This might be a bit too much information for some people. Please bear in mind that this is specific to me and will be different for anyone else.
Early December, I decided to make an appointment with a Nutritionist. The main reason was to talk about my vegetarian diet and make sure I was getting everything I needed from my diet. After a 2 hour session, the results were definitely enlightening and seriously, some of the questions they ask are really personal. You have to be prepared to talk about every aspect of your body and it's functions and yes, that means your bowel movements including its regularity, consistency and colour. It's really handy to have a sense of humour about it all.
I quite possibly have Candida Overgrowth in my gut. It's basically a fungal overgrowth that grows in the digestive system and feeds on food which has not been digested properly. I don't get thrush (which is NOT a sexually transmitted disease btw but another symptom of Candida) so I would never have picked up on it but my diet and the way I react to certain foods and other things like chemicals in and on my body points to this. I've also been using the pill for the past 12 years and used medication for anxiety in my teen and early 20 years. The way I react to certain foods suggests I also have a little liver damage. These are all contributing factors.
I didn't realise this but Candida is fairly common these days because our diets are based on a lot of processed food - sugar, yeast, alcohol etc. There are apparently other reasons you can get Candida Overgrowth but diet is the main factor and the best way to get rid of it and control it is through a proper diet.
I've also been eating far too many carbohydrates since going vegetarian (April 2007) and don't incorporate enough complete protein. I hate tofu but it looks like I better start liking it if I want to have a more balanced vegetarian diet.
Some of the suggestions I was given in changing my diet to start off with were:
- less sugar, sweetened foods - check labels!
- less alcohol
- less refined foods (carbs - cakes, biscuits, breads)
- less mushrooms and vinegar-y foods
- cut out dairy - opt for soy/rice/oat milk instead
- more cinnamon and garlic to help regulate blood sugars (and stop my sugar cravings)
- more nuts ie. brazil, almonds etc. but not peanuts
- must drink 2L water per day, especially on weekends when I don't
- increase protein intake by taking a bioceutical protein supplement daily (vegan) and/or increasing the amount of complete proteins in my diet eg. Quinoa is a complete protein which can be used to replace rice in meals and making sure I combine my incomplete proteins like beans and rice in one meal to form complete proteins
I'll go back to the Nutritionist and do a follow-up consult in a couple of months. I'll also go to my doctor and see what they think about the diagnosis and read up about it some more independently as well.
Everyday Yogini - we didn't really discuss how long I should make the changes for, I assumed *forever* with the actual diet but it's a good question to ask when I next see them. I wouldn't want to be taking a protein powder supplement for too long, it tastes so artificial.
Alexandra - yes, cheese and yoghurt are my down fall too and icecream even more so! But I used to love coffee too and went cold turkey. I don't miss it and found alternatives like chai and dandelion instead.
Superstar - you know what I'm talking about! The questions really make you think about everything and how it all relates. Pretty amazing stuff. I also want to do it all naturally. I tried the protein powder but it's not something I like. Some people love it. I rather just make sure I'm getting it from food.