If you’ve ever suffered from bloating, burping or gas, this may interest you. If you’ve also suffered joint pain, stiffness and/or tiredness, then this is definitely of interest…
And if you’ve ever been plagued by a lack of clarity, memory loss or easy distraction, weakened will, lethargy and a general lack of well-being, then this is a must-read. Read on to learn how to resolve poor digestion, skin conditions and allergies, yeast infections and candidiasis, with all their associated mental stresses, and how to avoid them in the first place.
I wake up early, too early, feeling crappy, needing more sleep, with a bladder demanding attention. Someone has poured concrete into my limbs, and my mouth is sticky with staleness. I disgust myself with a fruity burp and spit some thick mess into the sink.
As I stumble out of bed stiffly, feeling bloated, my muddy head is half trying to negotiate the path to bladder release, and half working on the mystery of why I feel this way. My inner alarm bells are mixing with silent calls of ‘why?’, creating a fog of echoing confusion. The fog beckons me back to bed. But first I go to the fridge, find the bottle of olive leaf extract and take a swig.
Blinking awake a few hours later, I feel better. Not awesome, but better.
Actually, lots better
The fog has lifted and I can think straight. Ish. It dawns on me. Of course… I over-ate.
Now I remember. The guests that had dropped around unexpectedly. The fun, the great atmosphere, good conversation, laughter, someone playing guitar. I remember raiding the fridge and cupboards. The quick stir fry. Delicious saucy Singapore noodles, with loads of oozy goodness. All the right mixes of salt, sweet and spice. The bitter bite of garlic, the heat of chilli. The cool relief of lime and mint, the touch of coriander.
It had been a hit. And I’d eaten a second big bowl and then dessert…
Once again, a victim of my own impulsive appetite and weakened will.
But it had been a great night, and I’d had loads of fun. So get over it and stop beating yourself up. It was worth it.
I get up, letting a little groan escape, as I walk into the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water from the filter. But before I drink it, I get the apple cider vinegar out of the cupboard and give it a gentle swirl, watching how the mother of the vinegar clouds upwards. A splash into my glass, a stir, and drink.
Do you ever suffer from bloating, burping or gas? Do you distract easily? Or do you have joint pain or stiffness and/or tiredness? Skin conditions? Occasional or chronic constipation? Bad breath? Or a lack of clarity (‘foggy head’) and general lack of well-being? Most of us do, to varying degrees, at some point or other. Especially after late night feasting ; )
But candida isn’t just linked to these. There is reputable evidence that candidiasis is at least a contributor, and at worst a cause, of IBS, LGS, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, depression, autism, ADHD, arthritis, breast cancer, prostate cancer and even AIDS. Wow –right? Even if it were only a contributing factor, rather than a cause, the implications are still huge. Can you imagine what this would mean to our healthcare system?
What is it?
Candida albicans is a harmless yeast that lives as one of the many naturally occurring microorganisms in our gut.It is part of our normal, varied and healthy intestinal flora. What we call ‘candidiasis’ is simply an imbalance of the candida yeast, when the other gut flora –which usually keep candida in check–are compromised. When the scales tip the yeast into imbalance, it can quickly affect our entire system and its well-being.
How do we get it?
In my former Oriental therapist practice, I spent a good deal of time helping people address issues resulting from various stages of what traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) calls ‘dampness’. It is a prevalent and stubborn affliction amongst we Westerners. One common symptom resulting from dampness –especially when combined with blocked energy/stagnated chi–was simply referred to as ‘candida’.
When candida ‘blooms’, it begins to grow beyond a healthy proportion. This happens especially after antibiotics and/or extended periods of stress, lack of movement, suppressed emotions, etc.
These triggers often go hand in hand with:
- poor nutrition –such as refined, processed, fast or packaged foods, sugary, greasy or fried, and non-organic foods
- poor eating habits –such as under-chewing, over-eating, late eating, distracted eating and rushed eating, and/or consumption of cold foods from fridge or freezer, or excessively rich foods.
