Friday, January 11, 2013

A recap of 2012 and hope for 2013

While 2012 flew by in so many areas, it was a long, discouraging year with my Candida. Which is partly why I’ve stopped posting. It seems no matter what I try, nothing works. The supplements, probiotics, diet and GSE all help somewhat with my symptoms but nothing is really healing my body. I’m not gaining any ground, if you will. 2012 brought new symptoms such as chronic tonsillitis as well as the discoveries that I have hypothyroidism, Vitamin D deficiency, gluten intolerance and my body is hardly producing any progesterone. All of this explained the massive fatigue and mood swings I’ve been dealing with. I started progesterone therapy and was amazed at the difference I felt in my mood. I was a nice person again!! My husband noticed a huge difference in me and expressed how happy he was with the change. But very soon, my Candida symptoms worsened considerably and I learned progesterone FEEDS Candida. I stopped the treatment and my mood swings returned immediately. Talk about a vicious cycle! I came to the conclusion that my family needs me to be on the progesterone more than I need to feel 100%.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching this year. I’ve really focused on the fact that God has allowed this illness for a reason and remember "...that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom.8:28) I’ve worked to keep my illness in perspective and am so very thankful that I’m not dealing with a truly horrific disease, like cancer. Good things have come from my Candida. I’ve learned about natural medicine and the importance of cooking and eating organic, whole foods instead of processed junk.

 But, the truth is, Candida is starting to hinder my life. We want to have a third baby and I just don’t think my body can handle it. My hormones are all screwed up and are keeping me from savoring this precious time with my husband and little ones. Friends and family no longer have us over for dinner because of my limited diet. All of this has combined to motivate me to find help…real help. Someone who really understands the body and can treat me and help me get well.

Through a series of coincidences (although I don’t believe there are coincidences with God), I found The Hansa Center for Optimum Health. I’ve researched the center and have spoken to a couple people who have been treated there. I’ve had a phone consultation with one of the physicians at the center. Everything I find indicates this is the type of place I’ve been looking for. They treat naturally and work to find the cause of the illness instead of just treating the symptoms. They treat the body as a whole while most other physicians have been trained to only treat one part of the body. They also incorporated Christian counseling into their therapies. So, after lots of prayer, we're heading to Kansas in two days so I can undergo two weeks of treatment and therapies.

Will this center help me? I don’t know, but I’m hopeful it will. Of course, none of it is covered by insurance and it’s crazy expensive. I honestly don’t even care at this point. As my husband said (jokingly), “Hey, it’s just money, right? All that matters is that you get better. ” God has blessed me with such a good man. So that's where I stand. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to update this post with the news that I’m getting better. Only God knows and only time will tell.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Anne Burrell's Chicken Noodle Soup

I've recently discovered Chef Anne Burrell on Food Network and her recipes make my mouth water. Of course, the majority of them contain ingredients I can't eat but there are several recipes where substitutions can be made. I was thrilled to find that her Chicken Noodle Soup was one of those.  I only had to substitute Tinkyada rice pasta for regular pasta. I also only used a pinch of red pepper flakes instead of 2 teaspoons...what can I say - I'm a whimp! It was absolutely delicious and it was even better the second day. 

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch thyme
3 pounds bone-in chicken legs and thighs, skin and excess fat removed
Water, as needed
2 bay leaves
1 lemon, halved
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 grates fresh nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups small pasta, preferably small shells such as orecchiette, or orzo
1 (15-ounce) can white beans or chick peas
1 bunch cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped

Coat a large stock pot with olive oil and add the onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt, to taste, and bring the pot to medium-high heat. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften and are very aromatic, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic, crushed red pepper and thyme and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken. Add the bay leaves, bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes and skim off any particles that accumulate on the surface. Squeeze the juice of the 2 lemon halves into the soup and drop in the lemon halves. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and taste for seasoning. Adjust the flavors with salt and pepper, if needed. Simmer the soup for an additional hour. 

While the soup is simmering, bring another pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until "al dente," firm but not crunchy. Drain the pasta and transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and toss. Reserve.

