The Detox (Phase One) of The Ultimate Candida Diet is extremely restrictive, I recommend preparing yourself for it so as to make it as easy as possible to get through. You are essentially restricted to a diet of salads and lightly cooked veg, but with limitations on which veggies you can actually eat!
I cut out Wheat and Sugar 10 months ago, I don’t drink alcohol heavily or often, I haven’t drank coffee or black tea in years, I have lactose intolerance so my regular dairy consumption is minimal, and I am vegetarian/pescatarian. So for me the changes are not that drastic compared to someone who say eats a standard western diet. However, I did find it difficult to cut out fruit, nuts, all grains, and most begrudgingly Green Tea. The program recommends that you wean yourself off caffeine in advance but I just went cold turkey.
The first 2 days were really tough, mostly due to the caffeine withdrawals. I made the detox drink (water, lemon, cayenne pepper and Apple Cider Vinegar) which you are supposed to drink a pint of before each meal, but I really couldn’t stomach it. I drank what I could when I could but day one’s portion lasted me about three days and I didn’t remake it. I use plenty of cayenne and ACV in my cooking anyway and I preferred to have a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon to start my morning (this is part of my normal morning routine), and then make a large pitcher of cucumber and lemon detox water to drink throughout the day. This I found much easier to stomach, which in turn meant that I drank more. It is incredibly important to drink plenty of water during a detox to help your body flush out all of the toxins.
What I found really interesting about the detox is how much I was craving foods that I hadn’t thought much about in a long time, like cake, pizza, chocolate and bread. Since cutting out wheat and sugar back in March I hadn’t really bothered much with replacements and alternatives. In the whole 10 months I baked 1 loaf of wheat free bread (of which I only ate a few slices before it went bad), have had a handful of chocolate alternatives (I used to eat chocolate almost every day!) and maybe 3 gluten free pizzas. So I found it very odd to suddenly come down with such strong cravings. I guess it is the Candida in my gut hijacking my brain to try and derail my recovery! These naughty ‘treats’ became my light at the end of the tunnel, my future rewards for completing the program. It must be the complete starvation of sugar that the body undergoes. Ordinarily I would satisfy my wheat cravings with a GF oatcake, or my sweet cravings with a piece of fruit. But with these fail-safes off the menu I had to dig into my reserves of will power and determination.
My saviours during the detox were eggs, they became my best friends, and I often exceeded the recommended 2 per day! I would start each day with 2 eggs for breakfast and then often need another one in the afternoon/evening. I always buy organic eggs anyway and it is definitely recommended that you only eat organic during the detox. You will be amazed how much fresh produce you go through! To prepare, stock your fridge full of all the organic veggies on the list. You will be eating plenty of leafy greens and salad greens so stock up on a variety to keep things interesting. What is amazing is how much you can eat when you are not blocking your digestion up with carbs. I found that I would get hungry for supper quite early and then need a second evening meal. My typical days meals looked like this:
- Start the morning with a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon.
- Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled, cooked in coconut oil with fried onion and chopped parsley, seasoned with himalayan salt and black pepper. With a cup of Nettle Tea.
- Morning Smoothie: Handful of spinach/kale, 1/3 cucumber, 1 celery stick, juice of half a lemon, 1/4 avocado, spoonful of spirulina powder, topped up with filtered water.
- Detox water: 3lt of water with the ’empty’ lemon (left from the lemon juice consumed at breakfast) and a few pieces of cucumber, you can use a peeler to get ribbons, which looks really beautiful. Make sure you are buying organic un-waxed lemons, do not make this water with non-organic lemons.
- Lunch: Large Salad (I use a large bowl like you would use for a whole family and eat it all to myself!) – Whole butter/cos lettuce washed and chopped, whole red bell pepper chopped, 1/3 cucumber chopped, 1/8 red cabbage chopped, 1 whole avocado (or whats left from the smoothie), half a small red onion or 3 spring onions finely chopped, fresh dill and parsley finely chopped, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp ACV, plenty of olive oil, toss and tuck in!
- Afternoon snack: 1 bell pepper and 2 sticks of celery.
- Supper 1: Stir fried greens – Pak Choi, Kale, tender stem Broccoli, green beans, onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, fried in coconut oil and finished with some fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Supper 2: If I’m just peckish I might have an egg, but if I need something more substantial I will go for a soup, which is not too much work for my digestive system just before bed. Cauliflower Soup – Lightly fry some chopped onion, garlic and celery in coconut oil before adding half a cauliflower (chopped into 1 inch florets) stir then cover with boiling water and cover. Simmer for about 20 mins before blending and season with himalayan salt and black pepper. I always serve my soups with chopped fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Nightcap: Pukka Detox Tea
If you have a chronic illness and you are currently working, I would recommend taking at least a week off to do the detox. The first half leaves you with very low energy and you seem to be either preparing or eating food all day! If you do work you will need to do lots of prep to avoid feeling deprived while you are away from home. I recommend using a food processor to make the big salad in advance and put it in a large sealable freezer-bag. You can put the dressing ingredients into a small jar to take with you too, do not dress the salad before you are ready to eat it or it will turn into a disgusting mess.
I did find myself counting down the days during the detox. Once I passed half way though it got much easier; I was over the caffeine withdrawals, I had got a bit of a rhythm going with my meals and I was feeling the health benefits already. Most surprisingly, I started to feel very spiritual about the whole thing! I felt an overwhelming connection with the planet and an all-encompassing sense of gratitude for the nourishment I received from eating such a purist plant-based diet. I am now ready to take on Phase 2 with optimism and determination!
If you are considering starting The Ultimate Candida Diet detox and have any questions about my personal experience that I haven’t covered here, please pop a comment below and I will get back to you.
Much love and wellness,