Living with Candida, Twenty Two Months Later: The Ugly, the Bad–and the Good

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Grrrr! Candida can be pretty scary.]

The Ugly: The Monster Returns

Here it is, 2011, and it’s already time for a confession (don’t worry, it doesn’t involve criminal activity). Once again, it appears the dreaded beast has reared its ugly little head.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you likely already know that I’ve been dealing with “the beast that is yeast” (ie, candida) since around December, 2008 (and following the anti candida diet, or ACD, since March 2009).   And while candida is, indeed, beastly, it’s not the particular monster to which I’m referring. No, the beast I mention here is one with which I’ve struggled my whole life: the Binge Monster.

I’ve both been wanting to write about this issue and also avoiding it for a few weeks now. You see, over the past couple of months or so, after more than a year watching the numbers on my scale move steadily in a downward direction, they have once again begun to creep up–five pounds up, at last count.  And while my weight has fluctuated by one or two pounds quite often over the last year, with a couple of days of “clean” and “green” eating, it tends to stabilize again.

But not this time.

Five pounds is real.  Five pounds is substantial. Five pounds is a button on your shirt that’s now too tight.  It’s one more hole on your belt (which, up until four months ago, you couldn’t wear at all).  It’s a little less definition under your cheekbones, a bit more girth around the middle, a pinch around the elastic of your underwear.  Five pounds is half a dress size. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, the scale seems to admonish you: “I will not be ignored,” it screams, tacitly threatening the established routine.

I worried about posting this on the blog because I didn’t want to disappoint so many readers who’ve followed my progress up until now.  After all the accolades, all the encouragement, I was mortified to have to admit that old habits have wormed their way back into my life (and let me be clear on this:  I have not veered from the diet.  Not a grain of white sugar or refined flour or mushrooms or alcohol or other forbidden foods have passed my lips; I am still eating ACD-friendly foods, and my candida symptoms, overall, miraculously still continue to improve. It’s just that the re-introduction of certain ingredients and foods—like flours, cocoa and baked goods–have generated more desserts hanging around the house, which led to eating more desserts, which led to. . . five pounds).

Would my readers see this slip up as a failure (as I did)?  Would they think less of me?  How could I let them down after all this time?  How could I let myself down?

[It may be ACD-friendly, but too much of a good thing is still too much.]

The Bad: How Old Habits Are Revived

When I first began the anti-candida diet 22 months ago, I felt so ill and was so desperate that, honestly, I would have followed any regimen that could help alleviate the symptoms (the worst of which was an angry, painful and constantly itchy rash across my chest and most of my torso).

At first, I put no restrictions on how much I ate. The diet was easy: my old nemesis, the Binge Beast, lurked in the shadows but never dared venture into the light. The notion of bingeing simply wasn’t in the realm of possibility back then (seriously, who binges on zucchini or broccoli?). Even when I experienced a fleeting desire to “cheat” on the diet and eat something with sugar or gluten, the lingering raw, pink rash was enough to dissuade me.  Like a photographic afterimage or the barely discernible outline of a house blown away in a hurricane, that pale, freshly scarred skin was a visible reminder of why I needed to persist.

But then I began to feel better.  Baking, and desserts (of a sort) and chocolate returned to my life.  Sure, they were ACD-friendly, but they still triggered that buried, recidivist impulse when I ate a chocolate cookie, a piece of brownie, a bowl of ice cream.  And before I knew it, I was eating not one, not two, but four brownies at a time.

For most people, sugar cravings are supposedly eradicated after 5-10 days on the ACD, but that has never been the case with me.  Instead, my cravings continue to cling more ferociously than the toddler at Mama’s knee on the first day of school. One day, I suppose, I’ll get used to it.

As with other addictions, the binge mechanism requires a constant ratcheting up of the stimulus–in this case, certain foods–before satiation is reached.  You may be pumping food in at one end, but your stomach doesn’t register it the way a “normal” digestive system would.  And so, someone who binges is able to consume perhaps twice as much–three times?–as a healthy eater before the “fullness” switch is flicked.  And even then, it sometimes takes nausea for the breaker to finally trip, the “overload” signal to get through.

I already knew that the feedback mechanism, in those of us who binge, is damaged.  It’s like filling a bucket with an old leaky hose: for the bucket to be filled, you’d have to turn the faucet on full blast, expending more and more water with more and more waste that never reaches the target, until the container is finally replete.  In the same way, my own fullness circuits require more and more alimentary input to finally register “enough.” But how does one fix this damaged circuitry?

Geneen Roth advises us to honor the true source of the hunger–be it physical, psychological or emotional. Each time you listen to these messages, it’s like fixing one tiny leak, filling the hole that allows the nourishing foods to escape without your notice.  Eventually, the sequence is completely restored to its original condition, and your body and mind both register the full impact of the food you eat.  I know I was waylaid from that journey over the holidays–it’s so easy to become sidetracked by old habits. I am still waiting for that day when I am effortlessly aware of my body’s signals and, like the HH, can pass up even one last pea on the plate because “I’ve had enough.”

Bingers never have enough.

In her latest book, Women Food and God, Geneen Roth talks about emotional (or compulsive) eating with the same accessibility, insight and sagacity as always.  And food, she points out, is a fallback position when we seek nurturing.  She writes:

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable.

After 22 months (and before this latest turn of events), it appeared that both my health and my weight had more or less stabilized, yet I found myself still dissatisfied.  Yes, my health has vastly improved, but I’m still not 100% better. I had grown tired of writing “no progress” or “status quo” on my Progress Tracker page.

Is it because my recovery has plateaued and I’m bored?  Is it because my health is not where I’d like it to be, my symptoms (albeit drastically reduced) still lingering? Is it because, despite major strides with candida, other health issues persist, and I’m simply frustrated?  Is it because The Ellen Show hasn’t called me yet?

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When I think of the progress I’ve made, I can’t help but notice there’s a little voice in the back of my head,the child’s voice that begins to whine, “Twenty-two months, and still not all better?”  Sure, there are many worse things than a candida rash that just won’t disappear, and I am thankful my illness is no more serious than this.  But the part of me that connects to that little voice still wonders, “why can’t you just disappear already?  When will you leave me alone and let me live my life without having to think about you every. single. day?  When will I be able to return to my old life?”

The answer, I now realize, is perhaps, “never.” I can’t return to my “old life.”  And then, rather than accept that this diet will likely be my new, and perhaps permanent, way of life, there comes the whining toddler again, pouting and complaining, “Well, if I can’t eat what I really want–sugar and chocolate and frosting and layer cake and fudge–well, then, when I concoct something that’s at least moderately tasty, I will eat more than I should–heck, I’ll eat it all–because I need something that’s at least a little bit sweet in my life.”

