WARNING: This post contains discussions of poop.
I’ve been on a low carb, low sugar, anti candida diet now for three months without failure. It was September of 2014 that I diagnosed my self with systemic candida and began the process of trying to cleanse my body and bring it back to health.
While I had suffered from a number of issues that doctors could not explain for years (irregular periods with painful breast swelling that only receded during my actual period, chronic yeast infections despite good hygiene and normal blood sugar, adult acne that the doctors told me wasn’t acne but still looked a whole goddamn lot like acne), it was the sudden decrease in the quality of my shit that tipped me off to the presence of candida.
Before I moved to Japan I had an asshole so reliable you could organize your day around its schedule. I was dropping clean sweeps on a regular basis. I averaged three poops per day with a clean sweep leading the charge first thing in the morning, followed by a less vigorous poop, and then another very clean shit after breakfast and my morning run. Suddenly, when I came to Japan, my asshole went haywire. I went from having glorious, regular shits, to having regular inglorious ass-pees. What gives, Japan?
So after tons of research and trying different things, I finally landed on candida as the most likely culprit for all my issues. In the second week of September, I quit simple carbs cold-turkey. I know it’s not recommended to quit all at once, but that’s what I did and it knocked me out for two days. At first I thought I was undernourished, so I started tracking my calories and nutritional intake. It wasn’t the lack of calories that was leaving me starving on a full belly, it was the lack of carbohydrates. I had become addicted to carbs.
In November I thought I was healed — how long could it take? — and when I went home for Thanksgiving I gorged on anything that was put in front of me. There was much carbing done. In December I relapsed. I had my first yeast infection in three months and my ass began to hate me again. So in January I started the candida diet over again with more determination.
I had some slippage in March, but since then I have been very consistent. I cook the majority of my meals at home. I allow myself one slice of toast in the morning as a butter delivery system. I accompany it with natto or yogurt with a banana. Lunch depends on if I’m working, riding, or running errands. I never order dishes with rice or pasta, or if I do, I give it away to my friends. When I snack I stick to boiled eggs and fried chicken (unbattered if it’s available) from the 7-11s around town and I try to keep piles of cashews and almonds lying around in case I get hunger dizzy. I have had one glass of beer in nearly six months. Dinner is usually sauteed greens with a meat dish. I can put away a quarter kilogram of pig in a single day and still be hungry.
Since it is now three months since I have had any yeast infections in my sexy region, I decided to relax my rules. I am also riding serious miles now, so it is simply impossible to get all the calories I need without grains. Three thousand calories burned on a Sunday morning ride, and a serving of ginger pork at the local cafeteria barely packs 250. I allow myself up to two onigiri (rice balls with a savory filling) on days that I ride, and only during or immediately surrounding a ride. Sometimes when I’m in a mood I will treat myself to a cup of instant noodles at the conbini. It’s a guilty pleasure, like PBR: you’re not proud of it, but you love it exactly because it’s cheap and awful. I try to surround increases of carbs with increases in garlic, natto, coconut or raw yogurt whenever possible, but that’s only about half of the time.
What I have noticed in this new stage of candida management is that days where I eat much more processed carbohydrates than my usual diet allows are almost inevitably followed by fantastic morning poops. However, if I allow myself a normal modern human’s worth of carbs for more than three days in a row, my shits will, well, go back to shit again.
I’m not entirely sure how to interpret this information. Compared to having loose bowel movements almost every morning, this is definitely an improvement. On the other hand, the fact that I rotate back and forth between high quality shits and ass pee suggests to me that my body is still not recovered. Either it still has candida present, or it has spent too long in the presence of candida to know how to work properly without it. It is also puzzling how the lag works. Coconut, for example, is supposed to be a powerful anti-fungal, but when I eat coconut based Thai curries, my body hates me in proportion to the amount of curry I consume. Perhaps these are just die-offs? In repeated, tiny waves?
In any case, I think the fact that my body is changing in response to the reduced carb diet is proof enough that I’m on the right track. This time I want to keep to my diet for six months solid before allowing carbs back in as a regular or semi-regular source of calories. The next stage is going to be including a weekly meal of pasta or rice and watching my reaction. I don’t think I will ever go back to eating processed grains as a meal base more than twice a week. I don’t want to risk ever having to go through this again, but I think it would be nice to have the social leeway to enjoy two “normal” meals a week, ideally with friends.