Eat to Beat Candida

Eat to Beat Candida [Podcast Episode #059]

Have you recently experienced any of the following: Exhaustion, sweet cravings, weight-gain, bad breath, low sex drive, painful joints, "foggy" brain, a white coating on your tongue, regular illness, stomach bloating or gas?

I know what you're probably thinking: "Who hasn't experienced at least something on that list?"

It's true - these conditions are pretty normal when they appear individually. But, if you've been experiencing multiple symptoms like these, there is a likelihood that you suffer from Candida infection.

Today you'll learn how to do a simple test at home to find out if you may be dealing with Candida. You will also discover how to beat Candida using the right healthy food choices and supplementation.

Episode Resources:

Eat To Beat Candida [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me on this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today we're talking about something that can cause a huge range of symptoms, probably some symptoms that you've dealt with before. As I mentioned at the top of the show, it could be brain fogginess. Some people experience low energy, others, weight gain.

Some people have rashes in different areas of their body or fungal growth in the mouth. It could be athlete's foot or a yeast infection for women. There's all kinds of symptoms that can lead back to something known as candida. Alicia wrote in and had a very specific question about candida. Let's dive in and hear what she had to write.

Alicia said, "I was reading about the symptoms of candida and the list almost made me laugh. Who doesn't experience some of those at some point? Lol. I've experienced most of the typical symptoms, especially fatigue, weight gain, and all the digestive issues, and I want to try a candida diet to see if that can help. I just want to do it right the first time, so if I was wondering if you have any recommended plans that I can follow. Thanks."

Alicia, thanks for writing in because, like I said, candida has this huge range of symptoms many of us have experienced, but quite often people don't realize that candida could be the whole root cause of these symptoms that we're experiencing. I'm excited because I have, I'd say, the premiere authority when it comes to candida, identifying whether your symptoms are candida-related, and then also helping you develop a plan, showing you the steps that are required to take to beat candida and to return our body back to homeostasis, to a healthy balance. I'm really excited to introduce to you Ricki Heller.

Meet Ricki Heller

Dave: Hey, Ricki. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Ricki: Oh, thank you for having me. I'm delighted to be here.

Dave: Yeah, I was actually just reading your "About" page on your website and we'll talk a little bit about who you are and what you do, but I really liked your story. You talked about how you have your PhD and you said that this came in handy when you're getting a room at a hotel. Can you tell the story?

Ricki: Yeah, really. For all those people out there, this is the value ... No, I shouldn't say that. Actually, my husband and I were going to have a private weekend away. We decided we're going to treat ourselves. When I was making the reservations online, just for a lark because I really never use the title, but I put Doctor or PhD, something like that. When we went to check in, we were told that we got an automatic upgrade to a suite. They said, "Thank you, Dr. Heller." I thought, "Oh, so that's the value of the PhD."

Dave: I love that. That makes me want to just go and put doctor in front of my name whenever I go to a hotel. Ricki, can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your work and the type of clients you work with?

Ricki: Sure. I started out with my PhD in English Literature. Then what happened was I have been a baker and a sugar lover my whole life. I grew up in a house where everyone were bakers. I naturally gravitated toward food and cooking and baking. I became a caterer. What happened was along the way, I guess partly because of all the sugar I consumed and partly because of other factors in my life, I got quite ill and I was diagnosed with candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the body.

Over the years, as I tried to heal and I found that this is a condition that is not recognized by conventional or allopathic medicine, so I sought out all kinds of alternatives. Eventually, I managed to heal from that and go back to living what I think is a great, full life, feeling good. That's when I went into holistic nutrition.

During that journey, I studied holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I just loved it. I often will say that was one of the best years of my whole life. I just loved everything about it. I soaked up all the information. Then I began to work in that area, teaching cooking classes, and I started a food blog. As I was dealing with candida over the years, I began to really focus in on candida and foods for candida and just what we can do to prevent it and to heal from it.

