Diatomaceous Earth for Candida Balance

Spring is finally here and if you dug yourself into a health hole this winter, don’t worry,  you are not alone!  This ‘recipe’ is for a simple, daily detox you can drink first thing in the morning to help give your whole digestive system a fresh start. I’ve been drinking this every morning for two months now and I think you might want to try it too!   The main ingredient?  It’s dirt!  Not just any dirt, for this healthy dietary supplement you want to get food grade diatomaceous earth.  You may have seen the non food grade stuff for sale at a garden center or hardware store.  There are a lot of ways to use D.E. around the house, garden and even on your pets.

diatomaceous earth

I want to focus on the long list of health benefits associated with drinking a teaspoon to a tablespoon of food grade diatomaceous earth daily, mixed in water or juice.   According to DiatomaceousEarth.com: “Food grade DE contains about 14 trace minerals. “Trace” means up to 1 percent, so each of the trace minerals are present in that amount. This means that food grade diatomaceous earth is largely made up of amorphous silica, which comprises about 85 percent of food grade diatomaceous earth. There is some research that suggests possible health benefits from silica. The health benefits listed below are ones reported by other people who have used DE in their diet:

  • – better digestive health
  • – more regular bowel movements
  • – detoxifies
  • – healthier colon
  • – reduced cholesterol
  • – better food absorption
  • – better night’s sleep
  • – clearer skin
  • – stronger teeth and gums
  • – healthier hair and nails
  • – less joint and ligament pain
  • – helps arthritis
  • – less sickness
  • – more energy
  • – soothes burns
  • – insect bites
  • – clears skin rashes
  • – less acne
  • – possible antiparasitic
  • – could lower Candida levels”

I decided to give this a try when I learned it could help with Candida, on top of all those other nice side effects.  I started with a teaspoon and slowly worked my way up to a heaping tablespoon per day in water first thing in the morning.  I had some detox symptoms (headache, feverish, nausea) in the afternoon and evening of the first day, but was able to avoid more symptoms by very slowing increasing my dose over several days.  Not everyone experiences detox symptoms, I had a hunch that I would since I have digestive Candida issues.  I have noticed that my digestion is better, I get less of a reaction to foods containing carbohydrates and sugars, fewer Candida symptoms overall and yes, my nails are stronger, my skin is clear and my knees are not complaining about running outside again!

From left to right: powdered psyllim husks, coconut oil, diatomaceous earth and liquid bentonite clay.
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So, you know what it can do for you, but how does Diatomaceous Earth work in your digestive system?  Here’s a quick explanation from EarthWorksHealth.com:

“Diatomaceous Earth is quite hard. On the hardness scale where diamonds are a 9, Diatomaceous Earth is a 7. This is very important because as those millions of tiny, hard and sharp Diatomaceous Earth cylinders pass through the small and large intestines, they “scrub” the walls. After only a few months of taking Diatomaceous Earth, the intestine wall is no longer coated with mucus and molds but CLEAN!!”

Want to try drinking dirt?  Mix a teaspoon or less into 8 or more ounces of water or juice first thing in the morning.  D.E. has no taste, so it’s easy to drink.   Try it for a few weeks and see how you feel.   I like to add a teaspoon of powdered psyllium husks and a tablespoon of bentoite clay to the mix for the first week to help clean my digestive system and pull out toxins.  If you add the psyllium, make sure to drink more water or hot tea (8 oz or more) afterwards to give the psyllium enough water to absorb.   You can buy D.E. from the Pittsfield Health Food Center on North St. where they also sell bentonite clay and psyllium husk powder, or order online from DiatomaceousEarth.com

I like to add coconut oil to hot tea and drink that following the clay, D.E., psyllium mixture since coconut oil has lots of caprylic acid in it, great for combating excess Candida.

 

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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.

Coconut Love Bombs

This is my new favorite sweet treat.  It’s just five organic ingredients and is super simple to put together.  This raw, vegan treat is packed with lots of energy from coconut oil and shredded coconut.  Did you know that a tablespoon of coconut oil contains 1050 mg of Candida fighting Caprylic acid?  Yep, these love bombs are a great way to get plenty of nourishment and an anti-fungal treatment!  I added in some other variations at the end.  I’m sure there are even more to try.  Recipe can be halved or doubled.  So get going and make some Coconut Love Bombs to share with the ones you love!

