I’m three weeks in to my candida cleanse diet. The first week was the absolute longest, with the cravings for pasta and other simple carbs so strong that my sides could be bulging from dinner and I would still feel the ache like emptiness in my stomach. Since then I have slowly felt the tug less and less. I’ve never fought with an addiction, so to speak, but I am pretty sure that I had become addicted to carbs.

Since then I have started to get accustomed to this new eating style. I can go to most restaurants now and find something to eat. I thought I would feel frustrated on the days when what I really want to eat is just not available, but in fact I’ve found that my body is easier to satisfy than I expected. If I give it enough vegetables, and I find I prefer them cooked or smoothied, and a satisfying chunk of protein, I tend to be ok pretty independently of what the details are. It’s surprising, even though I know the importance of listening to one’s body, that one’s body can actually be heard as loudly as mine is.

Physically I feel amazing, and light! For months I was bogged down with this bloated and heavy feeling. I thought I was eating healthy, but my weight was up by about three kilograms above the top of my happy range and nothing I did would budge it. I knew I was retaining water, but I would drink until I just couldn’t drink any more water and it still wouldn’t flush out. Climbing or riding I felt this unnatural heaviness in my limbs as though there was more strength in me but I just couldn’t access it. Now that has cleared. At night I don’t get the gas and bloating that was messing with my sex life, just this clean feeling of not being hungry any more.

Emotionally I’m a different person! In the last five days I have suddenly rediscovered my raging insatiable sex drive. I had spent so long fighting yeast infections that I forgot my body craved sex! One evening the feeling came back with a vengeance and left me almost in a cold sweat. Certainly it’s more convenient, as I believe Aristotle pointed out, to not have a sex drive, but to me it’s a sign that my body is alive and healthy and so I’m happy for it. I’ve been sleeping better, too. Most nights I sleep the whole night despite my housemate snoring like a chainsaw and not waking up to his alarm in the morning. My head is clearer during the day and most importantly, that unbearable sense of dread and hopelessness for the future has lifted! I feel as clear now as I did the first week I took antidepressents, only this time I’m not on medication. Moreover, I’m not afraid that this is a passing break in the clouds. I feel like this is me, the way I’m supposed to be, and that my chronic anxiety and inability to focus and get done the basic administrative tasks that lube the life machine were just symptoms of a temporary illness.

Part of me is sad that I don’t have a doctor overseeing my healing. I would like to have some kind of medical test or something to prove that this syndrome of dullness and irritation that is lifting from me truly was the result of a chronic, systemic candida overgrowth. But at the same time I am happy to see that I have the power to return my body to health without the need to be poked and prodded and lectured by someone with a degree who thinks he knows my body better than I do. Medicine is nice, and when it comes to catastrophic injuries and things like that, it’s a good thing to have in one’s social toolbox. However western medicine does not talk to the body and that’s a major source of information on how to heal that gets left out of the picture. It doesn’t heal on a holistic level, just takes away symptoms here and there. So in that sense this is really a good thing.

Since I’ve been tracking my physical and mental condition for three weeks now, I actually know where I am in my cycle! I should be ovulating in the next week, which is when my yeast symptoms have been the strongest in the past. I’m starting to crave carbs again a little more than I did a week ago and part of me wants to say it’s fine to have them now because I’ve been so successful, but I think I’m going to instead interpret this hunger as a sign that the candida is not yet cleared from my system. I would like to observe one complete cycle without candida symptoms before I give myself the green light to allow various sugars back into my diet. It’s unfortunate that it takes so long, but unlike many women who are dieting to “slim down,” I am dieting for health and I have a clear goal and a timeframe, and rigorous documentation of my progress. I am not worried that I won’t succeed!