Welcome to the overview of Marrow Holistic Health’s Candidiasis Protocol! You’re here to learn about the do’s and don’ts of the Protocol and more importantly we discuss the why behind some of the decisions. I’m all about educate to empower.
Candidiasis, or the overgrowth of Candida has the potential to be a confusing topic. I am here to help break down the confusion into easily digestible pieces of knowledge to make it accessible for you.
There is often fear around starting what seems to be a restricting way of eating however, there are many foods that are available to you throughout the whole Candidiasis Protocol. As you read through this post I hope you gain more clarity and confidence in eating a variety of foods that will nourish you throughout your Candidiasis Protocol.
If you’ve landed here but you are not quite certain what Candida is or if you’re curious what the signs and symptoms of Candida are, head on over to Part One: Signs and Symptoms of Candida first. Hop back once you’re all caught up.
Marrow Holistic Health’s Candidiasis Protocol
Let’s set up some perimeters around the Candidiasis Protocol before we get into the details of it.
- Candida is not bad, evil or the scapegoat for all your problems. It is one of thousands of types of bacteria and yeasts that come together to make a beautifully balanced gut microflora.
- Candida can only take over when your gut health is compromised. When the good gut bacteria are depleted it provides an opening for opportunistic organisms such as C. albicans to overgrow.
- The idea that killing off and starving the Candida is enough to regain your gut health is outdated. However, this is one part of the equation…
- Strengthening the quality and quantity of the good bacteria is another important factor,
- along with repairing and rebuilding the intestinal wall lining are all essential to rebalancing the internal microflora ecosystem.
- Food supports the supplemental anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Supplementing with these anti-microbials is key to rebalancing the gut.
- There is no perfect way to eat or BE during this protocol. Because it is a longer term lifestyle change you will have your ups and downs.
- Mindset cannot be overlooked.
- This is one tool in your wellness journey. There is still more work to be done. However, bringing the gut back to balance is an integral part to supporting the whole body in moving forward with more grace and health.
- And lastly this takes T I M E. This is not a 2 week ‘cleanse’ and you’re all good again. I tell my clients a minimum of 3 months but a year or more is often realistic. Having said that you will notice improvements fairly soon. Consistency is key to lasting vibrancy.
First Steps to the Candidiasis Protocol
No matter where you are in your health journey it’s always important to come back to these foundational digestive pieces.
- Chewing: I will tell you once, I will tell you a thousand times to chew your food, chew your food and then chew your food more. Chewing your food sends signals to the rest of the digestive system that food is coming soon, allowing your body to prepare. It also physically breaks down the food enough for the digestive enzymes to do their job too. Finally, simply chewing your food enough can ease digestive pain and reduce bloating!
- Eat mindfully: To eat mindfully means to be in the present with your food. Take in the smells and looking at it (and not your screen) to begin the digestive process by getting the salivary glands going. It also means not eating in a rush or gulping your food down like a seagull. Reduce your stress as much as possible around meal time to allow your energy to go towards digestion vs fight or flight pathway.
- Drink water away from main meals: Limiting liquid intake during meal time prevents your digestive juices from getting diluted. If your digestion is already weak (hint most people do have weak digestion) adding liquid to the fire is only further reducing its power.
Foods to Avoid
Let’s talk about foods to limit and avoid first before jumping into the things you can eat.
- Foods you are allergic or have sensitivities to
- Refined and processed foods
- Faux fermented foods
Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Firstly, identify food sensitivities, allergies and foods that are creating an inflammatory reaction in your body. An elimination diet is helpful in detecting these foods. Removing foods that continually create inflammation is the equivalent to stopping someone constantly itching an open wound. It gives it a chance to repair!
Common food allergens are soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn and citrus. However, you may react to another food. It can be common to have a reaction to foods you eat everyday, multiple times a day. For example, if you eat wheat toast with breakfast, wheat bread based sandwich for lunch followed by wheat based pasta for dinner you are eating wheat at every meal. Your body never gets a break.
Because you may not suspect a superfood like almonds, cranberries or oats to be the culprit for you digestive upset a food diary is a useful tool. Did you know that it can take up to 3 days for a reaction to occur! That’s some low-key sneaky shizz. Take the guesswork out and do a food diary at the minimum and an elimination diet if you need more questions answered. If you need further clarity there are food allergy and sensitivity test available.
