Why the need to go yeast-free?
Like many travellers, I contracted a very nasty stomach illness in India a couple of years ago. I spent time in the rather worryingly named “Vintage Hospital” in Goa. Vintage dresses: good. Vintage wine: good. Vintage hospital? Not so good.
I spent a week on IV antibiotics and lost 10 kilos in 7 days.
When I arrived in Australia I had a bad case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which I couldn’t seem to shake. I was getting serious heartburn which caused me to suffer a false alarm heart-attack in Borders bookstore and could not eat anything without my tummy bloating up like a puffer fish.
The GP prescribed me strong anti-ulcer and reflux medication which I didn’t really want to take.
So I decided to find out as much as I could about the gut and fix the problem myself. I read everything I could find about candida, yeast free and sugar free diets. Then I found a few foods which did not cause a reaction and I stuck with just those foods for a set period.
What did I find out?
Too much Candida in the gut results in a yeast infection. Yeast infections cause all kinds of health issues because the bad bacteria outnumbers the good bacteria and this compromises the immune system leading to all kinds of ailments including headaches, depression, weight gain and IBS.
An overgrowth of fungi, yeasts and parasites can cause a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Now many doctors think this is a load of horsepoop but most alternative medical practitioners know that it is a real condition which is behind a myriad of very serious health disorders. IBS is just one symptom. I even met a doctor in New Zealand who believes that candida overgrowth is the cause of cancer.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is where the bad bacteria in the gut multiplies out of control and take over the healthy flora of the intestines. This has the flow-on effect that the bad bacteria attaches to the gut wall. Some types of bacteria are particularly harmful to the wall of the intestines. For example, Candida Albicans has the horrible tendancy to “drill” into the wall of the gut as it grows roots which puncture the wall of the gut. This enables food particles and all kinds of other toxins to enter the bloodstream resulting in an enormous burden to the immune system.
What is the cure for Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Firstly you need to starve the bad bacteria! You do this by stopping eating sugars and yeasts and taking anti-fungal treatments. Then you need to eat kefir / yoghurt and other sources of probiotics to repopulate your tummy with the good guys.
What did I eat?
I cut out ALL processed sugar and ate just these foods for 6 weeks:
- Turkey meat
- Steamed green vegetables
- Pumpernickel bread (yeast free)
- Oatmeal / porridge
- Natural unsweetened yoghurt
- Dates (as an occasional treat)
- Green apples
I drank black tea and lots of water. I also took a full dose of olive leaf oil and Pao D’Arco capsules, both of which are known to possess strong anti-bacterial / anti-fungal properties. You can order both online if you are interested:
Pao D’Arco bark to make tea
And I took a good quality probiotic to repopulate my gut with healthy bacteria.
I was very strict about only eating these foods in the list above – which made it very difficult to dine out or at other people’s houses. However, it was worth it because at the end of the 6 weeks, I was cured!
If you are a vegetarian or vegan (which I am now working towards) you will want to incorporate other forms of non-animal protein which are also not yeast-producing.
Now, nutritionists and medical people may say that this is not a properly balanced diet or that certain food groups are missing. What I will say in response is that for the 6 weeks that I exclusively ate these foods, I have never looked or felt better in my life! My skin became dewy, incredibly soft and wrinkle-free, my eyesight became sharper and my eyes sparkled, my breath was fresher and my teeth and gums healthier, my stomach flatter and I slept more soundly and woke more refreshed.
But most importantly, my IBS resolved. I am now back to eating my normal relatively healthy and varied diet and sometimes eat sugary foods for a treat. The point is that I can now eat whatever I want without any difficulties.
I am not saying that this combination of foods will work for everyone – just that it can be extremely helpful to eliminate all refined sugar and yeast from your diet for a set period (since it can be very hard to maintain that in the long-term) and to reduce the number of foods you eat for a while (to give your digestive system a bit of a break).
I’d be interested to hear if you have tried similar detox diets and, if so, if they worked for you.