First, let’s touch a bit on probiotics and their role in the body. Probiotic literally means “for life.” They are friendly bacteria that reside in the digestive tract, strengthen the immune system by helping the white blood cells fight disease, provide important nutrients for building the blood, assist in digestion, protect the intestinal mucosa, prevent diarrhea and constipation, contribute to bowel elimination, manufacture B vitamins, and help the body defend against “unfriendly” bacteria. We all have friendly and unfriendly bacteria in our bodies, but when we are healthy; the friendly greatly outnumber the unfriendly keeping our inner ecosystem in harmony. What causes unfriendly bacteria to grow out of control and disrupt this balance? The chemicals we add to our food & environment, the standard American diet (SAD), stress in our daily lives, and especially, antibiotics and artificial hormones (birth control pills). Antibiotics (“against life”) became the magic bullets of curing disease some 40 years ago. Antibiotics kill not only the bad bacteria but also the good, which upsets the body’s inner ecology allowing the unfriendly bacteria to take over. One of the most common types of unfriendly organisms is Candida Albicans: a pathogenic yeast that thrives on sugar, alcohol and acid-forming diets (acid-forming = processed, refined foods, sugar & too much animal protein without adequate plant food for balance. Otherwise known as the SAD). ONE IN THREE Americans (higher in younger generations) have Candidiasis, but the majority don’t attribute their symptoms to this modern epidemic.
Symptoms of Candidiasis:
Food allergies, digestive disorders (bloating, gas, IBS, indigestion, dysbiosis, malabsorbtion), PMS, skin rashes, chronic constipation, recurring headaches, chronic vaginitis, chemical and environmental sensitivities, poor memory, mental fuzziness, loss of sex drive, brain fog, irritability, depression, anxiety, cravings for sweets & alcohol, chronic fatigue, insomnia, dry patches on scalp/hairline, acne, cankor sores, yeast infections, nail fungus, itchy eyes, and the list goes on.
Personally, I was on birth control for 10 years, I was always sick as a child and prescribed antibiotics, and I ate/drank irresponsibly in College (but I had a good time!) = a recipe for Candida. I had tried everything for my (99% of symptoms I listed above)- macrobiotic diet, raw food diet, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, relaxation techniques, therapy, vitamins/supplements, green smoothies, you name it… I had a hard time digesting any fats/oils/nuts, couldn’t tolerate any dairy, grains, protein felt like it just sat in stomach (pretty much every food agravated me in some way), and I was literally bloated/gassy, constipated, irritable, anxious and SO tired everyday. I had a yeast infection every other month, my memory was short-lived (Just ask my husband!), I had breakouts regardless of all the remedies I used (I’m an esthetician, so that was really frustrating too!), and I had taken several tests & been to countless Doctors for my digestive problems and chronic fatigue. The Doctors just said I must be depressed and wanted to put me on anti-depressants. I felt like I couldn’t help myself. There isn’t a worse feeling than feeling like you have tried everything, and you will just have to live with these symptoms for the rest of your life. I was living a healthy lifestyle, so why wasn’t I getting better? I hadn’t addressed the the Candida head on! One day, I picked up a book called, The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, and it changed my life! It’s not an easy road, but it’s worth feeling SO much better!! My mind is more clear, hormones/mood are balanced, fatigue is pretty non-existant these days, my digestion is 80% better, and my dry itchy scalp is gone! It’s a work in progress, but I’m healing. I was eating all of the “right” foods, but some of those foods were feeding the Candida. I also needed digestive support to be able to heal and digest my food in order to get more energy! It just goes to show that one size does not fit all. I was the healthiest sick person around. Everyone has a different background, constitution, lifestyle, digestive capabilities, emotional wounds, illnesses, etc. and what works for one person may not work for another. This is why I stress biochemical individuality!! Listen to your body. No one knows it better than you. Listen to your body and its needs, educate yourself and treat your body well! It’s the only one you’ve got in this lifetime! 🙂
Here’s more information on how to test for and get rid of Candida.
Everyone should be getting plenty of probiotics in their daily lives to keep their inner ecosystems in balance. Probiotic foods include: organic yogurt, unpasteurized miso (research if you have a problem with your thyroid), organic kimchi, organic saurkraut, beet kvass (see photo above and recipe below), organic/raw kefir and organic raw apple cider vinegar. You can also ferment your own veggies! You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement, but foods are always the best way.
3 medium organic beets
1 1/2 T celtic sea salt
Remove stems. Cut beets into cubes (not too small as it will ferment too quickly and mold). Place beets in a half gallon mason jar with the sea salt. Fill the jar with filtered water until about 2 inches below the lid. Allow to sit in room temperature, dark place (closet) for 2 days. When you take it out, it should have some white foamy-like bubbles at the top. This means it’s fermented! Place in the fridge and sip as you please. It can stay in the fridge for several weeks! You can re-use the beets once. For your second batch, cut the beets once more, add 1 1/2 T of sea salt, fill with filtered water again and let sit for 1-2 days (keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t mold as the second batch will ferment faster). Also, keep a little of the juice from the old batch in the new batch. This acts as a “starter.” A 1/2 gallon jar typically makes enough for a week for 1-2 people. Enjoy!
Beet kvass is a tonic that cleanses the blood and helps detoxify the liver. It also aids in digestion. It is rich in B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium.
Here is a good quality probiotic. Buy it at the store in the refrigerator section! Whole Foods, Pharmaca or Health Food Stores will have it. Store in the fridge!
Cheers to vitality!