I started working with people as a food coach, helping people transition to, I'm going to say "restricted diets," but I'll put that in quotation marks because I don't believe it is truly a restriction. What I do is I show people how you can still eat delicious, wonderful food and live normally in the real world even without sugar, eggs, dairy, gluten, whatever you're particular restrictions are.

I do that one-on-one with people, but I also teach programs where for somebody who is diagnosed with candida or maybe they have to cut out gluten or something like that, and we work through how they can transition to that and also heal from having an excess of candida in the body. It's a few things. I still write my blog and create recipes, too.

Dave: You're busy.

Ricki: I am very busy, yes, but it's fun.

What Are the Most Common Candida Symptoms?

Dave: Maybe you can tell the audience a little bit more about candida symptoms. You went through this yourself. What symptoms did you experience that had the wheels turning in your head that maybe that's what was going on?

Ricki: Yeah, I mean I actually had no idea. I was told by the holistic practitioner the first time I was diagnosed. I was diagnosed twice. I had no idea what it was.

Basically, if you think about candida is a yeast and it's also a form of fungus, so anything that's related to yeast or fungus. For women, it would be yeast infections, vaginal yeast infections, or all the fungal conditions like jock itch, which is a fungal condition, or toenail or nail fungus, or athlete's foot.

There's a condition called oral thrush, which most of us know as something that happens to babies where they have this white coating on their tongue. If you're an adult with oral thrush, that's almost a sure sign that you're dealing with candida overgrowth in the body, because you're not supposed to have it as an adult.

The second time I was diagnosed after I had a relapse, I had this horrific rash on my chest. You can get rashes anywhere on the body, but mostly in places where it's warm and moist, because that's where fungi love. Where the folds of the skin are, in your arm folds, on the other side of your elbow, or behind the knees, or for people who are a bit overweight, they often get it around the waistline, and women around the bra line. You can get rashes that are incredibly itchy and annoying.

There are those physical symptoms, but there all kinds of psychological symptoms, too. The biggest symptom of candida or the one I hear the most often is just overwhelming cravings for sugar or refined foods because refined foods are converted so quickly to sugar in the body. Sugar is yeast's favorite food and it compels you to go eat sugar. It's not just, "Oh, I wouldn't mind having candy right now." It's like, "I have to have that. I'm going to throw my coat over my pajamas and drive to the gas station and buy candy at 2:00 in the morning," or whatever.

Dave: I feel like, if I can just jump in there, because I feel like probably ninety percent of the audience right now can relate to that feeling of a very intense sugar craving. Candida, does it have to come with some of those symptoms, though? When you talk about fungal growth or rashes, does that have to be present in order for candida to be a problem?

Ricki: No. That's the weird thing. There's this whole constellation of symptoms that you can find that are interconnected. In general, we do have at least one of those. I would say it's more something that is persistent and you can't get rid of. I have a friend who has had athlete's foot for three years, let's say, and treating it for that long, and it doesn't go away.

Then the one symptom that isn't a physical manifestation, that is a very common sign of candida, even if you don't have the other ones, is what they call foggy thinking or foggy brain. It's where, literally, you feel almost like there's a fog over your mind. You can't get clear on anything. You can't focus.

When I had that - that was the second time - I didn't even realize it. It was just this very slow, incremental decrease in my mental capacity. I'm someone who generally has a really good memory and I couldn't remember stuff from one hour to the next, or I would be reading and I'd realize I had to reread that sentence ten times and I still hadn't absorbed it.

That's where you start getting some of the toxic byproducts into the brain. People have this foggy thinking. That's a really big one. When I went on antifungals, it was literally like a curtain lifted. Suddenly one day I realized, oh my gosh, it's like your television went from analog, the old one, to HD all of a sudden. Everything is clear and sharp.

