Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Candida = yeast

These days you can close your eyes while seated at a computer and somehow information on Candida, or yeast, infections... overgrowth... etc. will pop up on your screen.
I wish Candida was this cute!

WHY?  Well... perhaps it's the way of our Standard American Diet.  We've all experienced a small amount of yeast overgrowth when we've been on antibiotics.  Get an upset tummy or runny poop while on the antibiotic?  Yep.  Yeast.  Get a vaginal yeast infection while on an antibiotic?  Yep.  Yeast.

WHY?  Our bodies have a balance between the bacteria and yeast in our body.  ALL of our body.  Yep, up there AND in your mouth AND in your gut... everywhere.  Even our skin.  If we kill one half of that balance off (such as when we take antibiotics, we kill off both the good and bad bacteria), the other side wins.  What do I mean by wins?  Well, it gets to grow without bounds.  Think of the bacteria/yeast relationship like cops and robbers.  If there's less cops, there tends to be more robbers... right?  Well, I think you get what I'm saying.  With less or no bacteria, the yeast have free reign to grow and grow and grow.

So... how do we push down the yeast and get our bacteria back to "in balance"?  A few ways.  But first... you MUST replace the bacteria loss.  We've all heard of probiotics... this is the "good" bacteria.  We really only want to replace the bacteria with the good kind as that bad kind?... it's on everything and we expose ourselves without even trying.  The good kind help keep the bad kind in check... kinda like our yeast/bacteria balance... that's another story.  So... onwards...

9 Signs You Have Candida
I could retype all of that, but since Dr. Axe has such a beautiful infographic... why?  Instead, let's talk about how to help NOT get candida overgrowth from the get-go, or how to support a healthy system to get rid of it.  BTW, these are just my notes from reading copious amounts of articles, websites and watching slide shows online.  I noticed these 5 items creeping up again and again, so they're my "rules" now.


Seriously.  Stop eating SO MUCH SUGAR!  Just take every prepackaged food you consume in one day and set the packages aside. Sit down and figure out "If I ate a normal serving for this package... I would consume X amount of sugar grams".  You don't need to measure or weigh what you ate... or cop to cheating and eating more of a specified serving.  Just write down what the sugar content of a single serving was.  Add all those single servings together.  How many grams of sugar did you consume at one meal?  One day?  One part of a meal?  It's eye opening.  We think that just because we don't see "sugar" in the label, it is sugar free.  Not so.  We also think because it's "sugarfree" it has no components of sugar (like carbs... remember, they're just long chains of sugar strung together for later use in your body).  Per the Daily Intake Guide, the average adult should only eat 90 grams of sugar per day.      I say again... 90 grams per day.  

So... say I went to Starbucks for a vanilla latte (click for the .pdf for their drink menu), here's what my run-down would be... just for a morning perk-me-up:
     Grande Vanilla Latte 2% milk = 35 grams sugar
     Venti Vanilla Latte 2% milk = 44 grams sugar

     (typically, I brew Starbucks Morning Joe at home and add just whipping cream = 0 grams sugar
       for a treat after my runs, I'll add a splash of Vanilla Syrup at 10 gr/Tbsp)  

So, after coffee only at Starbucks, "I" would have already consumed 1/2 my daily intake of sugar. 

Most people don't ONLY get a coffee for breakfast, though... so add in one of their special foods... say, I'm trying to "be good" and order a reduced-fat banana Chocolate chip coffee cake... I mean, it's low fat, right??  Yeah.  40 grams sugar.  == full daily sugar total already met at breakfast!!  
40 grams of sugar per serving!!

Anyhow.  SUGAR FEEDS YEAST AND BACTERIA IN OUR GUT.  That's the reason I got onto my tangent regarding daily sugar totals.  We eat WAY more sugar than our body needs for energy, and the excess feeds our yeast and bacteria.  

It's not just added sugars, either.  Your yeast/bacteria don't say "Hey, wait a minute!  That's natural sugar/maple syrup/ripe banana, NOT added sugar!"  It just knows a source of energy and consumes to keep itself alive and multiplying.  

So.  We try to be good and avoid prepackaged goods to avoid the added sugars.  THEN I say, "be careful of adding too many 'good' forms of sugar" too!!  But seriously.  IF you're worried about yeast or bacterial overgrowth... cut your added sugars.  

When I get my out-of-control sugar cravings, that's when I know it's time for a 21-day Sugar Detox.  I've done the full program twice and done mini versions just to cut down.  LOVE that diet!!  (even if you THINK you're going to be OK on it, it's an eye-opener)  

Yeah... I LOVE Diane Sanfilippo, at Balanced Bites, on SO many levels.  Her books are amazing.  And, No.  I do not know her or get monetary compensation for mentioning her books or website.  I just refer a LOT of my patients, friends and relatives to her as her books are SO easy to navigate, read and remember.  


    Yep... you guessed it.  Grains are carbohydrates and carbohydrates break down into sugar once consumed.  See #1 for my sugar rant.  See the photo?  The only difference between the simple carbohydrate (sugar) and complex carbohydrate (things like grains) is how many of the molecules are linked together... excellent diagram.    

2. "Support your Spleen" 
    This is from the Chinese and from oriental, or Eastern, medicine.  Tried and true medicine that pushes us to eat healthier foods... foods that support body systems, such as the spleen.  So, what foods?  
  • squash, sweet potatoes, butternut, etc.
  • lentils and mung beans (slightly different profile than the legumes we tend to avoid in the Paleo/Primal diets)
  • drink Barley tea (I know from personal experience, I can't do Barley tea... supposed to not have the gluten in it, but it still messes with my stomach)

3.  "Support your Liver"
     - detox!  Not necessarily a huge week long detox involving drinking copious amounts of yucky tasting stuff... just probiotic carrying foods.
  • eat sour foods - kefir, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar
  • probiotics PROBIOTICS!! 

4.  "Support your Intestines" 
    - eat bitter foods that help support decreasing inflammation
  • kale, arugula, romaine lettuce
  • cinnamon, ginger, turmeric

BONUS:  instead of buying anti-fungals for yeast infections you can see (like on your skin, toenails, tongue, etc.), try some natural alternatives:
  • oil of oregano (also an antibacterial)
  • grapeseed extract
  • garlic

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