Foods to avoid
Candida loves sugar, processed food and refined carbs. The more of these foods we eat, the more fuel we add for Candida to thrive on. That is their source of fuel.
By eliminating sugars of all kinds including fruits (initially) and most diary (except butter and natural yoghurt), you are cutting off their supply source. This is by far the most important part. Everything ending in ose and ol’s should be avoided including high-glucose corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, glycogen, glucose, sorbitol and mannitol. Also avoid molasses,maple syrup, honey, and anything that has syrup, even if its agave, brown rice malt syrup or coconut syrup. Lactose free milk should be ok for most. The list of foods to avoid and gudies are below.
- All junk food (white sugar, white flour, soda drinks, take-out foods).
- Avoid all fruits for the first 2 weeks of the Candida diet.
- Avoid sugary foods, sweets, honey and any syrups of any kinds. This includes brown rice syrup and coconut syrup. It’s still sugar!
- Avoid all sugar and sugar substitutes including aspartment, nutrasweet.
- Avoid all Gluten grains for the first 2 months.
- Avoid all condiments including vinegars, sauces and ketchups.
- No chocolate, even 100 cocao.
- No Nutella, peanut butter, jams or spreads.
- No pastries, muffins, donuts or cakes.
- No alcohol.
One of the main things to note, is that if you react with any foods you are eating, then cut it out of your diet. Most people get on fine with butter and natural yoghurt, but if you are reacting to it, its best to cut it out for at least a month and reintroduce you it slowly. If you don’t react, then its safe to bring it back in.
This is an area of heavy discussion amongst practioners. Its best to try and avoid all fruit for the first 4 weeks of the diet. It contains fructose feeds Candida. The odd helping of blueberries strawberries, watermelon or blackberries won’t be the end of the world, but best try to avoid them completely for the initial period.The less fruit you eat, the better, at least initially. Avoid dried fruit, as they are loaded with sugar with the worst offenders being dates, pineapple, figs, raisins, prunes, dried apples, dried bananas. You normally see dried fruit in a museli range so be sure to read the labels, as they are sold as healthy cereals. You really need to get used to reading the labels on food packages and seeing what the sugar content is per portion. This is where you can see how much sugar is in foods. In saying that, on a Candida diet, you should be primarily looking to eat whole foods.
Fruit juices, even freshly squeeze are essentially sugar drinks with some added vitamins so these should be avoided. A glass of orange juice contains roughly the same amount of sugar as a can of coke. You will need to avoid canned, bottled or frozen juices, including grape juice, apple juice, pineapple juice and any other fruit juices. Tomato juice should be fine if there is no sugar added.
This is the tough one. Of course, alcohol goes as this is a primary contribution to Candida with beer and wine being the worst offenders. This is one of the most difficult areas for people on the diet. Its best just biting the bullet and getting it over and done with rather than half hearted and it taking it years to clear up. Believe me, I have been there. It just doesn’t work.
Non sweetened hebal teas are fine. Teas such as nettle, lemon and ginger, valerian and peppermint can be drunk daily. There are some fantastic organic teas out there, such as the pukka range. Pau D’arco is best and naturally anti candida, and I will recommend this in the supplement range.
Again, another area of contention with a lot of readers. Some say to completely avoid for 3 months. Again, this is too restrictive for most people as its’ definitely one of life’s little pleasures. The problem with caffeine is the affect is has on your adrenals, and anymore than one cup a day will impact your already compromise immune system. You are trying to get your body to a healthy state. Another potential issues is that it can affect the liver while its initially detoxing Its best to avoid for the first two weeks and add back in but keep it too one cup of coffee or tea a day. Even better is to have organic coffee or tea, and if you are having decaf, try and get a brand who use the swiss water method for decaffination. If you are going to have milk, either have organic lactose free or one of the nut milks, however if you have a casein intolerance then dairy is out. Read the labels here to make sure they don’t contain sugars or any other additives. They should have absolutely minimum amount of ingredients. There are some great brands in the organic supermarkets that you should look out for. Green tea has caffeine and should be restricted to one to two cups a day.
Fish I hear you say? Yes, unfortunately some fish aren’t as healthy as other fish. Fish like swordfish, tuna and Chilean Sea bass have shown to contain high amounts of mercury which are toxic and can feed Candida, so best avoid. Also, you should look to avoid farmed fish unless organic, as they give antibiotics in their feed. Some of the healthiest fish to eat are the oily fish which are full of omega 3’s and some of the smaller fish in the sea, such as Sardines.
All dairy products should be avoided for the first month on the diet, except for butter (grass fed only (I recommend Kerry Gold), ghee (clarified butter) and natural yoghurt. Usually with most people the main issue culprit is the lactose or casein found in cows milk. With butter, ghee and yoghurt, these ingredients are virtually none. If you have any reaction, then cut them out completely.
Most meats are fine on a Candida diet, however you should be looking for meats that are either grass fed and/or organic. This way you can be sure they don’t have any antibiotics in their feed. Lamb is actually one of the healthiest as they are generally grass fed and are a great source of protein. If you can, New Zealand Lamb is one of the best in the world and are sold all over the globe. Watch out for corn fed chickens, this is not a healthy meat as its fed inflammatory omega 6 corn, which is a not a healthy diet for a chicken.