Dave: It's interesting, that idea of things creep on like that. You talked about the foggy brain, but there's so many things like that. Weight's like that. Quite often, I'll have people that will email me and say, "One day I woke up and looked in the mirror and was like oh my goodness, who is this person. It just creeped on." We talk about energy or joint pain or any of these things in our own health, when it happens incrementally, little by little, sometimes it takes that moment, that aha moment, like, "Oh my goodness. What's going on?"

Ricki: Yeah. I think that's also why we don't realize it because we adapt a little bit at a time. This becomes the new normal and you forget that this isn't the way you were five years ago, or even a year ago. For me, it was exactly that. It had to be so bad that I finally realized, "Oh my goodness, something is wrong." That's when I took action.

Unhealthy habits creep in little by little. We often don't notice until we're sick.

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How Candida Impacts Your Weight and Energy Levels

Dave: Can you talk a little bit about candida and its relation to weight gain and also it's relation to energy levels?

Ricki: Sure. Primarily, the weight gain is two-fold. You've got the consumption of all these refined products. Usually, we think of candida as a condition, but actually, candida is the result of a condition. What happens is in the intestinal tract, you have candida albicans, which is the most common form of candida, living in harmony with all the other microorganisms: probiotics, germs, bacteria, whatever else there is.

Just like dandelions, I think there's one professional who coined that analogy and said that candida's the dandelion of the intestinal tract because as soon as there's an imbalance or something isn't a hundred percent healthy, the candida swoops in and just takes over. Once that happens, once you have that overgrowth of candida, that's when you start getting all the symptoms.

You don't really catch candida. It just occurs as a result of something else being out of balance. Like if you take antibiotics and wipe out all your good bacteria, then the candida's going to take over more often than not.

In that case, what's happening is the candida wants to be fed and you are eating a lot of these foods, but also if there is a preexisting condition in the gut, a dysbiosis or an imbalance in the gut, you might have leaky gut, you might just have poor digestion at that point. You might end up gaining weight because you're not digesting your food efficiently or appropriately anymore.

I think there's that. Then your second question was about the...

Dave: Energy levels. Yeah.

Ricki: Yeah. What's happening is there your immune system's on overload. It's very stressful to be trying to eliminate this organism that can grow exponentially. I find that puts a big strain on all of the systems in the body.

People are often extremely tired because they're being drained from the fight, the battle, against candida, which without the appropriate treatment, you're going to be losing, because candida is just incredibly prolific. It really grows quickly. The body's just tired because it's like having the flu all the time. Your body's fighting something all the time.

Dave: I'm really glad that you talked about the imbalance in the gut and leaky gut, because I think that something that quite often people don't understand or have a misconception of is that I can be eating a healthy diet, but still constantly have food cravings, that idea that the food cravings never seem to go away. When our digestive tract is off kilter for whatever reason, whether it's candida or something else, the nutrients not being absorbed leaves their body deficient even though we're eating "healthy foods".

I think as you describe that, that will really bring some clarity to some people who maybe do experience that and think, "Well, I've been trying to cut out sugar and I've been trying to add vegetables and trying to do all these things," but if your body isn't able to take in those nutrients, it doesn't matter what we're eating.

Ricki: Yeah, as my colleague Andrea Nakayama says, it's not what we eat, it's what we are able to do with what we eat, right?

Dave: Exactly. Now, this is a great transition into Alicia's question, because she wrote in and basically said, and I think a lot of the listeners are going to be able to relate to this, she said, "I looked at this chart of symptoms related to candida and basically checked them all off," and she's kind of laughing at herself and says, "Okay, looks like maybe this is something that I should think about." She's basically saying, "What is my next step?" When someone comes to you and says that, like, "Hey, I think this is my problem, what do I do about it," where do they begin?

Making a Correct Diagnosis

Ricki: I would always try to ensure the diagnosis. This is the problem with candida is that, as I said, it's acknowledged by conventional doctors. Going to your regular doctor and saying, "I have candida," they may laugh because in conventional medicine, and I always say it's unfortunate we're using the same term, it's the same organism.

