Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Experience with Candida and Fungus

I had candida and fungal infections practically all my life. Throughout childhood I was diagnosed with allergies and asthma, treating these meant using steroid inhalers daily as well as receiving monthly allergy shots. I was exposed to antibiotics frequently as well as anesthesia for surgeries I had incurred as a child. When I turned seventeen my parents put me on birth control because I had become sexually active. I stayed on this for the most part until age 23. All of this in combination completely changed the state of my internal bacteria and set up an excellent environment for candida and fungus.
Later, as an adult, I was introduced to a more holistic approach to treatments of symptoms, which used food as medicine. One of them is called the anti fungal diet. It worked great initially for around one to two years of attempting it. My allergies and asthma went away, I didn't have to go in for monthly allergy shots anymore and I had more energy, my immune system was stronger and less candida symptoms overall, just by cutting my sugars. Although the symptoms got initially better, some, not all, came back later on. Like itchy skin, dandruff and and itchy throat. It occurred to me later on that when you see symptoms of candida and fungus come back this means either your body now needs something different or you have not gotten to the root cause of the problem.
I worked on this diligently by strictly changing my diet for a long time, then finally came to the realization that it's about more than that. You can only come so far with just dietary changes. It's about your mental, emotional and spiritual health as well. Healing yourself from candida and fungus has to come from a holistic place, not just by changing one component of your life.
I begin this journey by taking you through my healing process on every level.

First the physical:
After being on the anti-fungal diet hard core for four months, going through a parasite cleanse and gut healing program, my body was, at this time, ready for the next level. This was introducing sugar back into the diet. My coach, Josh Rubin, recommended I look into Ray Peat's work and discovered that his research proves that after a period of time, the low sugar, high protein diet actually raises blood sugar levels and creates an in-balance in hormonal levels. This happens because when your blood sugars drop as a result of not eating any sugars, your body produces cortisol and adrenaline to raise blood sugar levels. After you eat like this, over time it begins to take a toll on your hormones. Your hormones being out of balance changes your PH levels which can negatively affect the health of your skin, body and energy levels.
I felt this to be true mainly because of the way I was feeling on the high protein low sugar diet. My hormones definitely felt out of balance, my sex drive was low, I was experiencing some depression (which is not like me), I was chronically tired, would break out with acne and craved sugar constantly. I couldn't understand why this was happening, and felt like I was doing everything I was recommended to do. What I found was that the anti-fungal diet is a great diet for initially bringing down the amount of fungus along with getting to the root cause of the fungus, but if done too long it can have a negative effect on a person's hormonal levels.
Ray Peat recommends reintroducing sugar into the diet, not through grains, instead through fruit and straight sugars. That way your body can begin to acclimate to sugar again and this helps to balance hormones. I know this may sound contrary to what we've been taught about fungus and candida, and believe me I had my doubts, but surprisingly it has worked for me.

Ray Peat is also a huge component of drinking lots of homemade bone broth and adding gelatin to it. This helps to keep blood sugar levels even as well as heal the lining of the gut.
His research also finds that most above ground veggies contain a higher percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This is a fat you want to avoid, because it can get stored in the body and then present itself as a free radical in the body and cause things like premature aging and hormonal imbalances. I personally switched over to starchy below ground veggies and avoid any veggies that are above ground for now. If I do eat any above ground veggies I do it sparingly and make sure I cook them as well as add a good fat like organic butter and organic coconut oil. Also, I started eating tropical fruits and lots of coconut oil. The coconut oil helps to raise my metabolism. I rub coconut oil on my face and body daily as well as have a spoonful in the morning. Saturated fats are something that I have started to eat more of as well. I've not been able to tolerate raw milk in the past and can drink it now. Presently I stick to raw pastured dairy (organic butter, milk, cheese, yogurt), saturated oils (coconut oil, lard) starchy veggies, tropical fruits and pastured meats. As a result, I'm loving life, feeling joyful and life is colorful all the time.

My mental stillness:
This started for me with proper breathing throughout the day. It's a great way to change your PH levels, the more efficient you breath the more balanced those levels are. I practice this daily by using any form of meditation that focuses on breathing or just focusing on your breathing 5 minutes a day or whenever you think about it.

Next, the emotional healing:
Focusing on love and forgiveness is a big one. I first began my journey here by practicing looking at myself in the mirror every morning and telling my self that I love myself. Honestly it felt kind of funny at first, but the more I practiced it the more natural it began to feel.
Now I wake up every morning look in the mirror and give my self a compliment.
Forgiveness is another big one. Forgiving myself was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. This includes giving myself permission to make mistakes and not being so critical of myself.
Also, I had to learn how to receive love. Giving love was easy, sometimes I discovered that I was almost giving too much of me away. The hard part was feeling I was worth receiving love from myself and others.
I practiced this by using certain kinds of meditation, talking lovingly to myself in the mirror and through affirmations. Louise Hayes has many great affirmations in her book, "Love Your Body".
I also found that Tony Robbins has some pretty cool ideas on how to practice this.

Finally the spiritual healing:
I came to the realization that I was not living the way I wanted to live. Even though I was doing all of the right things with my diet and exercise, I wasn't giving myself time to expand spiritually everyday. I now consider practicing creativeness a spiritual practice. Whether I'm practicing my music, drawing, writing, dancing or just having time for myself everyday, these are all expressions of that creativity we are here to explore.
If I'm not acknowledging this time for myself everyday, I feel as if I'm compromising myself. This begins over time to stress the spirit, which can present itself physically as candida or fungus.
This stress can also develop by saying "yes" to something you know deep down you really don't want to do. I've been guilty in the past of being that person who wants to please people. I've now learned that this is not the same as serving others, you have to serve yourself before you can even begin to serve others.

If you can relate to this and could use guidance and a plan of action, Allison Pelot is available to help. Please contact Allison at allisonpelot@gmail.com or visit her website at www.pureenergywellness.net

"Love Your Body" By Louise Hayes


Hiit Mama said...

I have "rediscovered" Ray Peat's work after nearly two years doing the low carb-Paleo stint. Last month or so I crashed. My energy is gone, my skin looks terrible and my attitude is crap. After eating a bit of fruit and drinking a big glass of raw milk a week ago I was back to normal. I am really into exploring and understanding where Dr. Peat is coming from. I look forward to more of your posts.

WebTech said...

Hi, I really like your presentation with information.

holistic approach

technopath said...

I, too suffer from Candida and what you are saying here is so true especially about changing what you are doing. Also, thank you for the heads up on the spiritual and creative front, I think its whats missing in my life. Its so nice to see a community forming such as this.

Jesse said...

Thanks for this excellent post. I completely agree that we need to look at all sides of healing, not just diet. I'm definitely going to read this again. I've actually just been upping my sugar, after trying the GAPS diet and ending up worse off. I hit rock bottom this weekend when I visited my parents and binged on wheat, nuts, ice cream bars, etc. etc. I just could not stop thinking about food and kept eating despite my stomach being full.

Today is a completely different story. I added lots of honey to my broth in the morning, and finally I felt satiated. For lunch I had yogurt with maple syrup, and ice cream with cooked banana, and again I was pleasantly surprised that I felt great, was satisfied, and stopped thinking about food. For the longest time, I thought I just had a psychological problem with sweets, but I think my body has just been starving for easily digestible calories in the form of sugar.