Just like my last juice fast, candida diets are beginning to feel like old news to me; I battled candida during Lyme for a long time a couple years ago, then had an unexpected bout return this past December. In the last month, it has come back again, which is not surprising now that we’ve found out we may have mold in our bedroom. We’ve had a LOT of health problems since moving across the hall in November, and tomorrow they are opening the offending wall and we will know for sure whether nastiness is growing in a spot under the window that sprang a leak shortly after we moved in. We are, of course, hoping that it IS moldy in there, because if it isn’t, our household has become randomly riddled with really odd ailments, for no apparent reason.
Back to candida– and by candida, I am referring to the kind in your gut, not other areas, just to throw that out there for the record. It’s back, it’s got me STARVING CONSTANTLY, and in turn I have of course put on all the weight I’d lost since the hormone situation (which, if there is mold in the wall, explains why all that got so bad too). While just a month ago I was back to my normal skinny pants, those are again a lost cause. I spent a minute (err, couple weeks) thinking, “Fuck it,” because I knew I had to wait until the wall situation was fully dealt with, and that has involved numerous inspections, tests, etc. I didn’t go crazy and eat yeasted bread or anything, but I had wine close to nightly and what the average person may consider a slightly obscene amount of chocolate. Now that the wall is being handled, it’s time to handle me, too, so I ordered Renew Life Enterprises “CandiGone,” will bust out the Rife machine every few days, and began a joyous standard candida diet. Only, being me and having lofty goals, I decided to also cut out foods that I know I have been consuming way too much of, that are typically allowed. Read: Ace has staged numerous nut-interventions on me lately, and I’ve come to realize that they are just too big a part of my diet. So although the candida diet says they are ok as long as they’re roasted, I’ve decided to cut nuts and seeds out entirely for a short while.
The easiest way, for me, to not feel completely deprived of specific foods, is to remove myself completely from food and do a juice fast. But since I just did that a month or so ago, and since I am STARVING CONSTANTLY, that sounds very not fun right now. Instead, I’ve decided to switch up my normal eating life as much as possible so that I don’t notice what I am missing as badly as I usually would. My tips for a candida cleanse overlap with those for a juice fast, but I think there are several important things that can help you get through any restricted period of time, so I am including them again here.
1. Buy a plethora of snackable green produce. I kid you not, I have eaten an entire head of celery as a snack lately. Candida hunger is like the munchies from smoking pot exaggerated to the millionth degree, only without any laughter or fulfillment. Know that you will still be hungry for awhile, and plan accordingly with things you could eat all day and not have to worry about. My two favorites for this are Persian cucumbers and celery. Broccoli stalks also work.
2. Don’t try to substitute. If you love, say, regular pizza, don’t think you’ll be fooled and satiated instantly by gluten free crust and Daiya cheese and pesto sauce. Forget about pizza for a minute, and try making, say, an Indian food dish you’ve never had but have been curious to try.
3. Since you have added a bunch of new rules, release some of your standard ones. Personally, I am mostly raw and I rarely buy products with ingredients. So for me, buying brown rice cakes (I never buy rice cakes because puffing grains at high temps denatures them and renders them nutritionally void) is a huge treat. What’s in my cabinet right now? Brown rice cakes!! What’s my treat for eating a raw greens salad with probiotic onion dressing for lunch? Brown rice cakes!! I also have roasted seaweed snacks, and So Delicious sugar-free coconut milk and ice cream. (Seaweed and coconut are in the “top ten foods to eat” while getting ridding of candida, btw.) This all helps me to feel like there are tons of “guilty” treats waiting for me, and eases the focus off the fact that I can’t currently have any fruit, chocolate, nuts, wine, etc.
4. Protein- what’s a non-meat eater to do on a diet that usually stresses meat? I am huge on listening to one’s body, and have actually had several times throughout my adulthood where my body said, specifically, “feed me poultry.” I listened, gave it chicken a couple times, and it shut up about that for another couple years. For reasons like that, I eschew labeling myself as anything other than a raw foodist, even though my diet is at least 90-95% plant based and I think I eat a lot more veggies than the average vegan. (I also tried eating liver twice at the recommendation of several different alternative health practitioners, but that didn’t go over well in the slightest, and I plan pretty solidly to never try it again.) On the regular, I consume a small amount of raw dairy in the form of raw cheese, which is, of course, not allowed on a candida diet. To solve this issue, I prefer protein shakes. Currently I have Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, which is brown rice protein with spirulina, greens, and herbs for energy (thanks to the health issues I’ve got lethargy, malaise, and ennui written all over me lately). I wish it was all organic, but at least some of the ingredients are.