 After the soup has finished, switch the heat off and remove the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the lemon halves, thyme and bay leaves. Let the chicken cool, then remove the bones and discard. Pull the meat into bite-sized pieces and return them to the pot. Taste the soup for seasoning, which should be spicy with a bright lemon flavor and a warm cinnamon chicken feel. It should be very full-flavored and warm your soul. Rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Spoon some of the reserved pasta into the bottom of each serving bowl and ladle the hot soup over the pasta. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve. This soup is perfect for a cold day! YAY!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tinkyada Pasta Joy

Are you like me? Have you been eating brown rice pasta that is grainy and mushy in texture while dreaming of the smooth, yummy pasta you can no longer eat?

Well, let me tell you about my latest discovery!!! Tinkyada Pasta Joy - it is joy indeed!! An acquaintance of mine who has Celiac Disease made dinner not too long ago and it was a pasta dish. I knew she didn't use regular pasta because, duh, she can't have gluten. I couldn't believe the texture and the taste were so amazing! While I was shoveling it into my mouth, she told me the brand was Tinkyada pasta. I swear, this tastes like regular pasta but is made of brown rice.  Tinkyada makes all the different shapes and sizes just like normal pasta.Whole Foods carries several different varieties of these noodles but if you don't have a Whole Foods close by you can order it on Amazon (is there anything you can't order on Amazon anymore?).  It does costs more than De Boles (bummer) but it's totally worth it.  The first time I fed it to my husband, he raved about how good it was.  He had been eating my mushy brown rice pasta too and was as thrilled about my new discovery as I was!

Try some of this pasta for yourself and taste just how good it is!

I was not compensated to write this post. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ham and Egg Scramble

UPDATE:  Deli meat is not part of the anti-Candida diet.  Dayna, one of my readers, kindly brought this to my attention shortly after I posted this "recipe."  I did a little reading and found a comprehensive list of diet "do's and don'ts" on Candida Control Diet. So, please disregard all my references to deli meat below and use a meat such as chicken which has been baked or broiled. 

Ok, this is kind of a no brainer "recipe" but I thought I'd share anyway. I eat TONS of eggs on my anit-Candida diet because they are quick and easy to prepare, which is a rarity when adhering to this diet.  (Does anyone else spend way more time in the kitchen than they would prefer?) Last week, I decided to spice up my daily lunch routine of scrambled eggs.  Whole Foods ran a special on their ham deli meat chicken, so I scooped some up and got to work.

First, saute chopped onions in olive oil until they are soft. 

Then, finely chop the lunchmeat chicken (yes, I know it looks like ham lunchmeat, but it should be chicken) ...

 ...and toss it in with the onions to warm up.

Season your eggs with salt, pepper and some paprika and scramble.

Cook, plate and enjoy (and savor the fact that you prepared a meal in less than 5 minutes!).  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brown Rice Salad

I was surfing the Real Food in Little Rock blog and stumbled across a fabulous looking recipe that can easily be modified to adhere to the anti-Candida diet.  Now, I haven't made this yet but I'm planning my menu today and this recipe is on it!

Julie has excellent rice cooking tips I'm not including here so be sure to check out her post.  Here is the recipe:

Brown Rice Salad 
  • 3-4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup (or more) diced red onion or shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional, but I like garlic!)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup (or more) dried fruit, like cherries, cranberries or raisins*
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
Make the below vinaigrette and pour over cooled rice:
  • 2 T local honey*
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • couple pinches of red pepper flakes, or a dash of cayenne pepper
Mix everything together, refrigerate, and taste.
*Obviously, the starred ingredients need to be modifed or left out completely.   
  • Dried fruit is a no-no and I'm stumped on a substitute (any thoughts?).  
  • Honey is also out so I may add a TINY bit of Stevia in place of the honey.  However, hubby is a sweetener snob and refuses to eat anything containing Stevia "because it doesn't taste right (insert whining tone)!"
  • Instead of balsamic vinegar I'm going to try lemon juice. 
I'll update once I've tried this recipe and let you know how it turns out with the modifications!!  Have a happy day :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grapefruit Seed Extract – I’m Sold!!

