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!

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