Monday, May 31, 2010

Candida recurrence

Candida has gotten the best of me again. It's been one year since my first all-out assault on candida. Here I am doing the same protocol as before: taking the anti-fungals, experiencing the die-off, existing on lean protein and vegetables.

Where did I go wrong? Was it the foot infection that lead to having to take antibiotics and a weakened immune system? Was it my trip to Hawaii where I decided papayas were my food of choice? Did I fail to reduce candida to normal levels the first time?

There is so much discrepancy in the diet advice out there for treating candida. It's easy to stray
and add things that exacerbate the problem. For instance, one diet says brown rice and berries are okay in small quantities during the initial phase. Another says no way. Stick with protein and veggies. Some say tofu and miso are okay. Other's say no because they are fermented foods.

More than likely I have leaky gut syndrome which is common among those who have had candida for lengthy periods of time. My practitioner and I never addressed this problem as part of my previous treatment.

Candida cause leaky gut or intestinal permeability by attaching to the walls of small intestine where they bore holes in the intestinal wall. This means that the damage to the walls is allowing candida, bacteria, food, pollen, environmental pollutants, and other material to enter the bloodstream. Once the candida have an open door to the rest of your body, they can wreck havoc. L-glutamine is supposed to assist in healing the "leaky" intestinal lining.

One thing I can say about the second time around is I'm not really craving carbs. That could possibly be because I don't really have much appetite but I do enjoy Chili Chicken.

Chili Chicken ( serves 4)

  1. 2 chicken breasts, rinsed and cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  3. 1 T. sesame oil
  4. Optional items if not on strict candida diet: 1 T. arrowroot powder + 1/2 cup water, Bragg's amino acids
  5. 2 T. canola oil
  6. 1/4-1 tsp. crushed red pepper (adjust to your taste)
  7. 1 T. gingerroot, minced
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  9. Chopped veggies: 4 medium zucchini in half moons, 1/2 head Napa cabbage, 2 red bell peppers (optional: 1/4 cup onion)


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, season chicken with salt, sesame oil and optional arrowroot.
  2. In a large skillet on high heat, heat canola oil.
  3. Add the crushed red pepper and heat for a minute.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger and optional onion, and saute until translucent.
  5. Toss in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
  6. Add the water and Bragg's amino acids at this point if you are following the option for those not on a strict candida diet.
  7. Place the chicken in a bowl and aside.
  8. Heat some additional oil in the skillet and stir-fry your veggies.
  9. Plate this up with veggies on the bottom and chili chicken on top. Or do your own thing and mix them both together before serving.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kale chips

Eat more kale is what I've been telling myself lately. It's a food that rarely makes most people's top-10 list but on my own list, it's a superstar. Kale is one of those foods that's high in all the right things. It's high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.

Kale is a member of the "cruciferous" vegetable family. Other veggies in this family include broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, watercress and chard. No doubt, some of the others are more popular than kale.

Part of the problem is people don't know what to do with kale. One of the easiest and tastiest ways to use it is as kale chips. It's also great sauteed with olive oil or added to soups or stews.

Lately, I've become addicted to kale chips which helps you use up and consume a lot of kale. Kale chips are quite tasty and help satisfy one's cravings for crispy snacks.

There are several ways to prepare kale chips. One takes about 15 minutes and uses the oven. The other requires a food dehydrator and requires about 1-2 hours for one bunch of kale. Larger quantities take much longer.

My favorite Kale Chip recipes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash, trim and chop 1 bunch of kale into pieces. I usually make my pieces about 2-3 inches long. Trim off most of the stems and use the leafy portions.

Toss the kale pieces with 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. lemon juice. Or make up a mixture of 2 T. tahini and 1 T. Bragg's amino acids. Use the same procedure. Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle some of tahini mixture on top and mix in.

Spread on large sprayed baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy.

Trust me it's really delicious even if it looks a little toasty.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flax flatbread

I've been eating gluten-free for about six years now. Trust me, it's very easy to gain weight when you go gluten-free. Many of the alternative flours and thickeners are simple carbs that are high in calories and lacking in fiber and protein. I probably put on five pounds in next to no time when I first went gluten-free. In my mind, I thought these foods were healthy for me since they were safe. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

After I was diagnosed with candida, I became more aware of what I was eating. Even if you don't need to follow a low-glycemic diet, you should be careful when purchasing gluten-free products. I know here we go again just when you thought you didn't need to read labels anymore.