An individual who cultivates any of the above habits is more likely to require pharmaceutical drugs, partake in stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks, consume alcohol in excess, smoke, and/or indulge in drugs. All these factors contribute to potential candida imbalances.
A healthy body and mind ensures that our immune system can manage the situation and return us from a yeast imbalance to a healthy balance. When we recognise symptoms as feedback from our body’s natural intelligence, we can allow these symptoms to direct and guide us back to healthy habits. The earlier we acknowledge symptoms and act on them, the easier and shorter the return to full health.
However, if we ignore the natural feedback of our bodies, feelings and minds, and we maintain our destructive habits, then the immune system may eventually weaken, due to exhaustion from the extended effort of trying to mop up the toxins released by the yeasts. In such cases, candida can transform from supporting us as a servant, to terrorising us as a tyrant.
From friend to foe
If the yeast has bloomed severely or rapidly, it may break out through the gut walls into the body. As it does, it seizes its opportunity, morphing from yeast to fungus.
The difference between yeast and fungus is significant. The former occurs naturally in our body, the latter is a killer parasite with the sole intention of survival, and no allegiance or sympathy for its host. Whereas yeast can be managed, a fungus has much stronger defences, including a chitin shell –which works like an exoskeleton or outer shield–to protect the fungus from attack.
Then the fungi’s presence easily becomes chronic; causing discomforts, blockages, dysfunction, symptoms and serious illness.
Luckily, most of us practise enough self-awareness and self-care to take action before it’s too late. However, with our high reliance on antibiotics, and/or high stress lifestyles, even otherwise healthy people can experience imbalances and setbacks.
Even mild candida-blooms –when the yeast has not escaped the gut, and not become a fungus–can cause symptoms such as stiffness, bloating, gas, constipation, lethargy, lack of clarity, low level inflammations and reduced well-being.
You see, as candida blooms, even as just yeast, its ‘mycotoxins’ flood our bloodstream, making it hard for our busy liver to deal with the normal demands of everyday life in a modern world. The longer the imbalance is present, the more likely the condition is to become chronic, turning innocent yeast to parasite. Simultaneously, we develop a chemical dependency on the fungal mycotoxins. This addiction to toxins is no different from any other habit or dependency.
Addicted to the parasite
So, following on from above, when you apply a bit of logic, you can see that it is an addiction no different from drug dependency or nicotine addiction.
This means that once we have developed an addiction to the mycotoxins, then we tend to crave and seek out foods, and cultivate habits, which support the needs of the yeast. Our habits create and support the ideal environment for the yeast, and when we satisfy its cravings for nourishment (particularly sweet), we satisfy our own subconscious cravings for a hit of mycotoxin. What if it’s not sugar we’re addicted to, but that which feeds on the sugar?
An over-exposure to mycotoxins easily makes itself felt in reduced wellness, tiredness, loss of clarity, a reduction in effectiveness, and inevitable stress. The lack of clarity means a larger likelihood of disconnection from our greater self and source, meaning we maintain lower order thinking, habits and behaviour.
The lack of effectiveness compounds with the lack of clarity, and as we disconnect from our greater self, we lose our mojo and sense of purpose, and our energy stagnates.
At this stage, the pattern has progressed from our being acutely aware of it, to its becoming chronic, and then –once it becomes part of our ‘new normal’ state of being–it becomes part of our subconscious and transforms from being a chronic condition to being an involuntary habit and pathological condition.
Depression is the state of someone whose energy is blocked in some way. In ayurvedic and yogic traditions, chronic candidiasis goes hand in hand with a blocked solar plexus chakra, meaning not engaging with, and blocking life energy (a.k.a. depressed life energy).
In TCM and Taoist traditions, this is referred to as blocking and limiting the flow from our kidneys to our heart. The result is an individual stuck in base emotions, thinking about and reacting to small things. Such an individual is less likely to exercise, stretch, get out and about, and tends to engage in unhealthy thinking, feeling, doing and eating.
As such, life tends to be lived seeking or maintaining comfort, material security, and combating problems.
Did you know?
