Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Digestive System -Candida Albicans – Mushrooms and Cheese


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I have lived with a severe overgrowth of Candida – I was only in my early 40’s but I felt so old – no system in my body seemed to be functioning efficiently, and it kept getting worse, however much sugar I put into my mouth for energy!!! 18 years ago, doctors who unfortunately were not all savvy about nutrition were not helpful. I was at my wits end until I managed to join the dots and researched Candida for myself.

As I mentioned in my last post it used to be the practice to come off all yeast and sugars, natural or otherwise and for six weeks or so follow a very rigid diet. I do think that it is a good idea to reduce the levels of your yeast in the diet simply because it comes in combination in so many processed foods with sugar, who as regular readers know, I consider to be the real cause behind so much of our ill health today.

Things have moved on – the fact is that most natural produce is absolutely fine to eat. This includes mushrooms which as a fungus are usually one of the first foods to be banned on a Candida Diet.

In the last 18 years I have experimented with natural ingredients in and out of my diet and I have found no reaction to mushrooms or any other natural food on my Candida levels. I have however, reacted quickly to drinking too much alcohol, eating cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, processed sauces, ketchup, soy sauce, milk chocolate with low cocoa content, processed cheap fruit juices etc. In the case of alcohol it is possibly the combination of yeast and sugar (or too many glasses) – and if you look at the ingredients of a great many processed foods it is the sugar content that is likely to be the main culprit.

I have some key indicators for a rise in levels of Candida overgrowth in my system. The inside of my ears begins to itch irritatingly and my eyes start watering. If I continue to consume sugars in excess I can develop thrush symptoms.

MUSHROOMS.

Mushrooms might be a fungus but they are also immune boosting foods and some are actively anti-candida. Mushrooms are on my Food Pharmacy list and I eat at least two or three times a week. Especially on a non-meat day as they have an impressive list of nutrients that make them a great alternative.

According to the ancient Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago, eating mushrooms granted you immortality. The pharaohs even went as far as to ban commoners from eating these delicious fungi but it was probably more to guarantee that they received an ample supply. Mushrooms have played a large role in the diet of many cultures and there is evidence that 3,000 years ago certain varieties of mushrooms were used in Chinese medicine and they still play a huge role in Chinese cuisine today.

There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of mushrooms growing around the modern world, with around 2,000 being edible. Of these, over 250 types of mushroom have been recognised as being medically active or therapeutic.

More and more research is indicating that certain varieties, such as Shitake and Maitake, have the overwhelming potential to cure cancer and AIDS and in Japan some of the extracts from mushrooms are already being used in mainstream medicine.

Apart from their medicinal properties, mushrooms are first and foremost an excellent food source. They are low in calories, high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and supply us with protein and fibre. They are versatile and they are easy to cook and blend with other ingredients on a daily basis. For vegetarians they provide not only protein but also the daily recommended amount of B12 a vitamin often lacking in a non-meat diet.

Mushrooms of all varieties will boost your immune system in the fight against Candida and are more beneficial in your diet than out of it.

MATURED CHEESE

cheese

Aged cheese is usually banned from a yeast free and sugar free diet but I have found no major problems when using as part of a balanced diet. It is unlikely that by the time the cheese has digested and reached the gut that it is in a form that is utilised by the fungus. Cheese on toast or cauliflower cheese once or twice a week should not cause you a problem and provides variety and nutrients to feed your body.

I do caution you however if you have a weight problem and are trying to lose weight.. A little cheese from time to time is okay but how many of us actually have that kind of restraint?  Also if you suffer from gallbladder disease you will have to monitor your fat intake carefully and you will find that cutting right back on cheese to a very occasional use to be the best option.

So, now you have bread still in your diet (yeast and sugar free such as Irish Soda Bread) and also mushrooms and cheese.

 tomatoes

If you would rather not wade through the list of nutrients and the foods that are the best source of them… Here is a shopping list that you are free to cut and paste that contains the foods that will provide the best source of a balanced diet. You will note that there are not many tins and jar or packets!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/a-basic-shopping-list-for-a-nutritionally-balanced-diet/

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – The Digestive System -Candida Albicans – Feeding the body, starving the fungus –


Smorgasbord Health 2017

There is a ton of dietary advice out there on the net about the “correct” diet to get rid of an overgrowth of Candida, some of which is pretty drastic. Of course, you need to adjust your intake of certain foods because even if you are prescribed anti-fungal drugs the pathogen itself will always be present in your gut waiting for another opportunity to take over the body again.