Here some ingredients you should look for and avoid as much as possible:
  • Tapioca starch has no nutritional value whatsoever and is high in carbs. For some individuals, it is difficult to digest.
  • Potato starch is used as a thickener but again has no nutritional value.
  • White rice flour is high in calories, carbs and devoid of nutrition.

Look for these better choices:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Garbanzo bean flour
  • Buckwheat
  • Coconut flour
  • Amaranth
  • Oat flour made from gluten-free oats

Even better choices are:

  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Meat or soy
  • Dairy or alternative dairy beverages

Here's a recipe for a low-carb bread you might want to try. It's high in fiber and protein. But remember it still has calories. Cut it into small squares to limit your potion size.

Flax Flatbread

  • 1 cup golden flax meal
  • 3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • egg replacer for five eggs (Technically, this is a unhealthy ingredient as it contains potato starch. If you can eat eggs, that would be a better choice.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flax meal, flours, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs or egg replacer, water and olive oil.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing well. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes to thicken the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into a 11-by-7-inch glass pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and cool.
  7. After cooled, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.
  8. If desired, sprinkle squares with sea salt, olive oil and herbs de provence. Toast squares on a baking sheet.
  9. Serve

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spiced quinoa seed clusters

I love spiced quinoa seed clusters but I'm not sure I should eat them very often. They are the "perfect" sweet, salty, crunchy, high fiber snack for someone who can't eat nuts or sugar. I could eat them endlessly but then I'd get a wake-up call from my stomach, saying "What were you thinking eating all that hard to digest stuff?" But if you don't have a problem with the fiber, they would be great to snack on.

Allergy season has been awful for me this year. When my body is being overwhelmed with environmental allergens, I really need to watch what I eat as I found out when I over did it on strawberries. I lay awake all night writhing in pain with nausea, bloating, the usual stuff I get when I'm having a reaction to a particular food. Then, the three days of additional misery ensued. Now, I am avoiding strawberries for a good period of time before I try eating them in small doses to see what effects they produce. It's painful not being able to eat strawberries when they are in season and so delicious.

I keep reminding myself of that horrible experience every time I am tempted to reach for something that might pose a problem. That's why I am passing on the recipe for Spiced Quinoa Seed Clusters to those of you who have bodies that can handle it.

Mix 3 cups seeds of your choice (I used half pumpkin seeds and half sunflower seeds) with 1/4 cup each ground flaxseed and raw quinoa seed. In a separate bowl, prepare egg replacer for two eggs. Mix the egg replacer with hemp milk or other alternative dairy beverage. Add in 1 T. SweetLeaf Stevia powder, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. each cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Toss with the seed mixture.

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until dry, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes. Cool and break into pieces for snacking. Makes about 16 servings.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tofu bruschetta

My pals, Kona and Pumpkin, are really good at giving me kudos for getting out and riding my bike. Actually, I think they were scheming to get me to feed them.
Tofu bruschetta is a nutritious snack to feed yourself after exercising or just as a snack to hold you until dinner. I love tofu but because of my thyroid issues only eat it a few times each week. This is worth waiting a day or three for.
Tofu Bruschetta
(makes 5 servings)
1 package extra firm tofu
1 package grape tomatoes
3 zucchinis
Optional: 2 yellow squash and/or Japanese eggplant
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 red onion cut into half slices
2 T. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 T. + 1 tsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the tofu as if you were slicing bread. Drizzle with 1 tsp. of canola oil and rub with turmeric. Lay the slices on a pan-sprayed baking sheet. Bake until crispy for about 10-15 minutes.
In the meantime, halve the grape tomatoes, dice the squash, slice the onion into moons, slice the red pepper into strips. Spread veggies on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with canola oil or spray with pan spray.
Grill or broil veggies until softened and lightly browned on both sides. Let cool.
Toss the veggies with the remaining turmeric, cumin, canola oil and salt/pepper. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Serve on top of baked tofu slices.