by the middle of next week. So today's posts are likely to be the last for some time.

So, here's me, signing off for a little while. Bye bye...

Book Review: 'Vegetarian Cooking Without' by Barbara Cousins

Have just got my grubby little mits on Vegetarian Cooking Without: Recipes free from added Gluten, Sugar, Yeast, Dairy Products, Meat, Fish, Saturated Fat, by Barbara Cousins. Looks like it's going to be really useful. Some great recipes, including puddings and cakes (Yes! Puddings and cakes on the anti-Candida diet!).

I tried out a couple of the recipes with varying degrees of success last night: Thai Tofu with Coriander, Chilli and Ginger (p. 154) was quick and easy to make and delicious (even though I wasn't able to get hold of several of the ingredients for flavouring, kaffir lime leaves anyone?!). I made (or attempted to make) Apricot and Walnut Clusters (p. 205) with one eye on the 'Big Brother' final. Not so successful - but for the most part due to me not following the recipe properly, rather than a problem with the recipe per se. I thought I'd be clever and stew the apple in the microwave instead of on the hob, but it didn't produce the necessary sticky mush required to stick all the dry ingredients together. Consequently, they were not so much clusters, than one big cake. I crumbled it up and used it as a crunchy yoghurt topping (and froze the rest). Not bad!

She's also got some useful information in there about Chinese medicine (apparently people with Candida problems are too 'damp'). Worth investigating further methinks.

'Toxic Diets' fuel child obesity

Interesting report on BBC Online this morning. The comment that a high-sugar, low-fibre diet may cause hormonal imbalances struck me; I've always thought there was a hormonal aspect to my Candida-related problems. And I certainly did used to have a high-sugar, low-fibre diet!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Share your experiences with the world!

Well, maybe just me and whoever is out there reading this blog!

I would be delighted to hear your comments, suggestions, tips and experiences. Just drop me a line...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Success at Budgens!

I recently had a very successful shopping trip at 'Budgens'. I found a range of products suitable for people following the anti-candida diet (see photograph), some of which - like the chappattis - I've previously, but most I haven't come across before. Perhaps things are looking up!

1. 'Sacla' Char-grilled Aubergine Pesto - ingredients:

  • aubergine
  • sunflower seed oil
  • water
  • basil
  • tomato
  • cashew nuts
  • sea salt
  • fresh garlic
  • crushed pine kernels
  • lactic acid (preservative)
  • hot chilli pepper

2. Tzatziki (Budgens)

  • yoghurt
  • cucumber
  • salt
  • garlic granules
  • mint

3. 'Glutano' Tri-Colour Pasta

  • maize starch and flour
  • spinach powder
  • tomato powder
  • beetroot powder

(v. tasty with the aubergine pesto!)

N.B. 'Orgran' produce a similar corn-based pasta, available from Holland & Barrett.

4. Patak's Plain Chappattis (six)

  • wholemeal flour
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • fruit juice (guess this is okay in small quantities!)
  • emulsifiers*
  • raising agents #
  • calcium propionate (preservative)

* Mono and Diglycerides of fatty acids, mono and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid esters of Mono and Diglycerides of fatty acids (no idea what this is - if anyone out there knows, and it's nasty, please let me know!).

# Disodium Diphosphate Sodium Hydrogen carbonate (ditto!).

- and finally

5. 'Delamere' goats yoghurt

Same company produces a fresh goats milk available from the Co-op.

Other 'new' products:

('New', because I haven't seen them before!)

  • hard goat's cheese
  • UHT (longlife) goats milk

Both manufactured by 'St Helen's Farm' and available from Tescos.

What shall I have for breakfast? Part 2

Just a quick addendum to the entry about breakfast ideas...

'Kallo' make a puffed (brown) rice cereal, which is available from Tescos (look for it in the 'free from' aisle). It's unsweetened - in fact, it contains nothing but rice - so try it with goats milk, chopped dried apricots or apple and yoghurt. Makes a nice change from muesli.

Have included a photograph of the packaging to give an idea of what to look out for!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book review: Erica White's 'Beat Candida Cookbook'

Erica White's Beat Candida Cookbook is a bible for those embarking on an anti-Candida diet. As a sufferer and nutritional therapy practitioner with years of experience, she provides the definitive list of dos and don'ts.