Do I capitulate and repeat old behaviors, because that’s the easiest, the most comfortable plan of action? Or is there another solution?

The Good: Renewed Commitment and Determination

When it comes to matters of karma and fate and previous lives, the HH is more of a devotee than I; yet I do believe that events, circumstances, people and personal issues come into our lives for a reason.  In this case, I was delivered a mini-epiphany by none other than Nietzsche himself, in the form of a book written by author and psychiatrist Irvin Yalom.

In discussing a patient who relapsed and manifested psychological problems that had already been vanquished years before, Yalom cites the great philosopher, who theorized: “when we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”  In other words, we regress to earlier behaviors after trauma or too much stress or overwork.  Well, that made total sense to me: over the past two years, I’ve made huge strides in the battle of the binge and combating candida. Slowly, but certainly, I’m beginning to tap into what my body craves as compared to what my psyche craves. But when one’s reaction to chocolate harks back more than 45 years, a mere 22 month-timespan on an anti-candida diet isn’t enough, on its own, to vanquish that impulse.

[This may offer some comfort, but it’s only ephemeral.]

But more food is not the solution.

Well, duh.  Of course food isn’t the solution.  Food is never the solution, unless you’re the lone survivor on a desert island with no chance of rescue, like Tom Hanks in Castaway.  Rather than abandon the ACD, I’ve decided to recommit with renewed vigor; a renewal of our vows, so to speak.  For a while, at least, I’ll be stepping back to an earlier stage of the diet that removes some of the foods I’ve recently re-introduced (such as chocolate or agave nectar–sniff, boo hoo).  I’ll begin a candida-focused cleanse and return to some of the best principles of the NAG diet.

I recently read through a copy of Meghan Telpner’s latest ebook, 21 Days to Health, and found it a great refresher course for me: these are all steps I’ve either taken before or still maintain, but having them written out in logical succession will be a wonderful motivator as I work through this renewed challenge. Rather than extend an already too-long post even more, I’ll save the details about what, exactly, I’ll be eating (and not eating) for another time.  (I plan to post an entire “ACD Diet” page in the next month or so.)

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I hope you’ll continue to stick around for the journey, bumpy as it may be (I promise I’ll still serve you yummy food along the way).

As I’ve said before, I see this blog as a chronicle not just of weight loss (or gain), but also a journey toward wellness and learning to eat like a “normal” person, making peace with sweets and cravings and emotional eating. I feel a bit like the novice tightrope performer whose step has faltered and now sees clearly what the next moves must be to regain balance; I’m determined to forge ahead on that journey. With that approach in mind, I’m confident that, eventually, the ever-elusive goal, wellness, will be revealed.

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Comments

  1. Your honesty is touching, Ricki. I like to think of healthy living as a journey, not a destination. We’re all on a journey toward optimal well-being, but there are bound to be bumps along the way that shape us into stronger and ultimately better people. Your story is a great testament to the power of taking a few steps back, but being all the more motivated to continue moving forward. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ricki, I am so proud of you for writing this. Thank you for sharing this, because it is a struggle that so many of us deal with. I am a binger, I have always been a binger, and it is something I grapple with everyday – even with broccoli ;) Desserts especially are SO hard for me, and often I feel it is better not to have them at all rather than tempt myself, but then my bug for baking bites me, and I repeat the old pattern. Even if it is ACD-friendly, we can’t eat a whole pan, but I do and I have and I feel guilt. I am proud of you for sticking to this diet, for committing to a lifetime of vibrancy, and for sharing your experiences with us, because it is inspirational. You’ve said so eloquently so many things that I feel, and you’ve inspired me to make decisions that fall within the “eat to live” realm, rather than the “live to eat”. I know you can do it, and I’ll be here with you all the way! xo

  3. You are such a beautiful writer and I love the honesty and truth int his post. I struggled with binge eating at times when I was younger, after I had recovered from an extremely restrictive phase in my life. I remember reading a very simple book that called ‘If You’re Going to Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair’. The philosophy was simple– sit down and eat your food, eat with awareness. I still have my moments but I always try to come back to this and treat my meals as ritual and as pleasure. The quote from Geneen Roth says a lot, and we all run from our problems in different ways. Thank you for your honesty and mindfulness, I’m so happy to have come across your blog!

    • I think that book actually was written by Roth, wasn’t it? It’s her philosophy exactly, and the way I want to eat. And thanks so much for your comment, and for being a reader! :)

  4. Oh, and by the way – your readers will NEVER, EVER be disappointed in you. You are an inspiration, and your honesty throughout your journey is nothing but awe-inspiring.

  5. jayedee aka ntiveheart says:

    thank you for your honesty and courage. how can that combination be a disappointment? thank you!

  6. Ricki you are an absolute inspiration to me. I have been through hell and high water health-wise for over 3 years now and in September was FINALLY diagnosed with a parasite.. and fairly severe candida overgrowth. I’ve been following a low-carb, ACD since mid-September and, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, have been feeling sooo sorry for myself. But 4 months is nothing compared to 22! If you can do it, I can too. Not that it won’t be hard for me or hasn’t been for you. I really needed to hear this. Here’s to your health!

    • I’ve read that parasites are almost always associated with candida (the herbal cleanse I’ll be doing is actually for parasites). I know how easy it is to feel sorry for ourselves, but important to keep those feelings temporary. Let’s do it together! :)

  7. Wow! Such courage to put all of your feelings in an amazingly personal post. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I love that image of you renewing your vows with your diet. What an wonderful way to embrace this whole experience. Cheers to you, Ricki!

    • Thanks so much, Lisa. And of course, when I say, “diet,” I really mean “philosophy and way of eating,” not “weight-loss regimen,” right? ;)

  8. Ricki, thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling with some dietary changes lately related to adult acne, and I have to admit that I have not stayed on the straight and narrow. In fact today, I made the first steps towards totally giving up when I went to see my conventional dermatologist again. The no sugar life that my naturopath is recommending just feels too hard – there’s a little whiny voice saying “but everyone else gets to eat sugar! why can’t I?!” Which is of course not true because there are lots of people out there (you and my girlfriend to name two) who can’t eat sugar. But I get so hung up on a feeling of deprivation and then I must see IMMEDIATE results or I just think the whole thing isn’t worth it. And it definitely types into some past binging problems for me – (i.e. I can’t have sugar, so I’ll binge on hummus or cheese or whatever else). You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you so much.