I’ve never been in to taking supplements for a variety of reasons.  In the past week, however, my bias against supplements has begun to lessen. In my previous post, I mentioned I recently had a nasty die off reaction which promptly evolved into tonsillitis and further difficulty breathing (so fun).  I wasn’t sure what to do or how to treat it.  I just knew I didn’t want to visit my doctor who would take one look at my tonsils, whip out his prescription pad and tell me to take antibiotics for the next 10 days. No thank you! 
I talked to my Mom, who recommended I take Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE). She spent about 30 minutes extolling the benefits of this extract and an hour later, I was shuffling into Whole Foods to purchase said miracle elixir *wink*.   I faithfully took GSE 5 times a day and after 3 days my tonsillitis was nearly gone!  I still had a few white patches on my tonsils but overall felt fine.  It has now been 5 days and I’m so excited to report that I’m all better!! I’m honestly stunned at how well GSE worked to clear up my tonsillitis AND helped the pain in my lungs.  I plan to continue taking GSE long term, as it is also a powerful antifungal.  YAY for killing yeast!!
I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned about GSE this past week*:
  • Grapefruit seed-extract is used in humans to battle many types of internal and external infections caused from single and multi-celled parasites, fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
  • The greatest benefit of grapefruit seed-extract is due to its multipurpose effect.  Grapefruit seed-extract remains effective even if the cause of an infection is identified, misdiagnosed, or unknown.  Grapefruit seed-extract naturally detoxifies, enhances and supports the immune system.
  • Another important benefit of grapefruit seed-extract is that it alkalizes the blood. Alkalizing body fluids can be defined as raising the pH level.  Raising the pH level is an important health regeneration benefit; because disease causing microforms, such as parasites, fungi, viruses, and bacteria cannot survive in an alkaline oxygenated environment.
  • Grapefruit seed-extract is also claimed to be a natural alternative to strong antibiotics, without callous side effects.
  • The greatest benefit of grapefruit seed extract is due to its broad spectrum anti pathogenic effect! Grapefruit seed extract remains effective even if the cause of an infection is known, misdiagnosed or unknown. Since we rarely know for sure the individual pathogen or mix of pathogens responsible for our infection. No other known compound can demonstrate such versatility.
  • Grapefruit seed extract is mild in comparison to strong antibiotics that can destroy beneficial intestinal bacteria and deplete the immune system! Without these beneficial bacteria life could not be sustained. The beneficial bacteria can thrive much better after the harmful pathogens have been destroyed!
Suggested Uses For Grapefruit Seed Extract

CAUTION: ALWAYS DILUTE! Do not use full strength. Do not put in eyes. Avoid all contact with sensitive areas. May cause irritation if used full strength on skin. If full strength contact or irritation occurs, flush with water for at least 10 minutes. Irritation is temporary and may last up to 48 hours. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

Internal Uses

Internal Use: (Never use full strength) Orally. Adults, mix 1-5 drops of Maximum GSE into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more), 1-3 times daily, with or without meals. Children (5 years and older), 1-3 drops mixed into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more), 1-2 times daily, with or without meals. Do not use full strength in mouth.

Throat Gargle. Stir 1 drop of Maximum GSE into a small glass of water (3 oz. or more). Gargle several times. Use as often as needed. Always dilute.

Ear Rinse. Thoroughly mix 1 drop of Maximum GSE with 1 oz. of glycerin or alcohol. Apply 1-2 drops of this solution in affected ear 1-2 times daily. Use as often as needed. Do not use full strength in ears.

Nasal Rinse. (adults only) Mix 1 drop of Maximum GSE with 6 oz. of water. Use one full eye dropper of the mixed solution per nostril. Tilt your head backward and release the solution from the dropper into your nose. Swing head forward and down (head is now upside down) to force solution up into the nasal passages. Return head to the normal upright position and allow nasal passages to drain. Do not inhale through the nose during this process. Always dilute.