You should avoid all processed meats initially including salami, hams, bacon and hot dogs which include a huge amount of sugars and nitrates.
Nuts and Seeds
All nuts should be avoided for the first 2 weeks as they are inflammatory and some contain molds which Candida thrive on. The worst offender is peanuts, although technically it’s a legume. Pecans, walnuts and cashews are the other nuts have the highest amount of mold. Macadamia, Almonds, Pistachios, Hazlenut and Brazil nuts can be consumed after a couple of weeks. Seeds are generally ok in moderation for the first month. Pumpkin and flax are the best and full of omega fats. Although avoiding nuts for 2 weeks is a general guideline – if your gut is severly comprimised and you react to them, they should be avoided for a longer period of time. The healthiest way to eat nuts and seed is when they are sprouted and pre soaked, as it will reduce the number of lectins and phytic acid which can cause a leaky gut. Like anything, moderation is important here. A handful of nuts a day will be fine and nut butters are recommended as great healthy snacks on the diet.
There are so many processed oils on the supermarket shelves, it makes life difficult to choose from. The best oils you should be cooking with on this diet are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter and ghee. If you are going to use high heat, ghee and coconut oil have the highest smoking point and are best for high heat cooking. Avoid all the other oils, forget about margarine (there is a reason you will never see a fly on margarine) and spreads. Some of the cold pressed nut oils like avocado or walnut oil are fine, too
Avoid ALL kinds of vinegar-containing foods such as mayonnaise unless its home made and salad dressing especially those fat-free dressings. These can be loaded with hidden sugars. You can see a list of the condiments and what are in them below.
Barbecue sauce (sugar containing) Bottled olives (supermarket) Chili sauce (sugar containing) Mustard sauce (sugar containing) Tomato sauce (sugar containing) Hoi sin sauce (sugar containing) Horseradish sauce HP Sauce (sugar containing) Mayonnaise (sugar containing) Oyster sauce (sugar containing) Pickles (sugar containing) Pickled vegetables (sugar containing) Relishes (sugar containing) Sauerkraut (sugar containing) Salad dressings (sugar containing) Shrimp sauce (sugar containing) Soy sauces Steak sauce (sugar containing) Mincemeat (sugar containing) Tamari Worcestershire sauce (sugar containing) White vinegar
Fruit Juices and Sodas
Fruit juices are a big no no. A glass of orange juice is similar to having a can of coke, except with some added vitamins. You will need to avoid canned, bottled or frozen juices for a few months. The best way is to eat the less sugar forming fruits is by mixing it with a vegetable juice or a smoothie. These can be used as a great alternative to breakfast and if you add flax seeds, avacados and some seeds, it’s a great way to start the day. Even after you have overcome your infection, you should have learnt some basics for your diet that you can carry on with you to keep the infection from returning.
Dried and Candied Fruits
All dried fruits are essentially sugar and they need to be avoided including dates, figs, pineapple, prunes, raisins, , dried apples, dried bananas, etc. You need to be careful buying snacks in organic stores, as the label states, sugar free and gluten free, however when dates are one of the main ingredients, then this will have a high sugar content. Secondly gluten free flours will spike your insulin levels, so these need to be avoided initially, too.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice may be used as a substitute for vinegar in salad dressings prepared with extra virgin olive oil.
Starch Vegtables and Carbs
The starchy vegetables should be left out for the first couple of months. The reason being is that they can be broken down into sugar a lot more readily for Candida to ingest. Sticking to low carbohydrate vegetables, especially the green leafy variety for several weeks will heavily reduce any food source for the infection.
Squash – Butternut/Acorn
All forms of Potatoes
Water and Sweet Chestnuts
All Pumpkin Varieties
For the first month, its best to avoid all grains, then you can reintroduce these after but they should be kept to a minimum (half a cup or so) and these grains should be gluten free millet, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, teff, amaranth, brown and wild rice. Glutinous grains inlcuding barley, Rye, Spelt and Wheat Flour should be excluded for the first 2 months and be kept to a minimum thereafter as they are a more taxing on your digestive system. The reason being is that they are very sticky. Gluten is the latin for glue and it tends to bind to our digestive tract, which will making to it difficult to rid the body of the Candida if we are consuming glutinous grains. Further down the road when your digestive system has improved, small amounts of gluten can be introduced. if you can tolerate it.
A note on grains and gluten
Essentially our bodies don’t know what to do with gluten. Once consumed it can confuse your immune system, causing a ton of health issues. Even if you don’t have celiac, its best to avoid. The latest research from Doctor Fasano who is a gut expert is showing that its causing inflammation of the gut even for those that don’t have any reaction to them. Essentially its causing leaky gut and for a Candida sufferer you need to getting back to an uncompromised immune system. If you are going to eat grains, then they should be in their natural whole food state as once they are turned into flours, they act like sugar in your body which feeds Candida.