In allopathic or conventional medicine, candida, which they pronounce can-di-da, is actually considered a blood-borne disease or illness where the organism gets right into the bloodstream and it's literally critical. You're going to die imminently if you're not treated, often with intravenous antifungals.

People who get that kind of candida or candidiasis, which is what they usually call it, are people like AIDS patients or people who had chemotherapy and their immune system's been wiped out. You must be really ill to have blood-borne candida.

Whereas, what I'm calling candida, which is sometimes referred to as candida-related complex, starts in the digestive tract and it's an imbalance that then, because those candida organisms have actually, and this is kind of gross to imagine visually, but they burrowed into your intestinal tract lining, so they grow these long filaments or roots, and they burrow through the intestinal tract, and that's the leaky gut.

It creates these micro holes. All the toxins that candida gives off, and there are I think up to one-forty-nine different toxins or something like that, they can cause all these symptoms. There is no conventional testing for that. However, there are all kinds of alternative tests.

The first thing I would do are the tests that are free and that you can do at home, just for myself, to see if, "Well, if these are positive, then I know I might want to invest in some of these other tests." There are many questionnaires online and we have a really long, involved questionnaire in my book, Living Candida-Free, which is actually developed by Andrea Nakayama, the functional nutritionist, who contributed a chapter to the book.

A lot of natural paths or alternative practitioners will use a questionnaire before anything else because they're very detailed, they cover all the different areas of your life, and they tend to be more accurate than these tests. I'll tell you why in a sec. I'd start with a questionnaire. You can do the one in the book. There are many, many you can find online. That will give you an idea of how likely it is that you're dealing with candida overgrowth and also how severe it is.

The other free test that a lot of other people do, and again, this has been discounted by some practitioners because they say it doesn't measure just candida. It can measure all kinds of organisms, but I will say for myself personally, when I did this test, I did it for a long time, I did it everyday for about a month, it really did correspond almost perfectly with the severity of my symptoms. I feel it's a good starting point and it's called the spit test. I don't know if you've heard of it.

Dave: No.

Ricki: Okay. This one, also, you can find pictures on the internet. Basically, the idea is the minute you wake up in the morning before you brush your teeth, before you drink any water, before you eat anything, you take a glass of filtered water about half-full and you spit into it. You get a nice-sized gob of spit, like a quarter-size gob of spit.

A healthy saliva will be clear and will float on top. If it's not healthy, what you do is you look after about fifteen minutes, and then again after about thirty minutes. If you look at fifteen minutes and you see that it's starting to get cloudier, even if it's not, if it starts to grow these tendrils or roots that fall down, they call them legs, they'll fall down towards the bottom of the glass, that's one sign of the yeast growing.

Then if it eventually sinks to the bottom, then that means it's just a stronger situation. You probably have a more severe case. That could potentially be other germs and bacteria in there, too, but as I said, for me, that really did correlate almost perfectly with my candida.

Dave: Maybe using those two tests in conjunction then will tell quite a clear story.

Ricki: Yeah. If I came back positive with both of those, then I would start looking into some of these other lab tests. You can have your urine tested, you can have your blood tested, and you can have your stool tested. What they're looking for in the stool is excess candida. In the urine, what they're looking for is a compound. It's called an organic acids test.

It's one of the byproducts of candida that shows up in the urine. In the blood, what they're looking for are antibodies, as if you had had an allergic reaction at some point, which means your immune system reacted to candida in the body, and so you're going to have these antibodies.

Again, not one of those is a hundred percent accurate because, as I said earlier, candida is a normal resident in the intestinal tract and it lives on all our mucous membranes. It's on our skin. We are supposed to have a little bit of candida, so unless you have a really skilled practitioner who knows how to read these tests really well, someone might look at the stool test and say, "Oh, sure there's candida," because that's normal and they might not realize that it's an overload or whatever. You really need to find some good labs to test.

