Friday, May 24, 2013

Anti-Candida Diet

I've spent the last 3 years with some sort of an excuse as to why I can't detox.  "I've got a heavy training load", "I'm pregnant", "I'm nursing", etc.  All good excuses, but I am finally fed up with my daily symptoms and am ready and willing to take action.  While I am still nursing Tessa, she is old enough that I'm not worried about my slight change in diet effecting her.  When it comes down to it, the restrictions are really not that dissimilar to my normal diet; it's the damn sugar!!  (fruit, sweet potato, brown rice, chocolate, ugh)

So let's go back a minute.  We already know that I have multiple food allergies and sensitivities: dairy, gluten, soy, amaranth, quinoa, and tapioca.  These were discovered 3 years ago, and for the most part have been strictly eliminated with the occasional "cheat" if you will.  Last month I was tested on a more broad spectrum food allergy test as my digestive and energy symptoms were getting the best of me.  I was missing something.  What came back?  Allergy to almonds and flaxseeds, and moderate Candida overgrowth!!  I have spent the last 3 years substituting flaxseeds for eggs in my baking recipes, and doing A LOT of almond flour baking, not to mention almond butter, and almond milk.  You should learn from my experience that too much of a good thing can be bad.  Just because almonds are healthy doesn't make you immune to developing an allergy to them, especially in the perfect storm of a compromised digestive system.  Very telling, and glad I had some explanation, but was reluctant to begin an Anti-Candida Diet.  It took me a month to get to finally commit to doing this! 

Candida albicans is naturally found in small non-harmful amounts among your digestive flora; but should you have an overgrowth of this "bad" bacteria it can cause a myriad of unpleasant symptoms as well as increased food sensitivities.  Candida, like all bacteria, feed on sugar.  Thus, treating and balancing candida in your gut involves a VERY strict diet, with the main no-no being sugar of any kind.

There are multiple web resources available, and they are all slightly different as far as what you can and can't have.  Like some include corn and carrots, others do not.  But what you're looking at is non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, small amounts of healthy fat, fermented veggies, sea veggies, and small amounts of a few select grains (which I have mixed feelings about).  Sounds pretty simple and straight forward right?

Here's an example of what my daily intake has looked like:
6am: 16 oz water
          3g fish oil
          6,000IU vit D
          Proglyco (B vitamins-blood sugar stabilizer)
7am: Kale sauteed in 1 tsp coconut oil, 3 slices deli turkey w sauerkraut
         Dandelion tea
11am: 1/2 an avocado w sea salt
1pm: Raw salad of chard, celery, carrots, cilantro, ginger, & wakame
         small serving of salmon
         cup of mint tea
3:3pm: more raw salad w sauerkraut
            small serving of millet
6pm: Broccoli sauteed in ghee, grilled chicken breast, & half corn on the cob
         Water, water, water!
8pm: 1 scoop coconut butter
         cup of cinnamon tea

It doesn't sound that bad, but for a nursing, working, mom/athlete, it's quite a bit less than I'm used to!  I'm on day 3 and I'm definitely having detox symptoms; but I know it's worth it, and I know I need it.  I'm lethargic, have a slight headache, very weak & tired, and definitely can not exercise.  But I've committed to it, and will be going strong for the next 3 weeks.  Wish me luck! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Moroccan Flare

I love love love ethnic food.  Mexican, Indian, Thai, Greek, Morrocan, you name it I like it.  Tonight I got out my Moroccan spices and spent 3 hours in the kitchen while my 9 month old slept (the entire time!).  I had two things to work with a butternut squash, and ground buffalo.  I was being creative, which takes time, and I get easily distracted.  Should you decide to make these recipes I doubt it will be anywhere near that long, so don't be discouraged yet!

Our Thursday night gluten free, dairy free, egg free menu would consist of:
Moroccan Meatballs (GF)
Tomato & Beet Sauce 
Moroccan Butternut Soup
& Spinach Salad 
(recipe not's just spinach & homemade dressing!)

Here goes:

moroccan meatballsMoroccan Meatballs

  • 1lb grass fed beef
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  1. To make the balls preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grab a large bowl to mix the meat in.
  2. Add your meat and all the spices above and mix thoroughly. Once the spices are all incorporated, shape your balls into your preferable size. Big, small, medium. Whatever makes you giggle.
  3. Set balls on a cookie sheet and into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. (mine took 20)

Tomato & Beet Sauce** yes there are a lot of ingredients cause I just kept adding stuff!  Sorry :)

  • 2 freshly peeled tomatoes
  • 1 beet, peeled, chopped, boiled till soft-ish
  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup full fat organic coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fat, I used olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. While the balls are heatin up, let's make the sauce!
  2. In a food processor pulse together, boiled beet, sun-dried tomatoes, & fresh tomatoes.  Consistency is up to you, I like mine not entirely smooth but a little chunky.
  3. Pull out a saucepan, put under medium heat and add olive oil.
  4. When the saucepan is warm, add your minced garlic and onions to cook down. Once the onions are translucent, add the rest of the ingredients. Taste to see if you want to add a bit more of any of the spices. The cumin is the strongest/best flavor so you may want to add a bit more of that. Lower heat and let the flavors meld.
  5. When the balls are finished cooking, add them directly to the sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup*** you should get this going first, as the squash need to be cooked before you can deal with it! 

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, cooked
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cupfull fat organic coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh chopped cilantro  
      1. Preheat oven to 375.  
      2. Cut squash in half length wise and remove the seeds with a spoon.  Place on non-stick surface (I use parchment paper for everything), on a cookie sheet.  And bake for 45 minutes, check to see if it's done before you add more time.  Should be soft and sweet (yes, taste it).
      3. In another food processor mix all ingredients well, until nice and smooth.  Transfer to a sauce pan and heat it up before serving.