Refined and Processed Food
Foods that have been refined and processed lack fiber, inhibit the good bacteria from thriving and have no nutritional value. This includes alcohol sweeteners too. These types of food are not going to support the good bacteria, nourish or repair the gut but they will feed the yeast.
Faux fermented foods
Faux-fermented foods, such as white vinegar, commercial mustard and ketchup are forbidden in the initial stages of the protocol period until the good bacteria have the advantage. After that the the fermentation process of a given food has no bearing on inclusion in the new diet.
Foods to Avoid on the Candidiasis Protocol
- Refined grains for example white wheat, white rice, potato starch, corn starch, tapioca starch, cereals
- Refined sugar for example white sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maltodextrin, pasteurized honey, rice syrup, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose or maltose etc
- Artificial sweeteners, for example aspartame (Nutra-Sweet) and sucralose (splenda).
- Alcohol sweeteners – maltitol, erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol.
- Alcohol – spirits, pasteurized beer, ciders, coolers, etc
- Beverages for example any pasteurized juice, pop, black tea, coffee,
- Melons and dried fruit if you have a mold sensitivity
- Faux fermented foods for example white vinegar, malt vinegar, non-aged balsamic vinegar, ketchup
- GMO foods
- Non-organic foods whenever possible
This is not an exhaustive list.
Top 5 Strategic Foods
Now that you feel like you can’t eat anything, let’s talk about ALL the wonderful and nourishing foods you CAN eat! I’ve broken them down into 9 categories with 5 examples to spotlight the top contenders in each category and to inspire you.
- Liver supporting
- Gut lining
Liver supporting foods:
Liver health and gut health go hand in hand. Both need to be nurtured to support the other. The successful removal of yeast die-off and toxins during the Candidiasis Protocol is a crucial part of the process. A robust liver will limit detox healing reactions and speed up recovery.
Cruciferous veg, green tea, dandelion, turmeric, bitter greens
Anti-fungal supplementation are an integral part of the Candidiasis Protocol however it is not a sustainable long term plan to be on supplements happily ever after. I want you to get to a point where strategic foods will be all you need to keep a balanced gut microflora. Eating anti-fungal foods will continue to keep the good bacteria dominant.
Coconut oil, butter, garlic, herbs: oregano, clove, sage, chamomile, rosemary (fresh, dried or tea)
Traditionally fermented foods can offer all the 4 components of the Candidiasis Protocol 1. support digestion 2. provide probiotics 3. aid in gut lining repair 4. anti-fungal. Each fermented food has its own set of probiotics it contains. To get a variety of good bacteria strains eat at least 3 different types of fermented foods a week.
Kefir (water, coconut, milk), kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt
Focus on sweeteners that are unprocessed, that will provide fiber and nutrients to the body. Although c. albicans feeds off sugars, it is also a food source for the good bacteria too. The Candidiasis Protocol is designed to inhibit the yeast, allowing the good bacteria to thrive. Serving size is recommended to not exceed ~ 2 – 3 tsp daily.
Raw (non-pasteurized) honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, sucanat, stevia (green – unprocessed)
Foods that repairing the gut lining and restore gut health are critical to promoting the repopulation of good bacteria. These foods are rich in L-glutamine an amino acid that promotes the healing of the gut lining.
Cabbage, algae, bone broth, parsley, legumes
Don’t fear the fruit. It can be enjoyed on a candidiasis diet despite contrary belief. Fruit is an incredible grouping of foods that offers high antioxidant count, fiber and natural sugars that feed the GOOD bacteria. If you have poor digestion, ideally you would eat the fruit alone. However, if you have insulin sensitivity (PCOS ladies especially looking at you) and/or you are hypoglycemic then eat your fruit with a fat or protein to help level you out.
Apples, pears, citrus, berries and pomegranate
Veggies are full of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients to elevate liver and gut function. Fiber is your friend. It keeps the bowels moving, it helps make you feel full, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and it feeds the good bacteria. If digestion is weak choose mostly cooked, sautéed, stewed, steamed and roasted vegetables.