Adopting an Anti-Candida Diet

Dave: That's really helpful. For the listeners, I'm going to put a link to a questionnaire that you can use, as well as the spit test. I'll see if I can find a good video that shows the two results. For the listeners, if you go to MakeYourBodyWork.com/59, that will take you to the show notes for this episode and you can check those two out.

Going on, Ricki, then once the diagnosis has been confirmed using any of these different methods, what are some of the steps then? Because Alicia specifically talks about a candida diet that she's considering going on and is asking for some recommendations. What are the steps to change your eating habits in order to fight this overgrowth of candida?

Ricki: Yeah, I will just start by saying a diet is an essential component, but it's not a sufficient component. You must follow the diet, but if you follow the diet alone, it will not be enough to get rid of excess candida, so that's just one thing I want to say.

Of course, as I said, sugar, favorite food, you need to eliminate virtually all sugar, and added sweeteners, and even some natural sugars like the sugar in fruits for some time. When I started, I didn't have any fruit for about a year. I will just say mine was a very severe case, so not everyone needs to do that. Usually people can cut it out for a month or maybe two months.

Dave: I'm glad you said that because as soon as you said cut out fruit for a year, I'm sure there's a lot of ears that just turned off and said, "Okay, I can't do that. Sorry."

Ricki: It's a very challenging diet, but that's why I say when I work with people, for me, creating recipes that are delicious and that not only are good for candida, but that I am happy to serve to my friends, and guests, and family, that was really essential for me because I'm such a foodie and I didn't want to miss out on all my favorite foods even while I was killing my candida. I think there are lots of things you can do to recreate your favorites, even without sugar. I'll just say that.

Yeah, you cut out certainly all refined sugars, all refined flours, and you can have basically two kinds of low-glycemic sweetener: stevia, which is an herb, which is zero on the glycemic index; and xylitol, which is also really low, it's like three or four, something like that, on the glycemic index.

Xylitol, which it doesn't like it, but actually is a natural sweetener. It's made from birch. It's made from bark, actually, and sometimes from corn. The bonus of xylitol is that it has an antifungal component to it. It inhibits the growth of candida, which is a nice little bonus when you need something sweet.

How to Use the Glycemic Index

Dave: Can I just jump in there because I'd like to ask you a question? You talked about the glycemic index and where these sweeteners lie. Can you talk to the audience a little bit about what the glycemic index is and why that's so important for a candida diet?

Ricki: Sure. The glycemic index or GI, they call it, it's a measurement of how quickly a food is converted to sugar in the blood. How quickly does it make your blood sugar rise. I think it's David Jenkins, who's a Canadian, yay, who originated this scale. They just gave an arbitrary number of a hundred to sucrose, which is sugar. I believe it's sucrose.

Then everything was measures against that. The idea is you want a low-glycemic and generally you want to have a fairly-low glycemic diet, because then you're going to avoid those spikes in blood sugar and then the subsequent crashes if you eat something. People on the go, you grab a doughnut for breakfast and then you realize that at 3:00 in the afternoon, you can hardly keep your eyes open.

That's because you had that spike and crash in blood sugar. In general, a whole foods diet is going to be really good and going to be moderate-to-low glycemic anyway, but on the anti-candida diet, because we don't want to increase the blood sugar amounts at any point, we want it to be nice and steady and fairly low so that you have ongoing energy and you don't have these peaks and valleys.

Ideally, as I said, even fruits which are healthful foods, but many fruits have a lot of natural sugars, which are a little higher on the glycemic index and so that's not great for somebody with candida to eat.

Dave: Again, for the listeners, I'll put in the show notes a link out to a glycemic index scale and you can take a look. It's really a great piece of education to have is to look at where different foods lie and you can start to see which ones are going to give you a blood sugar spike. It's really interesting because once you know what foods are high on the GI scale, you can start to almost feel it in your body.