Remember that Candida Albicans exists in all of us at normal levels in the intestines and it can just take a two day stomach upset, which causes an imbalance of healthy flora, to trigger an overgrowth. You also need to think twice before you decide to embark on a crash diet that is nutritionally depleted – this too will cause an imbalance of essential bacteria in the gut.

Preventing this overgrowth in the first place is the ideal. Unfortunately, it is not just antibiotics we take that can kill off good bacteria in the gut and allow the Candida to thrive unaffected. It is highly likely that long-term use of medication including the pill or HRT may also result in an overgrowth. Certainly, people 50+ who have been prescribed life-long medication for cholesterol, blood pressure etc may also be at risk of an overgrowth, and it may take generations to understand the impact on our intestinal bacteria.

If you do have to take antibiotics for a serious infection, then certainly taking a course of probiotics afterwards can be helpful – there are some on the market now that claim to be resistant to the antibiotics so that you can take simultaneously, but you do need to continue them for a period of time afterwards. Live yoghurts are fine for helping to maintain the healthy balance but they are not strong enough to kill an overgrowth, neither are they a magic bullet! You cannot expect to eat a rubbish diet and then have one small pot of yoghurt a day in the hopes it will make up for it! The other ingredient in many supermarket pots of yoghurt is the hidden sugar levels which of course is Candida’s favourite food.

Just a reminder here about the difference between probiotics and prebiotics if you missed the last post.

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeasts that are classified as ‘friendly’. They inhabit our digestive tract and are a vital part of the process of digesting food and turning it into something that the rest of the body into a form it can utilise. Without a healthy balance of these probiotics systems such as the immune functionn can be compromised as well as the health of other operating systems and the major organs.  If you eat live dairy products including Kefir or fermented foods such as sauerkraut it will encourage the essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish.

Prebiotics are processed from insoluble carbohydrates in most fruit and vegetables including Apples (skin on) bananas, beans, artichokes etc (which is why we need to eat several portions of vegetables and fruit daily) This survives the stomach acid and digestive process that some foods such as yogurts might not do, and reaches the gut where it acts like a fertiliser for the existing probiotics and maintains a healthy balance.

Whatever the reason for your overgrowth of Candida Albicans; you still need to adapt your diet. The main problem is the sugars in processed foods which is not just satisfy your sweet cravings but the candida’s too.

The first and most major adaptation is the removal of these prepared foods from the diet. This includes foods that are assumed to be savoury such as jars of pasta sauce (4 or 5 teaspoons of sugar), tomato ketchup etc. And of course certain breakfast cereals……Cooking everything from scratch and including prebiotic foods such as vegetable carbohydrates with their skins, can be more time consuming but if you cook double portions of meat, starch and other vegetables, and either eat two days in a row or freeze for later use, you need only cook three or four times a week.

Controlling the fungus without starving your body.

Over the years clients have arrived at their first appointment, tired, depressed, still suffering from skin problems, infections etc who have been following the most rigid diet possible to eradicate the overgrowth of candida. They are surviving on a narrow range of foods, greatly reduced nutritional variety and values, and are terrified of putting certain foods in their mouths.

The problem is balance – starving the fungus is essential. But, in the process you can also starve the body of the nutrients it requires to rebuild the immune system which you need to work on your behalf internally. The overgrowth is not restricted to the intestines, as I described in the last post – the symptoms are caused because it has got into the bloodstream and has free access to the entire body. You are going to need the immune system’s power to push back the fungus to the gut where it belongs at normal levels.

For example – I gave up yeast products back in the late 90’s despite my craving for bread which was almost as bad as my desire for sugars. However as a yeast Candida, it is the   sugars it needs to sustain its rapid growth and to maintain its hold on the body. The first inclination is to strip the diet of anything containing those two ingredients, natural or otherwise. However recent research is indicating that not all yeast or fungal foods are a problem.

I experimented with mushrooms for example, whilst eliminating sugars except for fruit. I discovered that I did not appear to react to mushrooms which is great news as they are nutritionally dense. Agreed, you can get most of the vitamins and minerals from other sources but in my opinion the body needs its nutrients from a wide variety of foods and during a period of recovery when your body is weakened already by a fungal overgrowth you need all the help you can get.