 

coconut love bombs

 

Ingredients for 32:

  • 1 Cup Coconut oil – room temperature works best, it should be a little soft, like cream cheese and easy to blend.  Liquid oil needs to be cooled in order to work well in this recipe.
  • 1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut flakes
  •  a few drops of Vanilla Stevia
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract (If not using vanilla Stevia)

Method:

  1. Mix everything together well.
  2. Use a 1 Tablespoon scoop to shape the dough into little half moons.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.
  4. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator and serve cold.

Variations:

Substitute 1/2 cup of coconut oil for 1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter or coconut manna.  I used Peanut butter and they came out better than Butterfingers!

Add 1 teaspoon Chai spices to the original recipe

After freezing, dip in melted sugar free dark chocolate, freeze again til the chocolate coating is set.

The original recipe sounds good too, I found it on the side of my Nutiva Coconut Oil container:

coconut oil recipe

Buttermilk Biscuits

Comfort foods can be healthy foods: These grain free buttermilk biscuits will leave you feeling full without the sugar crash or carbohydrate cravings from traditional wheat biscuits.   Wheat is a common allergen, we all know that but did you know that  some people report dramatically lowered seasonal allergy symptoms from eliminating wheat?  Tell your friends!

High quality eggs, buttermilk and butter or coconut oil make these a great source of brain food and lasting energy-perfect for an afternoon snack!  The flours, flax and buttermilk are available locally at Berkshire Organics, Guido’s and the Berkshire Coop Market.  These are perfect for brunch: as a base for eggs benedict.  Or  a dessert topped with creme fraiche and a few blueberries or how about biscuits and gravy?  Yum! Set your oven to 425 and get baking!

First, mix together your dry ingredients, making sure to break up any lumps.

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour- Bob’s Red Mill makes a superior almond flour.
  • 2 Tablespoons finely ground flax
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour

Once your dry mix is thoroughly combined:

  • add 6 Tablespoons (a heaping 1/3 cup) of cold coconut oil or cold, unsalted pasture butter, broken up into small chunks.

Cut the fat into the dry mix using a pastry cutter until you get a pea sized meal.  Stop combining before it starts to clump together into a ball.

Crumbly flour and butter mixture.

Crumbly flour and butter mixture.

Combine in a separate bowl:

Whip the egg into the buttermilk.

Evan's Cultured Buttermilk is great to bake with.

Evan’s Cultured Buttermilk is great to bake with.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and fold to combine.

Finished batter resting for a few minutes. The batter will be very wet, but as it sits for a few minutes the coconut flour will fully absorb the excess liquid. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out biscuits, I have used 1/4 cup measure as well as an ice cream scoop.  Make them as big – 8 biscuits- or as small – 16 biscuits- as you like.  Use your hands to flatten them a bit into shape. Bake for 18-20 minutes- til browned and set. Eat immediately or let cool completely and keep in an air tight container in the fridge.

Snack time: creme fraiche and warm biscuits!

Snack time: creme fraiche and warm biscuits!

Very Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting

My friend Bobbie found this recipe on the world wide web, if it’s yours, please send me a link so I can give credit!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Bobbie and I made this as a birthday cake for her boyfriend and I made it again for my Dad’s birthday last month.  This recipe is for a moist, springy, not too sweet cake and it was a big hit with everyone.  No one seemed to notice it was mostly sugar and carbohydrate free, perfect if your dad has diabetes and you want to make him a birthday cake he can healthfully enjoy!  Yes there is some apple sauce in the cake, and, no apples are not on the Candida diet but they also do not contribute a lot of sugars to the over all cake. The apple sauce adds a lot of moisture and contributes to the texture of the cake. I would recommend having a slice and sharing (or freezing) the rest.  The chocolate frosting is just melted chocolate with heavy cream aka ganache.  I have been trying out stevia sweetened chocolate with erythritol (sugar alcohols fermented from non gmo corn) and so far Coco Polo is the winner in the dark chocolate category.  It’s nice to know when I get a chocolate craving I can satisfy it without creating more sugar cravings.

