At the ripe age of eight, asthma entered my life. So did the beginning of my story with meds. If it wasn’t an inhaler, a bronchodilator (in the form of a pill or nebulizer treatment), a steroid (those awful drugs that decrease inflammation) it was an antibiotic to treat acute asthmatic bronchitis or pneumonia. My teenage years were met with no relief from the asthma plus the added stress of recurring yeast infections. Fun times!
In the 1980’s The Yeast Connection by Dr. William Crook marked the beginning of my inquiry into how the drugs I was dosing on and the food I was eating were damaging my health. While his book was met with some controversy, I sensed validity in many of his ideas, including:
- That antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria in the gut allowing the bad bacteria to take over (your gut is a very fine balance of good and bad bacteria)
- That candida, a yeast that is present in and on our bodies including the gut proliferates when there is not enough healthy bacteria around to keep it at bay
- And that an overgrowth of this candida could lead to a barrage of other conditions (including yeast infections)
As I didn’t feel equipped to take this on myself, I searched for an outside of the box-thinking doctor who could guide me. Dr. Sherry Rogers, quite ahead of her time in the 1980’s, put me on a candida diet meaning I steered clear of foods containing yeast like breads; “moldy” foods like cheese, dried herbs and spices; starchy foods like potatoes, white rice (and other whole grains) as well as refined grains (as in flours); sugar (including all fruit other than lemon and lime); and fermented foods such as alcohol, vinegars, pickles and most condiments.
Sounds pretty extreme. And it was. BUT, within one month, every medication used to help me breathe was no longer needed (other than infrequent acute situations where an inhaler was necessary like coming in contact with cigarette smoke) and I kissed my yeast infections goodbye for good.
Surely you are thinking—did she stay on this diet indefinitely? The answer is “No! Just not humanly possible.” But, I followed it strictly for a total of 3 months and that was enough time to restore the natural and healthy equilibrium to my gut. The magical thing that occurred during this time was not just that I turned my health around but also that my palate naturally shifted and the foods that I used to want to eat were no longer of interest to me. The candida diet was a launching pad for my new food paradigm—one that I still embrace.
While conventional medical wisdom continues to question the role of gut health in your wellbeing, I can tell you based on very personal and professional experience that it is central to whole body wellness. So, if you are chronically ill (and surely have recurring yeast infections), I highly recommend that you seek the care of a not-so-conventional doctor and start asking some questions. Bad gut, no glory!