The first sections of the book deal with her personal story and give background information on candida albicans and symptoms. The bit I'm most interested in here is from Chapter 6, where she details 'foods to avoid' and 'foods to enjoy' (pp. 42-45). My only criticism is that it is a very basic list. Often, presented with something a bit more exotic than your average British fayre, I've been unable to find the advice I need. And to be honest, if you were going to live on just the foods Erica White recommends, your diet (and life) would get very monotonous indeed.

Which takes me onto my next criticism: the recipes. While it is really helpful to have suitable recipes to hand, the perceived need to adapt them to suit every possible dietary requirement, including gluten and wheat-free, means that the recipes I've tried (which, admittedly is few) have been bland and uninspiring. Which is a great shame.

The best way I've found to use this book, is to treat it as a kind of encyclopedia of knowledge about Candida and the anti-Candida diet, and use it as the backbone for the development of your own recipes (and most of the time you'll find that - with a little bit of experimentation - you can just adapt the things you made before you started the diet, by substituting white wine, for example, with a yeast-free stock, or white pasta for wholewheat, etc). For me, following Erica White's puritan programme and recipes to the nth degree would be akin to mortification.

However, having said all that, I would really recommend everyone following, or about to embark upon the diet, to buy the book. If nothing else, it helps to know that you're not the only one out there suffering!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ready-prepared salads from 'Delphi': A correction

So, I popped into Budgens yesterday lunchtime to check the ingredients for that Chickpea salad. And guess what my eagle eyes spotted? Why, citric acid of course! The moral of this story is trust no one. Not even your own mother! ;)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ready-prepared salads by 'Delphi'

I don't have regular Internet access at the moment, so blog entries might be a bit thin on the ground for the next week or so. Please bear with me!

However, thought I should mention that I've recently come across a couple of ready-prepared salads manufactured by Delphi and available from Budgens - a Chickpea salad (chickpeas with olive oil, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes) and a Lentil salad. Both very tasty. I didn't get to see the packaging for the Chickpea salad, but have been assured that there wasn't anything in there that I needed to worry about (and, unfortunately their website - 'though beautiful - doesn't give ingredients listings), but there was a small (and it must have been tiny) amount of vinegar in the Lentil salad (couldn't taste it, came after chopped parsley in the list of ingredients and only before salt, so a very small quantity indeed). Worth looking for if you've got a barbecue or summer buffet coming up.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ready meals: Marks and Spencers

The very nature of the anti-candida diet, with its myriad of restrictions, means that the vast majority of ready meals and processed food items are not suitable for those following the diet. However, in the eighteen months or so since I've been on the diet, I've come across a few 'short cuts'.

Tonight I had Marks & Spencers 'Bombay Aloo' for my dinner - potato chunks cooked with tomatoes, ginger and fresh coriander, according to the blurb on the box. And I can quite believe it, cos very tasty it was too. In fact it contained nothing but:

  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • vegetable oil
  • ginger
  • tomato puree
  • fresh coriander
  • salt
  • spices
  • mustard leaves; and
  • curry leaves.

So, unless M&S is being economical with the truth, there's nothing in there that we need to worry about.

I had it with an undressed salad and a couple of Patak's wholewheat chapattis (previously mentioned in my 'lunches' entry a couple of days ago).

I can also recommend M&S's Vegetable Curry and Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes (available from the prepared vegetables section). However, apart from those few items, M&S is a bit of a disappointment. I haven't been able to find anything else suitable in my local branch in Leicester (and believe me, I've scoured those shelves!). They seem addicted to putting cream and sugar in EVERYTHING! Perhaps whoever devises their recipes has an undiagnosed candida problem? ;)

Pamela Singh's Candida Diet website

I've just come across Pamela Singh's Candida Diet website:

As a sufferer herself she's set up this website for fellow anti-candida dieters to get more information about the diet and to share her experiences and recipes.

I haven't had a chance to have a really good look at it yet, but there's some interesting info about rotating food to find out if you have any specific intolerances (apart from the main suspects) and what look like some fab recipes for Indian and Mediterranean inspired dishes:

Definitely worth a look. Will try out some of the recipes and report back...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Citric Acid - E330

You will have noticed that I've mentioned citric acid(E330) (and it's avoidance) several times on this blog. It is commonly used in manufactured goods as a preservative and, while it is produced naturally in the body and is present in a number of fruits and vegetables, for commercial use, it is manufactured by feeding a type of mould on sucrose, so it's best avoided by anti-candida dieters on two counts.