5. Make simple things special. Examples of this are having a shake or juice in a fancy glass, mixing a salad in a beautiful bowl, or breaking out nice dinnerware for a regular weeknight meal. You are doing a candida cleanse for YOU, because your body is important and you want to help it rebalance itself. However, the more we focus on what we are missing/can’t have, the more stressed we get, and the worse we in turn make our bodies feel. Reward yourself in every possible way!
Protein shake/faux milkshake with So Delicious sugar-free milk and ice cream, Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, coconut oil, and toffee flavored stevia. I usually add greens to my smoothies, but this was meant to feel/taste like a dessert treat- and it did. =)
After all the lovely responses I received from my blog on natural products I’ve used to help with energy, I decided to write one about what helped me with two of the worst aspects of having Chronic Lyme Disease: fibromyalgia (aka, horrible pain everywhere all the time for no apparent reason), and insomnia. I only have a couple products that worked for each, but they worked very well.
My insomnia began pretty quickly after I started treating Lyme with the Rife machine. I would go to bed on nights I used it, and just not fall asleep. By five am, I’d be in tears, and I would either not fall asleep at all or finally fall asleep in late morning, only to sleep for a couple hours. Since I used the machine 1-2x a week, the insomnia would diminish as the days passed between treatments, then occur again as soon as I used the machine. Within a few weeks, it became nightly, and torturous. My LLMD prescribed me ketamine, which I refused to take. All I could think was, “K-Hole,” and, “Why the hell would I want to be on the most popular date rape drugs of the 90s?” I’d had a disastrous experience with Ambien in my early 20s and didn’t want to go near that, or any other pharmaceutical. I tried an array of supplements until I found a combo that worked:
An Shui Wan by Plum Flower Brand, approximately $15 for 220 pills: I had taken this after the Ambien disaster in my 20s, and it cured the insomnia I had in college. Not only does it put you to sleep, but it also regulates your circadian rhythms. This teaches your body to get tired at the same time every night, which is very helpful. In the past, An Shui Wan alone had knocked me out. They say to take 2-8 tiny tea pills, and I’d have success with a dosage of six or so. With the Lyme, though, I needed much more. I took about 15 An Shui Wan tea pills a night, along with:
Amantilla Extract by NutraMedix, approximately $20 for 1 oz: This alone didn’t put me to sleep, but combined with An Shui Wan, I never needed to use a pharmaceutical sleep aid. The dosage is 15-20 drops, and I generally took 30. Granted, this is twice the recommended dosage for both herbs, but given that they are natural and safe, I think doubling up is far, far less harmful than taking actual drugs. Between the two, I slept full nights the entire time I treated the Lyme. As I got better, sleep came more easily, and I backed off each of these until I slept unaided. There were no side effects at all in coming off of them.
One other thing that helped with sleep also helped with pain, so it makes a good segue. I imagine most people dealing with chronic illness or fibromyalgia are likely already familiar, but just in case you’re not:
Ever since Kramer on Seinfeld referred to taking a bath as, “steeping in a tepid pool of your own filth,” I’ve had an aversion to them. But man, epsom salt baths are sooooo important for Lyme treatment. I took one after every time I used the Rife, and it made the detox process much more effective. It also made me sleepy, and made me feel a bit less like I was made of lead. Be careful, of course, when using these if you have a serious illness, because they say it can knock you out or make you detox too fast. I never had any negative results myself. Espom salts are available for super cheap at any grocery or drug store, and it’s suggested that you work your way up to the full 2 cups slowly.