I don't know, Ricki, if you've experienced this before, but even for me, if I just eat a piece of fruit all by itself, I actually do feel a little bit of a sugar rush and then a subsequent sugar crash quite soon after. I'm not saying fruit's not a healthy snack, but you can just see how that really does impact the body.

Ricki: Yeah. Wow.

Dave: Sorry, I kind of interrupted. We were talking about an anti-candida diet and you were talking about reducing sugar and you're talking about two substitutes. You said xylitol and stevia. What else? What are some of the other steps or other components of an anti-candida diet?

Other Steps You Can Take to Fight Candida

Ricki: Okay. That's the sweet component. Basically, all the foods in the diet are either going to actively kill fungus or candida or foods that will not feed it. You're looking for those. The third category of foods you're looking for are foods that don't put a strain on the immune system because it's, as I said, it's already overtaxed.

In that first category, you've got the not feeding the candida. All vegetables are great except you don't want mushrooms for the most part because, as a fungus, that can cause an immune reaction just because your body might confuse the one fungus with candida or put them all in the same category if you have an allergic reaction. We don't encourage that for the first while as well.

Then anything refined. You take away refined flour, refined grains, that kind of thing. You can have some whole gluten-free grains, but gluten is removed, the top eight allergens are removed. Things like eggs, dairy, gluten.

Then moldy foods are removed. I was surprised. Obviously mushrooms fall in there and any kind of cheeses would fall in there, but a lot of nuts and seeds are covered in mold and there are government guidelines to prevent them from being too moldy. Even with those in place, peanuts have a mold called aflatoxins and then the second-highest is pistachios for molds.

In my program, I eliminate those two nuts and I do a lot of the other ones. Some diets eliminate all nuts except for almonds because they feel that those are the least moldy. I've found in doing my research that apart from those top two, the rest were all pretty close. I felt that there was no need to eliminate them all.

If you're an omnivore, so my diet's plant-based, but if you're an omnivore, you can still have fish and some poultry and some meat as long as it's really clean and organic. For a plant-based, you can still have legumes, nuts, seeds. I mean anybody can have legumes, nuts, seeds, but those would be major forms of protein if you're plant-based.

Dave: For plant-based, what about soy? You talked about removing the top eight offensive foods. Is soy one that you do remove?

Ricki: Yeah. This was actually an interesting discussion I had with Andrea, the co-author, because we developed the diet together because she has far more experience clinically than I, and scientifically than I. She's very science-based.

I am a big fan of soy and I feel that personally, for me, I do still eat tofu as long as it's organic and non-GMO and not in excess because I look at the traditional Asian cultures where tofu is a staple in the diet, but not anywhere near the quantities that we eat here in North America. Obviously, if you have a sensitivity or an allergy, you're not using soy at all.

People who are more concerned about the digestability of it, would suggest fermented soy, like tempeh, which pretty much anybody agrees is okay, or miso. Those things are okay on the anti-candida diet.

Dave: You said the diet is a crucial part, but not the only part. To Alicia and anyone else who thinks that maybe this is the path they should start going down, what other steps do they need to think about taking?

Antifungals and Supplements You Can Try

Ricki: Because it's an overgrowth of candida, that's what really this situation you're dealing with is, you need to kill off the excess. I'm going to go back to that dandelion analogy. If you have one or two dandelions and you pluck them out or you over-seed with the healthy grass, it's fine, but once you get a yard full of dandelions, you really need some kind of herbicide or new sod or something like that, right?

There are lots of natural herbal antifungal stuff, supplements, that people can use. I can mention a few if people are interested.

Dave: Yeah, please.

Ricki: Sure. Okay. Let me do the natural route first. I would say to my mind, only because I've seen so many people with candida and I've been through it twice now, I think the food and natural supplements are great if your score on one of these assessments is mild.

If you get into moderate or severe, my feeling is you're going to need some kind of prescription antifungal at least initially to knock out a big part of that candida.