Today however, the one staple that most of us find the hardest to give up. Our daily bread.

Industrialised bread, particularly the cheap, plastic wrapped, white flour variety with its abundance of additives including sugars is perfect fodder for Candida. I enjoy and include some white breads in my diet…occasionally. The supermarket in-house bakeries are producing terrific artisan breads and also imported varieties such as baguettes and Panini.. All without preservatives and additives so tend to go stale in 24 hours unless you freeze. I still cannot eat regularly which is why I make my own yeast and sugar free Irish Soda bread.

Luckily I was introduced to Irish Soda bread in the late 90’s which is yeast free and has little sugar, but today there is a wide range of yeast and sugar free breads available in health food shops and online as well as super recipes to make at home. These can be adapted to include additional nutritional essentials in the form of seeds and nuts. I made a couple of loaves yesterday, one for the week and one in the freezer – cost about £1 a loaf to make. There are also unleavened breads – corn and wholegrain tortillas etc that you can enjoy too.

Apart from being able to feel that you are at least including normal foods – bread does not stand alone – we put things on it – an egg cooked in a variety of ways is a great supper on toast and is good for you. Sandwiches made with your own bread for lunch with fresh salad filling and cooked chicken or tinned tuna etc are far better than buying already prepared and expensive varieties with unknown ingredient.

Here are some links to both prepared yeast free products and recipes to try at home.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/tag-7732/bread-without-yeast-recipes.aspx
http://www.riverford.co.uk/nst/shop/hobbs-house-wild-white-sourdough-800g
http://www.food.com/recipe/authentic-irish-soda-bread-yeast-free-228509

This is just one adjustment to your daily diet that will feed your body but starve the fungus.

Next time some foods you should adapt or exclude and some foods that should be absolutely included to boost your immune system to combat this persistent parasite. I will also give you the link to a shopping list that includes most of the nutrients we need for a balanced diet.

Please feel free to reblog if you think your own readers might be interested in the subject and of course please leave your comments or questions..

Size Matters – Chapter Eleven – Candida Albicans and Obesity


I know that I have posted on the topic of Candida Albicans before but in the need for continuity I am including this chapter.  There are some other issues that are included that I have not mentioned before and also a recipe for Irish Soda Bread which is one of the few breads I can enjoy.

Candida Albicans and Obesity.

The more I work with clients who have weight problems the more convinced I am that Candida Albicans is the secret, hidden, enemy of us all. I believe that a very high percentage of people, some sources say in the region of 70 percent, suffer from Candida overgrowth in a chronic form. However, what most surprises me is the high incidence of Candida in sufferers of most common ailments.

When I was studying the condition in relation to my own weight 20 years ago; I noted that there were literally hundreds of symptoms. But, naturally enough, I was only really interested in my own. Now that I am helping others with their nutritional health, I am discovering that they nearly always have Candida related problems. The most common seem to be arthritis, asthma, eczema, menopausal problems, and frequent throat and ear infections.

Candida Albicans is yeast, which inhabits all humans, but usually only in small amounts. An excess of this substance is also known as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection. It is believed that health problems caused by an excess of Candida effect over 70 percent of people in the western world and that the symptoms are so wide-ranging that doctors rarely diagnose the problem correctly. This means that treatment of the symptoms often ignores the root of the problem.

Overuse of Antibiotics and other prescribed medication.

The main precondition for a fungal disease to get a foothold is an impaired immune system. This can be the result of an illness, the overuse of antibiotics, intensive dieting over a long period of time or recurring infections.

In most cases, antibiotics are broad-spectrum which means they are aimed at a broad range of bacteria and not one specific identified bacterium. Without a laboratory test, it is difficult to identify which specific strain of bacteria is responsible for a particular infection, so the use of broad-spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off. Unfortunately, it is not only the bad bacteria that are killed off, but beneficial bacteria too.

A healthy intestine contains a balance of good and bad bacteria, two of the friendly flora, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus, normally keep the Candida in balance. However, where this fragile balance is disrupted, the gut becomes vulnerable to an overgrowth of Candida Albicans.

What happens when normal Candida levels increase.

