My Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet was cobbled together from several different books and internet sources and trial and error. This has been working well for me, but every person is different, so listen to your body. Please check with your doctor or trained health care provider before making major diet changes if you have a serious medical condition. In addition to diet, I have also used topical psoriasis treatments, herbs and other complimentary therapies, which I'll discuss in more detail in upcoming posts.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #1 – Avoiding Allergens
I suspected my skin problems might be linked to some sort of allergic reaction to food. I ordered blood based allergy testing from Meridian Valley Labs (IgE and IgG4 antibodies) in mid-October, and finally got the results back in late November. The results were not what I expected. I had traveled to Rhode Island in early October, and had eaten foods I'd been limiting or avoiding (such as gluten) on the trip. The testing showed a reaction to egg yolk, kidney beans, Brazil nuts, black beans, kale, navy beans, and pineapple. Grains (including corn and wheat) showed virtually no reaction, and dairy products were low. Scrambled eggs and kale were a regular breakfast food, and I had been eating Brazil nuts for the selenium for my thyroid, but the other items were not foods I consumed on a regular basis. None of the foods were extremely reactive – they barely made it into the “avoid” range.
Even though they weren't flagged by the allergy testing, I still decided to stick with eating gluten free, and avoided dairy products for about a month. (It should be noted that all types of allergy testing can produce false negatives or false positives at times. They are not 100% accurate.) I've since reintroduced limited dairy. All our corn products (and most of our food) is organic to avoid GMOs and glyphosate contamination. See “Would You Feed Your Kids Pesticide Chips?” for more information.
The “Big 8” Top Food Allergens in the United States are:
- Tree nuts
These foods account for 90% of food-allergic reactions. If you suspect a food allergy might be part of your health problems (most people with health problems do have compromised digestion), it may be helpful to eliminate these foods for a time and reintroduce them one at a time to see if your condition changes.
In Eating Alive, the author also has four different levels of foods to avoid. Group I is foods that he believes should be avoided by everyone. Group IV includes foods that may be a problem for some. Groups II and II are in between. I include his list here because it may be helpful for some. I avoided groups I – III for about a month in the course of healing, and still limit foods from those groups.
Group I – Coffee, tea, chocolate, white sugar, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, salt and tobacco
Group II – Baking yeast, peanuts, brown sugar, cow products and pork
Group III – Wheat, tomatoes, brewer's yeast and mushrooms
Group IV – Lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, shellfish, fish, soya, lemon, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, apples, bananas, peaches, currants, raisins, apricots, strawberries, potatoes, squash, rye, oats, rice, corn, alfalfa, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, peppers, turnips, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, honey, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, curry, garlic, vinegar and onions
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #2 – Limit Carbohydrates
Once I realized I was dealing with candida growth, I knew excessive carbs could cause trouble. Yeast loves sugar. I didn't go extreme low carb, since that can cause trouble if you have an underactive thyroid (which I do), but I eliminated snacks like chips and crackers, took only small portions of any sort of grains or potatoes, and pretty much ditched dessert. I eat my fruit apart from other meals so it digests quickly and moves on through without much time to feed the yeast. Veggies, meat and healthy fat make up the bulk of my calorie intake.
In a fine twist of fate, I've been working on finishing my bread recipes book – which required making all the recipes in the book so I could get good quality photos. At least the rest of the family and the neighbors have been enjoying the bread. (The book is going to be great and worth the work!)
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #3 – Start the Day with Hot Lemon Water
Morning lemon water's becoming quite popular in a number of circles to help alkalize and rehydrate the body. I opted for the Eating Alive version, which calls for fresh squeezed lemon (for maximum enzyme content), warm water, and a small amount of natural sweetener. I use about half a teaspoon of organic molasses for the magnesium content. Sometimes I also include a dash of cayenne pepper, but I don't enjoy the taste.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #4 – Chew Your Food!
This may seem self-explanatory, but digestion begins in the mouth, and we are a nation that often eats in a hurry. Wolfing down poorly chewed food makes the rest of our digestive system work much harder. Take the time to chew every bite completely and mix the food well with saliva before swallowing the bolus.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #5 – Intermittent Fasting
I'm not counting my calories, but I am watching when I'm taking in my calories. After watching the video below, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try. It took about a week for my body to adjust. At first I had headaches and some fatigue. Now I've settled into a routine and it's pretty easy. I try to finish supper by 7pm, and don't eat the next morning until after 10 am. Before 10 am, I start with lemon water between 7am and 8am, and medicinal herbal tea between 9 and 10am. Between 10:30 and 11am, I have a serving of fruit. Lunch is usually between noon and 1pm, second dose of herbal tea mid-afternoon, supper between 6 and 7pm, and a third dose of herbal tea around 8:30 pm.
