wellness interviews

How to Heal Candida & Digestive imbalances


Healing Candida 
& Gut Health

I’m the person others sometimes find annoyingly healthy.  I’ve never had cramps during my period. I’ve never dieted though I’ve not always exercised regularly. Thanks to daily mineral SPF and good genes, I look at least a bit young for my age.

Other than occasional headaches and tight muscles, I’ve not had any serious medical complaints. No surgeries other than minor in office type procedures.

And I’ve never had stomach issues other than an occasional brief bout of the flu. But now I do.

Since August, I’ve had several severe bouts of nausea that led to vomiting lasting 1-2 days. I emerged feeling weak after a day in bed with no food and little to no fluids. I could not keep one cracker or a tiny sip of water down.

One recent episode required a 2-hour stay at Urgent Care, where I received 1/2 gallon of IV fluids for dehydration and a shot for nausea. My poor boyfriend witnessed me vomiting multiple times at the end of a trip to Chicago: on a plane twice, in an Uber (3 times) and again later that night at home.

Truth be told, I’ve had some minor digestive issues in the past year that I’d rarely experienced before. I feel it’s partly from living with a significant other who eats late (7:30 pm) and goes to bed early (10 pm) when I used to eat early most nights (7 pm) and go to bed late (11-midnight). I’ve adapted to his schedule for the most part.

He also knows I adore sweets of all kinds, so he brings me a four pack of Sprinkles cupcakes and/or my favorite gourmet ice cream sandwiches (goodbye, beloved Cool Haus!) on a regular basis.

I’ve always been thin. Friends and family always warned:  

It will catch up with you around age 35 or 40! That wasn’t the case. I  smugly stayed slender and lean, if not as skinny as in high school.

But finally, around my birthday this year, I noticed my favorite Paige jeans were tight. When I bought a new dress over the summer it was an 8, not my usual 6. My waist was thicker, which is not ideal when you’re trying to model for the first time!

I knew I needed to exercise more but couldn’t seem to find the energy. I also blamed my hormones for my changing shape.

THE WESTERN APPROACH

I went to my internist right after the Chicago incident. He did nothing but order bloodwork, which was “normal.” He asked about my stress level. At my insistence and at the advice of my gynocologist, he finally also ordered stool tests which came back “normal.”  We were done.

Next, a GI doctor recommended an endoscopy and colonoscopy, but nothing preliminary. I was disappointed in the Western medicine approach. 

Finally, I wake up and go to my acupuncturist of 23 years (www.santamonicawellness.com). One of her specialties is digestive health.  

She listened to my symptoms, looked at my lab results and ordered tests from her lab. She questioned the accuracy of the tests I had here in LA. Three weeks later, she gave me a definitive answer, with no invasive procedures required.

I wasn’t worried by the diagnosis but actually happy to know what was wrong. Dr. Fitzgerald is a well-known expert in digestive (gut) health. I’ve willing to change my diet to feel better. And I knew I could feel better in as little as two weeks – yay!

Below is my journal if you are curious or wondering if your digestive issues could be related to Candida.

I’ll post a progress update every week.  I hope it will help you understand your own digestive health and how critical gut balance and health is to our well being!

Please remember, I am not a medical professional. I am simply sharing my experience. Seek a qualified professional when using herbs or making a significant dietary change.

11/30/18

I drive to my acupuncturist’s office feeling curious, excited even, to get my test results.

She’d ordered tests from a different lab than the one my M.D. uses (https://www.diagnosticsolutionslab.com).

We receive a detailed 4-page report two weeks later.

Yay!  The results are in, and while not too alarming, there are issues.

THE GOOD NEWS
No E Coli

No Salmonella

No worms

No dangerous pathogens

THE BAD NEWS
Two strains of “good” or beneficial bacteria are low and several strains of  “bad” bacteria are high.

“Overgrown” bacteria strains: Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

I also have a high level of Candida.

Finally, one marker indicates I have an increased risk of autoimmune disease if the imbalance is not treated.

No wonder I’m vomiting and nauseous!

THE ANTI CANDIDA DIET

What is Candida?

The Mercola website (www.mercola.com) shares the following:

According to Dr. William Crook, author of The Yeast Connection, an overgrowth of Candida albicans (a type of yeast) can lead to the development of chronic health problems, such as yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, weight gain, and migraines in both men and women.

Candida albicans normally exist in your skin, digestive tract, and for women, in your vagina. In your intestines, your gut flora maintains balance between yeast and bad bacteria. However, taking antibiotics and birth control pills, and excessive consumption of sugars and grains can disrupt the delicate balance in your gut. This allows Candida cells to rapidly develop and overwhelm the good bacteria.

I had Candida in my late 20’s, so I know the drill.

Stop eating sugar and flour, and increase green vegetables. No beer or wine.  No biscuits. No cake! Stick with whole foods, and zero to limited processed foods.

Simple, but not easy.  However, I am very motivated to be healthy as I’m going into a new year, a new career (Modeling, Commercial Acting) and ….. (drumroll) getting married. I want to look and feel my absolute best!

I did this Candida diet in my late 20’s when I had a lower level of imbalance. My only real symptom was mild acne and low energy.

I started on 2 herbal blends and an immune boosting supplement today, plus a strict diet of organic, humanely raised meats, beans, pea protein, organic veggies and fermented foods like sauerkraut, with limited rice and limited fruit. 

Zero sugar, alcohol, flour-based foods or foods that come in a box or can.

A bright spot – I can keep my coffee and after we clean up my digestive imbalances, an occasional cocktail (not wine or beer) is OK.

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