    • Katie, I know that voice and it isn’t pretty. ;) I suppose that compared to some other problems, not being able to eat sugar can seem inconsequential, but for those of us addicted–and when the wide world around us indulges freely–it can feel like the greatest void imaginable. I do believe it’s imperative that we not think of it as deprivation, but as something positive we are doing for ourselves that will, ultimately, bring much more freedon and happiness than sugar ever could/will. At the moment of yearning, though, that’s hard to believe.

      • You’re right, Ricki – it’s that crucial shift in thought from feeling deprived to feeling healthy and free from the problems associated with unhealthy food. I’m slowly working my way there, and bloggers like you definitely help!

  9. Thank you for writing this. Of course no will will be disappointed, only relieved to know we don’t sit alone in the shadows of a gripping fear of becoming “what we were”

    I still binge. Sure, it’s often “healthy” foods, but the other day in a whirlwind of stress and fatigue, I ate Brussels Sprouts until I was nauseous. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds to most people!?

    But you get it. So many of us do.

    And your writing and your journey (even though I’m a newer reader, I have been reading archives the past few weeks) continue to inspire and comfort all of us on the path to bettering ourselves, inside and out.

    So, thanks.

    • Thanks so much, AndreAnna. I think my purpose in writing the post despite its somewhat maudlin tone was to reach out to anyone else going through the same thing and help people to realize that it isn’t a smooth progression from one end of the spectrum to the other. I know that, many times in the past, I would have loved to know that someone else with a similar issue had gone through some of the same challenges and come out the other side–that they “get it,” as you said. And thanks for your kind words–much appreciated :)

  10. Looking at the scale and using it to judge yourself is your first glaring mistake. i’m not sure if someone as smart as you wrote this post for sympathy, or what, but for someone who researches nutrition you’re sure looking at the wrong numbers (pounds, calories, etc.)

    • Glad you think I’m smart, Rick. ;)

      I think the power of the scale, despite what one knows rationally, is a deeply rooted emotional response, one that appears instantaneously and without rational thought. Sure, I know that the scale doesn’t define who I am (anyone with any intelligence knows that on a conscious level). I wonder if your lack of empathy here is more reflective of the difference between how men and women are treated in our society. Women are judged by their looks in every realm you can imagine–home, work, play. And while I may be working at never letting the scale dictate my feelings again, it’s a long, slow process of changing ingrained habits and reactions. I am assuming you never had that problem (from looking at your blog, I didn’t see any “about” page or personal history).

      Apart from the pounds themselves, a weight gain results in feeling sluggish, being unable to move as easily, clothes feeling uncomfortable, indigestion, and an intensification of symptoms that had previously abated. That’s not good in any case, regardless of the number on the scale.

  11. What a beautiful and honest post, Ricki. I see myself in much of what you wrote, and I love the quotes you’ve included. It is good for all of us that are obsessed with food to stop and look at what we’re eating and why.

    The only resolution I made this year is to try to be mindful – mindful of what I’m eating and why. Mindful of whether or not I’m focused on the moment, or escaping from it. I’ve already found that difficult. But, you’re right – it is a bumpy road and I’m trying to mindful of riding the bumps, as well. :)

    • I love your resolution, Deanna. It’s one of my goals for the year, too. Unlike those to whom these things come naturally, it may take a bit more work for us to accomplish the goal, but I have no doubt we both will. :)

  12. Thinking about you, Ricki, and hoping you reach your goals.

  13. Thank you for sharing this very well-written post. I can relate on many of these points and it’s what I refer to as food addiction – and those who haven’t experienced just don’t understand. Even after maintaining my weight loss (75lbs) for a couple years, and adopting a lifestyle where I continue to become more fit and healthy every day, I still struggle with my relationship with food – specifically my tendency to binge in certain situations. I don’t know that it will every go away and right now I think the best things I can do are to be really good about my choices and watch more portions when I’m not in binge situations (ie, holidays, parties, etc) and more importantly to not beat myself up when it does happen. Because I know how much progress I’ve made overall, and I don’t want to go back to that dark place where I can’t accept my decisions and myself.

    Maybe that’s not exactly striving for the best I can be, but it’s what I’m comfortable with right now. ((hugs))

    • I’ve often said that sugar is every bit as addictive as crack or heroin–perhaps more. And you’re right; my honey, who doesn’t have that gene, has no empathy for any kind of addiction, food or otherwise; he just can’t understand how it can happen. I think you’re right to focus on the progress you HAVE made and realize how far you’ve come. None of us is ever perfect (darn!), but striving for the best you can be is a pretty laudable goal, I’d say.

  14. Rick, I think this has way less to do with the scale itself then what the creeping of those five pounds means to Ricki. This is way more of a self-evaluation and introspective post on personal strength and gains than weight loss, calories, and inches.

    It’s a shame you didn’t get that because it was really well-written and soulful.

  15. Thank you for this honest post, Ricki. You and I share the same beast, as well as the same current motivation. I have been on a weight roller coaster for 10 years, and the cause is most certainly binging (and then not binging, and then falling back into binging again). The pattern has been every 2 years I pull in the reigns and renew my commitment to healthy eating. In 2010, my first year of veganism, I gained 10 pounds. People ask how that can happen.. easy! Yes, too much of a good thing definitely exists..

    Best wishes to you in your renewed commitment to your eating. I will certainly continue reading, and will be fighting the binge monster with you!

    • I think for most of us who struggle with weight there is a similar cycle (for me, it used to be: diet; get a boyfriend; gain weight; freak out and dump the boyfriend; diet. . . etc.) I’m so glad we’ll be fighting this fight (virtually) together–wishing you strength and success in your own journey. :)

  16. Ricki, hugs & good luck! I too am on the ACD, so I feel your pain. I understand what you mean, & completely understand the acceptance of the fact that this may well be my dietary guidelines for the rest of my life (& having to deal with that disappointed little girl inside who can’t have sweets anymore).

    I haven’t been on the ACD for as long as you (it’ll be a year in April), but I have been able to reintroduce things that were previously out. Cocoa was one of those things. I too am a binge eater (even on broccoli, zucchini, lettuce, cucumber, whatever I can, really). Food is that comforting distraction at times. Now that I can have cocoa again, I find my own inner-binger coming out to play, & it alarms me. I don’t want my health & determination to falter because of that.

    I love that quote from Nietzsche. It’s so damn true. That self-destructive aspect of ourselves coming out to play, when we thought that the chains we’d bound on them were tight enough to keep them at bay. But no, now & then it escapes to mess with us a little more. I find myself asking ‘why do I want this?’ when I feel the need to rummage through the cupboard & eat anything that will deliver some form of comfort, then reach for my bottle of water (though there are occasions when I succumb, especially around ‘that’ time of the month).