If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial-fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like, structures are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestine and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens and toxins to enter the bloodstream, causing allergic reactions. Mucus also forms around the major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This can prevent the digestive system from functioning efficiently and if food is not properly digested the nutrients are not absorbed and the body begins to suffer deficiencies, leading to chronic fatigue.

The most common of the allergic reactions seen when Candida is present are; watering or dry, itchy eyes, itchy inner ears and dry throats that clear up after a few hours without developing into a full-scale infection. These symptoms are almost always accompanied by a craving for bread, savoury snacks such as crisps or for sweets (chocolate in particular). Sometimes clients tell me that they don’t have a sweet tooth and do not eat chocolate. However, when I read their food diary, it is easy to spot the biscuits, cakes and alcohol that are eaten or drunk every day.

Other common symptoms associated with Candida are: digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Flatulence, Diarrhoea, Colitis and Ulcers; disorders such as Sterility, Fibrosis, Hormonal Imbalance and PMT; Allergies, Hyperactivity, Asthma, Sinusitis, Migraines, poor memory and fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

One of the most significant problems is the strain which all the toxins place on the liver, often resulting in chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression. The list is practically endless, which generally adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.

It is believed that long term use of other medications including the contraceptive pill and HRT which might explain the higher incidence of Candida overgrowth in women. It should be noted that if a woman does have an overgrowth of Candida and thrush that this can be transmitted to a partner.

I have included a questionnaire, later, that I recommend everyone should complete.

I still have Candida Albicans. If I do not pay attention to my diet, it can flare up again. Itchy inner ears are the first indication that I have a problem.

The treatment is straightforward and is certainly effective. You should follow a dietary program for several weeks to eliminate as many unnecessary sugars as possible from your diet. In addition, you will find that decreasing yeast intake can help. I certainly have found that eating yeast free Irish Soda Bread rather than yeast breads has made a difference. This, combined with a simple herbal remedy, is helpful in reducing the Candida to manageable levels.

Dietary help

Candida loves sugar, yeast, starches, and foods containing moulds or fungus. The latest research is indicating that it is sugars that Candida craves. However, I do react if I eat blue cheese for example and also Marmite .It is common for the sufferer to crave chocolate and yeast extract but not necessarily together!

It used to be the practice to come off all yeast and sugars, natural or otherwise and for six weeks or so follow a very rigid diet. I do think that it is a good idea to reduce the levels of your yeast in the diet simply because it comes in combination in so many processed foods with sugar, something I consider to be the real cause behind so much of our ill health today.

Things have moved on – the fact is that most natural produce is absolutely fine to eat. This includes mushrooms which as a fungus are one of the first foods to be banned on a Candida Diet. Evidence suggests that just because Candida is a fungus it does not enjoy eating a similar organism.

The other important issue is that anyone with a strong immune system can manage an overgrowth of candida provided their diet is mainly unprocessed and sugar free.

In the last 18 years I have experimented with natural ingredients in and out of my diet and I have found no reaction to mushrooms or any other natural food on my Candida levels. I have however, reacted quickly to drinking too much alcohol, eating cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, processed sauces, ketchup, soy sauce, milk chocolate with low cocoa content, processed cheap fruit juices etc. In the case of alcohol it is possibly the combination of yeast and sugar (or too many glasses) – and if you look at the ingredients of a great many processed foods it is the sugar content that is likely to be the main culprit.

I have some key indicators for a rise in levels of Candida overgrowth in my system. The inside of my ears begins to itch irritatingly and my eyes start watering. If I continue to consume sugars in excess I can develop thrush symptoms.

It is difficult in this day and age to eliminate all yeast and sugar from the diet, but significant changes can be put in place overnight. There are some yeast and sugar-free breads available, such as soda bread. Use sugar-free jams and marmalades, which are now readily available from health food shops and supermarkets. Breakfast cereals are major culprits, so I suggest that, for the first eight weeks, you have porridge or yeast free toast (Irish Soda Bread) for breakfast. After that, you can reintroduce other breakfast cereals into your diet, but opt for the low-sugar variety. (You will find a recipe for Irish Soda Bread below which is really easy to make and very tasty).

It is however essential that you avoid sweet foods such as cakes, chocolate and biscuits. This is where taking Grapefruit Seed Extract helped me out.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

It is not allowed to recommend and guarantee that any natural product can cure a condition. That being said I can say that it ‘may’ help get a Candida overgrowth under control.  I have used for the last 20 years for a number of applications both internally and externally particularly for its antibiotic application.