When kidney energy flows to the heart, life force flows up to higher levels of awareness and being, depression lifts, love is less conditional, and personal horizons /perspectives are expanded.
When we limit the flow as above, we don’t feel good, and then we tend to no longer nurture ourselves. So at a time when self-love, self-appreciation, self-worth, and self-care are most needed, we ironically tend to ignore this need and turn to other habits and comforts like food.
And the currency of comfort food is sweetness, the very food the candida likes most. Voila! A vicious circle. Chronic disease with a capital D. Not to mention premature ageing. Depressing, right?
So what can we do to avoid it?
Plenty! First let’s list some awesome herbs and supplements that can prevent, manage and/or combat candidiasis and the illnesses it causes or complicates.
Pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) a.k.a. Taheebo and La Pacho. The inner bark from a tree which grows high in the Andean rainforests, known for its anti-fungal properties and candida growth-inhibititing factors. An ancient Incan remedy, today it is available as tea, powder and in capsules. Buy from reputable brands only and make sure you’re getting the ‘real deal’.
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) a.k.a Chinese angelica and Female ginseng. This plant grows at high altitude mainly in China and Korea. The root of the plant has been used as one of the most important medicines in TCM for thousands of years, with many major health benefits, and yet in the West there is much cautionary advice and controversy about its not being properly scientifically tested. In Chinese Dong quai means ‘return to order’ for its restorative properties. Here we are focusing mainly on Dong quai’s phytochemicals which supposedly have anti-fungal properties that combat candida overgrowth.
There are positive side effects as well as potentially negative ones –be sure to consult a naturopath, TCM practitioner or similar expert.
Chaparral (Larrea divaricata coville or Larrea tridentata) a.k.a Chaparro or Creosote bush, is a shrub that grows in the Baja California / Mexico region. Chaparral is reportedly an excellent antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal herb. It is said it is so powerful that parasites abandon the body and that dangerous microbes either leave or perish. Its deep blood, organ, lymphatic and tissue cleansing properties have been reported to reset the immune system and thereby allow the body’s self-cure of many conditions. The U.S. FDA warns against internal use.
Black walnut hullis a common ingredients in natural and traditional anti-fungal anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and anti-septic herbal formulations. As a bonus, black walnut hulls and leaves contain a number of active ingredients, some which have laxative qualities that make it helpful in relieving constipation; a common complaint among people suffering from candida overgrowth.
Papaya seed powder or extract is known for its powerful anti-fungal anti-parasitical qualities. Grapefruit seed extract is an alternative to papaya seed, which can be heating over extended use.
Olive leaf extractacts as an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. It is a natural wonder. Best taken in a high strength extract made from fresh leaves.
Apple cider vinegar (organic preferred) for its anti-parasitic and alkalising properties.
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris and sub-species) Containing berberine, barberry has potent anti-fungal properties, and is one of the most commonly used Western medicinal roots. Its anti-fungal activity leaves beneficial microflora in the gut intact. Some research indicates that berberine can prevent candida yeasts from reproducing and blooming.
Other supplements and herbs that may support your quest to normalise your candida levels
Carylic acid (from goat milk)
Seven wellness habits which also avoid candidiasis
1. Watch what you eat and how you eat it
- Start your day with the juice of half a lemon in warm water. This tonifies the liver, and gets the blood flowing so there’s no stagnation.
- Lay off sugar, glucose, corn syrup and all artificial sweeteners. These have crept into the modern diet in recent times and our bodies aren’t evolved to deal with anything other than small amounts of these.
- Eat slowly, avoid distraction and be fully present. Chew well. Your mouth is your first stomach, and saliva is your first digestive enzyme. Don’t underestimate the power of this one little habit. On its own it can transform a person’s life. No joke.
- Eat dinner earlier – avoid eating after sundown or less than four hours before bed.
- Eat less. Eat fresh. Eat more green.