Vaginal Rinse. Mix 3-5 drops of Maximum GSE with 6-8 oz. of water. Douche once daily for one week or as directed by a healthcare professional. Always dilute.

External Uses

External Use: (Never use full strength) Facial Cleanser. Thoroughly moisten (splash) face with warm or cool water. With hands still wet, apply 2-3 drops of Maximum GSE to fingertips and gently massage facial area with circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry. A tingling sensation may follow. This is an indication of the deep cleansing properties of Maximum GSE. Always dilute.

Skin Rinse. (minor skin irritations) Dilute 1-3 drops of Maximum GSE with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply this solution directly to affected area twice daily. Do not use full strength on skin.

Nail Treatment. Dilute 1-3 drops of Maximum GSE with 1 tablespoon of water or alcohol. Apply this solution directly on surface of nail along the cuticle and underneath the front of nail, or soak nails, twice daily for as long as desired. Do not use full strength on nails.

Scalp Treatment. Add 2-4 drops of Maximum GSE to each shampooing (mix in hand or on head with shampoo). Massage into scalp and leave on for at least 2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water.
Household Uses

Toothbrush Cleaner. Stir 2-4 drops of Maximum GSE into a glass of water. Immerse toothbrush for 15 minutes (or leave in between uses). Rinse toothbrush before using. Change water and remix every few days.

Vegetable/Fruit or Meat/Poultry Wash. Sink washing - Add 20 or more drops of Maximum GSE to a sink full of cold water. Briefly soak any vegetables, fruit, meat, or poultry. Rinse if desired. Spray washing - Add 10 or more drops of Maximum GSE to a 32 oz. pump sprayer bottle filled with water. Spray on any vegetables, fruit, meat, or poultry. Rinse if desired.

Dish and Utensil Cleaning Additive. Add 10-20 drops of Maximum GSE to sink dishwashing water or to final rinse. Add 10-20 drops to automatic dishwasher with detergent or to final rinse.

Cutting Board Cleaner. Apply 5-10 drops of Maximum GSE to cutting board and work into entire board with a wet sponge or dish cloth. Leave on for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water.

All Purpose Cleaner. Add 15-30 drops of Maximum GSE to any 32 oz. pump sprayer bottle filled with water or cleanser. Use on all surfaces around the house.

*All information regarding GSE was obtained from the following sites:

I have not been compensated to review GSE. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grrrr...Does Anyone Else Hate Candida??

So it's been a rough couple of days at my house and I need to vent.  You don’t mind, right? Ok, good. Earlier in the week, I ran out of my Yeast Away probiotic and my Nystatin, both at the same time.  (I take these religiously every day because they keep my symptoms in check).  Duh.  Anyway, I didn’t replenish my stash for about three days and during those three days, I cheated on my diet about four times.  Not big cheats, mind you, but small stuff, like eating a banana, eating two small cookies, eating some trail mix with raisins in it, etc.  So, I finally took my Nystatin at the end of my three day hiatius and DANG…the die off reaction was horrendous.  I had pain in my lungs, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, major fatigue, headache and coughing.  It scared me.  I’ve noticed for awhile now that my symptoms seem to be getting worse and yesterday confirmed it. 

I talked to my husband and we decided I need to seek treatment from a doctor who practices alternative medicine in Arkansas.  I found out about her nearly a year ago but have been hesitant to see her. Why, you ask?  Only for the simple reason that she does not take insurance, charges a mere $1,000 for an initial visit and a measly $500 for each following visit.  Yes, you read that right. 

Anyway, today I’m faxing her office my New Patient Application AND a $100 processing fee. Apparently she has to accept you as a patient before you can make an appointment.  (As though being willing to pay an arm and a leg wasn’t enough to get me an appointment!!).  Do I sound bitter?

So, if any of you live in Central Arkansas, have Candida, need help and want to pay an arm and a leg for that help, look up Dr. Betsy Hendricks at the Arkansas Center for the Study of Integrative Medicine.  And tell her I sent you…maybe she’ll give me a discount :)