In the late 1970s a gardener noticed that the grapefruit seeds in his compost didn’t rot. This particularly observant gardener was Dr. Jacob Harich, an immunologist (and a physicist) with a particular interest in natural remedies.

When he investigated what was happening he discovered that something in the seeds appeared to be more effective, and at the same time less harmful, than any known antibiotic. It was found that the shell of the seed was anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, which makes it an excellent natural antibiotic.

Today you can buy Grapefruit Seed Extract which carries all these properties in a naturally occurring form.

Obviously, there are times when antibiotics are essential, but a healthy person with a strong immune system should rarely need to take them. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections, such as colds. However, Grapefruit Seed Extract is not only anti-bacterial but also anti-viral. In our household we put about 40 drops of this oil into our liquid soap and this helps prevent colds being passed on by touching, the most common way of catching a cold.

Always start on a small dosage of Grapefruit Seed Extract. If the Candida is killed off too quickly, a mild toxic reaction, with symptoms similar to flu, may be experienced. Start with four drops in a little water or juice, three times a day before meals for four days. Then, increase the dose to ten drops three times a day and after a further seven days increase to fifteen drops three times a day. As a maintenance dosage and to prevent the Candida from increasing again, I take a capsule a day, which contains a measured 15-drop dose. Grapefruit Seed Extract is available from most health food shops, but I tend to buy online at Higher Nature who I find carry most of the quality supplements I take.

Other natural remedies

garlic

Garlic is also an excellent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. It is also a good idea to take acidophilus after a course of antibiotics. Each capsule contains billions of good bacteria, which help to re-populate the intestine. I usually take a pro-biotic every six weeks or so to help maintain healthy intestinal flora and the strength I use is 3 billion.

Aloe Vera gel is helpful to counteract the deficiencies resulting from Candida. It also helps keep body in an optimum alkaline state which is not great for the fungus.

Candida sufferers will always have to follow a sensible diet, with plenty of fresh foods, including fruit. Some people say you should not eat fruit if you suffer from Candida. My theory is that fruit provides natural sugars that our bodies are well able to process. It is the refined sugars that the body has difficulty processing. Fruit is so good for us that it would be very wrong to exclude it from the diet. Recent research on the effect of natural sugars in fruit on an overgrowth has also found little connection. I have also found that a little honey now and then on my porridge does me no harm at all. Again, it is a natural sugar that all mammals have enjoyed for millions of years.

After two or three weeks following these recommendations, you will begin to notice significant improvements in your general well-being. Your energy levels will have returned to normal, any allergy symptoms will have improved dramatically and lots of niggling aches and pains that you probably put down to age will have eased. As these improvements occur, make a note of them. They will be your barometer. For example, when my ears begin to itch inside, I know that I have overdone the sugars and I go back to a sugar-free program and the Grapefruit Seed Extract for a few days. This is a condition that you have to manage by diet, so it is important to get to know the signals your body is sending you.

Recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees – put the rack mid oven. Prepare two 14inch bread tins – I use greaseproof paper cut to size and a little olive oil around the tin so that the paper sticks.

Ingredients – for two loaves.

  • 600gm strong whole wheat plain flour (or 500gm flour and 100gm porridge oats)
  • two teaspoons of baking powder
  • Two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • Two teaspoons of salt
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • Two eggs
  • 600ml milk (I use full fat) or buttermilk/Kefir

Juice of two lemons (to sour the milk if not using Buttermilk or yoghurt)

 Method

  1. Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir – leave for about 15 minutes until it thickens.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl (add porridge oats)
  3. Add in the bicarbonate, baking powder, sugar and salt
    mix in gently.
  4. Pour in the soured milk and using a fork gently stir together.
  5. Add in two eggs and mix in.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tins and place in the hot oven for approximately 60 minutes. Check after 50 and the loaves should have risen and be brown on top.
  7. When baked take the loaves out of the oven and remove from tins. (peel of the paper if you have used)
  8. You will know they are cooked if they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom of the loaf.
  9. Wrap in clean tea towels to stop the crust getting too crisp and leave on a rack until cool.
  10. I wrap one in Clingfilm and put in freezer and because there are no preservatives you need to eat over a couple of days. I keep one in the fridge.

©sallygeorginacronin 1998 – 2018