Just having said that, one of the best antifungals is a component of coconut oil called caprylic acid. It's a really potent antifungal, so you can buy just the caprylic acid on its own, capsules or pills, but even just eating organic virgin coconut oil everyday is a great antifungal step.

I recommend that people eat coconut oil if they're able everyday. That's a great antifungal. Garlic is another. The allicin compound in garlic is a great antifungal as well. Garlic is a good one.

Then we have specific supplements that are made for fighting candida like oil of oregano. It's a broad-spectrum, but it's really good for fungal. One of my favorites is called grapefruit seed extract, so not grape seed extract, which is an antioxidant, but grapefruit seed extract.

Really, at least for me, very strong antifungal effects. There's a tea called paud'archo. I get it as a tea, but you can get it in capsules as well. That's another one that I think is one of the top antifungals.

Having said that, what we're finding now is that each person's body seems to react differently and, as I said earlier, there are more strains than we realized of candida that can be causing these symptoms. It's a really good idea to rotate because my feeling is that way you're capturing different strains with the different antifungals and so if you're dealing with a few strains, let's say, you're going to cover them all as you rotate through your antifungals.

Dave: I love that message. That resonates so strongly with me and many of the other guests that have been on the podcast. This idea that everyone is unique and that pretty much for anything, there has to be some sort of experiment process because no one can say this is guaranteed to be successful for you.

Ricki: I'm a big believer in that approach, yeah. For sure.

Your body is unique. You have to experiment to find what works best for YOU.

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When Can I Go Back to My Old Eating Habits?

Dave: A question, I guess, personally for your experience then. You talked about having gone through this twice. Can you talk to the listeners about if they were to clean up their diet and then use an antifungal, whichever one of these that you suggested, and feel like they have things under control, what's the likelihood of going back through an overgrowth of candida?

Ricki: I think, again, it depends on the person and the level of candida and the type that they have, what we're finding, candida is an incredibly hardy organism and it's sneaky. It can remain dormant for up to a year. In my case, there I was, I'd gone to nutritional school and I was eating this wonderful, holistic diet. Like I said, I was having my sweet treats, but I was using natural sweeteners like maple syrup, Sucanat, dates, that kind of thing.

For me, as a sweets lover, I had what I call a relapse, but that was based solely on my eating habits because I returned to my previous bad eating habits. I went back to eating white sugar, white flour. It was Christmastime. I decided I was going to have one treat, which led to six.

Dave: As it does, as it does.

Ricki: Yeah. My feeling now is when people say to me, "When can I go back to eating the way I was before," I don't want to give people false hope. I think that a lot of the programs that say, "Oh, you can go back to old eating habits," they're just not being realistic because if you go back to eating the same things that got you in this position in the first place, you're probably going to get back to candida. The problem with candida is it's, as I said, it's hardy and it's virulent, so each time there's a recurrence, it's a bit stronger and it's a bit more difficult to get rid of that.

I learned my lesson. I never, and it's not even a question for me anymore, I have no doubt I will never again eat white sugar for the rest of my life and I have no need to. I don't miss it. I don't care. Nothing. You have to decide that this is a lifestyle. No, you won't have to remain on that strict anti-candida forever. You can certainly bring back many of the foods that you took out, but there are certain foods that I personally would never recommend go back in a healthy diet.

Dave: For someone, this could be for candida or for weight loss or any condition, but if you modify your diet or your lifestyle and feel much better and see how your body is reacting very positively to that change, there does beg the question why would you want to go back in the first place? I understand.

When someone's hearing you speak and thinking, "Oh, I've got to make all these changes to my diet. That sounds inconvenient or I don't want to lose out on those foods," the positive feeling of your body, though, as you're going to get as a reward I think in most cases is reward enough to spur on, keeping on with that diet for the long term.

Ricki: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I would never want to go back to where I was before.

A good diet does not only restore your health, but helps you maintain good health in the future.

