Foods to avoid on a candida cleansing program...
Use the Step By Step Diet Guide to gain a better understanding of the approach to candida cleansing that I have had such good results with.
If you want more information on ways of cleansing and detoxing the body in addition to a healthy diet, check out the Cleanse and Detox Tips page here.
Use this list as a guideline to make your own best choices.
Please read the comments that follow each food listed to better understand these recommendations. Scroll down to see the complete list.
FOODS TO AVOID WHEN CANDIDA CLEANSING
Aluminum Containing Foods – Heavy metal toxicity is often associated with candida overgrowth, as well as degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, so it's important to reduce exposure along with the candida cleansing diet. Foods include commercial salt, baking powder and many antacids. While we're at it, why not toss out any deodorants or antiperspirants containing aluminum, and get rid of aluminum cookware.
Artificial ingredients – If you see a word that looks like a chemical or any word that doesn’t describe a natural whole food ingredient, don’t buy it.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners - These are neurotoxins, sometimes called excitotoxins, which damage nerve cells by overstimulating them. Again, not just for candida cleansing, but for always. Steer cleer.
Bad Oils and Fats – Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils, Cottonseed Oil, Soy Oil, Corn Oil, Safflower Oil, Canola oil, any fats or oils heated to very high temperatures, Deep Fried Foods. Good Alternatives: See the Good Fats, Bad Fats page.
Battery Farm Produced Meats, Poultry and Eggs - Not only for candida cleansing, but for everybody! Good Alternatives: Visit the local farmers market or natural food store and find local sources of pastured animals from smaller farms.
Alcohol: Beer and Wine are high in carbohydrates. Distilled alcohols can be tough on the body too when you're already out of balance. Once you're symptom free, enjoy unpasteurized wines and beers, distilled spirits and your favorite cocktails in moderation. There are a number of good organic and biodynamic varieties of wine and beer to choose from these days.
Too Much Caffeinated Coffee and Tea: I enjoy a good cup of coffee now and then. And honestly, I drank coffee off and on during my own candida cleansing with no adverse effects. Some people tolerate and even benefit from a moderate amount of coffee on a daily basis, while others feel better totally avoiding it. Overdoing caffeine can leach calcium from the body and puts a strain on the adrenal system and immune system, for some more than others. Anyone who is doing a candida cleansing program already has a weakened immune system or the candida wouldn’t be able to wreak such havoc. If you tend to drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated tea every day, then, just for now, you might try to gradually reduce your daily intake to one or two cups. If coffee makes you feel good then by all means, there's no reason to give it up completely! If you add sweetener make sure it's stevia.
Good Alternatives: Add some organic swiss water process decaf coffee to your regular coffee. Herbal teas are good instead of the caffeinated varieties, especially later in the day, to avoid the caffeine messing with your sleep.
My favorite morning cuppa: Yerba Mate tea, which does have a stimulating effect, but not quite the same as regular coffee or black or even green tea. I brew it very weak compared to most people, but even so, it makes me feel energized with no jitters or upset stomach.
Fruit Juice: Fresh or bottled, any fruit juice (except fresh lemon and lime in moderate amounts as tolerated) is a off the menu for now. High in simple carbohydrates.
Good Alternatives: Learn to appreciate the flavor of pure water with fresh lemon squeezed in. If you really are wanting a sweet beverage to try making lemonade or limemade sweetened with stevia. Check out my stevia sweetened beverage recipes.
Sodapop: Regular or diet, natural or artificial. Too much sugar for proper candida cleansing. There are some natural sodas which can be enjoyed occasionally when a person is in good health, but for now, let's avoid them.
Good Alternatives: Unsweetened seltzer water, as a treat. Don't make this the bulk of your liquid intake. Learn to love water. If you just have to sip something from the bottle to keep the soda craving at bay a few different varieties of mineral water and spring water and find one you can love.
Read up on bottled waters here.
Boxed Soymilks, Rice Milks, Grain Milks and Nut Milk: These are lifeless, over processed liquids made from improperly prepared ingredients. They do nothing to contribute to a candida cleansing diet, or to anyone's health in general. Rice milk and other grain milks are high in simple carbohydrates. Most of the boxed milks I've ever seen have thickeners and/or stabilizers added too, even the unsweetened ones.
Good Alternative: You can make your own delicious milk alternatives from raw nuts & seeds which have been soaked overnight with a pinch of salt, and then blended in a blender and strained - much healthier than the boxed kind on the grocery store shelf.
