Fire Cider: Food as Medicine for Candida Overgrowth

Candida Overgrowth is something that you may have been hearing more about lately, or maybe you’re like me, and have had a personal experience with too much Candida. Candida Albicans is a naturally occurring type of beneficial yeast found in every body’s mucus membranes. Under certain conditions the Candida mutates into a fungal form. This fungal Candida grows roots and can penetrate the walls of your intestines or other areas of the body causing all kinds of symptoms. Unfortunately, the conditions that can cause Candida to multiply in it’s damaging fungal form are all part of a typical American lifestyle: use of synthetic hormone based birth control, antibiotic consumption/use, too much stress, not enough movement and deep breathing, a diet high in processed sugars, alcohol and/or carbohydrates and the consumption of processed foods and body products loaded with chemicals, hormone disruptors and antibiotics.

you-are-what-you-eat1

The symptoms of Candida Overgrowth are many but here are the highlights: sugar cravings, bloated abdomen, gas and digestive pain, especially after consuming carbohydrates or sugary foods, IBS, weight gain, joint pain, feeling sluggish or tired, brain fog, itchy skin, chronic vaginal yeast infections, bladder infections, jock itch and/or thrush which usually means a white or yellowish coating on the tongue. Not everyone has all the symptoms and Candida Overgrowth can overlap with other imbalances. It’s best to get tested and properly diagnosed before treating yourself for any health issue. The test for Candida Overgrowth should include an in depth medical history and a lab test on saliva, blood and stool samples.

food heart

The good news is that the way to get Candida back into balance is all about using the food you eat everyday as medicine, no drugs or prescriptions necessary! My blog, The Candida Diaries, is dedicated to sharing delicious recipes and remedies so that you can eat your way back to health. The Candida diet is actually pretty simple and similar to the Paleo or Atkins diets: no sugars, no carbohydrates, yes to lots of green veggies, fresh herbs, organic proteins and fats, nuts and seeds and naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, crème fraiche and raw apple cider vinegar. These fermented foods help to repopulate your digestive system with beneficial organisms that help support a healthy internal balance.

When I was first diagnosed, I worked with my doctor to come up with a list of supplements, herbs and medicinal foods to help me recover. I started by complimenting a no sugar, no carbohydrate diet with a lot of immune support. I took high does of Vitamin C with Quercetin as well as Osha, Ecchinacea and started eating more fresh green herbs, bone broth, raw sauerkraut and aloe vera juice. After I was on the diet for a few weeks, eating well and supporting my immune system, I added in antifungal foods and supplements: raw garlic, oil of oregano, pau d’acro tea or tincture, chaparral tincture, digestive enzymes and caprylic acid aka coconut oil. There are many anti fungal, anti viral and anti bacterial plants out there so you can easily rotate your foods and herbs for maximum effect and support.

Me with Unsweetened Fire Cider in front of a wall of food starch packing peanuts (yes, they are biodegradable!)

Me with Unsweetened Fire Cider in front of a wall of food starch packing peanuts (yes, they are biodegradable!)

 

In 2009 my husband Dana introduced me to a vinegar and honey based health tonic that he had been making for his seasonal bouts of allergies and bronchitis for the past 10 years. Without adding the honey in at the end, this tonic is a mix of a lot of the foods I had been eating for their anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and immune boosting properties: organic, raw apple cider vinegar, citrus, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, horseradish and habanero peppers. I used Dana’s tonic, now known as Shire City Herbals Fire Cider® and also called master tonic, plague tonic, etc, as a digestive aid after meals to reduce excess Candida, gas and bloating. It also helped me to avoid getting sick all the time during the winter.  Unsweeteend Fire Cider was a life changing experience and I have been using it daily ever since to keep my Candida in balance and my immune system supported. In 2011 my husband, brother and I decided to start Shire City Herbals so we could make Fire Cider on a large scale and share this traditional remedy with as many people as possible.

I have also found a lot of non food things to support my health, like loving what I do for a living! A regular yoga practice, deep breathing, getting exercise outside, these activities keep me grounded and help me manage stress. Keeping a food journal and working with a naturopath have been tremendously helpful. A holistic approach to health and wellness is one that recognizes that everything is connected, you food, your environment, your relationships, your job, everything! Using your food as medicine is a great way to start reconnecting with your healthiest self.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. derick
    Mar 31, 2015 @ 15:27:42

    I’m confused about this vinegar thing… Some places say absolutely none. Some say absolutely none besides Bragg’s ACV and now I am reading that the organic vinegar in this fire cider is ok??

    Reply

    • Amy Huebner Health Coach
      Apr 01, 2015 @ 14:17:12

      Yes, it can be confusing, with all the do’s and don’t’s of Candida, some of which contradict each other! I used to avoid all vinegar as well when I was first trying to get my Candida levels back in balance. Then I thought about it, about how the Apple Cider Vinegar has good for our guts bacteria in it and how it’s very acidic, which is why it’s so good at fighting pathogens, including yeast like Candida. For Fire Cider (I make this and am a co-owner of the business) we get our raw, organic apple cider vinegar from the farm that also supplied Bragg’s with some of their vinegar. I have been using Unsweetened Fire Cider for over 5 years for immune support, digestive support/aid and to reduce excess Candida. The best thing about using food as medicine is that you can try it, see how it works for you, with little risk of side effects and it’s cost effective! Give it a try and see if it helps you.

      Reply

  2. Elizabeth
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 22:17:15

    Hi Amy. Happened upon your site in search of candida remedies. I’m a 41 yr old wife & mom of 3 kids from Ohio. I have what seems to be hormonal related yeast infections. I get them 2 weeks b/4 my cycle. They don’t present like typical YI. They are more like a bad PH change in my flora or something. My mom had the same issue and my great grandmother. Unfortunately, b/4 Xmas I got Strep. Ended up on an antibiotic. I haven’t taken antibiotics in 18 years. I try very hard to eat clean food, take good supplements. But lately I struggle with lack of energy & stamina. And the dumb antibiotics I was on have now given me a full blown YI. I was given Diflucan as well. I don’t want to take it. I’m not a fan of medicine. I want to do something natural and preventative. I was going to restart some dong quasi I have to see if it helps my symptoms. What do you think? I do take probiotics. I’ve never tried ACV. I’ve tried to eat fermented cabbage, but sometimes it is so sour to me I can barely eat it. Any suggestions on this, or on my reoccurring hormonal YI?
    I signed up for your newslettter. Thanks so much.

    Reply

    • Amy Huebner Health Coach
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 22:10:28

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Hormone changes that disrupt your ph balance are no fun. And can be tricky to properly diagnose. Dong Quai or Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry) could be helpful for you, but without doing a full intake it’s hard to give you suggestions! I think your best bet is to find a health coach, naturopath or osteopath to help guide you back into balance. I can give you some recommendations or you can start to ask around in your community for a healer that is in line with your desires to stay drug free (antibiotics can be worse than the thing they are meant to cure, ugh!) and use natures remedies to regain your health.
      Amy

      Reply

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