Candid Report on Candida
September 18, 2016
In the early '90s everyone I knew was being told she had candida. And then candida fell off the map for a couple of decades--or if not the map, then my own radar.
So imagine my chagrin (horror, surprise, sinking heart) when it was suggested last week that candida was the culprit behind my months-long fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, digestive problems, and general malaise, all leading, of course, to depression. Well, the symptoms certainly fit.
This morning I started my "cleanse" (a word I've never thought I would embrace) consisting of a lot of encapsulated garlic and probiotics. The cleanse will give me a head start on re-balancing the little workers in my gut, but the harder part is up to me: no sugar (not a problem), no fruit (what? it's still peach season), no dairy except yogurt and butter, no caffeine, no root vegetables (except, unacountably, rutabaga, hardly the prom queen of root vegetables), no grains (including corn and rice, though quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and oat bran--but not oats--are allowed), no dried beans (though this seems to be debatable), no alcohol.
I ponder the "why me?" question but come up with no real answers. This has been coming on for three or four months, at least. But I think I know what brought it to a head: corn season. Do you remember my saying that modern corn is so sweet that you could serve my fried corn recipe in a pretty glass dish as a dessert? Well, I ate a lot of corn over the course of the season--which coincided with peach season and its sweet, sweet fruit. I wasn't eating refined sugar, but I was taking in a whack of sugar with my corn and peaches. It doesn't matter, of course, what brought this on, but that's my theory, for what it's worth.
We'll just have to see how I get along. My own thinking is that if I follow this strictly for a month, along with the prescribed cleanse, I should be about back to normal. I've been avoiding gluten for a couple of years, with the occasional cheat if a restaurant serves me some really good bread; I'll just stop cheating. I eat a lot of root vegetables--beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes and potatoes and potatoes--so that part will be difficult. But I'm gearing up for this month of change, and I started this morning with:
A Candida-Friendly Frittata*
In a large skillet I gently cooked a sliced onion in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil (which could have been butter or olive oil). While the onion cooked I chopped half a dozen cloves of garlic and threw them in with the onion along with half a dozen small-ish fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped. After the tomatoes had cooked a few minutes I added about a cup and a half of a cooked quinoa and millet mixture**.
These ingredients simmered in the skillet while I cracked 8 eggs into a bowl. I seasoned the eggs with cumin***, salt and pepper and beat them with a fork, then poured them over the quinoa, etc., in the skillet, using a spatula to be sure the eggs were well distributed through the mixture. I let this cook on medium-low heat for about ten minutes.
At this point I could have inverted the skillet over a plate and slid the frittata back into the (re-oiled) skillet to cook the other side. But I was using a larger-than-usual skillet and doubted my ability to flip it without a disaster. So I went for the alternate method of cooking a frittata: I stuck the skillet into a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the eggs were set.
There. A Sunday morning breakfast that didn't break any of the guidelines for this candida thing. And I made enough of it so that I can enjoy it for the next several breakfasts with no additional prep time. And it is pretty durn good.
*Perfectly delicious for anyone, not just people on a special diet.
**My constant advice, as I'm sure you will remember, is to cook up a mixture of grains and keep them on hand in the refrigerator. These particular grains (millet and both black and regular quinoa) were on the approved list. My next batch might include kasha (buckwheat) for variety.
***I have never been a fan of cumin but I am learning to like it. What turned me around was dry-toasting cumin seeds and then grinding them or using them whole. Today, however, I just used ground cumin from the shelf.