Beans/legumes, dark leafy greens, onion, beets, peas
Probiotics are the good bacteria and prebiotics are the foods that feed the good bacteria. They are mainly found in fruit, veg and dairy products. They have their own section because there are some foods that are superior fuel source for the good bacteria.
Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, aged cheddar, tubers, green(er) bananas
Let’s talk about the liquids in your life. During the Candidiasis Protocol it is often advised to remove coffee. This can be a major barrier for some people. However, if you do need some caffeine in your life look to green tea options because it contains l-theanine and antioxidants that prevent blood sugar spikes and support liver health.
Furthermore, you want to avoid spirit alcohol but an occasional organic wine or unpasteurized beer is permitted.
Spring water, green tea, unsweetened pure coconut water, fermented drinks, herbal teas – nettle, dandelion, fennel, ginger, etc
- Clean water
- A variety of fruits and veggies
- Whole grains – wheat, rye, quinoa, brown rice, einkorn, spelt, oats, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, amaranth, farro, etc
- Unrefined gluten free flour – coconut, brown rice, cassava, tigernut, oat, almond, buckwheat, etc
- Unrefined sweeteners
- Fermented foods
- Dairy if tolerated
- Herbal and green teas
- Healthy fats – raw coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds, sesame oil, hemp oil, meat from pasture or wild meat and fish, avocado, dark (70%) chocolate, (non) dairy products, olives, etc
- Quality protein – from pasture or wild meat and fish, soy, tempeh, eggs if tolerated and complementary proteins
- Organic wine and unpasteurized beer are permitted once a day if desired
Healing Detox Reaction
When toxins that have been safely stored away are suddenly released into the bloodstream you feel it. A healing detox reaction is the symptoms you feel when there is a dump of toxins in the bloodstream.
Depending on your current eating habits, switching from eating mainly highly processed and packaged foods to a more whole foods way of eating can trigger a healing detox reaction. It can also happen with the addition of supplements that nourish the liver allowing it to work more efficiently. Additionally, taking anti-fungal and anti-microbials can create an influx of bad bacteria and yeast dying off and you may experience a detox reaction.
Healing detox reactions examples are headaches, migraines, fatigue, irritability, hives, acne, yeast infections, depression, flu like symptoms and generally feeling like shit. On average these symptoms last 3-7 days but as the days progress the intensity and severity should diminish, if it doesn’t consult your primary health care provider.
Although having a healing detox reaction is common during the Candidiasis Protocol it is not mandatory. I hope you’re one of the lucky humans who adjusts easily.
Limiting Healing Detox Reactions
If you do experience a healing detox reactions here are my top 4 water themed ways to reduce the intensity and duration.
- Drink plenty of clean, filtered (ideally spring) water. Water flushes the toxins out of the system.
- Sweat daily for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Take an Epsom salt bath.
- Hydrotherapy – at the end of your shower alternate between 30 seconds of hot water and 30 seconds of cold water, hot, cold. Always end with a blast of cold water.
Supplements are key in a Candidiasis Protocol. Although eating strategic foods and avoid others will speed up recovery they aren’t the star of the show, the supplements are. Which is why having a more liveable, long term food protocol takes precedence over eating a very strict diet when you have supplements supporting the process.
If you could reverse Candidiasis and repair the distressed gut with food alone then simple removing trigger foods should be enough, but it’s not. You need to inhibit the candida while simultaneously improving your good bacteria.
It’s common to hear that after removing a food you are sensitive to gave you relief for awhile… until the same symptoms came back despite the removal of that food. Why this is? Because without bringing the good bacteria numbers up nothing will change. The good bacteria are responsible for the proper digestion of food, regulating mood and balancing hormones, immune function, preventing (and healing) leaky gut, regulating bowel movements and so much more.
Inhibiting yeast growth is essential to bring the good bacteria numbers back up. There is a limited amount of resources in the gut and we want as much as possible to go to the good bacteria, making them stronger and more viable.
The Core Four Candidiasis Supplements
- Probiotic: A high dose, good quality probiotic. I like this one or this one to take the ease off of your residential bacteria as they repopulate.
- Anti-fungal: to bring down the candida numbers there are a few options, I like oregano oil or a combo formula such as Candida Support or Candicin
- Intestinal support: my faves singular supplements are l-glutamine or colostrum. Alternatively there are formulas such as GI Restore .