What really irritates me is that it really doesn't seem necessary. Why is it that Sainsburys, for example, uses citric acid as a preservative in its jars of green olives, but the Co-op doesn't? It appears to me that it is often used arbitrarily by food manufacturers, without real necessity (perhaps a chemist would care to comment?!). It's so damn frustrating to think you've found a 'friendly' pasta sauce or tin of tomatoes, only for it to be ruled out by the insidious presence of citric blinking acid!

It's the bane of my life!

Rant over... normal service will be resumed shortly. :)

Ideas for lunch, part two

Here's a couple more ideas for anti-candida suitable lunches, including a Claudia Roden recipe for home-made hummous. But first, let's start with one of my own creations!

Aubergine Pizza

Mozzarella is a 'young' cheese, which means it will contain fairly low levels of lactose, so it is suitable once in a while. Try to get buffalo milk mozzarella - avoid Danish 'pizza-style' mozzarella, it's revolting! - and make sure it isn't preserved in citric acid. Last time I looked, the Sainsbury's 'Be Good to Yourself' version was okay.

Serves 1

2 fairly thick slices of aubergine (medium-sized, sliced lengthways)
half a tin of Sainsburys bruschetta topping
packet of mozzarella
olive or sunflower oil

Lightly fry the aubergine slices in the oil until golden brown and soft (but not falling apart). Spoon some bruschetta topping on each slice. Top with generous slices of mozzarella and place under a hot grill until brown and bubbling.


I have adapted this recipe from Claudia Roden's version published in 'Mediterranean Cooking'. Tahini (sesame seed paste) is available from health food shops, such as 'Holland & Barrett'. You'll need access to a liquidiser or, better still, a food processor, to make this recipe.

Makes a generous amount. Will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

1 tin of chickpeas (make sure they don't contain citric acid)
3 tablespoons of tahini
juice of 2 lemons
1 large clove of garlic (if you don't like the harshness of raw garlic, try lightly sauteing it first)
drop of water
salt to taste
olive oil

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Blend with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic (crushed) and salt, adding a drop of water if necessary, until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and a swirl of olive oil.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Things for Lunch

Lunch is a fairly easy meal on the anti-candida diet, despite the lack of bread (so sandwiches are out). Here's a few quick and easy ideas:
  • hummous ('friendly' versions available from Tescos, Sainsburys, Marks & Spencers and the Co-op - go for the plain, 'full-fat' option, 'diet' or flavoured versions are usually packed full of hidden nasties), spread on oat cakes (plain), or use as a dip for (plain, salted) tortilla chips, crudities, or - a recent discovery of mine - wholewheat chapattis (instead of the more traditional pitta bread). Make your own, or try Patak's version (sweetened with fruit juice, but I figure it must be a tiny, tiny amount), available from Sainsburys. Hummous has fabulous candida-fighting properties!
  • salads (see my previous post on barbecue food, for a few ideas) - try adding tinned tuna, prawns or grilled seasoned chicken) for protein.
  • eggs - boiled, scrambled or omelette-d.
  • home-made soup (see recipe for my version of Onion Soup below).
  • jacket potatoes with goats cheese (Sainsburys do a nice organic soft goats cheese without rind, or you could try grating a hard goats cheese), cottage cheese, or seasoned tuna mixed with yoghurt.

Onion Soup

This does take a bit of effort, but makes a smallish saucepan full, enough for two servings.

1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
olive oil spread
olive or sunflower oil
yeast-free stock cube (the only one I've come across so far is made by 'Kallo' - yellow box - and is suitable for vegans: available from 'Holland and Barrett' and other health food stores).
dried or fresh herbs (finely chopped)
salt & pepper

Finely slice the garlic clove and onion (in rings) and saute over a gentle heat for about 20-30 mins in a combination of the olive/sunflower oil and olive oil spread until soft and caramelised (this will add flavour and colour to the soup). Add the stock cube, a pinch of the herbs, pepper (the stock cube is already fairly salty) and about a pint of boiling water. Simmer for another 20 to 30 mins before serving. If the soup is too pale, you can add a splash of soy sauce or a teaspoon of miso paste (if you're allowed them) for colour.