Ingredients for One 9 in Round Cake:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk or other milk
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • Stevia to taste

Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and then line the bottom of a 9 inch round pan with parchment paper.  I used a spring form pan.

Sift the coconut flour into a bowl and then combine with the rest of the dry ingredients.

IMG_20130922_112054

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.  Add the room temperature (soft or liquid) coconut oil, beat well, then add the rest of the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.  Add the stevia, a dropperful at a time until the batter tastes sweet to your liking.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean- about 30 minutes.

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Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

If you are looking for a more in depth how to, try this!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup of heavy cream

4 oz of dark chocolate

a pinch of salt

Method:

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Warm the cream just barely to a boil over medium high heat.

Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes, do not stir!

After 10 minutes, stir with a whisk to emulsify.  Be sure to scrape the bowl with a spatula to incorporate everything.

Spread slightly cooled ganache on a cooled cake and then refrigerate til serving.

OR

Let the ganache cool for an hour, stirring several times in between to keep it smooth.  Then beat on high with a mixer til it’s fluffy.  Frost with a knife or use in a pastry bag.

IMG_20130922_193245

Served with whipped cream, of course!

Served with whipped cream, of course!

Better Than Butterfingers

Here is a little update to the Raw Bars  recipe I put up almost 2 years ago.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I started this blog.  I have collected so many recipes and am really looking forward to finishing my cookbook called, of course, The Candida Diaries- A Holistic Cookbook.  I have made it to the final editing stages after I put my foot down, no more new recipes!  Those are going into a separate, as yet unnamed, cookbook file.  Along with this one, which I think will become one of your favorites.  My friend Bobbie taste tested these for me, she says they are just like the Butterfingers candy but better, and healthier too!

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted, salted peanuts

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter- I used chunky

1/4 cup coconut oil- very soft to liquid

1 and 1/2 dropperfuls of vanilla stevia- I used Whole Foods brand liquid Stevia with vanilla

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to combine.

Taste and adjust the sweetness and vanilla.

Press into an 8×8 glass pan.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When the bars are set you can cut them up into squares.

Eat them cold, they get very soft at room temperature!

Alternatively, crumble cold bars over thick, tart yogurt for breakfast or dessert.

Short and Sweet: Almond Cookies

These easy little cookies are perfect for a birthday tea party, a quick dessert or an anytime snack.  My dear friend Bobbie made these for her birthday party- they vanished quickly and no one seemed to notice they were free of wheat flour and sugars!  The original recipe comes from the blog L. Michelle, she’s got great photos, recipes and even a craft section.

An important note: Use very fine almond flour.  The cookies are still delicious with a more coarse flour, but the texture is completely different.  I made them with the same brand (Bob’s Red Mill) for the third time, and the texture was a little different than the first bag of Bob’s that I purchased.  I ended up using nearly twice as much almond meal to get them to stick together.

Bobbie's birthday cookies, they did indeed, get eaten!

Bobbie’s birthday cookies, they did indeed, get eaten!

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour (L. Michelle recommends Honeyville brand and Bobbie successfully used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour)

1 egg

1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

stevia to taste

1/4 tsp almond extract or whatever extract you like: vanilla, orange, maybe coconut?!

Procedure:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. To prevent lumping try mixing the dry flour and oil before added it to the egg. If it’s too dry add a tiny bit of water or almond milk.  If it’s too wet, add more almond flour- the batter should stick together well.

Roll batter into small balls and set out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a little less than a tbsp of batter for each cookie to make 12 cookies.

With your palm lightly press down on each cookie. Use a fork to make a design. Or, just roll out the dough and use a cute cookie cutter to make your cookies.

Bake at 325° F for 10-12 minutes or until firm.

NOTE: These are sweet and simple and you can add things like cinnamon or nutmeg and different extracts or flavored stevia for a wide variety of almond cookies.  Enjoy!

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