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CANDIDA & THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET (SCD)

CANDIDA-ELIMINATION VERSION OF SCD

Fortunately, those of us on SCD because of gastrointestinal disorders or dealing with an autism-spectrum disorder are already achieving many of the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to eliminate the candida overgrowth and to keep the candida levels in check.  The most troublesome "candida trigger foods" are grains and starchy vegetables, which are eliminated while on SCD. 

However, because of our poor digestion, and the time required for healing, it may become necessary to limit or avoid for a few weeks or a few months some of the SCD-legal foods that can feed the candida. Let your symptoms be your guide as to how long to follow a candida-elimination version of SCD.  You may not need to completely eliminate all trigger foods, just those few that are particularly troublesome for your body.

A candida elimination diet :

         limits or avoids starches (high carbohydrate foods such as winter squash, legumes)

         limits or avoids sweets (sugars, fruits, dried fruits, honey)

         limits or avoids molds (cheeses, mushrooms, nuts) or yeasts (fermented foods such as wine, pickles, vinegar)

         adds probiotics or yogurt to restore balance in the gut ecology

         uses natural or prescription anti-fungals as desired (not required)

         adds mineral and vitamin supplements to improve nutrition and support the recovery of the immune system and gut ecology.

Most candida elimination dietary recommendations also include avoiding or limiting alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and colas. We are already doing this since we’re on SCD.

The “experts” vary slightly in the details of the elimination diet, but the overall strategy is the same. You slowly eliminate all of the candida “trigger” foods until you reach the strict or drastic phase, then after symptoms begin to diminish, you can progress to a second phase, third or fourth phase and add foods back into the diet slowly. How long you stay with each phase depends entirely on your symptoms.

Because SCD is already eliminating the starches and processed sugars from our diet, we are left with only limiting (or perhaps avoiding for a while) fruits, honey, cheese, mushrooms, nuts, and vinegars for a few weeks or a few months, until the candida overgrowth symptoms diminish.

ELAINE’S VIEW ON FRUIT AND CANDIDA

Elaine Gottschall (author of Breaking the vicious cycle) felt that fruit sugars should not be feeding the candida, especially if the fruit is cooked, the juice diluted. She felt that the nutrients obtained from fruit outweighs the risk of limiting them, even for a time, especially with children.

Elaine says in an email : “...The sugars in fruit are contained within a cell surrounded by a “fence” cell wall of cellulose which is rigid. When they are given raw, often the milking action of the small intestine cannot sufficiently milk out the sugars because of the rigid cell wall and they are passed on to the lower bowel to feed the microbes. By softening the cell wall with cooking, we will avoid this...” (date of email unknown; posted by member of SCDInfo@yahoogroups.com 3/24/2005)

SUGGESTED PHASES FOR CANDIDA ELIMINATION ON SCD

These are only suggestions. As always on SCD, experiment to determine what your own body will tolerate, what your own gut ecology needs to improve. If your candida-related symptoms aren’t severe, you may not need to follow these phases at all; additional time on SCD may be all that is required.

If you are experiencing food sensitivities and/or allergies, then you may find it helpful to follow the food rotation principles for some foods. Food rotation means waiting 3 or 4 days (sometimes 6 or 7 days for some foods) before eating the same food again. As always, do not eat any foods that cause severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock, regardless if they are recommended on SCD or in the elimination diets below.

Remember to check whether all of these foods and supplements are contraindicated for your own set of health issues.

PHASE 1. STRICTEST

For a few weeks or a few months, depending on your symptoms

You can slowly transition to this phase over a period of several months; just cut back on some foods every week until you have reached this strictest phase, then maintain it for as long as your symptoms are severe.

Proteins

     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game).

Fruits, dried fruits, honey

     1 serving of diluted juice (other than lemon) or 1 serving of a cooked fruit every other day.

     1 or 2 servings of lemon or lime juice per day, 3 to 5 days per week, is acceptable (but not required if you are allergic)

     Use the nonsweet fruits as much as possible (see list)

     Avoid dried fruits and honey.

Vegetables (see list)

      Eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired.

       1 serving of a high-carbohydrate vegetable such as winter squash only 1 or 2 times a week. Avoid if symptoms are severe.

Molds

     Limit hard cheeses to 1 serving per week. Avoid if symptoms are severe.

     Avoid mushrooms.

     Avoid vinegars. Use lemon juice instead.

     Avoid nuts; however nut flours are acceptable, if used in less sweet recipes, and not eaten every day.

Probiotics

     As your body allows, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.

 Anti-Fungals. (See list)

     If your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks if your body will allow. Remember that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.

Additional Recommendations

     Drink plenty of water.

     Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD


PHASE 2. INTERMEDIATE.

For a few weeks or a few months, depending on your symptoms

Proteins.

     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game).

Fruits, dried fruits, honey

     1 serving of diluted juice (other than lemon) every day

     1 serving of a cooked fruit every other day

     1 or 2 servings of lemon or lime juice per day, 3 to 5 days per week, is acceptable (but not required if you experience an allergic reaction)

     Use the nonsweet fruits as much as possible (see list)

     Limit dried fruits, to a serving 1 or 2 times a week. Avoid if symptoms return.

     Limit honey to small amounts (perhaps 1/4 to ½ of what recipe calls for). Avoid if symptoms return.

Vegetables (see list)

     1 serving of a high-carbohydrate vegetable such as winter squash only 2 times a week.

     Eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired.

Molds

     Limit hard cheeses to 2 servings per week.

     Avoid mushrooms.

     Avoid vinegars. Use lemon juice instead.

     Avoid nuts; however nut flours are acceptable, if used in less sweet recipes.

Probiotics

     As your body allows, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.

 Anti-Fungals. (See list)

     If your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks if your body will allow. Remember that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.

Additional Recommendations

     Drink plenty of water.

     Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD


PHASE 3. TRANSITION TO REGULAR SCD

For a few weeks or a few months, depending on your symptoms

Proteins

     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game).

Fruits, dried fruits, honey.

      Limit dried fruits and honey to 3 or 4 servings per week.

      Eat cooked fruit as desired, but may need to limit to 1 serving per day.

      Diluted fruit juices should be limited to 2 servings per day, depending on symptoms.

Vegetables (see list)

     Eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired.

     Limit the high-carbohydrate vegetables to 1 serving per day.

Molds.

     Eat cheese as desired.

     Limit mushrooms to 1 or 2 servings per week.

     Limit vinegars to 1 or 2 servings per week.

     Limit nuts to 1 or 2 servings per week; nut flours are acceptable in any quantity as desired.

Probiotics

    As your body allows, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.

Anti-fungals. (See list)

   If your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks if your body will allow, remembering that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.

Additional Recommendations

     Drink plenty of water.

     Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD

 

For further information:

Candida Overgrowth basics

Causes and Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

What's the cure?

Ranking lists of fruits and vegetables & anti-fungals

Die-off Symptoms

Links to resources and diagnostic laboratories

Further Reading

revised 6/2010