Two for one

The diet treatment for a controversial yeast overgrowth condition also serves as a great way to lose weight

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/9/2014

If you’ve tried weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or the Atkins Diet, and you’re still looking for a diet that will give you results quickly, it’s time to start getting creative and thinking outside of the box. One very effective diet is actually a treatment program for a common but relatively unknown disease. Luckily, anyone can do it. 
You may have heard of candida, or candidiasis. It’s a controversial term for a fungal infection not acknowledged by all medical professionals. It is an overgrowth of yeast in the body caused by candida albicans, a diploid fungus. There is a long list of wide ranging symptoms, including jock itch, depression, anxiety, nail fungus, migraines, sugar cravings, chronic exhaustion, bad breath and weight gain, to name just a few. 
If you think you have some or all of these symptoms, you can be tested for candida. Personalabs, a privately funded medical testing coordinator, has two testing center locations in Pasadena: 221 E. Walnut St., Suite 248, and 960 E. Green St., Suite 290. Personalabs gives people the ability to order laboratory testing online, regardless of health care coverage, then have their specimens collected at one of 1,700 locations across the country. Qualitative tests for candida antibodies costs $272.
“A healthy immune system usually keeps its growth under control but in immunocompromised states chances of invasive candidiasis are quite high. A positive outcome of this test would mean that either the patient is currently suffering from the disease or has suffered in the past,” explains the Personalabs Web site.
The treatment for candida is diet based and results in quick and natural weight loss. The good news is that you don’t need to have candida to do the Candida Diet. However, it is a strict diet that is by no means easy to maintain. But, if you stick with it, you are guaranteed to lose weight. So why not give it a try?
The Candida Diet, created by author and candida expert Lisa Richards, comes in stages designed to stop feeding and ultimately eliminate the yeast in your body by taking cheese, chocolate, alcohol, bread and other food out of your diet. The length of each stage varies and depends on the severity of your candida overgrowth and how strictly you adhere to the diet.
In the first phase, which lasts for a few days, you cleanse. Some even fast before this step. Cleansing involves sticking to a restrictive diet of raw salads and mostly green, steamed vegetables, such as artichokes, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, garlic, green beans, kale, onions and zucchini; some herbs and spices, such as basil, cayenne, black pepper, cilantro and sea salt; and virgin coconut oil and olive oil.  
The next phase, the Anti-Candida Diet, is the most important. It’s more balanced than the cleanse, but it still prohibits fruit, sugar and most starchy vegetables. The idea is to cut out as many carbohydrates as possible. Adding to the list above, you can now eat vegetables, such as tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, olives and rutabaga; live yogurt cultures, such as probiotic yogurt and Kefir; meats, such as beef, chicken, lamb and turkey; fish, such as anchovies, herring, sardines and salmon; nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds; non-glutinous grains, such as buckwheat, millet, oat bran and quinoa; herbs and spices, such as dill and paprika; oils and seasoning, such as sesame oil, coconut oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar; and beverages, such as chicory root coffee and cinnamon, peppermint, ginger and licorice teas. Everything else is out. This phase lasts a few weeks to several months, depending.
Finally, you’ll want to start taking probiotics and gradually reintroduce foods to your diet, such as low sugar fruits and beans. Ideally, you won’t even want to fully return to your original, unhealthy diet.
“The healthy, energetic feeling that you get from a diet of nutritious whole foods is worth the cost of missing out on a few treats,” writes Richards on her Web site, In her book “The Ultimate Candida Diet Program,” she talks about the weight loss benefits of following this difficult diet. “Some people experience a dramatic weight loss when they switch to a Candida Diet. Often this is a good thing. The Candida Diet is full of healthy vegetables, non-glutinous grains and proteins. So when candida sufferers quit junk food and start a more balanced diet, the fat just naturally falls off.”