    I applaud your bravery for writing this post, & can only respond with support & to cheer you on in your battle against Candida. In any journey there are ups & downs, & this is merely a down. But it won’t last forever.

    (Also, I think we’re all feeling a little heavy post-Christmas. Really, who doesn’t?!?!!)

    xo

    • I’ve read that cocoa (cacao, chocolate, etc.) can trigger cravings because of its acidity; magnesium is supposed to help allay that reaction. And while I’ve personally never had problems eating too many veggies, I do understand that the very definition of bingeing would encompass that (ie, eating w/o really paying attention to the taste or nutritional qualities of food). However, I’m sure I’ve more than made up for it with sweets. ;) I do know that most of us gain weight over the holidays, but this post has been brewing since before that time.

      Thank you so much for your supporte and comment–so very appreciated!

  17. Thank you for this post, Ricki! I am sending you and e-mail :-)
    But I did want to say that no one would or could EVER think you are a failure or a disappointment. Are you kidding me?! You are amazingly strong and will always be a success/winner/whatever-positive-word-you-want-to-insert-here in my book.

    Courtney

  18. Thank you for writing this and articulating the struggle and journey so many of us have. It helps so much to have people like you being open and honest about it. Emotions are more the issues the food so often but it’s easier to talk about and manage what we eat. Another really helpful book is Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss is also really helpful.

    I can’t yet see a light at the end of my tunnel but your candidness is helping to guide me towards action. Thanks again.

    • I’m so glad to know that my writing about it might help someone else to feel as if s/he is not alone in this struggle. And don’t worry about not seeing that light just yet–it’s a really long tunnel, so just keep going through! ;) Thanks for the book rec as well. I’ll look for it. :)

  19. I’m so glad you posted this. People think ACD and weightloss go hand in hand. ACD is not a weightloss diet. It is to heal the body. While sure it might stabilize or you might lose at first, it isn’t a restrictive calorie diet. When I was strict I gained weight actually. When I am more lax and take a more intuitive approach, I lose weight (and not from pain or discomfort). It is hard to do both at the same time and I do feel the strictness triggers binging even with approved foods.
    I too fight the sugar demon and tried to be even off everything including fruit for a long time but it caused a lot of mental distress. When I allow myself a piece of fruit now I no longer get angry or irrational or even eat a lot of it. Some weeks go by without fruit at all, but I CAN have it, and mentally that is what I need. Same with bread, but I still rarely partake. Sure, it is bad for the candida but if I can’t mentally handle the total restriction I can’t better myself fully. When I restrict I binge, and that took a long time for me to figure out.

    • I’d never thought of it that way, but of course most would assume tht such a restrictive diet would imply weight loss. And I agree entirely that the mental distress can often cause more harm than a slight lapse in the boundaries of the ACD.

  20. First off, I think a 5 pounds gain is pretty normal. But, it is also a sign to get things back in balance. I have ignored 5 pound gains before because they are JUST 5 pounds, but if one keeps doing that, well one might be looking at 20 pounds at some point. Been there.

    I too struggle with sugar addiction. Luckily, my body doesn’t go as nuts for the lower glycemic sweeteners as it does the real cane sugar. Phew! I am reducing all sweets for now. Just feels right after the holidays.

    Thanks for your honesty and look forward to reading more.

    • Exactly–I might not normally stress over 5 lb, but based on past experience, I know that it’s the gateway to more. Best to nip in the bud, simultaneously reinforce new habits.

  21. JessBubbles says:

    Thank you for your honest and heartfelt post! I have been dealing with candida on my own since 2007, but started seeing a naturopath last summer. I’ve been without refined sugars and wheat since 2007, but the list of restricted foods became quite long last summer. Your post expresses a lot of the things that I think and feel and do. When I find a dessert recipe that fits the program, I bake it, and often hoover down the whole batch of cookies, the whole cake or pie, or all the ice cream. I have to be so strict, so careful, ALL the time, that when something yummy comes my way (that’s ACD), I let loose and can’t stop myself.
    I like the renewing vows business. I have some symptom return, so I too am renewing my vow to my ACD!
    And about the 5 lbs, that’s how it starts. The first 5, then a couple months later it’s another 5. So the first 5 is a big deal, and it should raise alarm bells. I have heard it said that most people that put on those 2-5 lbs at Christmas, don’t lose it over the year, and steadily put on 2-5 lbs every Christmas.
    So anyways, you have lots of support, Ricki, even from those of us that read your blog all the time, but don’t necessarily always make themselves known :o) And for the readers, your blog and recipes let us know that we’re supported, too.
    -jess, B.C., Canada

    • Yep, it’s those darned desserts, isn’t it? I agree that a “mere” 5 lb can easily balloon to 10 or 20, so ignoring it isn’t an option. That said, I’m focusing more on the types of foods I eat and won’t be changing my diet specifically to lose weight; I’m aiming to quell the sugar urges. I am so thankful for the support of all of you, and such a fantastic world of bloggers and readers.

  22. What a beautifully honest post, Ricki! I wish I could wave a magic wand and make your health problems disappear. You’re such a trooper though, I don’t think I would have your positive attitude if I had to give up so many foods. You’re an inspiration for all of us!

    Disappoint your readers? You would have to try very, very hard! You would have to start kicking puppies or stealing old ladies’ wallets in order to disappoint us! :)

    • River, you always, always make me smile. :) Obviously, the puppies are safe with me (but perhaps the old ladies should watch out?–only if they’re baking cookies, I suppose!) Many thanks and hugs to you!

  23. I am so sorry to hear that cravings have returned. The same thing happens to me too. If we have things in the house that are baked they seem to call me which makes weight maintenance or loss very difficult.

    You have such a great attitude I am sure you will get a handle on this. It is just a matter of trying new things and figuring out what works for you.

    hugs,
    Ali

    • Thanks so much, Alicia. And I have heard the baked goods calling–they call to me, too. ;) Thanks so much for your comment and kind thoughts!