When I started treatment, my first route was the Cowden Condensed Protocol. The only thing I have to say about that is, f!ck the Cowden Protocol. It did indeed start killing the Lyme, but no matter how much of their detox herbs I took, or anything else I did for detox, I could not get the toxins out. Cowden took me from fully mobile and normal to unable to walk in less than two months. Not only was I in constant, unexplainable agony, my joints wouldn’t bend. Trying to walk, I looked like I was 80 years old. My knees simply refused to bend AT ALL, I couldn’t even sit in a chair. I couldn’t lift my arm high enough over my head to get a glass for water, let alone bear the weight of a full glass in my hands. It was such a nightmare. We went to visit my parents (I got a wheelchair in the airport, which was a new low in life, but for the record, zooms you right on through security!), and my mother nearly died when she looked at me. My sister had just gotten a Rife machine because my initial diagnosis had prompted her and her husband to get tested– both were positive– and while there, I stopped taking the Cowden products and used her machine’s detox settings. When we left a few days later, I was again able to walk. My parents then got me a GB 4000 machine, which is what she had, and I used it for three months to kill the Lyme dead.
I cannot say enough good things about this machine. Yes, it is a high initial investment (nearly $2500), but how much money does the average Lymie spend on antibiotics that have a 66% cure rate with a 35% relapse rate? Lots more, for sure. The machine can be used for everything from candida to hiccups, and I still bust it out on occasion when new health problems arise or return. It has pain settings/programs on it, and you can change the set up so that you put the pads on your hurt parts and actually feel the muscle contractions and relaxing relief. It helped immensely for pain by using the pain programs, and helped a lot indirectly via the detox settings/programs. I ran detox and pain nearly all days in between treatments. While I was pretty laid up and non-functional during these months, I was at least not wanting to die like when I couldn’t move at all.
Thermoderm cream, approximately $15 for a small bottle: slather your body in this, be prepared for about half an hour of horrific heat and burning, then settle into nearly 12 hours of SERIOUS pain relief. I LOVE this cream and it actually made me feel like I could move my limbs and muscles. With it, as I began to get better I was able to slowly start stretching again. I had gone from being someone who could touch her toes/put her hands flat on the ground, to someone who couldn’t even bend to the knee. Thermoderm loosened everything inside up, numbed the pain, warmed my muscles, and gave me a much needed mental break from thinking, “OW!” nonstop.
Ganja, mon: I’d been a TOTAL pothead for about 15 years before Lyme. When I first got sick and didn’t know what was wrong, I stopped enjoying pot and had to stop smoking it. I thought I’d grown up, and gave myself a pat on the back for finally achieving Big Girl status. What had actually happened was that Lyme f-ed up my brain and changed its chemistry dramatically, so I didn’t respond to anything the way I had before. I stayed off the crazy weed for about two years, until eventually after a lot of suggestions I tried it for the fibro pain. At first, I got a sativa from a friend, which is what I had smoked before, made it into butter, ate way too much, and spent about four hours laughing and crying hysterically. Not fun. I went ahead and got a medical marijuana card, then went to a club to ask them what they recommended specifically for pain. I alternated between two strains of indica that made me feel a lot less awful: Blue Moonshine (pictured left) and Iron Maiden (right). I smoked a very, very small amount- eating it just didn’t work for me for some reason- on a daily basis until I got better, then kept it up on occasion when it sounded like fun. Both of these strains made me feel relaxed physically but did not make me feel like I was in a mental state of panicked impending doom, like sativas did.
Last, but just as important as the GB 4000 Rife machine, acupuncture with mobile cupping: I didn’t get two Yelp “review of the day”s on this place for nothing! Acupuncture had helped me with a lot of health problems in the past, but what Antonio Whiteley of Body and Soul Acupuncture did with mobile cupping helped get me out of pain quickly, as well as catapulted me into wellness. As of when I went to him, I didn’t know it but the Lyme was basically all dead already from the Rife; I was just still having symptoms because I couldn’t get all the toxins out. The first visit I went, he did a back shu treatment and then mobile cupping all over my back afterward. Somehow, this jumpstarted my entire body. Within the first week of treatment, I could stretch again (thanks also to the Thermoderm), and within a few weeks, I was seriously doing kickboxing class videos at home. Acupuncture/cupping mobilized the toxins right out of my body, and that is when I got well. The whole recovery process, after years of illness, took less than a month, and I have not had fibro pain or insomnia since. It has been over a year since then, and I still see Antonio regularly. In the same sense that I still take supplements to keep the Lyme under control, I utilize acupuncture as a proven way to keep my body properly detoxifying.
If you are suffering from fibro or insomnia, or any other related health condition, the above options will be much easier on your system, and have far fewer negative effects (if any), than the pharmaceuticals doctors prescribe. Before you begin something that may do you further harm, please consider one of these natural alternatives.