- Digestive Aid: with weak digestion the norm these days we want to ensure that all of your food is fully digested to prevent feeding the C. albicans your partially digested food particles. My two go to’s are Super Enzymes and Digestive Enzymes.
Depending on what is going on in your body additional supplements such as a liver or adrenal support may be necessary too.
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Daily movement is an excellent way to support the body during the Candidiasis Protocol. The goal is to move your body 20 minutes every day. But make sure it brings you joy.
Moving your body in a way that brings you joy is beneficial on so many levels.This isn’t doing spin class like you’re training for the Tour de France, this is moving your body at 70% of your normal max. You want to encourage toxin removal and not building muscle in the first part of The Protocol. The further along in the Protocol you go, as your body adjusts to the changes you can bring your intensity level back up to normal.
In fact if you don’t love spin class, if you are only doing from the mindset to lose weight, to push harder, do more this isn’t the class I would suggest for you. You may even be finding that despite the extra push you are gaining around the midsection or unable to lose any weight at all. This my friends is your body’s response to stress. I urge you to find something that brings you joy and possibly an activity that is LESS cardio intensive and more weight bearing.
Walking daily is an excellent option to move your body for anyone. Hiking, gardening, weight training, bowling or hula hooping are examples of ways to move your body.
Stress and mindset have their place here. Believe that the body has the innate wisdom to heal itself. For some that is difficult when you have struggled for so many years, decades even. But the mind is very powerful. The body will go where the mind is, direct it towards healing.
The long term abuse and insult that was done to the body intentionally or otherwise takes its toll on the gut. It takes time for the regrowth and vitality to return from a cellular level. Get your commitment shoes on because you’re in it for the long haul. Don’t fear the commitment. It is so, so worth it. It is worth the time to get past the cravings, digestive pain, bloating, chronic yeast infections and PMS. Sink into the initial discomfit of starting a new protocol and come out a stronger person. You may be surprised at how resourceful, resilient and capable you truly are.
Part of this journey is discovering what works and doesn’t work for you. There are guidelines to get you started but then you and your health practitioner navigate through them to find the best fit for YOU. There is no magic pill that will work for every single person because we all come to the table with our own history.
Another part of the journey is the inevitable dinner party or celebration. I suggest you have a conversation with yourself and set some ground rules. Despite the plethora of foods you CAN eat on the Candidiasis Protocol they may not be available to you at that moment. Planning ahead during celebratory events and telling yourself: “if there aren’t good alternatives available for my banned foods, I’ll just have a small portion”. Then relax and enjoy my friends! Remember this must be livable, you are not failing but living.
Lastly, remember this is a long term journey and you will have your ups and downs throughout it. Please be kind to yourself and do ask for help when needed.
Candidiasis Protocol Questions & Answers
Q: What happens if I fall off the bandwagon?
A: It will happen. It is unavoidable in a long term protocol. All you do is sink into it, enjoy it and get back on the wagon tomorrow.
Q: Can I eat yeast on the Candidiasis Protocol?
A: The yeast used to make bread is not the yeast that is naturally occurring in the body and it is killed during the baking process. It will therefore not increase C. albicans numbers. However, many people are sensitive or have an allergy to baker’s yeast and if this case it should be avoided.
Q: Do I have to avoid all wheat on the Candidiasis Protocol?
A: No, if you are eating unprocessed whole grain wheat and it isn’t a food trigger for you then go ahead. Consuming whole grain sourdough is the best option.
Q: How much fermented foods should I eat a day?
A: A serving is around a 1/4 – 1/2 cup daily.
Q: How long should I stay on the CP?
A: In general a minimum of 3 months is required to reset the gut.
Have anymore questions? Drop me a line or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
And there is still more to come! Part Three of the Candidiasis saga continues with the documentation of my own journey through it. It will be real, raw and uncensored.
All information contained in on Marrow Holistic Health’s website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent health problems. For all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided in this program is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this program, be it direct or indirect, consequently, special exemplary or other damages. In all circumstances, it is always wise to consult your physician before changing your diet, taking supplements or starting any exercise or health program
As much information as there is in here it is not the full Candidiasis Protocol. Furthermore, much of this information is generalized and an individualized approach is highly suggested. It is recommended to work with a qualified healthcare professional.