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Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: Ricki, we like to finish up the show with something that's called a Make Your Body Work Takeaway. That's an action step for someone like Alicia who thinks that they might be dealing with candida, want to get started, want to figure out what's the right path for them. We've touched on a bunch of different topics related to this, but you could give our audience a bit of a suggestion? Where can they start today? What should their first step be?

Ricki: I would say the most important step, I would suggest, is try to eliminate the white foods from the diet. No white sugar and no white flour and no white rice. Some people include white potatoes in that category. If you are able to do that, then you can transfer to natural sweeteners that are a little bit more nutritious. That's a really great first step because that will lead you on the path to eating real whole foods, which is ultimately where you want to be.

Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You've actually been really generous and put together an infographic that can lead people down the right path. Maybe you can just talk a little bit about what that is and then I'll have a link in the show notes, again, so people can get their copy.

Ricki: Sure. It's called, "Consider Candida". I know we talked a little bit about the different symptoms, but as I said, that because candida can infiltrate pretty much any system in the body, there are lots of symptoms that could potentially be candida that we might not realize because they don't appear to be yeast related when we just look at them.

As an example, I had repeated sinus infections, which are often connected to candida. It's an infographic that has five different consider-candida symptoms that you might not think about and also what you can do about the symptoms.

Dave: Yeah, really helpful. I just want to say again to the listeners, just so you know where to go, again that's MakeYourBodyWork.com/59 to pick up your copy. Sorry, Ricki, was there something else?

Ricki: There's a link. I guess you can add the link to that page then?

Dave: Yeah, I'll add the link and then people don't have to remember. Makes life easy.

Ricki: Yes.

Dave: Ricki, just for the sake of time, I just want to thank you and just want to ask you, if people have questions or want to connect with you, because I know we're just sort of scratching the surface here, what's the best way that people can connect with you?

Ricki: They can always come to my site, which is RickiHeller.com, or send me an email at [email protected]. I actually have a free Facebook group called, "Living Candida Free". If you go on Facebook and just do a search for "Living Candida Free," that's a group that I moderate. It's a private group, but it's open to anybody. They just have to ask to join. We talk about candida. They can ask any questions. I sometimes do live Facebook videos in there. It's a great way to get more information and meet other people who might be going through the same thing.

Dave: Fantastic. Again, I'll link to that as well so that all these resources are in one spot for the listeners. Ricki, thanks again. You're such a wealth of knowledge and I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the show today.

Ricki: Oh, it's been my pleasure. Thanks so much.

Dave: Thanks again, Ricki, for joining us on the show today and for sharing so much information. It's going to be helpful for anyone out there who is currently suffering from candida or potentially is maybe starting to think, based on the signs and symptoms that we talked about today, that maybe that's something that they need to look into. Thanks for your time and for your expertise. Really appreciate that.

Thanks to all the listeners for tuning in today. Hopefully this was really helpful for you. As always, that's what this show is all about. My mission and my passion in life is to help people, like I say with the slogan or tagline for this show, to live a healthier and happier life. That's what I aim to do in every single episode of this podcast. If you have questions that you'd like answered on a future episode, email me at anytime: [email protected]. Hopefully I'll be able to find an expert guest and we can talk about it and shed some light onto the problems or the questions that you're facing.

I have a favor to ask. If you've been listening to this podcast for awhile and find that you're getting benefit from it and would like to see future episodes, it's really helpful for me if you would go to iTunes and give the show a rating and potentially even a comment. Talk about maybe what you like about the show or what you'd like to see improved. I want honest feedback. It always helps me improve the show.

You can really help me out by doing that little quick favor if you go to MakeYourBodyWork.com/iTunes and that will take you to the show in iTunes. You can leave a comment and give that rating. That just helps others people find the show, and learn more about the show, and hopefully helps reach a bigger audience with this message of living a healthier, happier life. Thanks so much if you can take even two minutes to go ahead and do that for me. I really appreciate it. As always, I can't wait to see you here again next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

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