Tap Water: Use a good filtration system or get spring water, unless you know you've got high quality tap water. More on water filtration here.
Candies, Cookies, Cakes and Chocolates - Need I say more?
Foods Cooked in High Heat Methods or Overcooked Foods - The higher the temperature that food is cooked, the longer it stays in the intestines and the more difficult it becomes to digest it. Well done meats, barbequed meats, and overcooked meats have been shown in numerous studies to present a greater risk of stomach, colorectal, pancreatic and/or breast cancer. Microwave, grilling, broiling, high heat stir fries are all potentially harmful. More info on overcooked meats.
Good Alternatives - Eat more raw foods if your digestion can take it! But for those with weak digestion who need the help of heat, cooking methods such as stewing, steaming, braising, boiling and low temp oven roasting are better choices. Not that I never grill veggies, or never enjoy a stir fry, I do now and then as you'll see in the recipe sections. Pay attention to your daily food choices so that an occasional grilled piece of fish or a once in a while stir fry isn't going to tip the scales. Not only when candida cleansing, but for a lifetime of good heath.
Canned or Jarred Vegetables & Soups - I avoid canned & jarred foods as much as possible, simply because they're not fresh. That said, I do make exceptions for tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, olives, coconut milk, organic broths and bone broths, nut & seed butters, and in a pinch, a couple cans of unsalted green beans and canned pumpkin or sweet potato are helpful to have in the pantry. I don't use them every day - rarely, in fact, and they only make up a small portion of any meal. In general, the less canned foods we eat the better, so try to avoid filling the pantry with canned soups, stews, and vegetables.
Good Alternatives: Opt for fresh vegetables, or go for frozen if you can't get fresh. Fresh veggies are going to do much more for you in your candida cleansing goals than canned ever could. If you tolerate beans and legumes - dried beans are easy to prepare, just soak them overnight or all day (8 hours is good), drain, add new water and simmer on the stove for a couple of hours. You can cook a pot of soaked beans in the evening while making/eating dinner, and then cool them overnight (just put the lid on the pot and leave out overnight if they're too hot to put in the fridge) to save them for the following day. Remember, some people feel better avoiding beans and legumes while candida cleansing, or just in general.
Battery Farm Dairy Products (from caged, feed lot animals fed a combination of things you don't even want to know, and then dosed with hormones and antibiotics to try and counteract the detrimental conditions and nasty "food") Good Alternative Look for fresh dairy products from healthy, pastured animals raised on local smaller farms. Raw dairy products from healthy animals fed a natural diet of grasses and meadow greens are the most natural forms of these foods, look for them in your local area. Visit the farmers market! Also, be aware that many people with symptoms of candida overgrowth have trouble digesting dairy, even kefir and yogurt. Some people enjoy very good health and can cleanse excess candida from their system while eating fresh dairy products from healthy pastured animals. Ultra-pasteurized, homogenized milk products are not good for anyone, ever.
Deli Meats, Hotdogs, Sausages which contain nitrites, nitrates, 'natural flavors', MSG, artificial additives or other preservatives) – These are bad for everybody, not just when candida cleansing.
Good Alternatives: You can find natural, nitrite free, even grass-fed versions of these products. Find out more by reading this article on processed meats and sodium nitrite from the Organic Consumers Association website.
Over-fished and Heavy Metal-laden Fish and Seafood - Steer clear of any fish or seafood that is endangered or improperly farmed. Some varieties of wild caught fish and seafood are excellent foods to include, whether you're candida cleansing or not. See the Oceans Alive website for details.
Sweet Fruits (except lemons & limes) - All those extra fruit sugars will only slow the healing process when you are candida cleansing. Your immune system can get all the vitamins and antioxidants it needs from a good assortment of raw, cooked and lacto-fermented vegetables, and some less sweet fruits! You don't have to stay off sugary fruits forever, but it will help you get rid of candida faster if you avoid them for a while.
Good alternatives: If you've really got a hankering for fruit, go with berries - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries - they are some of the least sugary choices, and remember to have them along with some greens, sprouts, or nuts to buffer that fruit sugar.
