If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’m typically “anti-cleanse”.
As in, I don’t believe in juice cleanses, fasting, quick fixes or restriction in any form! If you follow me on social media, you’ll be aware of the fact that I have recently embarked on a 15 day Candida Cleanse and therefore I thought that I’d provide some more insight into my journey (and struggle) with Candida overgrowth, and why I’ve made an exception for the next 15 days!
This story starts in 2012. I had just moved to Calgary from Vancouver and was fresh out of a long-term relationship. I was newly graduated from university and had moved back to Alberta to pursue a brand-new job. To say my stress levels were high is an understatement.
On top of the stress of a breakup, big move, and career change, I was in my early twenties and-as typical for many 20 something’s-I was going out with friends & socializing A LOT (like 2-3 times a week A LOT). Alcohol intake was high at this point in my life and proper nutrition wasn’t a top priority.
It was around this time that a few nasty symptoms started to pop up. As someone who was rarely ‘sick’, I began to develop sinus infections. One after another! I got into a vicious cycle in which I would visit my doctor for the sinus issues, be prescribed antibiotics for the sinus infection, it would go away for a week or two and then it would return, and this cycle continued for nearly a year.
To add to the sinus issues, I started noticing extreme sugar cravings. And these weren’t your typical ‘sweet tooth’ type cravings. They were all encompassing, very particular cravings for super sugary things; examples: candy, dried fruit, pop, sugary yogurt, wine etc. Satisfying the craving was all I could think about and after I ingested the sugar, I would feel extreme fatigue and brain fog, to the point that I’d be struggling to stay awake at my desk (at my brand-new job). It was SUPER frustrating.
Next, I developed and odd rash. Having never really struggled with acne or any skin issues, this was new territory for me. It was a red, bumpy, scaly, itchy, heat sensitive rash. What started with a few red bumps beside my nose quickly spread across my entire lower face and around my eyes. I was horrified.
Finally, and yes, we’re going there… the yeast infections. One after another. Although not fun to talk about, it was something that I had never experienced up until that point in my life, but quickly started showing up again and again, in the same pattern as my sinus infections.
Now, you’re probably asking what my doctor had to say about all these NASTY symptoms and my declining state of health? And the answer is NOTHING. I visited 3 different doctors at this time in search of answers to the long list of new symptoms and every single time I would walk out with a new antibiotic that promised to fix the problem.
The sinus issues got so severe that I was referred to an ENT (Ears-Nose-Throat) specialist for the chronic sinus infections who recommended surgery to enlarge the openings between my sinuses to allow for proper drainage. Not once, I repeat NOT EVEN ONE TIME, did any of these doctors or specialists ask me about my diet or lifestyle.
Now, pointing out the flaws in our medical system (or maybe just with the specific doctors that I was seeing) is a rant that I’ll save for a different day. The moral of my story is that my gut was telling me that there was something seriously wrong here (pun intended hehe) and so with countless hours of research and symptom tracking, google pointed me in the direction of Candida overgrowth.
I had the cardinal symptoms & contributing factors:
-brain fog/extreme fatigue
-recurrent sinus infections
-recurrent yeast infections
-history of repeated antibiotic use
-high stress lifestyle
And so, after a year of floundering and feeling awful, I FINALLY sought out the help of a Naturopath.
This was a turning point for me. Within 1 or 2 sessions with my Naturopath (shout out to Dr. Farheen Madatali of Grassroots Naturopathic Medicine), we were able to confirm my severe Candida Overgrowth via a blood test and work on a plan to get it back under control.
In total, it took several months for me to get the Candida overgrowth under control. It started with a complete diet overhaul (low sugar, low/no alcohol, low refined carbs), in combination with lowered stress levels and on and off cleansing (which included the specific microbials that target Candida Albicans overgrowth), targeted supplementation to support my immune system and multiple visits to my Naturopath to finally get back to a place of balance.
Was a complete overhaul of my lifestyle difficult? 100% YES
Was I desperately wanting to feel better? 100% YES
Did my Candidiasis diagnosis change my life? 100% YES
The rollercoaster that this health issue took me on re-sparked my lifelong passion for nutrition, wellness, and holistic healing. Somewhere along the way in my early twenties I let my physical and mental health take a backseat and through the process of healing I was able to make myself a priority again. What’s more, I started to notice that with every day that I prioritized proper nutrition, lowering stress, and getting enough rest I began to feel better and better.
So, to bring this long story back to the present! Every now and then when life gets hectic, a few symptoms will begin to crop up. Recently, I’ve experienced some of the following:
Although not severe, these symptoms are my body’s way of telling me that I need to slow down, look at my diet, alcohol consumption, stress levels and the amount of rest that I’m getting and re-assess. Completing a 15-day Candida Cleanse is exactly what I need to do in this case to get my microbiome back in check!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for following along and your interest in my story. As a gut-focused practitioner, I’ve made it my mission to help individuals rebalance their microbiome, spot gut imbalances (such as SIBO, Candidiasis & Dysbiosis) and get them back to feeling their best. If you’ve been struggling with any of the symptoms listed throughout this post or even something as simple as bloating, constipation etc, please feel free to reach out for an individualized assessment.
I would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
In good health,