A Sugar-free, Yeast-free Me*

(via: http://www.us.ayushveda.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/no-sugar.jpg)

Today I started day 1 of my new menu plan for the next 4 – 6 weeks: a sugar-free, yeast-free diet. I’m scared. haha

Before I explain why I decided to do this, let me be clear: I am not doing this to lose weight. From what I understand, it will likely be a pleasant side effect, but that isn’t my goal here. I don’t really believe in fad diets, and aside from the 13 months I spent chocolate-free, I also generally don’t believe in restrictive diets. If they work for you, all the power to you!! They just don’t work for me. Also, I am by no means a doctor or a health care professional. This is based on personal research I’ve done for myself.

A little over a month ago I went for my regular yearly physical exam with my doctor. For the past four years I’ve been able to utilize the (female) university doctors on campus, but as I’m no longer a student and we’ve moved over an hour away I needed to find myself a new doctor, which in itself was not an enjoyable task. I ended up finding a clinic that could take me, so in I went.

Now boys, here’s the part you may want to skip over if you’d not into the whole womanly-bit, but I promise I won’t get too detailed for you. ;) I realize this is kind of personal and not the type of thing I normally post on here, but it was something I knew very little about and after spending hours on the conputer researching I wish I had known more about it.

As the new doctor finished my exam, he sat me down and mentioned that he was a bit concerned by the amount of yeast I have in my body. Now let me tell you what I knew about yeast before this conversation: it goes in bread, and infections of the like are to be avoided at all cost. He didn’t go into much detail, he just lightly suggested that I may want to alter my diet somewhat.

I went home feeling absolutely perplexed. He was clear that I didn’t have any type of infection, just that I had too much of it in my system. Like any self-respecting former student I went to the expert on the course: Google. haha I just spent a few minutes looking up a) what yeast is; and b) what it means when you have too much.

Suddenly, so much made sense.

As I read through the symptoms I placed a mental check next to each one that applied to me–symptoms that I have simply been accepting for years thinking that that’s just the way my body works. Just to name a few, increased anxiety, stress, weight gain and uncontrollable cravings for sugar and carbs, even when you’re already full–all of these have plagued me for years and I just chalked it up to my body’s way of living and the fact that I’m a woman. All women love sugar and carbs, right? I’m pretty sure not all women crave sugar so badly that your body physically hurts until you alleviate it.The best description I read of someone who also has this (“Candida albicans”) was that you don’t feel like “yourself” and don’t really know why. I’ve been feeling that way for months and had no idea why.

Since that time I’ve been researching off and on to prepare myself to get rid of it. Women who have been on anti-biotics or who have been / are on birth control are more prone to increased yeast and often suffer from these symptoms and don’t even know why! There is an unbelievable amount of information on the web about the best way to heal your body and effectively “kill” the excess yeast in your body (it’s a living bacteria) and I found a lot of it was contradictory. Only take our supplements! Don’t take any supplements! Eat this! Don’t eat that! Don’t eat anything! haha

I think I have finally found a plan that will work for me. I’m going for an all-natural method–changing my diet and lifestyle. There are lists and lists of what you should and shouldn’t eat, and after going through 10 – 15 of them, I put one together that I’m going to phase in for the next 4 – 6 weeks. It will involve cutting out foods that cause yeast to grow excessively and focusing on foods that will keep me healthy as I “detox” my body. Here’s what I have laid out:

**Week One:

-No Processed Sugar. I realize that sugar is in almost everything, so this week I’m focusing on cutting out the crap. No baked goods, no chocolate, no sugary drinks, no candy, etc.
-No Yeast. I’m saying goodbye to bread and anything else made with white flours and yeast. If I’m dying I’ll eat whole grain products.
-No Starchy foods. This one breaks my heart, but it includes saying goodbye to potatoes and corn, two of my favourite foods.
-Limited Dairy products (no cheese)

**Week Two: (in addition to items removed in week one)

-No Fermented foods (ciders, etc)
-No Preserved foods (deli meats, pickles, etc)
-Limited Fruits (natural sugars also cause yeast growth)

**Weeks 3 – 6:

-ALL sugars (sweetened yogurt, peanut butter, etc)