Most Breakfast Cereals: Corn flakes, bran flakes, shredded wheat, crispy rice, etc. These are not only undesirable for people eating to cleanse candida overgrowth, but are best avoided by everybody! Why? Here's a great article explaining all about it: Dirty Secrets about Breakfast Cereal Production . Even granola isn't the best idea not only because it's usually heavily sweetened, but also because it's made from improperly prepared grains which can impair enzyme activity and block mineral absorption. Good Alternative: If you find that you tolerate whole grains without too much candida symptom flareups, and you really want cereal in the morning, try rolled oats or muesli mixes, soaked overnight in high quality yogurt (if you tolerate dairy) and topped with some nuts or seeds and a dash of cinnamon for a raw breakfast porridge, or else soaked in water with a couple of drops of lemon or vinegar overnight to make cooked porridge the next morning, again topped with some nuts or seeds. Take a moment to read the article linked above to learn more about properly preparing your whole grains. Remember to eat oatmeal and other whole grain porridge with some fats and proteins to slow down the rate of sugar metabolism from all those carbohydrates. Coconut oil is delicious, and ground flax seeds are another great addition to breakfast porridge.
Gluten Grain Breads: Lots of folks are sensitive to wheat, barley, oats and rye. These grains contain gluten and are high in carbohydrates, double no-no for many candida sufferers.
Good alternatives: If you find that you tolerate whole grains but are sensitive to gluten, try a sprouted bread like Ezekiel brand or Alvarado brand (these two brands are widely available, good for sandwiches). The sprouting deactivates some of the lectins in the gluten grains and renders the breads much more digestible - they make great toast!
German rye bread (the brown kind that looks like a brick, made from 100% soured rye) works very well for me. Also there's a different variety of sprouted breads, cooked at very low temperatures, which result in a very moist, dense "bread" (not so easy to slice, but very delicious crumbled into a salad or soup). 2 brands I can think of are Earth Seed and Manna. Just avoid the ones with carrots and raisins, going for the more savory varieties
Other Refined Grain Products: Anything made with white flour or white rice, including - Donuts, dinner rolls, bagels, muffins, croissants, bakery sweets, cookies, white pasta, couscous, pizza, crackers, flatbreads, rice cakes, white flour tortillas, pancakes, waffles, pretzels.
Good alternatives: These alternatives are meant to be occasional treats, not a daily staple. Have you tried the varieties of whole grain pastas out there? There's some made from brown rice that are really great as an occasional treat! If you're not intolerant to gluten, try stone ground whole wheat pasta instead of the refined white pastas. Stone ground sprouted corn tortillas are delicious wrapped around your favorite taco fillings. You can make a tasty pancake out of buckwheat flour as well, just lay off the sweet toppings and get creative with some savory foods like scallion and zucchini pancakes topped with a sunny side up egg!
- Refined Grains: White rice, white flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, cream of wheat, cream of rice, risotto. Good alternatives: Properly prepared whole grains!
MSG – Monosodium glutamate is an excitotoxin and is definitely something to avoid for anyone. Other names used for MSG include yeast extract, torula yeast, autolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, even 'natural flavor' can mean MSG!
Moldy Foods - If you see mold on it, chuck it. Mold is one of the worst aggravators of candida symtpoms. Clean up any mold you find around the house too, it can be really toxic.
Potatoes – Chips & fries, especially. The flesh of potatoes are high in starch. It won't be forever, but try to lay off them for a while. If you do crave potatoes try small boiled potatoes, with their skins on, cooled to room temperature (cooling creates a more "digestive resistant starch") and be sure to eat them along with fresh chopped herbs, veggies, and/or beans to slow absorption of the carbohydrates. Or use them in a dish along with other vegetables (like a traditional nicoise salad for example).
Protein Powders, Drinks, Shakes and Meal Replacement Bars - Not only best avoided for a candida cleansing diet, either. I mean, wouldn't we rather eat real food?
Snack chips – Tortilla chips, potato chips etc. Deep fried and loaded with carbohydrates - both undesirable qualities, especially for candida cleansing.
Good Alternatives For the occasional treat look for whole grain crackers with no funny stuff added. I like Finn Crisp, Kavli & Wasa (all made with whole rye flour), numerous brown rice crackers and a delicious brand called Mary's Gone Crackers (gluten free!) or my personal movie time favorite treat - air popped organic popcorn drizzled with coconut oil, sea salt nutritional yeast, and dried herbs (dill, oregano, paprika, garlic granules, cayenne etc... YUMMM) Remember to eat crackers with some form of fat and/or protein, like hummus, or nut butter, to slow the absorption of carbohydrates (sugars).
