One afternoon, I was in my apartment and suddenly needed to lay down. After a few minutes, I tried to get back up, and couldn’t. My body felt paralyzed. I just had to lie there for what seemed like a couple of hours. My sister was in her bedroom at the other end of the apartment and I could not even call out to her.
For some reason, I wasn’t panicked. Something told me that this would run its course, which it finally did.
Unfortunately, this was the start of what I refer to as a physical breakdown.
Food Elimination Diet
I started to develop a host of problems. I had yeast infections. I experienced a headache every single day. I could no longer wear costume jewelry and had to order hypoallergenic earrings. I became very sensitive to strong smells, especially cigarette smoke and perfume. I was always tired and I developed a number of food sensitivities.
I called my doctor’s office and described my symptoms. They referred me to a neurologist and I scheduled an appointment. But the appointment was almost a full month out. I could not cope with the daily headaches, so I headed to the library – there was no internet back then! – to do some research.
The first book that looked promising was Dr. Berger’s Immune Power Diet.
For 21 days, the following seven foods had to be eliminated: dairy, wheat, corn, soy, egg, sugar and Brewer’s and Baker’s Yeast. Eventually, these foods would be re-introduced into the diet on a rotated basis; common practice these days, but radical in 1985 when the book was published.[Note: Dr. Berger and his diets (including a previous book, “The Southampton Diet”), have been widely disparaged, particularly given that the author died at 40, overweight, with heart disease and reported drug addition. I can only speak to the rotation plan and it worked for me back then.]
I had to cook all of my meals and, from prep to cleanup, some days I was in the kitchen for hours. No restaurant was offering gluten-free anything back then. I had to pack up my food to take to work every day.
But most of the symptoms from my breakdown disappeared or were, at least, greatly alleviated within two or three weeks. I cancelled the neurologist appointment. I didn’t have it all figured out yet, but I realized that food played a huge role in the way I felt.
Somehow, I stumbled upon another book, The Yeast Connection” by William Crook. Published in 1986, it was, I believe, the only game in town as far as candida albicans was concerned.
We’ve come a long way since then and the book is obviously outdated. But it provided needed relief and further cemented my thoughts about the food component.
The thinking at the time was that you had to starve and kill the candida. However, candida is a yeast that is naturally found in the body and you can never get rid of it completely. The goal is to prevent a candida overgrowth.
The protocol laid out in The Yeast Connection armed me with methods to use when I barely functioning.
I avoided the recommended medication of the day – nystatin – and opted to eliminate certain foods, at the same time consuming a lot of garlic. I usually bought Kyolic liquid garlic. I would squirt a couple of tablespoons directly in my mouth and I felt better almost immediately.
I was nowhere near cured, but I was killing off enough yeast to at least function.
For years and years, I mostly avoided sugar. When I let my guard down, a single cookie could set me back. I experimented with extended water fasting. As soon as I started eating again, the cycle restarted and the symptoms came back stronger than ever. My depression worsened.
Today, more and more people are turning to probiotics to heal and maintain gut health. Still struggling with candida, I stumbled upon Curezone.org. In a forum titled The Truth in Medicine, the advice of one user was particularly sought after – because it worked. So, of course, he was eventually banned. But what I learned from him worked beautifully – FOR ME.
His user name is Hvergarthi. Most of his posts still exist in the forum and can be found via the search function.
His very simplified advice is to consume copious amounts of food-based probiotics, along with a prebiotic to feed the flora. His preferred prebiotics are soft fibers, rice and oat. I opted for milk kefir with oat bran. Even after a long fermentation, water kefir contained too much sugar for me.
I drank this throughout the day, sometimes just the kefir and bran, sometimes in a smoothie. Warning: there will probably be a lot of gas produced, so try to do this when you are able to stay home for a couple of days. Or start with small amounts and build up.
I started making my own kefir. Most days I would drink about ½ cup of kefir with about ¼ cup of oat bran.
And with that, I finally solved my candida problem. I can eat sweets without candida symptoms, unless I go totally off the rails. If that happens, drinking kefir with oat bran (or inulin fiber) for a day or two gets me back on track. Unfortunately, kefir and oat bran have too many carbs for my keto diet.
***These were MY RESULTS. I can not recommend any particular protocol, but this is something you may want to look into.***