  24. Such a poignant, heartfelt post, Ricki! I’m one of those readers you could never disappoint. A couple of things that come to mind and let me be clear that I can often offer crystal clear insight to others, but can’t always fix all my own issues along the same lines. I know that a while back when I was successfully losing weight, eating gluten free, dairy free, sugar free (no stevia or alternative unrefined sugars even) and pretty much eating ACD, I was almost “separated” from food. I used it as fuel first and foremost. The pounds dropped, I felt great, but I also felt a little sad and really bored when it came to meals. As I added more “excitement” back into my meals, then I wanted more of that excitement and well, you pretty much know how the rest goes. Of course, I’m still gluten free, but struggle daily with the rest. I’m not here to tell my story, but it didn’t matter what kind of sweetener I used, if it was sweet, I had to have more. I know that’s not true of everyone, but that sweetness (ACD acceptable, unrefined, whatever) just triggers the binge/hunger gene for me. Unlike what others mentioned, I NEVER binge on meat, fruit (appleas and bananas are my main fruits and one satisfies), or veggies. I coudn’t even binge on them if I tried, but anything sweet is another matter. Also, you didn’t really address this, but being a food blogger also works against you/me/us as we always want to make prettier, cooler desserts than we made last week or the week before. Even if we give some away to friends/family, we’ll still eat some … and maybe some more … and some more. Yes, we share recipes for main meals, veggies, etc., but we know what wows our readers and makes them love us are our baked good recipes. We know because we feel the same way when we read our friends’ blogs. So how does one fix that issue? I don’t know, but I’d like the answer for all of us. Maybe switch to an interior decorating blog? ;-) Kidding! (mostly)

    Big hugs and please know this is just a bump in the road. A bump that’s lasted too long perhaps and one that requires reflection and change, but still a bump. xo,

    Shirley

    • Wow, Shirley. Thank you so much for this–so many incredible points and great insights. Like you, sweets are my major weakness–it doesn’t really matter the source–stevia is just as appealing as sugar. I can also totally relate to your point about losing the “excitement” of food when eating bland or simple foods (well, I guess that’s why we ended up as food bloggers, right?). I do think blogging provides its own challenges to the food-addicted, but I don’t believe that abandoning the blog is the answer. As you say, change is a better way to go–besides, life without change is just boring, right? ;)

  25. I’m right there with you, Ricki. Everything you’ve written describes my experience with candida, binges, impatience….all of it. We will make it to the other side.

  26. Ricki – What an incredible post. So much of it hit home for me as well. I am definitely a binger. Take my Chocolate Chunk Pecan Squares for instance. I DEFINITELY binged on those babies. And suffered for it for a few days after. I adore sweets. Adore them. And have never been able to just have one (cane sugar, bleached white sugar, sweet potato sweetened…all of it, like Shirley). Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I feel better knowing that I’m not alone, and that one of my good bloggie friends is beside me (and I’m beside her) in this journey that is total health. I can’t wait to see more of your ACD recipes, sweet or savoury. I know I will continue to learn from you and be inspired by you.
    xoxo

    • Thanks so much, Maggie. I know what you mean about the effect of the CC Pecan Squares (then again, they were pretty stellar) ;) And I’m so glad to count you as a friend, too. :)

  27. What a wonderful post, Ricki! I’m sure you’re articulating what many of us go through all too often — it’s good to know when we’re not alone! I, too, struggle with candida and too often (more often than you, I’m afraid) veer from my original, strict diet. I also have been in the testing recipe shoes you speak of, where 3 cookies turns to 4…you get the picture. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! Best of luck as you continue your journey : )

    • I may have known that there are lots of us “out there” (we wouldn’t have the plethora of diet books, studies, articles, etc. about this problem otherwise), but it is so heartening to hear directly from so many readers about this. While it’s a really difficult journey, I know that the transition is always made easier when it’s shared–whether literally or in spirit–with others who’ve been there (or are still there), too. Wishing you the same luck and continued determination–we will both get there!

  28. Ricki, you will never disappoint your readers. Thank you so much for such an honest post.

  29. Could never be disappointed in you. You have done so well and I am sure that was so difficult to write/admit! I fully understand as it sneaks up on me too and did in November while experimenting with sugar free, wheat free, low carb recipes…..even stevia baked goods can lead me to binge it seems…..I am back on track trying to lose the pudge I put on in November and December though and you will lose those 5lb. I think we always have to be super mindful of the binge monster and try to stop him at one attack instead of days to months to extra weight….a constant battle but we won’t give up! Thank you for the wonderful site, recipes and everything you do!

    • Christi, your approach is one I intend to follow, too–just get back on track and continue ahead. I slipped a bit on the “days to months” aspect, but I, too, feel back on track. And thank you for your kind words. :)

  30. So sorry to read of your sadness about your weight gain but I hope at least your fantastic weight loss will give you some heart that it can be done again and that you are still far below the weight that you were when you started the blog. I read that Irving Yalom book many years ago and loved it. That is a great quote from it and I understand it well. The body and mind are such a mystery but one thing is for sure – you wont be kept from finding a way to enjoy good food no matter what restriction is placed on your diet. Gook luck with your cleanse!

    • Johanna, thanks so much. And yes, still way below the place at which we started! I think that, like any new skill, eating differently and keeping weight off is a back-and-forth endeavor. As someone who learned to drive a car rather late in life, I acquired the necessary skills in a “one step forward, two steps back” fashion, and it did take a long while before I felt at ease behind the wheel. I’m choosing to look at this latest development in a similar way–a step back, but ultimately, still moving forward toward the goal. And I’ve got a little crush on Yalom, now, I think! ;)

  31. Second that emotion; I posted a similar rant on my blog just the other day. I appreciate you taking the time to write this out, and appreciate the courage you have to share it. Binge eating is so difficult, especially when you’ve ever gone through a period where you weren’t sure what you could eat and if you could eat…which any of us who have adopted the ACD or elimination diet have experienced. Here’s to renewed resolutions, and the strength to see them through!

    • It’s funny how the new year sparks such reflection and renewed determination (which is a good thing). I loved what you wrote in your post about the everyday difficulties of living with your own food restrictions, which, for the average person, are almost unthinkable. As I said on your post, you manage it with aplomb. Wishing you a 2011 that’s better than 2010, and continued movement toward your goals after that!

  32. JohannaJS says:

    I really appreciated this post. I had an unhealthy relationship with overeating/starving myself, but have been so inspired in the last couple of years by wholesome cooking and baking (and how wonderful it makes me feel) that food has become my medicine rather than my curse. As you said, I now eat to live. Wonderful nutritionists like you have made this transition a lasting one because I am always so inspired by your beautiful recipes and when I make them, I am satisfied with smaller portions. I get really excited talking about nutritious food now. Giving “Sweet Freedom” as a Christmas present was wonderful because I got to share my love of good food with people, and they were so excited, they started talking about it to their friends! Thank you for what you do! I’m currently in detox. Die-off made me miserable but I’m starting to feel much better. All the best to you!

