Ever since I went off birth control 4 years ago I’ve struggled with something called candida. The symptoms get worse for me when I’m pregnant or about to menstruate. Candida manifests itself in a variety of ways but it starts with a pH imbalance in the gut that can cause digestion issues, zits, yeast infections, sinus infections,chest congestion, fogginess in the brain, depression, thrush, itchy, dry, dull skin, sand paper like spots on your arms and legs and toenail fungus. Basically, all disgusting things but not always blatantly obvious.
I’ve literally gone to three different western doctors who put me on antifungals like diflucan in addition to antibiotics. I’ve drank apple cider vinegar daily, took spoonfuls of coconut oil, chewed raw garlic, spent way too much money on green powders and probiotics. If it’s “natural” and written about online, I’ve probably tried it. My acupuncturist said that my stomach was not fat but “inflamed” and told me to go gluten free. I went gluten and sugar free for a year and a half and lost 2 bra cup sizes and all my baby weight, that was awesome, obviously, but it didn’t do much for my “issues”.
I took to the internet, like ya do. I ended up reading blogs about women with similar issues that took oregano oil pills and caprylic acid daily and that kept the candida away. So I went to Amazon and read reviews on both, sure enough, hundreds of women were raving about both of these. I ordered and started taking them, my symptoms seemed to ease up. Yes! Was this working?! Was I a total smarty pants?
Then, I got pregnant and… you can’t take oregano oil because it thins out the amniotic sac. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Sadly, I had to stop taking it. The caprylic acid is less clear, I was thinking I’d start up again in the second trimester when it’s a bit safer for the babe. Anyway, ALL my symptoms came back full force just as they had with my first pregnancy. Whaaaa? NO!!! I was still gluten free and still avoiding sugar and loosely following the Anti Candida Diet. I pretty much ate vegetables and fruit it seemed. How could my gut health be such a mess when I know people that wolf down junk food constantly and don’t have THESE symptoms? Then, I miscarried. Did I miscarry because of this? I took to the internet, possible but not definite. I was furious with my body and furious with the many doctors I saw that didn’t take the time to help me really figure this out. Stop writing me prescriptions! I was drowning in this, it consumed me, I found myself looking stuff up on my phone for hours while I lay in bed next to my sleeping husband. I was exhausted and yet wide awake.
Being the overly expressive girl that I am, I was detailed my issues to girlfriends and one friend said she had a friend that had the same issues but worse and her doctor cured it! Um, I’m gonna need that doctor’s info. I got it. I called her. She was a Chiropractic Internist that worked 2 hrs outside of Chicago and nothing was covered by insurance, of course. My husband thinks I seek out people who aren’t covered by insurance. It’s not my fault that my issues can be solved by healers not surgeons! I’d never heard of a Chiropractic Internist before, so I again, took to the internet. They are Chiropractors who also study Nutrition so that they can treat both the structure of the body but also what is happening on the inside. It was a specialty in the field and apparently this woman was incredible but just out of curiosity (and necessity), I looked to see if there were other Chiropractic Internists in the Chicago area. There was one! In Hinsdale, a suburb, west of the City. I called her and told her my problems. She sounded “excited” about my issues. I’m not kidding. She couldn’t wait to treat me because she knew she could help. Sold. I made an appointment.
I went into her office, it was new, modern, stark, clean, even hip. I filled out my insurance info on an IPAD and she had essential oils in a diffuser on the counter. I met with Dr. Cara and gave her the run down. She drew my blood, lots of it. She tested me for everything you can imagine. She ran a cardio metabolic test of me that covers everything heart related, and a micro nutrient test that covers any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, she tested my hormones, thyroid, adrenal glands, methylation (google this, esp if you are having fertility/miscarriage issues) and ran two different candida tests and my favorite… a 500 panel food sensitivity test. The results were to come back in two weeks.
