Cleansing. It’s Trendy, but What’s the Use?

Early fall is an ideal time for a gentle Cleanse to help you detoxify from your summer fun. You can reset your body and regain your sense of center, which helps prepare you for the cold season to come.

You can eat a very plain, light diet for a week or two. During this time, avoid extreme foods that knock you out of balance, like alcohol, sweets, caffeine and spicy foods. Or, try fasting a day or two. Afterword, expect to feel light, rejuvenated and wonderful.

A Cleanse should be challenging, but not excessively harsh, in my opinion. You may benefit from an intense Cleanse, like a one-week juice fast, but make sure you are under the care of a professional and on vacation from work because your detox symptoms may get pretty ugly.

The past 10 days I’ve been on a specialized Cleanse, and I want to share my experience to give you an idea of what to anticipate.

MY MOTIVATION

I have made MAJOR improvements in my mental function and emotional health as a result of nutrition. Nevertheless, I have these nagging issues that I want ERADICATED:

  • Mild PMS
  • Occasional low mood and anxiety
  • Chronic postnasal drip

These issues, most certainly, are related to a Candida overgrowth, or Candidiasis, a very commonly occurring yet commonly undiagnosed medical condition. What is Candida?

In our gut we house billions of microorganisms, some that do good and some that do harm. Harmful microorganisms are like weeds in a garden – they’re always there but must be managed so they don’t kill the beautiful flowers.

The key is to nourish our beneficial microorganisms, also referred to as our beneficial bacteria or micro flora. They help us digest food so we can extract nutrients that keep us mentally, emotionally and physically healthy. They also keep harmful microorganisms under control so they don’t attack our system.

However, denatured diets and germ phobias kill our beneficial bacteria and allow harmful yeasts called Candida to multiply. As Candida strengthens, it weakens the gut lining and causes Leaky Gut Syndrome, wherein the Candida is able to penetrate the gut wall and enter the bloodstream. Candida, when grown out of control, is a parasitic invader that feeds on our system and permeates toxic by-products throughout our body and brain.

Most Americans have Candida overgrowth without knowing. It wreaks havoc, triggering widespread damage that causes an endless list of various health problems:

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Emotional and mental imbalances, such as aggression, depression, anxiety, paranoia, lack of focus, compulsion, etc.
  • Digestive upsets, like bloating, gas, bowel irregularity, tiredness after meals, etc.
  • Skin problems, such as circular patches of dry skin, cracked cuticles, rashes, acne, athlete’s foot, thrush, psoriasis, eczema, etc.
  • Itching, especially in your nether regions
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sugar cravings
  • And on and on…

It is a nasty and persistent little bug that’s near impossible to exterminate. But, I do not to deal with this pest any longer. So I am waging WAR.

The only way to fight back and overthrow Candida permanently is through – you guessed it – nutrition. A strict but reasonable dietary cleanse for a few weeks is needed, followed by lifelong nutrition that supports beneficial bacteria.

THE PROTOCOL

The proper balance of microorganisms in your gut must be restored. To do so, consume sources of beneficial bacteria (listed below), which destroy harmful microorganisms.

Simultaneously, you have to starve the Candida by cutting off its food supply: SUGAR. The protocol I’m following strictly eliminates all sugars and starches, even whole grains. Any craving for sweets or white bread is actually the Candida’s cry for hunger, not your own.

I kept my normal diet with:

  • No sugar
  • Lots of veggies, especially greens and sea vegetables
  • Organic and local produce
  • Pastured eggs and wild caught fatty fish
  • No processed or refined foods
  • No anti-bacterial products, antibiotics or artificial sweeteners – this kills the beneficial bacteria and permits the Candida to overgrow.

And made a few more eliminations. I say NO to:

  • Fructose – fruit (except bitter citrus), raw honey and maple syrup
  • Grains and starchy vegetables
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Milk (cultured dairy like yogurt is encouraged, since the culturing process eliminates the lactose sugars in milk that feed Candida)
  • Mushrooms (they are a fungus), except shitakes
  • Kombucha (contains yeast)

Had LOTS of foods that build beneficial bacteria and kill Candida:

  • Beneficial bacteria in kefir (homemade from raw dairy), full-fat yogurt*, raw sauerkraut, miso, raw apple cider vinegar
  • Probiotic supplements
  • Virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices, esp. cloves, ginger and garlic
  • Green juice and microalgae
  • Sprouted nuts and seeds (except peanuts which contain mold)
  • Herbal and green tea

*High-quality fats are essential to rebuild your gut lining.

MY DETOX SYMPTOMS: The “Die-Off”

As Candida dies off, they release toxins that make you feel like garbage. This is called the healing sickness, wherein the health issues you are trying to remedy actually worsen before they improve because toxins buried deep within your body come to the surface where you can feel them. On top of the detox, I’ve also felt slight caffeine withdrawals.

Last week, I felt like I had a bad hangover:

  • Low energy
  • Feverish
  • Out of sorts
  • Pessimistic
  • Angry at life
  • Introverted
  • Unmotivated to work
  • Unable to focus
  • Mild muscle pains and headache
  • B.O. (surprisingly)

But once the Candida has died off, toxins have surfaces and releases, and dependencies to coffee or alcohol have been overcome, you feel far, far better than before.

This week I feel recovered and AWESOME – brimming with ENERGY, VIBRANCY and VIGOR. I still have a few more days on the Cleanse, so tune in next week for the results.

DISCLAIMER

Detox can be very dangerous. Only perform a Cleanse once you have done a lot of research and are under the guidance of a professional. Unfortunately, it’s very popular to nonchalantly follow an abusiveness detox program in order to lose weight, such as the Lemonade Cleanse that I strongly advice AGAINST.

Moreover, the Cleanse I’m following has been developed for my individual needs. It may not be right for you. It is in no way a prescription or recommendation. Again, a professional can tailor a Cleanse that fits your needs and health conditions.

Posted by Andréa in Detoxing, Seasonal Eating October 6th, 2011 | 1 Comment

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One Response

  1. Kayleigh says:

    Love this! Very informative… I have heard of Candida before but now understand how to fight back!

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