    • Johanna, thanks so much. I have the same feeling about healthy foods; luckily, I love healthy foods as much as my trigger foods. And I’m thrilled that Sweet Freedom started those dialogues! Hope the die-off ends soon and things return to normal for you. :)

  33. Please don’t think your readers would be disappointed in you, and please don’t be disappointed in yourself. Really, I and I’m sure all your other readers simply value your honesty and probably find it reassuring that you have food “issues”, especially the women as we all have our own struggles with food, although they might manifest themselves in different ways. All the best :)

    • After reading all your amazing comments, I do realize that’s true–everyone struggles with issues, whether food or something else. Thanks so much. :)

  34. Great and honest post, Ricki. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I wonder if you would have the same cravings if you only used stevia? I use your recipes, but only use stevia in them as a sweetner because I have found that the other sweetners created that craving for sweets I don’t want. Using stevia does change the recipe, but if it comes out unacceptable, I just don’t make it again. I have found my favorites and stick to them, eating “dessert” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and dessert if I want–still losing weight and no cravings. When I do cut something out of my diet for a day or so it is a carb such as sweet potatoes or brown rice, but that is seldom needed for more than one meal or even for a day. (I can’t have dairy, gluten, any form of sugar except stevia, or white rice or white potatoes, so my diet is rather extreme. Yet your recipes have been my life savers! Thank you so much for sharing them and enriching my life.

    • Susan, yes, stevia doesn’t really alter the cravings. I don’t want to imply that I walk around with sugar cravings 24/7, though–I don’t–but certain foods do seem to trigger them. I like your idea of cutting back on carbs (and do that myself) as it seems to calm the system a bit. And thank you so much for your kind comment! If my blog is useful to even one reader, I feel I’ve done a good job. :)

  35. Rita and I read you for inspiration in our own journey. WeEach of us aspires to perfection but in everyday life there are only temporary victories. That does not make the striving less worthwhile. You are an essential part of our ‘team’ as we work to figure out our own optimum fuel mixes and battle the setbacks. Thank you for each and every post!

    • Gretchen, your support and feedback have been a constant presence here on the blog since you started reading, and I so appreciate it. I’m honored and delighted to know that you consider me part of your team. Go team! :)

  36. Kerri (Tigerlily) says:

    Hi Ricki -
    Thanks for sharing this with us all. We all have our struggles, and it’s nice to hear that I’m not alone!

    I, too, have trouble eating reasonable amounts with certain (many) foods, and would love to better understand why so that I could stop. I’ve been on the McCombs plan for candida (as I mentioned to you a few months back). Dr. McCombs does not allow any sugar or sugar-substitutes (even stevia), as they can all affect your brain’s reaction to the food, and, consequently, your body’s reaction to it. I’ve had serious success with his regimen (after an agonizing 2 years of a rollercoaster with rounds of threelac and caprylic acid). Have you ever thought about trying his recommendations? I found that I didn’t have the willpower to resist making wonderful acd-friendly baked goods on threelac, etc…and so the mccombs plan actually helped me significantly to eliminate that temptation (and the die-off hell that always resulted from binging). I also found out through this process that I have an intense bloodsugar issue that had somehow been masked by the other diets. It surprised me, but at least now I can address it.

    I wish you the best of luck. I thought I’d be stuck for life on the ACD too, until I found Dr. McCombs (THANKS BE TO GOD!). I’m looking forward to testing the new breakfast recipes (whatever ones I can have). Thank you so so much for your blog. It’s been a constant companion for me over the last year or so since I found it.

    God bless.

    • Thanks so much, Kerri. Yes, I’ve read about McCombs and have considered following his plan. What I don’t like is that it requires you to buy his own specific brand of products–always a deterrent for me. However, it’s on my list of “to-try” if I don’t continue to improve on the regimen I’m following now. I am so happy that it’s working for you, though! Does this mean that you are now able to eat whatever you wish? (that really would be miraculous!). :)

      • I agree with you on buying his supplements. After searching endlessly online, I could not find an equivalent substitute for either his probiotic or Vit c product, but Thorne definitely manufactures the undecenoic acid, and you can get it almost half price through amazon (considering shipping and everything). I’m sure you could sub in another strong probiotic, but the vit c product is really only available through him. I’m not quite ready to eat everything, but I am able to eat fruit now without feeling drunk or flushed, etc…it’s a very good step. Plus I just feel better.

        Good luck with everything! :)

        • That is so fantastic–congratulations! :)

          • Dr. McCombs says:

            If you’d ever like to find out more about my program, let me know. Correcting fungal candida is usually an easy issue. Unfortunately, candida also can create blood sugar regulation issues, which can sometimes be corrected through the Plan, but may also require a second approach. In people with severe blood sugar dysregulation, I have a Blood Sugar Protocol for them to follow. No supplements. Skin problems are strongly related to low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach. This is another post-antibiotic consequence. In severe cases, supplementing with HCL while doing the Plan can usually resolve this.

          • Thanks so much for your comment–your plan was actually one of those recommended to me when I first began the anti-candida protocol. :) I wasn’t treated with hydrochloric acid, but the issue has resolved for the most part. It does make sense, as I’ve taken many an antibiotic in my past. ;)

  37. Wow,that quotation, “when we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago” is so powerful & true. It makes this past year of stressful, tired, reversing to bad habits, etc. make more sense. Your journey is a testement to us all! While we may not be battling ACD or some other tough health food-related issue, we do all go through the ugly, the bad, and the good. I’m looking forward to a challenging & beautiful 2011 and I can’t wait to read about your journey in the months to come!

    • Jes, I’m glad it resonated for you. And glad to read on your blog that 2011 is looking better than 2010 for you–best of luck with it, and I’ll be following along, too. :)

  38. Hi Ricki,
    I could never be disappointed by you. It’s good to hear other stories to know that you’re not going through this alone. Food is a major part of life and in the past two years I’ve learned that most people don’t take food issues seriously (especially Drs. in our case). It’s made me toughen up and be more vocal about my sons problems.
    Sugar is a real problem for us and Eli is definitely binges on sugar. I wish I could say refined sugar was out of our diet but I cannot. I find myself feeling like I’m depriving him, which I’m not but it’s hard to quiet those voices sometimes.
    Anyway all I really wanted to say was I will continue to stop by for great recipes and Elsa(4 yrs) loves to see the puppy pictures.

    • Thanks so much, Annette. I think it’s very difficult to eradicate sugar from our lives, especially for children, without making every single thing you eat from scratch. And the power of sugar is made all too clear when it can affect a child like Eli so obviously. I’m glad that Elsa enjoys the Girls’ input! :)

  39. Ahhhh Ricki,
    I hear you loud and clear… I know exactly where you are coming from and how you feel. I too… think my candida might be back. They keep telling me no but, what do they know.

