One of the occupational hazards of being a chocolatier is succumbing to candida from time to time. For me it happens like clockwork in mid January, after a solid month of overindulgence in all things sweet and starchy. The chocolate business booms in December (along with my appetite), and the holidays bring on feast upon blessed feast. The festivities continue in January as all the Capricorns stuff me full of birthday cake, wine and irresistible hors d’oeuvres. Pair that with lack of exercise and a dwindling supply of appetizing fresh vegetables, and you’ve got yourself one mother of a case of candida.
So here I am on January 26, one week into my austere candida regimen. I have to admit I’ve slipped a couple of times—like when I was simply possessed to lick the scoops after packing gelato pints, and when I just plain HAD to eat one of Kitchen Alchemy’s raw macaroons (I felt so happy I almost cried). But what do you expect when I spend a day surrounded by temptations that I cannot eat? It’s torture! Luckily Clive has been working a bit more than his fair share, so I can stay home and surround myself with quinoa, kale, grass-fed beef and avocados.
The candida diet is not all that bad. You can actually eat quite a lot of things on it, just not the things you crave most. The purpose of it is to kill by starvation the excess yeast that has hijacked your system. And more than anything, yeast loves sugar. That means cutting out the obvious: cookies, cakes, pastries, CHOCOLATES, caramels, etc; but also severely limiting fresh fruit and complex carbohydrates. It’s like the Atkins diet, but the aim is purification rather than weight loss. The mantra is “DON’T FEED THE YEAST!”
You’re also not supposed to have caffeine, but please, who am I trying to kill, the yeast or everyone around me? I tried the recommended Pau d’Arco tea and the taste turned my mouth inside out.
The worst part of the diet is the inevitable “die off”: If you’ve been a real good girl and stuck to veggies, ancient grains, and unprocessed meats you will be rewarded by the speedy extinction of your parasitic fungus. The catch is that as the buggers die, their last gasp sounds like “fuck you.” Like suicide bombers, they release toxins that assault your already lethargic human vehicle. From candida-cure-recipes.com:
As the body works to detoxify, you may experience symptoms including dizziness, headache, “foggy” headedness, eye floaters (the little blurs in vision which can be detected when the eyeball moves back and forth), depression, anxiety, heightened anger reactions, gas & bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, general malaise, exhaustion, need for more sleep, sweating, chills, nausea, skin breakouts, or other symptoms.
Yup. Sounds about right. All the reasons why I started the diet in the first place are magnified, and all I have to ride on is a glimmer of hope that if I hang on a little longer I’ll feel good again. Until next winter, that is.
So I’m recovering in fits and spurts, as quickly as my discipline (or lack thereof) will allow.