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
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 always! I know this is not always feasible but let's try whenever possible. 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. Try roasted dandelion root tea, caffeine-free, great liver support and has a coffee-like flavor.
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: Rice milk and other grain milks are high in simple carbohydrates. Most boxed milks 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?
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 Seafood Watch.Org 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.
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: learn to enjoy other foods for breakfast. Eggs with veggies & avocado, leftovers from last night's dinner, try a homemade slightly warmed chia pudding made with unsweetened nut milk and topped with berries and toasted coconut as a transitional breakfast food if you really are craving oatmeal.
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: Cassava tortillas, almond flour tortillas, even corn tortillas in a pinch - make a taco or a wrap.
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 brown rice pasta? There are some fantastic ones on the market. Tinkyada is a good one and I love Trader Joes organic brown rice penne. Good as a transitional food to get you off the gluten. Don't go crazy and eat this every night for dinner though. Flax crackers (made from flat seeds) and rice crackers are also a good transitional food to get you off the wheat. Look for ones with as few ingredients as possible, I like Edward and Sons brand rice crackers. You can find some tasty flax crackers on the market, I like to make my own.
- Refined Grains: White rice, white flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, cream of wheat, cream of rice, risotto. Good alternatives: Chia pudding as mentioned above, cauliflower "rice", spiralized veggies.
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 Rice crackers and/or flax crackers as mentioned above with fresh guacamole, air popped organic popcorn drizzled with coconut oil, sea salt nutritional yeast, and dried herbs (dill, oregano, paprika, garlic granules, cayenne etc... YUMMM). Be judicious. Downing a big bowl of popcorn for dinner is not a healthy meal.
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 the enemy of a candida cleansing diet.
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. This is good advice for all, not only for candida cleansing.
Vegetables High in Carbohydrates - Beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash. These starchy vegetables are 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.
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.
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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