    My tongue has been burning for 2 months now. I feel defeated and could almost swear like a sailor. I am so mad,… I have followed all the rules. I have never been off the candida diet since starting it. I do eat some carbs… but it seems I can’t eat any carbs and that brings in a whole new set of problems. I can’t digest raw vegetables well either…

    I have called Humaworm and am going to let them have a go at me and see if they can heal me because I am tired, defeated and could almost sit and bawl…. It will cost me about the same if I buy all the herbs or let them do it…. so here we go again!!

    Hope you heal FAST!!! Terry

    • Terry, I’m so sorry to hear about this. One thing about candida is that it’s tenacious–so we have to be that much more tenacious to conquer it. I’m not familiar with Humaworm and will look it up–thanks. I know how difficult this path is, but your approach is really the best one–here we go again–as many times as necessary to make it stick! And hey, if it helps, go ahead and swear like a sailor. ;)

  40. Oh Ricki, of course we’re not disappointed! I always think that too when I have to admit to bingeing, but the truth is, we all understand and have been there right with you. I’ve found that the old binge monster definitely lurks to hit me when I’m tired or stressed (okay, like right now…I got less than 3 hours of sleep last night and was totally overeating WHILE I was reading your post). But also like you, adding in baked goods, even if they don’t have sugar, can tempt me to eat too much. I don’t know if this is the case for you, but I’ve realized that agave nectar has basically the same effect on my body as sugar, so I had to give it up.

    I know you’ll find your way back to where you feel right, and we’re all happy to go on the journey with you. Now, I’m off to write one of those posts I’ve been avoiding too!

    • I don’t *think* I have that reaction to agave, though I’ve been very careful to limit my intake to very small amounts (I always combine it with other sweeteners that I’m okay with). Coconut sugar is different, I think–but I’m still experimenting. I appreciate your support and have been following your own journey on your blog–and am so happy to find inspiration and thoughtful reflection there. I’m off to read your post. :)

  41. hmm, alot of thoughts running through my head as i read this, perhaps the most important, is that you’ve found ways to enjoy this new way of eating (i wouldn’t use the word diet). so perhaps you will always need to follow this plan, but I think you’re laughing in the candida beasts’ face!

    i know i have felt all these thoughts and feelings that you’re going through, and certainly am not disappointed! *hugs*

    • You’re right, Shannon–I could definitely live this way and not feel deprived. . . 95% of the time. ;) Thanks for the hugs, and back at you. :)

  42. Thank you for your honesty. I just recently found your blog and have found a lot of inspiration through your honesty. Your right for most of us the issue isn’t food, but something more. So many of us eat when we are bored, frustrated, sad, or happy. Being more mindful in my everyday life is something that I have been striving for. Mindful eating has really helped not only with getting my health on track but is a great reminder to slow down in other areas of my life as well. Thank you so much for the post!

    • Good for you for being more mindful in general–I think with the pace of life today, that’s hard to do. And I’m so glad to hear that your health has improved. Thanks so much! :)

  43. What a beautifully honest post. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve only recently started reading your blog, so I didn’t know your history, but I’m so thankful that someone is writing about the things that many of us struggle with in the quiet. I see so much of my struggle in your words, and your bravery to share and help others is such an inspiration. Thank you!

  44. AlaskaSmiles says:

    Ricki, I’m disappointed! I just started an ACD diet in April and I’ve had many ups and downs, most recently a huge relapse in October eating chocolate and wheat (small amts). I’m also gluten-intolerant and vegan. I really don’t have a problem with the restrictive diet most of the time, except baked goods and french fries which of course I’ve not had since then.

    What I’m disappointed with is that you’ve been doing this for 22 months! I thought I’d feel better by now, and did the 3rd week in, though have relapsed since…it’s a real struggle! I’m glad you’re here to share your experience and good food, esp vegan food.

    I’ve recently, the past 5 years, realized that our wealth, is our health, and without it really, we have nothing. Thank you to everyone who’s posted here with their insight and experiences. I have a great ND, but the diet is up to me, as my relationship with my wealth of health! I look forward to you Ricki posting your ACD!

    • I think maybe at this point, I should refer to my diet as “my diet” instead of the ACD, since it seems that’s what it’s going to be from now on, but I don’t feel right saying that until I’m on some sort of maintenance, and I don’t know what that looks like yet (I’m still following Stage 2 guidelines for the most part, a few things from Stage 3). The one huge problem with this diet for most people is that if you veer off of it, you have to go back to square one and start at the beginning all over again. I’ve never “cheated” in the way you mention, either with sugar or gluten or moldy/yeasty foods, but I do overdo it on certain otherwise limited items. I’ve found that a few days of following an earlier stage of the diet is very helpful in those cases.

      I should also mention that my situation seems to be different from most–for most people, from what I read, a much shorter plan is usually sufficient to rebalance the gut flora and kick out the excess candida. I’ve probably done so much damage to my system in the past that a much longer healing period is required. And just so you know, the longer you stay on it, the easier it becomes. :)

      I couldn’t agree more about health = wealth; what are material goods, fame, whatever, if you are too ill to enjoy them?

  45. But congratulations on what you’ve achieved – don’t forget how far you’ve come (and how many amazingly delicious recipes you’ve created on the way!)
    And five pounds is five pounds but if you’re healthy and happy…?
    Take care and I’ll stick around! xx

    • I agree, Eleanor, five pounds on its own isn’t a massive gain. In my case, though, I have decades of experience to tell me what it might portend. If I were at an ideal (comfortable) weight to begin with, I would likely not even notice these five. . . but on top of the existing excess, it does feel like a lot; I notice the difference physically. I also think the psychological associations are perhaps more damaging than the weight itself! Can’t argue with recipes, though, which never change. ;)

  46. Hi Ricki-
    thanks for your courageous post! It’s so helpful because we’re all human and it’s harder when we struggle with what we work on professionally. And yet if we didn’t, I think it would be harder to relate to others in a similar situation.

    great big hugs!

  47. Ricki, you are an amazing woman, and the fact that you can admit online that you are in fact human makes you even more amazing!

    You certainly have my support in getting on track and also my understanding. Once you tackle your beasts, maybe you can help me with mine :)

  48. i am a long time reader, but have never commented before. i just wanted to take a moment to thank you, ricki, for this amazing post. i am not sure i have connected to a blogger’s post quite like this one before. this is honest and real and it makes me feel like i am not alone in this struggle against the binge monster.

    i love this: “The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable”

    and i love this even more: “…the great philosopher, who theorized: ”when we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.” In other words, we regress to earlier behaviors after trauma or too much stress or overwork.”

    really, ricki, i feel like you just put so much into perspective for me! i’ve been struggling with this issue recently too and have also rededicated myself to the diet that best suits my lifes-style. thank you again for this wonderful, inspiring, and raw post. i appreciate it more than you know!