More lunch ideas to follow...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

What shall I have for breakfast?

No longer able to eat sugary breakfast cereals and toast, finding something to eat for breakfast might seem difficult. Here's a few ideas:

Invariably I have muesli with yogurt for breakfast. 'Normal' supermarket-bought muesli brands are no good, even the no-added sugar versions, because they will contain raisins, other sugary dried fruits and possibly nuts (which are to be avoided, especially by those just starting out on the anti-candida diet). So, I make up my own muesli mix, which takes a bit of planning and to-ing and fro-ing between different shops, but ultimately it's worth it.

Holland & Barrett (health food chain) sell a muesli base (just flakes of oat, wheat and bran), to which I add dried coconut shreds (anti-fungal properties) and an 'omega' seed mix (both from 'Julian Graves' - another health food chain). Now I have been able to reintroduce some foods, I add three chopped apricots ('Crazy Jacks' organic dried apricots, available from Tescos and Sainsburys, are dark and caramelly and delicious - and are free from added sugar and citric acid), and a few chopped brazil nuts, but if this isn't an option, try chopping up half an apple for natural sweetness. To this I add 'milk' (more below) and a good couple of spoonfuls of bio yogurt.

If I've run out of muesli/'milk', I go for fruit (chopped apple or maybe some berries - if you're allowed them) with yoghurt. Not as filling as muesli, but it'll keep you going.


Dairy products are restricted for those on the anti-candida diet. Lactose - found in all dairy products - is a naturally occurring sugar, but sugar all the same. However, it is found in greater proportions in cows milk, which is why lactose-intolerant people may be able to tolerate sheep and goats' milk, cheese and yoghurt (where levels are lower), and the same applies to those following the anti-candida diet.

There are other options: oat, rice and soya milk are fine (and can be used as substitutes for milk in cooking and baking, with no problems), and - despite what it says on the carton - never seem to go off! But, goats' milk and yoghurt are my current preference (I've been able to get goats' milk from Marks & Spencers and the Co-op and goats' yoghurt from Sainsburys); there's been a good deal of media speculation recently about the moral and ethical objections to the production of soya beans, as well as health problems associated with the over-consumption of phyto-oestrogens found in non-fermented soya products.


Eggs are great. Have them scrambled (with a knob of olive oil spread and salt and pepper to taste) or boiled for breakfast, with oat cakes instead of bread.

Barbecues and the anti-candida diet

I should really start at the basics, but as the weather has been so fantastic recently ('though it looks like the heat wave has now broken) and as my housemates and I had a (slightly breezy and damp) barbecue last night, I thought I'd share a few recipes/ideas for anti-candida diet friendly barbecue food.

Red pepper and halloumi kebabs

I can't really take credit for these. A vegetarian friend of mine had a vision of some kind of cheesy/pepper/red onion combo, and this is what I came up with.

Makes approx. four kebabs

1 large red pepper
2 red onions
packet of halloumi cheese (made with ewes' milk and available from Sainsburys and Marks & Spencers, and probably elsewhere too)
chilli or basil infused olive oil
kebab sticks/skewers.

Cut all the pepper, onions and cheese into pieces and arrange on the sticks/skewers, alternating between pepper, onion and cheese (aim for about three cubes of cheese per kebab). Drizzle with the olive oil and grill until the cheese is starting to brown (halloumi is 'grill-able', it won't melt and make a cheesy mess all over your barbecue).

Pseudo-Greek salad

Again, kind of inspired by a creation of my vegetarian friend. Can be adapted according to taste/availability of ingredients/time and effort you're prepared to put in!

Makes a large bowl of salad, enough to feed at least six.

Go to the supermarket and buy:

bag of mixed salad leaves
bag of watercress
2 gem lettuces or a large cos lettuce
half a cucumber
baby spring onions (or normal ones, trimmed and sliced length-ways)
small jar of green olives (look for ones that aren't preserved in vinegar/citric acid - the Co-op own brand ones are okay)
packet of feta cheese (Marks & Spencers sell an 'all sheep' feta)

For the dressing:

garlic-infused olive oil
cider vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice, if you're avoiding vinegar)
mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
salt and pepper

Take half a bag of mixed salad leaves and mix in a bowl with a good handful of watercress. Roughly chop the gem/cos lettuce(s) and add to the bowl, along with the cucumber (halved and sliced), the spring onions, the olives (drained) and the feta cheese (chopped into cubes).

