Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Anti-Candida Diet: What I DON'T eat

In response to Jul's comment on my last post (it's so nice to not just be talking to myself anymore!), here's a list of stuff I CAN'T eat (I thought that was easier than saying what I can).

In fact I have written about this before, but here's a recap/update (rationales follow):

I have been advised to avoid
  • sugars*
  • yeast
  • fermented food (smoked and cured foods)~
  • cow's milk, cheese#
  • grapes/raisins
  • citric acid
  • caffeine%
  • alcohol
  • mushrooms
  • red meat^
  • refined carbohydrates$
  • peanuts
  • oranges and orange juice

*I am now allowed many fruits, including some dried fruit like apricots and prunes (though no more than three a day). Grapes and raisins are prohibited though (high concentration of fruit sugars). As are oranges (apparently it is quite common for people with candida problems to be sensitive to orange - don't know if I really am though). Maltitol, rice syrup and fructose are acceptable, but not in large quantities. To a large extent, since I've been on the diet, I have 're-educated' my tastebuds - on the odd occasions I have had something sweetened with refined sugar I've found it sickeningly sweet and get a sugar hangover the following day (very unpleasant). All sweeteners (bar maltitol) are prohibited, i.e. sucrose, sucralose, aspartame, dextrose, maltodextrin, etc, etc (food manufacturers are very canny, they often claim something has 'no added sugar' when it's just called something else - it's imperative to check those ingredients lists closely). I am now allowed fruit juice (except orange) providing it is diluted (1 part juice, 1 part water) and unsweetened.

#I was allowed to re-introduce goats/sheeps milk and cheese into my diet after a few months. I am also allowed young cheeses made with cow's milk (less lactose), like mozzarella and cottage cheese. I often eat paneer, which is a South Asian firm cottage cheese. Cow's milk bio-yoghurt is okay (I'm not sure why, but - for some reason - the levels of lactose are reduced), though I now find I prefer goat's milk yoghurt anyway. At first I was advised to have unsweetened soy milk, but I prefer not to consume that now for ethical and health reasons.

~ Foods which are fermented, or smoked/cured, are thought to attract yeasts and moulds. Peanuts and shelled nuts are prohibited for the same reason. However, I did successfully re-introduce products like soy sauce (I had always been allowed miso) and cyder vinegar after a few months. I occasionally have smoked and cured meat/tofu too. I figure the cooking process will kill off any yeasty-beasties, assuming any are present in the first place given modern food safety and hygiene standards. Mushrooms are a bit of a contentious issue. My current nutritional therapist has banned them - my previous one allowed me to re-introduce them. I love mushrooms, but I'm not prepared to take the risk at the moment.

% I am supposed to avoid caffeine as much as possible because it puts a strain on the body's immune system. I gave up 'normal' black tea, but still drink green tea (but usually no more than three-four mugs a day). I never drank coffee - so no problems there. I've always been tee-total too (except for the very odd occasion), so giving up alcohol was quite easy too! ;) Unsweetened fruit and herbal teas are acceptable.

^ Red meat is supposed to be inflammatory. I avoid it primarily because of my problems with asthma - it's not so much a candida issue, and in fact, good iron intake is thought to be useful in combating candida infection. I was largely vegetarian for about six months last year, but I lost far too much weight, which I believe was affecting the regularity of my periods. Not a good thing, so I started eating some meat again. Mostly free-range, traditionally-reared, organic chicken though.

%Refined carbohydrates, like white rice, white flour and white pasta, are turned into sugar quicker by the body than their brown versions. I don't have a big wheat/gluten problem, so I don't have to avoid these types of foods too readily (though I have given up eating my home-made soda bread, cos it made me bloat up so much).

That's all the 'banned foods' I can think of at the moment...hope it's helpful!


Anonymous said...

so you can have brown rice as much as you like? I have been on the anticandida diet for 2 weeks now, and I have been having brown rice and am not sure to cut it off. Also, how long is your diet for? I was planning on going about this for 3 wks but I am not sure on what to base the length of it on.

Djinn said...

Well Anon, don't want to alarm you but I've been on the diet for nearly four years. If you have chronic candida problems you're going to be in it for the long haul I'm afraid. And yes, I regularly eat brown rice.

shana said...


i just started this diet, it is quite hard to maintain especially the no coffee, so i still drink my coffee in the morning.
I did fallof the wagon completely a few days ago by having vanilla icecream and sweets. I actually felt the difference immediately the next day! Tired, no energy, painfull joints...So I am sticking to the diet now, only problem: recipes and menu suggestions, if any of you have any tips for that, would be very wellcome. Also I was wondering about garlic, i am not allowed to have it which puzzles me, because I always heard that garlic is good against candida...

lc x said...

Brown rice is not included in most anti candida diets, as it is high in carbohydrates (starch).

Some diets include quinoa, buckwheat and/or amaranth but only in small quantities.

I find my health is better if I stay away from grains all together. It took a while to get used to, but it's worth it.