In the meanwhile, she wanted to remove the inflammation from my body that was throwing off my gut health so much. She gave me enzymes made of pineapple, papaya and pork and told me to take 10 pills, 3x a day. Yes, that’s right 30 pills a day. I bought the pills because I was desperate but I did not think I was going to be able to keep up with this regimen. Day one, I took 10 pills and an hour later I went to the bathroom. Get ready for graphic bathroom descriptors. I pooped out 2-3′ of poop. What the heck? How was that even possible? Going to the bathroom was NOT my problem. Again, I took 10 more pills and this continued every day until I lost 9 lbs of inflammation via poop in a week! Ya know that puff around your arms, legs and belly that doesn’t seem to come off with exercise? That is what came off. Even in my face, my cheek bones became more pronounced, my post baby belly was suddenly smaller and flatter than it had been in 10 years and none of my jeans fit. I went to the store and found out I was 2 sizes smaller.
Okay, keep in mind, I’d changed nothing about my eating, I was still gluten free, sugar free and eating my normal diet of meat, seafood, fruits, veggies, nuts, cheese and gluten free carbs. With the 9lbs of inflammation went every single candida symptom I had. My husband even commented that my skin was softer, he was right. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been suffering from the ins and outs of candida for 4 years!
Was it really out of my body? Dr. Cara said no, candida can take months or years to be gone but once we get the results back we can start tackling what’s left of it. I blame 14 years of birth control and being over prescribed antibiotics. The results came back and the biggest eye opener was that I’m not just sensitive to gluten but YEAST, barley, bran, wheat, cocoa, cows milk and all things related to cows milk. So no wine and no chocolate!? Wine, btw has more yeast than beer! I had never thought about how it’s fermented in that way. Ugh. C’est la vie my beloved rosé! So am I allergic to these things? Kind of but it’s a more tolerable allergic reaction than say, your throat closing up or your body breaking out in hives. Food sensitivity, means my body creates inflammation to protect itself from these things and that inflammation gets trapped in my body and causes excess fat and pH, gut, immune issues. Where it gets interesting is all of the healthy foods I am sensitive to that add to my inflammation issues; kale! asparagus, green beans, almonds, pineapple, black pepper, sesame. egg whites (but not the yolk) and ginger. Is that not hilarious? When people tell me I’ve lost weight, I say “and I just had to stop eating kale”. haha.
Maybe you are thinking, what the heck do you eat now? A lot of corn tacos with shrimp or chicken, shrimp and grits, risotto, steak salads, meat and potatoes, fish and veggies or rice, gluten free oatmeal with fruit, goat and sheep cheeses, sheep yogurt, avocado dips, popcorn (thank god), coconut ice creams. I can drink tea, gin, vodka, tequila and I found an aloe vera liquor that’s kinda fun. All I can tell you is, my skin has never been clearer or softer, I feel like I’m incapable of getting zits now, I’m the weight that I’ve felt I should be for years and my symptoms are gone. I no longer have to waste my time trying to solve this mystery. And yes, that’s actually better than pizza and wine. For me anyway. My doctor also has me on a few herbs and vitamins to balance my gut in addition to this new food plan. I’m 4 months in and it’s still working.
My point of all this is, I spent years searching for a doctor who would map out what was happening in my body and give me real answers and steps to take. I read about new diets, or new ways of eating and tried them all. The funny thing is, I juiced with kale and pineapple for awhile only to find out that they were both linked to my inflammation. What if you are eating this perfectly healthy diet that’s right for someone else but terrible for you? What if you are spending hundreds of dollars a months on foods that are causing you pain, acne or even depression? If you are that person that is always trying to figure out what’s “best” for your body, whether you suspect candida or something entirely different to be at the core of your issues, go get a comprehensive blood panel done. This is the company that ran my tests, they were incredible. http://foodallergy.com/ Dr. Cara is based out of Hinsdale, IL but she can ship you the blood kit anywhere and treat you from afar. She will take the time to really help you and I think that’s everything. Call her or email her, she’s already treating my friends and family from across the country. http://www.therapeutic-health.com
I hope this helps someone because I just told the internet about my candida!
Love to you all!