Mix about three glugs of olive oil in a mug or jar with a capful of cider vinegar (or a good squeeze of lemon). Whisk until combined and add herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, pour dressing on salad and toss.

Non-mayonnaise potato salad

V simple and probably nicer than potato salad made with mayonnaise.

As many new potatoes as you think you'll need
handful of baby spring onions
bio/natural yoghurt
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until al dente. Drain, halve (large ones) and allow to cool. Chop spring onions and add to potatoes. Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt (enough to generously coat the potatoes without 'drowning' them). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Red pepper salsa

More like a chunky salad than one of those jars of dips you get to eat with tortilla chips. This recipe owes a lot of Delia.

To make enough for six (couple of good spoonfuls each):

one large red pepper
three-four large tomatoes
red onion
fresh mint
small red chilli
lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

Blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. When cool, remove the seeds and chop into small chunks. Mix in a bowl with the red pepper and onion (cut into equal sized chunks). Slice (as much as you can bear of) the chilli, chop a sprig of mint leaves and stir both into the tomato/pepper/onion mix. Add a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Options for meat-eaters

  • Use of sprinkle of Schwartz' 'Season-All' and a splash of olive oil to enliven grilled chicken.
  • Cook salmon pieces (seasoned with freshly ground pepper) en papilotte - shielded from the BBQ flames in an aluminum foil parcel.
  • Make a marinade for king prawns by mincing or grating a clove of garlic and a piece of ginger and mixing with a splash of chilli-infused olive oil.

'Vegetarian' burgers and sausages: A word of caution

Many pre-prepared/processed vegetarian burgers and sausages, be they made from soya or Quorn, are unlikely to be suitable for people following the anti-candida diet. Apart from added sugar (could be masquerading as 'dextrose') and yeast extract, they're crammed full of additives and preservatives. Quorn is also a fungus-based product, and so should be avoided if you've been advised to steer well clear of mushrooms.

The next instalment will be about breakfasts. 'Til then...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Anti-candida Diet: The basics

There is loads of information out there about candida and the anti-candida diet, so I'm not going to reproduce it here. If you think you have a problem with candida ('thrush', 'yeast'), then you MUST seek advice from a medical practitioner to confirm a diagnosis. I would also recommend finding a nutritional therapist to offer advice and support.

My own symptoms have responded well to the anti-candida diet and I am now in the process of reintroducing some foods into my diet, but for those just starting out (or what to find out more), here's the basics (N.B. 'bad' and 'good' foods may vary depending on who you talk to):


  • all refined sugars;
  • dairy products (except yoghurt, 'young' cheeses, like cottage cheese - sheep and goats' milk/cheese has lower levels of lactose than cows' milk/cheese, so - if you can tolerate it - you may be able to use it as a substitute);
  • yeast and yeast products (i.e. marmite);
  • fermented products, e.g. vinegar ('though I can tolerate a small amount of cider vinegar), soy sauce and miso paste ('though these are now back in my diet);

- and avoid caffeine (I drink green and herbal/fruit teas) and red meat (I'm virtually meat-free these days).

Eat plenty of:

  • fresh vegetables and some fruits (most practitioners will suggest you eliminate all fruit except apples (maybe pears) at the start of your diet);
  • ginger and garlic (both have anti-fungal properties);
  • yoghurt; and
  • wholewheat grains.

This all sounds very scary at first, but there are plenty of really tasty things you can eat, which will be the subject of my next posting.

Introduction and mission statement

The aim of this blog is to gather together recipes and tips for people following a restricted diet, with a focus on the anti-candida programme, which I've been on since December 2004.

There are loads of recipes online and cookery books available specifically designed for those on the anti-candida diet, but they are very US-oriented, and quite frankly, many of the recipes resemble and taste little better than cardboard (hence the title of this blog!).

My mission is, therefore, to share my experiences, recipes and tips, so that others just starting a strict elimination diet, or maintaining their symptoms through diet, can save time and continue to enjoy food.

In the coming weeks I will introduce some of the easy and quick recipes I've devised, give links to useful websites, publish cookery book reviews and give tips about which supermarkets stock the best anti-candida friendly products.