Dr. Mercola is also a proponent of intermittent fasting, and notes on his site that intermittent fasting promotes the following:
- Helps promote insulin sensitivity – Optimal insulin sensitivity is crucial for your health, as insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity contributes to nearly all chronic diseases
- Normalizes ghrelin levels, also known as your “hunger hormone”
- Increases the rate of HGH production, which has an important role in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process
- Lowers triglyceride levels
- Helps suppress inflammation and fight free radical damage
- In addition, exercising in a fasted state can help counteract muscle aging and wasting, and boost fat-burning.
I regularly exercise early in the morning while still fasting. My belly does start growling, but it's not that tough to hold out until after 10 to eat now that I've gotten used to it. If I was doing more heavy labor in the morning, I might have to shift my eating time earlier.
I did have some minor issues with headaches and fatigue the first week I switched to this schedule, but do not anymore.
Typical fasting times are 14-18 hours. Women tend to do better with the shorter fasting times, but each person is unique.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #6 – Use Herbal Teas
I rotate through different herbal teas to help kill off the candida, address inflammation in the body and flush out toxins. From what I've read, candida adapts quickly to whatever you're trying to use to wipe it out, so it's a good idea to change your herbal tea every 7-14 days.
Teas that I have used for my Candida/Psoriasis:
- Slippery elm in the morning with American Saffron tea at night, as suggested in The Psoriasis Diet
- Red Clover Tea, as suggested in The Candida Cure
- Essiac Tea, suggested by my friend, MaryJean
- Numi 3 Root Tea with Turmeric, Ginger and Licorice
- Dandelion tea
- Burdock Tea
- Pau d'Arco tea
I have also tried different anti-candida herbal tinctures and pills, but found them to be constipating, which slows down healing. The teas work more gently with my system.
For more information on healthy pooping habits, see “Things We’re Embarrassed to Talk About – What’s a Healthy Bowel Movement?”
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #7 – Include Probiotics
While you are fighting off candida overgrowth and working to rebuild a healthy microbiome, it's critical to send in beneficial microbes to rebuilt your inner ecosystem. Live culture foods can be wonderful, but sometimes the wild yeasts that are present may be too much for an already stressed immune system. Listen to your gut, or work with a trained health care practitioner.
While I was on my most restricted part of the diet, I avoided live culture foods. Instead, I tool probiotic capsules. Spore based probiotics can penetrate deeper into the digestive tract, making them exceptionally helpful.
In the book Brain Maker, Dr. Perlmutter explores fascinating connections between gut and brain health, and highly recommends the use of probiotics supplements and live culture foods. In some severe cases, he even recommends probiotic enemas (with specific species of bacteria that are native to the lower intestine) or fecal transplants. It may sound crazy, but he has clearly demonstrated life changing results via a change in the microbiome.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #8 – Include Prebiotics
Along with the good bacteria, it's helpful to stock your guts with prebiotics, which are foods that the good bacteria need to thrive. Inulin is well known prebiotic, and it can be found in foods such as (Adapted from The Body Ecology Diet):
- Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
- chicory root
- dandelion root
- burdock root
- raw apple cider vinegar
- unsweetened black currants
- unsweetened cranberries
Many other fruits also contain inulin, but are too high in sugar to eat in quantity while fighting candida overgrowth. Gluten free “grains” such as amaranth, quinoa, millet and buckwheat can also feed good bacteria without the gut-irritating effects of gluten.
Note: If your guts are severely overgrown with pathogenic bacteria, it may be necessary to limit prebiotics, as they can also provide food for bad bacteria. This is explained in more detail in the Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet Step #9 – Limit Drinks with Meals
It's not uncommon for US residents to knock back one or more large (often sugar filled) glasses of liquid with a meal. This can negatively affect digestion, as it dilutes the digestive enzymes. Instead of washing down half chewed food, take the time to chew more thoroughly, and you'll find you have less need to guzzle down liquid. Sip, don't chug, and drink most of your daily water intake between meals.
Diet Change Heals from the Inside Out
For me, no topical psoriasis treatment that I tried had long lasting results – until I dramatically changed my diet. Now, not only is my skin clearing, I have also lost around 30 pounds, have more energy, clearer thoughts and an overall better quality of life.
I was asked recently by my chiropractor, “Wasn't it hard to make such a big change?”
My response, “Yes, it was hard, but not nearly as hard is living in pain every single day.”
Feel free to share your story in the comments, and I'll see you next week with the next post in the series.
- Food Safe Allergy Test from Meridian Valley Labs
- Eating Alive: Prevention through Good Digestion
- Chicory Root Inulin Fiber
- Brain Maker: The Power of gut microbe to Heal and Protect Your Brain – For Life
- Totnes' stomach-surviving Probiotics
Other posts in the series:
- Candida – Missing Link to Psoriasis and Other Chronic Illness
- Psoriasis Causes – Mainstream and Alternative Viewpoints
- Toxic Skin – My Mother’s Nightmare
- Psoriasis – The Year My Face Exploded