March 12, 2018
Candida, The “Yeasty Beasties”
Have you ever had a moment that changed your life?
For me one of those moments came the first time I heard the word Candida. And that new knowledge was a first spark that sent me on my journey into living a whole, nutritious, and healthy life.
My story turned when I (by luck) found a family doctor who was willing to think outside the box and embrace newer ways at looking at medicine. When I first went to visit her it was for something totally different, that I in fact can’t even remember. At the time I had a rash in my armpits, and unfortunately, it was not the first time. Since I was a teenager I suffered from chronic rashes on my forearms, thighs, hips and (to my disgust) butt cheeks. They became something I had to just live with, for no amount of creams, baths, antibiotics, concoctions and prayers seemed to make a difference. I had seen other doctors who each had their own opinion and prescription, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason. So I suffered. Often not quietly, I have to admit. They itched and scabbed, grew and shrunk, kept me out of shorts in the summer, and in constant discomfort during winter. The first positive turn I had experienced was when I went travelling for six months in South America. Within a month or so my patches had cleared and didn’t return until a good while after I had come back to Canada. Now knowing what I do about the massive role diet plays in our lives I can see a direct connection between how I was eating to the amazing healing I experienced. All I knew at the time though, was that it felt great.
But there I was at the doctors office, a few years later with another rash. This time in my underarms. It had been a while but I knew the familiar red, scaly itch. I happened to be with a new doctor, as I said, for something completely different. Trying to get the most out of my appointment I decided to show her my arms and get her opinion, although I expected nothing new. Eczema, winter skin, soap reaction perhaps? All she had to do was take one look and said, “Oh that’s a Candida yeast infection”.
A yeast infection? I had only ever heard about that being a “down there” problem. But not in armpits or butt cheeks, surely. I went home from her office with a common yeast infection topical cream to be applied twice daily. And it worked! Within the day the itching had noticeably subsided and by the end of a week not a trace of rash was left.
I began to gather information which led me over and over to natural healing methods and holistic healthcare. One of the major first steps in tackling a Candida over growth is just by changing diet to one that doesn’t support the growth of the infection. These yeast based bacteria begin by overtaking your normal good bacteria’s in the intestinal and genitourinary tract (hence, the common ‘Woman” issue). So it makes sense that what is going into our digestive system, aka food, directly effects the bacteria living there. This has been one of the clearest connections I have seen proven over and over again in my own life. Travelling to South America was the first time I had a major diet shift in my life from the standard western trends I was raised on. My favourite foods were breads, pastas, baked treats, and surgery candies. They were what I lived off of, and so did the Candida! But now that I have adopted a mainly vegan diet, cut out most sources of gluten, choose only whole grains and drastically reduce my sugar intake I feel better than ever. Not only am I rash free, but I feel clearer minded, less bloated, and am at a happy weight. Over holidays, or when travelling, if I over indulge on rich and sweet foods I can sense my body react and can almost always expect a rash to show up, which is a good little reminder to myself to stay on track. Some of the main foods those “yeasty beasties” thrive off of is sugars (all type!), alcohol, refined flour, baking, and vinegar. Over time I have begun to balance out what my body needs and reacts to but it will be different to each individual and their own bodies. Be patient, and observant.
The second important factor in Yeast control is replacing the bad bacteria, with better. Sometimes it will take a prescribed antibiotic to get in control of the situation, like I had to do, or it might just mean doing an at home cleanse. But then the important job is to reintroduce the vital bacteria our bodies need to function properly back in. Lactobacillus Bifidus and Acidophilus are the primary probiotics for the job. Acidophilus is the most recommended as it is absorbed in the stomach and utilised the most efficiently. It is suggested to take 2-3 doses a day for 2-3 weeks at a time, or as long as antibiotics are prescribed. But a great everyday source is found in most natural yogurts. Having a healthy, smooth running digestive system is a key to good health in all life stages and situations, not just for Candida. That is the beauty of healing the body as a whole, not just treating a symptom. No wonder I began to feel so good!
Candida Albicans. A bacteria I had never heard of before became my personal catalyst to a healthier life. I do not intend to say that Yeast Infections are the root of all evil, nor that I have have obtained the nirvana of health. But slowly with time, many other “aha!” moments, lots of reading, and some simple changes, my life has shifted to be one happily focused around holistic eating, and holistically living. All because someone had been able to point me in the right direction, and had given me hope. Now I am driven to use what I learn to give hope to others as well.
What is your turning point story?