- Excessive consumption of dairy
- Refined foods
- Artificial foods
- Food additives, colours and flavours
- Frozen and refrigerated foods (including iced smoothies, icy beer or water)
- Sweet treats and soft drinks
- Fried foods
- Excessively spicy food
- Oil intake from tropical sources (e.g. palm, coconut, peanut)
- Maintain an alkaline state
- Reduce caffeine intake, including coffee, energy drinks, excess black or green tea, cocoa and chocolate.
- Take a dash in water of organic apple cider vinegar. It can be anti-parasitic and alkalising.
- Eat small quantities of fresh alkaline fruit, such as grapefruit, pineapple and papaya, spaced out over the day.
2. Cultivate emotional health
- Repress nothing. If you feel something, allow it.
- Avoid stress but if you can’t, make sure you release it after.
- Don’t argue with your feelings, or engage in mental chatter about them.
- Emotions are meant to flow, so let them go.
- Your life force (chi / qi / prana) will flow with them, resolving stagnation, and allowing health and balance to return.
- Find friends and partners to trust and who will support your growth. They are there.
3. Heal and expand your mind
- Explore, feel and honour anxiety and fear, but don’t let it control you.
- Engage a holistic counsellor or transpersonal hypnotherapist to uncover and heal blockages.
- Explore your subconscious, release what doesn’t serve you, and question outdated unconsciously held beliefs.
- Meditate and connect with source.
- Learn deep mindfulness techniques, and waking flow states.
- Use all of these to learn how to transform your emotional state.
4. Question your habits
- Surround yourself with inspiring people.
- Explore your core values and what really matters to you.
- Avoid stagnation. Challenge your comfort zones.
- Find new ways to evolve and grow.
- Discover your purpose and what makes you light up and come alive..
- Express yourself; communicate, collaborate.
5. Reduce or first consider alternatives
- Contraceptive pill
6. Exercise, stretch and breathe
- Exercise, no matter how little it is (see high intensity training, ‘HIT exercise’, mentioned in 2015 Jan/Feb issue).
- Stretch. Whether a regular yoga routine or a gentle stretch, anything is better than nothing.
- Learn to breathe into your whole lungs -upper, middle and lower.
- Learn about qi / chi / prana / life energy and how to breathe or move with it.
7. Sleep well and enjoy rest
- Get some rest, go to bed earlier, and get a decent night’s sleep.
- If you don’t, schedule a nano nap at lunch or after work.
- Plan ahead and build in some rest and recreation into your schedule.
In addition to practising these habits, you can also work with a naturopath (or other suitable health professional) to create a program to return you to optimal health sooner rather than later.
A national problem
In Australia our tendency to over-eat and under-chew causes undigested food to leave the stomach, where it ferments in the small intestine, and breaks down, not by digestion, but from bacterial and yeast action, causing unnecessarily high volumes of toxins as byproduct. This in turn causes fatigue, stress, and an overloaded immune system.
There is strong evidence for links with depression, anxiety, autism, Aspergers, hyperactivity, attention deficits and related behaviour and learning problems. Even allergies and fibromyalgia have been linked.
In reality, relief, cure and healing are easier and more readily available than would first be apparent. As our population wakes up to these natural means, we can take greater responsibility for our own well-being, and, in doing so, may just prevent Australia from becoming a pharmaceutically-dependent welfare state.
Here’s to our nation’s wellbeing.
And if you’re coming over for Singapore noodles, do stop me from wolfing down seconds, thirds and desserts!
Although Boris has a professional holistic health background, the advice given is general advice only, from one consumer to another. No warranties are made or responsibilities taken. Listen to your body, do your own research. Even good herbs can be dangerous in large doses or for extended period of time or in combination with other herbs.If in doubt, consult with your local health food store, pharmacy, naturopath, TCM practitioner or doctor. The views expressed are not necessarily the views of LivingNow magazine.
Boris von Rechenberg, DoCH, is a transformational energy healer, coach and educator; combining holistic psychology and transpersonal hypnotherapy with quantum source energetics. Based in Melbourne, he helps others rediscover true self, life purpose, ease, abundance, radical forgiveness, peace of mind, youth and wellness through whole being.
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