I have to be honest–I’m terrified. I’ve lived with this sugar and carb dependency for so long I’m not sure how this will go, but I’m committed to do it. At the recommendation of other people who have cleansed their body this way I’m keeping a food journal and will be recording everything I eat. And really, while it seems like I can’t eat anything based on that list, there are plenty of foods I can eat as much as I want of:

  • Meats: Chicken, turkey, all game birds, quail, duck goose, pheasant and Cornish hen. Grass-fed beef, buffalo, lamb and venison.
  • Eggs: Choose Omega-3 or free range, fertilized eggs in moderation. No more than 6 per week.
  • Fish: All fresh fish including salmon, water packed tuna, clam, shrimp, lobster and oysters. Wild is the best.
  • Nuts, Seeds and Unprocessed Oils: Almonds, brazil, cashews, filberts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. Avoid roasted and salted.
  • Cold Pressed Oils: Almond, avocado, flax seed, butter, apricot, corn, walnut, sunflower, olive and sesame oil.
  • Whole Grains: Including barley, corn millet, oats, brown rice, wheat, whole grain pasta or vegetable pastas.
  • Cereals: Hot or cold – whole wheat, unsweetened cereals including Wheatena, grits, oat bran, puffed rice and puffed wheat, Zoom oatmeal, Roman Meal; and cracked wheat.
  • Breads: Any whole grain, unsweetened bread without yeast – look in the refrigerator section of your health food store.
  • Crackers and Chips: Any whole grain, unsweetened cracker of chip (chip/potatoe/etc), including Koyo brand buckwheat rice cakes, Ryvita brand crackers in various flavors – read ingredients, Terra brand chips in various flavors – read ingredients.
  • Muffins and Biscuits: Any whole grain muffin, biscuit, tortilla, rice cakes – must be made with soda or baking powder – not yeast.
  • Legumes: All legumes such as lentils, peas, soybeans, dried beans i.e. pinto, navy, norther, kidney etc.
  • Fresh Vegetables: All vegetable including (be adventurous) asparagus, beets broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green peppers, greens, lettuce, turnip, spinach, onions, peas, parsley, fresh tomatoes, squash (summer, winter, butter and zucchini), red potatoes (no white potato or ketchup) radishes, okra, parsnip, collards, yams and avocados.
  • Extras for Taste: Lemons and limes are great to spruce up a salad or other recipes – may use miso and soy sauce sparingly. Use stevia as a natural sweetener in the supplement section.
  • Dairy: Unsweetened plain whole – milk yogurt, plain kefir, buttermilk, cottage and ricotta cheese, goat milk, soft goat cheese and unsweetened soymilk (West Soy).
  • Beverages: Bottled, filtered water and sparkling water with lemons or limes. Hot or room temperatures.(http://www.qfac.com/detox/candida_diet_2.html)

I’ve also read that it’s important to take a daily vitamin, and lots of vitamin C will help speed up things up.

I’m really looking forward to how I’ll feel at the end of this process–I’m hoping it will finally get rid of some of these things I’ve just accepted and lived with for so long! I know that part of it won’t be pleasant, detox symptoms can be strong and I fully expect to experience some wicked cravings–I may get mean. haha! But I’ll keep you in the loop the whole way. :)

Six weeks from now I hope to be a happy, healthier me.

Wish me luck!

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  • cammyclassroomconfessions

    Oh wow, I think I may need to ask my doctor about this. I have been on the pill for like 7 years and I have many of the symptoms you have described. Scary! Good luck with the plan! Be sure to let us know if you feel any different.

  • jennybowley

    Hey Heidi! Congrats in getting a JOB!!! I am so happy for you and I know you will have a class of your own some day… and those students will be lucky to have you. I'm so impressed of all the diet changes you made. You're basically on Noelle's diet! Hahaha! Actually, she still eats yeast occasionally. We kind of eat like this too… minus the yeast… but not a lot of sugar, whole grains, no processed stuff, etc. How's it going with the new lifestyle change? Well congrats again. You deserve it!

  • Gail Winstanley

    Hi, i’m just starting a blog on a Yeast Free diet.  I’m forever on and off a yeast free diet but i’ve started a blog to try and inspire me to complete a full twelve months without it.  I’d love to know how you got on.