Monday, February 8, 2010

Candida... Ever heard about it?

Hello... My Name is Cameo and I am addicted to bread... or at least I used to be. I was also addicted to sweets and other yummy and good things.

As an introduction to myself, my name is Cameo, I am from Oregon but now live in Utah. I am a History Teacher at a Junior High and I LOVE it! I know most people think I am crazy, but it is a fabulous age group and I really enjoy teaching. My husband and I have been married for two and a half years. He is applying to graduate schools right now so our future is unknown as of yet. I also love to run and by run I mean run for a really long time... this is a picture of me running in the Boston Marathon.

As an avid runner weight loss has never been my goal. By running, I keep in pretty good shape. But the last couple of years I have had some difficulties with infertility. I have gone to the doctor and they would give me drugs which just cover up problems instead of solving them. My mother-in-law is a total nutrition/naturalists fanatic. So I asked her to get me in contact with some natural help. After visiting with my nutritionist she told me I have what is called Candida which is an overgrowth of yeast in my body. I am not just talking about yeast infections, but just throughout the body. She basically told me I was addicted to sugar and she was right. Every afternoon after work I would need some kind of sweet fix to help me get through the afternoon. She put me on a very strict diet... but I didn't consider myself overweight so I refused to call it a diet. So I am here to tell you about the Candida CLEANSE! From what I have read, I am pretty sure the majority of people have some aspect of Candida. Now the cleanse/diet is pretty strict. It won't work for everyone, but if you choose to adapt some aspects of it into your life... it really does get rid of "cravings." I was told that it takes about three months to change your body so I would recommend being "strict" for 3 months. Here is the plan...

For the first two weeks... Nuts, Vegetables, and lean meats
Weeks 2-4... Add frozen organic berries, grapefruit, and lemons
Weeks 4-6... Add legumes, beans, etc.
Weeks 6-8 and then four more weeks... whole grains (brown rice and quino)

Okay... so it is actually pretty difficult but here are the benefits.
1. I am a pretty small person. I am 5'3 and before I started it I weighed 123 pounds which is a perfectly reasonable weight. By the end I weighed 109 pounds. I honestly wasn't doing it to loose weight, (I didn't even think I had weight to lose since I have weighed about 120 for the last 10 years) but it just happened to be an added perk.
2. I learned so much about self control. I never really thought I could actually get rid of my cravings. They weren't bad. I mean I didn't have to have sugar every day, but I sure craved it!
3. I got rid of what is called the "Burnett Gut." Burnett is my maiden name and everyone in my family has a little pudge in our belly. It isn't horribly noticeable, but we all have a mini beer belly and I got rid of it! My belly isn't rock solid because I never do those crazy intense ab workouts, but at least it doesn't stick out like I have a pregnant bump.
4. I love vegetables. Before I started the cleanse I ate vegetables because I had to, but I preferred fruit and dessert. Now I love vegetables as much if not more than fruit. So good!

It is difficult. There were days when I just wanted to eat whatever I wanted or quit or not spend so much money on groceries or eat something that tasted really good. Here are some helpful tips. And these just aren't for the Candida Cleanse... they are for every day healthy living which I think we are all striving to do.

1. Almond Milk... Vanilla flavor. I wasn't too sure about Almond Milk, but I wanted something during the first two weeks when all I could eat was nuts, veggies, and meats. A little Almond Milk mixed with vanilla protein powder makes a fabulous delicious breakfast. Add a little cinnamon and it is a great treat. Add some frozen berries and it takes care of wanting/needing ice cream.
2. Adam's peanut butter. No sugar and it tastes great with celery. I started eating celery and peanut butter because I had to. I needed to eat something. Now I get sad when I don't get to eat celery and peanut butter.
3. Sugar is in so many items at the store. Read your labels. If it has sugar don't get it. But at the health food store or in the gluten free section of Maceys (our local grocery store) there are sauces and chillies, and other goods that don't have sugar but are still pretty good. (There are also some things that aren't very good, so watch out!)
4. Know what your motivation is and remember it. I knew that it was going to be difficult so I stuck up signs in my house to help me remember why I was doing the cleanse. Whenever you want the cookie say your motivation to yourself and it will help you get over your craving.
5. Snack on nuts. I found that if I just ate a little throughout the day I wouldn't get tired, or grumpy, or have cravings.
6. Feel the difference. Your body will feel so good and it will be thanking you!
7. Brown rice is more than just rice. There is brown rice cold cereal and there is brown rice pasta. I love pasta and this brown rice pasta tastes pretty good!

I know it sounds extreme... but I would suggest reading up on Candida. It is a big problem for a lot of people... they just don't know it. Adapt some aspects of the cleanse into your life an feel the difference.

One last note... I wanted to leave my favorite recipe that I learned from the cleanse.
Dump as many raw vegetables into a crock pot that you want to include.
 I include the following: celery, zucchini, bell peppers, garlic, onion, and asparagus. Mix the veggies with1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, and1 tablespoon sea salt. Cook on low for an hour or two. Then add two green chilies, 2-3 cans of crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 1 can of corn, 1 can of kidney beans, and 1 can of black beans. Let cook on low for 1-3 hours. Oh so delicious! Happy cleansing!

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Kathy Haynie said...

Cameo, this is very interesting. I had heard of Candida, but not about it being throughout the body and affecting food cravings. How long were you on the cleanse? Are you still eating just these foods?

Looks like this plan is also gluten free. I keep hearing about those benefits, too.

What a great photo from the marathon!

Katie said...

This is super interesting Cameo. Thanks for sharing with us! Oh, and I am also interested to know if you're still eating just these foods. Please update your post or leave a comment or something and let us know. :)

Dorothy said...

Those are great tips, Cameo! My husband and I have adopted a Vegan diet which is similar to your cleanse (but without the meat). It feels marvelous. I am excited to learn that you lost your little tummy because I'm hoping to lose mine, too! :)

Your recipe looks very, very good. I'll have to try it!

Hillary said...

I've been struggling with Candida for years. What an awful thing, isn't it!?? Thanks for the awesome recipe and the cleanse idea. I've done many a cleanse, been to 10 drs, a naturopathic dr, and now I'm doing my own thing with vitamins and probiotics because that's what has worked for me. In my struggle with and research on candida, I realized that everyone is different. Candida is such a nasty little (I actually mean HUGE) overgrowth that effects SO many parts of your body. The immune system, fertility, your mind... etc. Your post definitely hit a chord with me. Thanks for filling everyone in!

Syl said...

Cameo! I can't believe you ran the Boston! That's SO awesome! Thanks for the info on Candida. I had never heard of it and I appreciate you sharing.

P.S. This is Amanda, your double-upstairs neighbor.

Lisa Lou said...

Cameo! I was so happy when I read your post! Super awesome that you ran the Boston Marathon. One time I watched this documentary about it and I cried. So inspirational. This post was so interesting. I'm going to have to learn more about it. We have to hang out soon!
-Lisa (Lewis)

Marae Lindsey said...

Candida is such a monster. I never did that particular candida diet, but more of an adapted one with raw foods and all that. I'm not sure what worked for me, but over the months/years my body balanced out, and getting rid of candida helped my food allergies lessen a LOT.

Kathy Haynie said...

Cameo, I hate to sound ignorant, but can candida affect men, too, or is it mostly something that women have to think about?

angie said...

I just ran across this post of yours last week and then on Monday started Jorge Cruise's Belly Cure diet which sounds a little like your Candida program. The almond milk is yummy and I bet it would make an amazing protein drink w/the right powder!

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