Roughly four years ago, I was experiencing frequent awful stabbing abdominal pain at random along with uncontrollable extreme bloating. I could eat healthy and exercise, but still would feel miserable. I could no longer fit into my normal jeans, slacks, or yoga pants. The bloating became so apparent, people at work were asking me when my baby was due ????. I was not expecting any children nor was I planning any soon. I had enough of the embarrassment and pain, so I decided to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist. After testing was completed, I was diagnosed with heartburn otherwise known as (GERD) with a hiatal hernia, and irritable bowel syndrome, known as IBS. I was started on a ant-heartburn medication and IBS medication costing me $80 monthly.
I continued my medications like I was supposed to. I ate healthy, exercised, but still had “bad” days when I would have excruciating abdominal pain and severe heartburn to the point where I would feel like throwing up. The medication was not helping me anymore. I was feeling depressed and hopeless, like I would never find an answer to my digestive issues. A few years went on and I simply just dealt with my symptoms when they came and rejoiced when they went. I always craved coffee and sweets, especially when I had a headache. I couldn’t get enough chocolate, cookies, and candy. I figured I was probably a hormonal spike or a blood sugar and that’s what my body wanted to fix itself.
Up until recently, I signed up for a conference for dietitian/ nutritionists. The first speaker was a dietitian, like me. She worked in a new, up and coming field called, Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine. She was up front and personal. She shared her story of her digestive issues. The pain, bloating, sweet cravings were very similar to mine. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t alone! Her root cause to her digestive issues was caused by a yeast called, candida diagnosed by a doctor specializing in integrative medicine. If you haven’t heard of candida, it is the pesky culprit which usually causes vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush. The benefit of visiting a doctor specializing in integrative medicine is that they look at the body as a whole instead of a single body part. This particular dietitian was instructed by her doctor to try a candida cleanse and comply with a candida diet instead of taking medicine. I took her advice and thought what do I have to lose? I was already feeling miserably sick. I gave the candida cleanse and diet a go!
Here is my experience.
Day 1-2: Candida Cleanse
I made a homemade vegetable broth from organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, parsley, and sea salt. After the broth simmered for a bit, I strained the vegetables and sipped on the broth. I drank so much broth, I was stuck in the bathroom all day feeling like I had the stomach flu. I was also drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. I also drank a teaspoon of bentonite clay once daily. It tasted so GROSS! I felt like I licked the table of an elementary school art table! The purpose of the bentonite clay is to draw out toxins dwelling in your body. To be honest, I thought his was hokey. But I stuck it out.
Days 3-5: The Candida Cleanse
During these days, I was able to eat non-starchy vegetables. However, I steered away from grains, sugars, fruits, starches, and alcohol. Reason being, candida literally feeds off these foods and I did not want them to continue to survive in my intestinal tract. I cooked fresh, steamed vegetables and ate them when I felt hungry. Each day I looked forward to eating a romaine lettuce salad topped with a few teaspoons of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. I also drank 72 oz of water each day, which was tough especially swallowing the bentonite clay! Throughout the days 1-4 of the candida cleanse I literally thought I was making myself more sick. I was running a low grade fever, my abdomen was bloated, and felt overall ill. Upon day 5, I felt like a new woman!!
Today, I am feeling pretty darn good. I am healthy and well again. I do not have anymore heart burn, IBS symptoms, or cravings for sweets. As maintenance I regularly add coconut oil and glutamine to my protein shakes, take milk thistle, and cinnamon daily. Milk thistle helps promote liver function. Cinnamon keep candida at bay. Eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, Greek yogurt, and keifer can help establish good gut flora. I thank my lucky stars I was introduced to integrative medicine that day. I plan to use my success story to help others, like me, in this world.
Bottom line…Food is medicine!
*Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This blog post is solely my experience. I recommend consulting a health care professional before starting a cleanse or diet change.