Preparation is Key
Before I launch into how I’m progressing, it is worth noting that my case of candida overload is perhaps not as severe as others. My symptoms have been ongoing rather than chronic, and I don’t think I’ve had the same triggers as others. For example, I have not been on countless courses of antibiotics, and was not raised on sugary drinks and junk food. In fact, quite the opposite: a fizzy soft drink was so rare that when I begged for it as a treat on a special occasion, the result every time was for me to whisper a request for a glass of water please, and apologize to my mum for wasting the can of coco cola now left on the restaurant table.
When I was in my early teens, however, my concerned mother did decide to take me to an acupuncturist in an attempt to get to the bottom of why I was constantly suffering from various ailments, such as allergies and itching, sore sinuses, digestive issues and recurring migraines. I was diagnosed as “vertically ill” by this acupuncturist, and advised to withdraw wheat and dairy from my diet as well as continuing to see her. Of course, my mum enforced this at home when she could, but the fact of the matter is that I pretty much disregarded it. No bread? No cheese? No cereal? No way.
Admittedly, my bad habits have been developed further in later life, but even today, if given the choice, and convenience were not a factor, I would always opt, without hesitation, for a healthy home-cooked meal over any form of fast food or takeaway, and water is still my choice drink (alongside a glass of red wine, obviously).
So now that I’m listening to Lilia’s advice, and harking back to that of my mum and the acupuncturist, I’m finally taking heed. Of course actually making the decision and a subsequent dedicated and conscious effort is a huge step, but equally as important is recognizing how pertinent it is to be prepared. As the old saying goes, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”, and oh how true it is - particularly in our convenience-driven lives today. We have to make it easy to stay on track, otherwise we won’t. Or I certainly won’t.
For the most part, I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m consuming coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and probiotics daily – in fact, they have become new, and enjoyable, habits already. Bread has been cut, as has dairy and sugar, and with one exception, I have refrained from alcohol with next to no cravings. Rather than my brain or the candida telling me subconsciously that it requires the sugar, the issue I’ve had is with social habits, and eating for convenience.
I’ve just started a new job, and therefore a certain initiation is required. Now, if you work in hospitality, as I do, life itself is based on the social associations of food and drink. Every hour you work is focused upon it, and what’s more, the hospitality crowd generally sticks together outside of work to revel in their enjoyment of good food, fine wine and craft beer. That’s not to say that good food is no longer an option – of course it is, in abundance! But I have to admit to the fear of becoming even a close resemblance to one of those fussy, dietry-requirement customers, who make our daily jobs an absolute nuisance! As for the wine and beer, even the most naturally brewed ales and finest red wines are a no-no at the moment, despite constantly waxing lyrical about how good they are.
Needless to say, after a beer training session, the staff had an impromptu evening out to get to know one another, and of course I slipped up. The temptation was too much, and I also didn’t want to be the girl that doesn’t drink or get involved. If I had been driving, or had an upcoming exam, it would be perfectly socially acceptable not to drink. In fact, looking back, I’m sure no one would have batted an eye if I opted for a sparkling water. Ok, maybe a couple would have.
Other than social associations, my other struggle has been with convenience, and hence the need to be prepared. After a ten-hour day at work, having had nothing but my morning coffee, and returning home to an empty fridge, I completely binged on takeaway pizza – because it was all that was available (none of the supermarkets here are open after tea-time on Sunday). I literally would have been better off not eating at all, and I certainly regretted the decision.
The repercussions of the pizza were far worse than any hangover! My body went into a familiar, but much more sever, revulsion – feeling bloated and sick almost instantly, and an upset stomach just a couple of hours later. I was physically ill the next day, with sweats I can only describe as toxic, along with lower back pain, headaches and constipation. This might all sound extreme, but these symptoms have been common for me for a long time – and I have always known they were directly related to wheat consumption. So why have I continued? Laziness probably.
I think having not had any wheat for a little while perhaps made the effects worse on this occasion, and I’m glad that’s the case because I certainly don’t feel the need to reach for a slice of pizza again! I will, however, try to ensure that I am a good Girl Guide in my approach to these changes, always being prepared so as not to resort to such extremes. From now on I won’t be starving myself all day, will keep a bag of nuts in my handbag to snack on, and will always have something in the fridge or cupboard to eat. Meanwhile, I will have to prepare my mind for the social restraint…