Sept 2012
Happy and much healthier after 6 months fighting my Candida

Please note, this post is a little deeper than my normal ones about eating dinner at the allotment or what DIY we’ve been up to, but it’s about time that I shared it for a number of reasons.

I’m also not one for sharing too many personal photos of myself or my Mr, but for the sake of illustrating different times last year as I began to feel better I am including a couple of photos of myself.  I’m especially not one for sharing pictures of myself where I don’t think I look nice…argh!

Pressing ‘Publish’ on this post has been a challenge…

I’m not really one for sharing my inner most secrets online, I’d rather share the mainly happy cheerful bits.  After all, who really wants to admit to half these things on a forum as big as the internet?

About a year ago I discovered that many ‘ailments’ that I’d been suffering from for about 8 years were in fact something called Candida Albicans.  I want to share a little of my journey to discovering what was wrong with me and how I healed myself (with a little help from some kind, understanding and knowledgeable people) through food alone.

It is important to me to share some of my journey because once I had been told this is what I was suffering from, I was straight away online trying to find out everything about it.  Having felt so alone for so many years, it was such a lovely feeling to discover that other people had been through similar experiences and come out the other side happier and healthier.

It’s because of those people who so openly and candidly shared their experiences that have encouraged me to share a little of mine – if someone like me a year ago, comes across this post and feels better because I talked about it, then that’s why I’ve decided to bare a little more than usual.

My fight against Candida

For about 8 years I had basically been feeling unwell.  Not really unwell, just odd symptoms, many I’m sure we’d all put down to the 21st century lifestyle. The symptom that plagued my life literally everyday and made me most miserable, and was the reason I set out to discover what was wrong with me, was thrush.  Horrid, annoying, irritating, recurrent thrush.

I finally reached breaking point this time last year.  I had been to see numerous doctors, I’d been to the hospital, had all kinds of tests, with really nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders and an offer to prescribe me a pill or a cream.  No one in the medical profession seemed to know what was wrong with me, what was causing my symptoms, nor sadly did they seem that interested in trying to help me find out.

Various pictures of me back in Feb, May & Dec 2011 with what I now see as a rather rounded bloated face and the lovely cheek bones from my late teens/early 20’s lost – I look back at these and see someone quite unhappy inside…

Feb, May & Dec 2011

By this point in my life I’d really become quite interested by all things natural and had come to the opinion that if you are suffering from something that we should try and find out what’s causing the problem.  A friend of mine went to a clinic in Manchester for acupuncture  and I’d finally taken a look at their website and saw they offered something called a Body HealthCheck.

With not much to loose I booked an appointment.  They use something called a Vega machine which checks you for allergies – I’m not a scientist so have no idea how it works, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who would poo-poo it, but it is much more widely used in Europe and even by doctors I’ve been told.

About an hour later and with a rather sore hand (they use what I can only describe as being like a ballpoint pen to prod the centre of your palm) I was presented with a list covering about four sides of A4 of all the things I was sensitive to.  Argh!  A lot of them were food sensitivities.  Most importantly I was told I was suffering from Candida Albians – finally it had a name!  I was given some booklets on following a Ph Balance Diet to make my body less acidic, specific advice on which foods I should try and cut out, and a set of supplements designed for helping to fight Candida.

I left feeling tearful, overjoyed and rather anxious about what the next 6 months/year/lifetime held for me.  For the next four months I almost religiously cut out sugar, yeast, dairy (boo!), and a list of other things.  I also bumped up the amount of other Candida fighting foods I was eating.  Finally I was armed with details on what was wrong with me, what caused my ailments, and what I could do to try and heal myself.

I’ve heard people suffering from Candida be described as “the healthiest looking ill people” and I would agree with that.  Outwardly there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with me, but inwardly I knew I wasn’t very well, and as soon I started to make these changes I knew how much better I could get.

Me in July 2012 feeling much better after 3-4 months of cutting out those foods making me ill – my skin looks healthier  I have the cheeks and face shape back that I remember from my Uni days…

July 2012

Coming off sugar was terrible – it makes you realise that sugar is like a drug and apparently cutting out sugar is much like coming off drugs.  I had days where all I could so was sit like a zombie on the sofa.  I was gutted about the dairy – part of me knew it was going to come up – but I did stick to it – although I had moments like this where all I wanted was cheese!

Healing yourself through food – what you do and don’t eat – is incredible, and I have experienced first hand the amazing results, but it’s also unbearably difficult.  With Candida it takes at least 6 months, a year, sometimes even years, to really get rid of it, and most people continue to have crappy moments throughout their life.  I have not eradicated it, but I am at least 80% better than I was a year ago, and all I’ve done is change the food I eat and support my body with supplements when needed.

When we went to Greece in October 2012 this was when I felt at my peak of feeling healthy and happy again…

Greece, Oct 2012

I also wanted to note the importance of sunshine and hot, dry weather.  Last October we went on holiday to Greece and stayed in a very nice hotel – but I was concerned that eating out all the time would bring back lots of my symptoms.  In fact, I had no symptoms throughout our stay, and have since discovered that sunshine can somehow kill Candida.  Within a few days of returning home I did get worse…my conclusion is we need to move somewhere hot and dry and preferably on the Mediterranean 🙂

Since my first session on the Vega machine, I’ve had a couple of follow-up appointments, I’ve also had acupuncture, and visited a lovely lady who does another form of food allergy testing.  I’ve also met a fab couple who run a real food B&B in Herefordshire who have been invaluable – Rob has written about his experience of having Candida in both of his books, and I couldn’t have done without their support.  They also introduced me to the Weston A Price Foundation, which has set me on another food discovery path that has enabled me to start eating dairy again (raw, unpasteurised dairy), and that I hope to share more of soon.

More pictures of me feeling and looking healthier last October 2012 – about 6 months after starting to fight my Candida – no more bloated looking face, better skin and those cheek bones back 🙂

Oct 2012

It took me 8 years to finally ‘sort myself out’ and I just want to encourage people to not wait that long!  If you’ve also found the medical profession disinterested in your problems or not listening to you that, no, you don’t want another pill or cream, then explore what alternatives there are near you.

Me and Mr Rigg in December 2012 – it’s funny when you look back at pictures of yourself, I look at those 2011 photos of myself and even though I might be smiling I just see this deeply unhappy person inside. Then I look at these pictures and see that unhappiness gone, and all because I changed what I ate…

Dec 2012

My journey has made me realise how food is both incredibly destructive to us, and incredibly healing.  These are the places that helped me and might be useful to you: The Etherow Clinic for a Body HealthCheck and acupuncture in Manchester; Prestberries Farm for allergy testing in Gloucestershire; Weston A Price Foundation for information on traditional healing foods; and Rob and Sally at Aspen House B&B plus Rob’s two books on food ‘The Food Maze’ and ‘How To Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow’ (sadly you don’t seem t be able to buy them online at present, but do email them just in case).

For anyone who thinks they might be suffering from Candida Albicans I would recommend reading this book ‘Candida Albicans: The non-drug approach to the treatment of candida infection’ by Leon Chaitow and available at Amazon.  If you have any questions about my experience then do leave me a comment and I’ll happily email you xXx

Feeling happy at New Year 2012/13 with my lovely Buddy – 9 months on from starting out on my Candida journey…

Dec 2012