Sodium Nitrite – Found in processed meats like hot dogs and bacon. Has been proven to cause cancer. For more information check out this article from the Organic Consumers Association . Happily, you can find naturally prepared versions of these foods in some small local butcher shops (ask for the ingredient list), farmers markets, better grocery stores and health food stores (read the labels).
Over-Processed Soy Foods – Soy milk, soy oil, soy yogurt, soy burgers, soy protein isolates, etc. Overconsumption of unhealthy soy products is pandemic in the US, and most of these foods cause more disease than they are rumored to prevent.
Good Alternatives - Once you're through candida cleansing, traditionally fermented organic miso, tempeh, tamari & shoyu soy sauces may work for some people. These soy foods are made from whole soybeans which have been fermented, making them easier on the body, and increasing their nutrient value, but do be aware that foods like tempeh are fermented using mold spores.
Sugar in any form – Sugar is not only bad for a candida cleansing diet, but best avoided as much as possible, period.
Here's a detailed list of the many names for sugars.
Thickeners – Flours, guar gum, xanthan gum, tapioca, corn starch, arrowroot, kudzu, etc. Once you have reached a good state of health and kicked the candida I'd stick with arrowroot, tapioca, or kudzu for thickening, and occasionally some high quality flour for making a roux. This is good advice for all, not only for candida cleansing.
Vegetables High in Carbohydrates - Beets, carrots, corn, parsnips, potatoes, sugar snap peas, peas in the pod, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash. These foods can be part of a healthy diet when you aren’t on a candida cleansing program, or in the beginning phases of a candida diet while you're going through the step-by-step candida diet guidelines to see what foods are best eliminated. Some people will feel better avoiding them for a while.
Vegetables or fruits which have been sprayed, waxed, bioengineered or irradiated. Best advice here is to find a good source of organic produce. Does your town have a farmer's market? It's so nice to meet the person who is growing your food. That goes for everyone, not just candida cleansing.
Vegetarian "Substitute" "Fake" Foods - anything made with processed soy (Boca burgers & nuggets, and the like), Quorn products, Veggie Dogs, Tofu Pups, Gimme Lean, Veggie Sandwich Slices (fake ham, bologna, turkey, etc.), fake chicken strips, etc. You get the idea right? Read the labels, if it's not made from natural whole foods you don't want it. Basically, this stuff is so fractionated and processed it shouldn't even be categorized as food! Just because it's in the health food store doesn't mean it's health food. Don't get me wrong, I love a good veggie burger, but I like it made with real ingredients, like a homemade lentil walnut burger, or a Sunshine Burger (usually sold frozen, made from sunflower seeds, carrots fresh herbs and sea salt). Not only when candida cleansing but always, leave that stuff out of your basket.
Vitamins, Synthetic (or any foods containing them) - If you wish to supplement with vitamins, make sure you get a high quality product derived from natural sources. Be careful of consuming partial vitamins as well. Instead, for example, choose a Vitamin C complex with citrus bioflavanoids, hesperedin and rutin. Or for a good source of Vitamin E, eat virgin red palm oil which supplies a balance of Vitamin E complex, as opposed to buying a Vitamin E capsule, which usually only contains tocopherol. Synthetic or isolated vitamin compounds are not natural sources of nutrients. Get the whole nutrient so your body will know what to do with it. Not only for someone who's candida cleansing, this is best for every body. Supplements are best taken under the advice of a knowledgable health care provider.
Vinegar, Distilled – Note: vinegar in general is an excellent yeast killer, but distilled vinegars (and foods containing them, some of which include popular condiments like mayo, ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, marinades, salad dressings, etc.) are the lesser desirable kinds of vinegar for the human body.
Good Alternatives: The best vinegar for its health benefits is raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and other raw, naturally fermented vinegars. I do make exceptions occasionally for a few high-quality olives, capers or a small portion of jarred marinated vegetables like artichokes, well drained. You don't actually eat much of the vinegar they're packed in, and the flavor that these little goodies add to a dish is sometimes too good to pass up! Read the labels to make sure they are truly natural and contain no funky stuff. You can soak them for a few hours, or overnight, in water to remove some of the sodium if you like. Again, it's not only when you're candida cleansing that you'll want to avoid distilled vinegar, it's just best to avoid it in general.
Foods To Avoid when Candida Cleansing
Basically, you get it, right?
Keep it simple and natural. Buy organic whenever you can.
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