  49. Ricki,

    You and I have the same Candida issue! I have been “trying” to follow a gluten free, sugar free, etc diet for quite some time. I thought it was okay to have choco powder, agave nectar, and some other sweetners. I am still re-acting to them! I am on anti fungal medication (orally), but still having lots of symptoms! I even have the rashes too! For all the points you were describing on the Candida, it sounded just like me! I think even the “binge thinking” concerning eating the bad foods has crossed my mind as well. It’s almost like an entitlement issue.
    Thanks for writing this post! I am defitnely interested in all of your Candida free recipes! You are so creative!

    God Bless You!
    Jeanie

  50. Ricki, sugar and chocolate have the similar effect on me – no matter how long I abstain, the desire to eat even something that is similar to those things can easily get out of control. And I too think my “feel full” device is somewhat broken. Although I have noticed – I feel full and satisfied when I should, if I eat raw. But even if I eat safe gluten-free crackers, they are “moreish” and I feel like i should have seconds, or dessert, or something else.
    Thanks for your honesty and this post!

  51. Hi Ricki,
    I am a little late in commenting on this post…but I am way behind on my Google reader because I’ve been so busy with school and work and life. Anyway, I just wanted to leave you a quick note to tell you that I empathize with your story and I support you 100%. I think it is important for bloggers to be honest about their struggles and I admire you for doing so. Sometimes I think you are superwoman for adhering so strictly to your diet, but I also know that you are human and I have so much respect for you for sharing your difficulties. I also relate to your story, having gone through a painful eating disorder in the past…and I really grew as a person and overcame a lot when I implemented Geneen Roth’s way of looking at food/eating. I try to take pleasure in food and use it as nourishment instead of seeing it as the enemy or a way to control my life. I love the way you used her quote here and I hope that it gives you comfort to see that you are not alone- so many women (and men) struggle with this just like you do, and we are all works in progress. You show a lot of strength and I know that through sharing this you have helped a lot of people.
    As always, I am rambling more than I intended to. Basically I just wanted to say thank you and keep on being the strong, beautiful woman that you’ve always been.

  52. Wow, thank you so so so much for writing that and just being honest. I had literally no idea that fellow ACD followers dealt with binging on ridiculous things like carrots or hummus…it’s been something I’ve struggled with on and off, particularly right now. It must be something about the winter…just too depressing. But anyway, I just wanted to thank you. We’re not alone!

  53. Wow. BRAVA, Ricki, on this candid and remarkable post! There is so much in here that so many women can relate to, and I’m sure that all of your readers feel lucky to have such an honest voice in you right now. Thank you for sharing with us, and I have every confidence that you’ll find balance very soon!

    Nice smoothie, too. If only I liked kiwis.

  54. Thanks Ricki – after recently being diagnosed with candida I’ve come back to looking at this post in a desperate attempt to know where to start. I’ll definitely be looking out for the ACD post you are planning, and hope that you continue to feel better.

  55. I found this post via Google, and I can’t wait to read more from your blog. I am 31, and this past year I had to eliminate gluten and then dairy out of my diet because of my autoimmune disease. I thought my life was over, but THEN it was brought to my attention that I have issues with yeast. Now I KNOW my life is over. lol I’m currently doing Phase 1 of the ACD(for the second time since June). I’ve realized that I now have to come to terms with eating the ACD long-term. I’m discovering that “the beast” doesn’t go away. And like you, it’s a rash that has motivated me to do it right. I have a red ring around my mouth that has (thankfully) subsided since beginning phase 1 again. I keep mourning my old life. I will be okay for awhile, and then I’ll go through a phase where I just wish I was “normal”. I find myself envious of characters on TV as they nonchalantly pour themselves a glass of wine or pick up coffee for everyone at the office. Or I think about my family’s annual hayride that’s coming up this Sunday and how the aunts pass around a candy bag for everyone to enjoy a piece while riding, and I’ll have to pass. My daughter made sugar cookies all by herself, and her comment to me was, “I wish you could try one, Mama.” Feeling like an outsider is as hard (if not harder) as not eating the forbidden food. I’m going through one of those phases right now– just longing to be normal.

    Sorry, I’m normally not such a downer! I look forward to reading more of your blogs. It’s so encouraging to know there are people out there like me who are going through the same emotions that I’m going through. Thank you.

    ~Jessica

    • Jessica, my heart goes out to you. I have been where you are (sometimes, still am) and I know how hard it is. In our house, what has (more or less) happened is that everyone now shares “my” food, so if there’s a dessert on the table, I know I can eat it. I make cookies for my hubby that I can eat, too. Even with those kinds of changes in our lives, it’s still hard most of the time to participate in “regular” activities because yes, you can’t partake of the usual food and drink. I have gotten very accustomed to saying ‘no” and/or bringing my own food! You will, too. And you will also start to focus on other aspects of the get-togethers, such as simply spending time with your family on the hayride rather than eating with them. In the end, you define a new “normal” and seek out other people who eat this way, too.

      Hang in there. It does get easier, and it does get better.

      Ricki

  56. Hi Ricki,

    Thank you for writing your blog – I think you are right in that it is very easy to stick to a strict diet if you instantly come out in a rash – I have been through it too and it took a long time to get back to full health. In the end I contacted a different nutritionist and explained that I wanted to eat normally without suffering from any adverse conditions – she sorted out my immune system, worked out the route cause and within 6 months I was better. I can eat sweet things in moderation and if I overdo things I sense the warning signs. The real road to recovery though was in letting go of the control diet had over me and also in living the life I couldn’t lead before when I had those conditions – a bit like releasing a bird from a cage – is it really ready to fly or does it want to stay there?

    Sometimes if you believe a certain food will give you cravings then it will. One of my best winter warmers is warmed oatmilk or soya milk with cocoa powder – I leave out the sugar because I am used to living without it most of the time though you can add Xylatol – a sugar that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels or candida.

    In diet you need to have both the satisfaction of it and the goodness and it is a fine balancing act – I hope this helps.

    x

    • Thanks so much, Katherine. I’m really intrigued by your comment about sorting out the immune system–this is something my nutritionist and I have been working on, but without 100% success so far (and I’m coming up on 3 years with these symptoms). Six months sounds mercifully short to me!

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