Kimberly Snyder C.N. is a holistic nutritionist who focuses on healing from the inside out. This week, we’re sharing Kimberly’s expertise in a new series on gut-healing remedies for candida. To learn more, check out her mindbodygreen class How to Treat Candida: The Complete Guide From a Holistic Nutritionist.
Candida overgrowth is a very common issue, and understanding how to correct it can be a challenge, especially for busy people who don't have the time.
The first and most effective place to start? Diet. Below is a shopping list that includes candida-fighting foods and excludes foods that encourage its growth. It's always helpful to have a variety of candida-friendly groceries available to you when you want to prepare a meal for yourself or your family. That way, whether you are in a bind and want to whip up something quickly, or you want to prepare something a little more involved, you have many of the necessary staples on hand to do so, instead of having to resort to takeout dishes that might contain gluten, added sugars, or other candida-inflammatory ingredients.
Of course, you don't have to have every single item at all times. This is meant to be a guide: Pick and choose what you like from our core staples. Note: Be sure to choose organic as much as possible!
Produce for Candida:
- Romaine lettuce
- Green apples
- Green and purple cabbage (for the Probiotic & Enzyme Salad, salads, coleslaw, or wraps. I'm kind of obsessed with it.)
- Collards (great for wraps!)
- Spaghetti squash (these are more watery and not as sugary/starchy so can still work for candida)
Always make sure you have the ingredients necessary for your Low-Sugar Glowing Green Smoothie (and feel free to mix in different greens and low-sugar fruit if you see something that looks interesting). You'll be drinking lots of it, and it's good to have around in those moments when you'd be tempted to go out and get something less healthy. Drinking your smoothies and munching on raw vegetables will take the edge off your hunger while you prep dinner. Buy as much organic as you can, but at least make sure you buy the "Dirty Dozen" organic.
Spices, Herbs & Miscellany for Flavor:
- Chili powder
- Black pepper
- High-quality sea salt
- Raw apple-cider vinegar (make sure it’s raw and unrefined)
- Unrefined coconut oil
- Seaweed (dulse or kelp powder, great for trace minerals)
- Rosemary (or grow it in a little planter)
- Low-sodium tamari
- Nutritional yeast (a great source of B vitamins, and it gives foods a cheesy flavor without dairy!)
- Vegetable broth (or make your own with veggie scraps)
- Pure stevia
- Cinnamon (sticks for tea, powder for blends/topping)
It's amazing what you can do with a well-stocked spice cabinet and some fresh herbs on hand! No matter what kind of dish or good desserts you're craving, if you have a collection of spices and other items to flavor your food with, there's a good chance you'll be able to take care of any craving in a healthy, unprocessed meal (no need to order in!) that is fresh and satisfying.
And when sweet cravings hit, you can make chia seed pudding with your stevia, plus a little cacao and almond milk. Yum! It will be your new jam.
Nuts and Seeds for Candida:
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
You don't need all these nuts, but it's nice to have a variety. You can store them in your freezer.
There's so much you can do with seeds and nuts, and it only takes a little bit to fill you up. You can pulverize sunflower seeds or walnuts with spices to make a meat mixture, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on a salad to give it some crunch without croutons, or add chia seeds or flaxseeds and water together to create an egg substitute in a dish you're making. A small amount of these beauty fats are all you need to give you glowing, supple skin and keep in alignment with your overall candida plan.
Grains and Legumes for Candida:
- Oat groats or steel-cut oats (processed in a gluten-free facility—a must!)
- Brown rice
- Gluten-free bread or wraps
I love that you can buy a lot of grains and legumes in bulk at some stores. It's such a better deal, and then you're all set for a while. You can use them as fillers in wraps, put them on salads, toss them with veggies in a pan, or, in the case of the oat groats or steel-cut oats, make a hearty dish especially if you are transitioning and want something that will carry you through lunchtime. Buckwheat is good in smoothies or pancakes, and gluten-free bread is always good for slapping a sandwich together when you have only a few minutes before you need to leave the house (or if you need to hurry up and pack something to take with you).
Some healthy, whole carbs can fit into your plan and are important for all-around balance!
Snacks, Foods You May Crave, and Energy Boosters:
- Cacao powder (for Happy Cow Vegan Hot Chocolate and desserts)
- Bee pollen
- Spirulina powder
- Chlorella (chelator of heavy metals, perfect pairing w/cilantro)
- Dark chocolate bars (dairy-free)
- Gluten-free crackers, like Mary's Gone Crackers
- Kale chips (non-sweet varieties)
These are a few of the extras you can keep around for cravings, energy, sweets (chocolate, anyone?), or days when you think your nutrition could use a little more of a boost (especially in the case of spirulina—mix some in a smoothie to help get through the day). I love bee pollen mixed with a tiny bit of coconut oil when I want a little boost. It's super-nutritious and increases energy, sans caffeine. It doesn't hurt that it tastes good, too.
Dairy, Egg, and Meat Substitutes for Candida:
- Coconut milk
- Unsweetened almond milk (homemade or store-bought when in a bind)
- Organic tempeh
- Kite Hill cheese (almond-based, oil-free, tastes amazing)
- Daiya cheese (more processed, less ideal; save for special occasions)
If you feel like your life revolves around meat, dairy, and eggs, and you're not sure how you'll survive without them (or even with less of them!), take comfort in the fact that there are so many ways around those cravings. Not only can you make your own meat substitutes with seeds, nuts, vegetables, and spices, but tempeh also works for a meaty texture in your foods.
Goat cheese can still be somewhat clogging and acidic to the body, so it's best to have it only in moderation, but it's still better than regular cheese. Switching to the Beauty Detox lifestyle won't feel like you're giving up much at all. There are substitutes for the things you love, and you'll feel so much better when you get rid of most, if not all, animal products in your diet.
Drinks for Candida:
- Organic herbal teas (no caffeine)
- Sodas flavored with stevia (Zevia, Blue Sky Free, etc.) only if you're just starting out and fear giving up soda may be your downfall
- Kombucha tea (only if your candida is not severe; if you have three to five or more major symptoms, avoid it until you're more clear)
If you pretty much drink plain water or water with lemon all the time, this category may not apply to you. If you're just starting out, you may find that you really enjoy those sodas that replace your high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame addiction for a while. You shouldn't drink them forever, but they're a step in the right direction.
Don't feel like you have to buy all of these at one time, either. For example, buy some of your favorite spices and they'll last for a long time. Each time you go to the store, pick up one or two more. Decide which produce you'll need for the next few days and only buy that since it will go bad, then replace those necessities on your next trip (always make sure you're all stocked up on your leafy greens!).
Supplements for Candida:
Last but not least, here is a list of supplements I recommend for candida:
Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.