I recently self-diagnosed myself with chronic systemic candida. I’m not sure if systemic is the right word cuz I think that means in the blood versus just in the digestive tract, but anyway I’ve got it. And I’m in Japan. So what do I do about it?

One of the things that people don’t tell you about moving to a new country is that not only is the culture different, but so is the food and all of the resources that you have become accustomed to. Suddenly, if you want food that you used to eat, you can’t get it locally and so you are probably going to be stuck with whatever the industry standard is. For anyone who has considered a holistic approach to any ailment, you can already see the problem. But more than that, I don’t know if the Japanese care about the same types of things Americans care about. What do vegan, organic, paleo mean to the Japanese and how would you express those concepts? It’s a major struggle.

While I would have liked to find a holistic care giver to help me with my candida problem, unfortunately I still don’t have the language to find one so I am making do with the interwebs as my guide. After reading a ton of websites I’ve learned a few things about natural treatments (really, the only treatments) for candida overgrowth:

  • You can’t diagnose yourself and should see a professional. However most professionals will misdiagnose candida, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • Candida overgrowth is caused by a number of factors, some chemical and some lifestyle. Even if the cause is lifestyle and diet, changes to your diet and lifestyle alone are insufficient to cure a candida overgrowth, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • Most other information on the internet is misleading because it is being posted by unreviewed sources that are really just trying to get you to buy their product, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • Absolutely eliminating all sources of sugar and simple carbohydrates from your diet for a minimum of one month is a critical step in curing a candida overgrowth. All fruit is off the menu, but some fruits with low sugar are ok if your body can tolerate them. At any time during your healing process if you eat any sugar at all it will destroy all of your progress to date, however listening to your body is a good way to determine if you are tolerating a certain food. Pickled foods are bad, but fermented foods are good, unless they are fermented with yeast or other yeast similar organisms. The candida diet is so strict and the rules so rigid that no one is successful in healing an infection through diet  and lifestyle changes alone. Instead, you should find a support group or even better the coaching of a professional, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • Even if you follow the candida diet very strictly, you will not be able to cure yourself from candida without powerful herbs, supplements, probiotics and natural antifungals. None of these exist in nature or are available at your local grocery store, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • As candida die they produce toxins that your body must purge in order to be healthy. Sweating is an important detoxification process, but exercise sweat doesn’t count. You have to sit in a sauna. If you don’t have a sauna at home, don’t worry because the author of this webpage has a physical location with a sauna as well as all the other detoxification products that you can’t get anywhere else, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.
  • It is impossible to know if you have a candida infection or how long it will take for you to heal without being examined and overseen by a professional, so you should buy the products and services being advertised on this webpage.

After several days of research on the interwebs I came to the conclusion that most licensed medical professionals acknowledge the possibility of a candida overgrowth and its relationship to blood sugar. However from a traditional perspective chronic candida type symptoms can only be explained by diabetes, which I tested negative for. Thus I concluded that the candida diet probably works in at least one of its forms because of its focus on lowering and stabilising blood sugar. On the other hand, most holistic and natural health care advisors sound awfully similar to those people on late night infomercials who really just want your money and aren’t particularly interested in sharing information with you that might lower the chance of you buying their product or service. So on the front of antifungals and probiotics I’m kind of at a loss. I know that garlic is a powerful antifungal and so I am incorporating a raw clove into my diet every day. I also know that coconut oil has antibiotic properties and is supposed to help, but honestly the taste just makes me gag in anything other than a sweet dish. Vinegar I’ve got no clue about since on the one hand vinegar is deadly to mold and fungi, but on the other hand only apple cider vinegar is considered acceptable and all other vinegar is off limits. For the life of me I can’t find out why apple cider vinegar should be special so I’m just going to skip the vinegar for now.

Taking out grains and simple sugars from your diet is a great way to lose weight. I’m seeing now why the Atkins was so popular in the United States twenty years ago. All of a sudden almost every dish served at restaurants is off limits. At the same time in order to replace the calories I’m losing the sheer volume of vegetable matter that I have to consume is overwhelming. I’ve been to the grocery store three times in the last week. So taking grains out of your diet forces you to supercharge the nutritional content and variety of your food. The downside of this diet, and indeed the truly difficult part, is that it is so far away from mainstream eating habits both in the United States and in Japan that it effectively isolates you from other people and often leaves you floundering in a blood-sugar starved daze for something to eat.

After dropping two kilograms in the first three days of this diet I decided very quickly that I need to make sure that I’m tracking my calorie and nutritional intake. Combined with the immediate die off symptoms I suffered, I needed to know clearly what was causing what in my body in order to be able to complete the first month of restriction. I track my foods on CRON-o-meter where I can see what my caloric intake is along with protein, carbohydrate and fat breakdown is. It will also track my weight and give me predictions based on my current habits.

I’ve never consumed a more complete nutritional panel, but I’ve never felt so awful doing it! Die off hit me immediately with headaches, stomachaches, disorientation, and fatigue within hours of starting the diet. I was shocked, too, at how badly I wanted sweets in the first few days. All the food that was available to me was healthy and delicious, but even when I ate my fill of it I would sit in a daze craving more but not being able to eat it. I have never had such an experience before. Hot baths at night and a full night’s rest would clear my head by morning, but the ache in my abdomen was near constant for three days. Today I feel much better, but I also blew my carb limit yesterday despite not eating any grains, starches or sweets. I will be more careful again today, but I hope the die off symptoms are over for me. I want to heal quickly, but moreover completely. This is an incredibly difficult diet to follow and I sincerely hope that the websites who so earnestly think I should buy their products and services were exaggerating when they said the diet would have to be followed for up to six months.

This is my first adventure in holistic medicine. I will keep you updated with my progress.

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