I get a lot of questions about the Candida Diet (or Anti-Candida Diet–ACD, as I call it). Most of the time, people either want to know what it is I ate and/or eat now (I outlined the different stages of my diet, and all the foods I ate, on the FAQ page, here). Sometimes, however, I receive emails or comments about ingredients I use that other people perceive as “wrong” or not allowed on the diet.
One of the things I’ve discovered after being on the diet twice now–a total of almost 10 years all together–is that there IS no single, all encompassing, one-size-fits-all “anti-candida diet.” Depending on whom you ask, you’ll be given different guidelines and lists of foods that are “acceptable.”
Recently, for instance, I was chatting with another holistic nutritionist here in Toronto who has also dealt with candida herself. The diet she followed included fruits from the get-go (as does the McCombs plan). Other nutritionists or naturopaths will tell you to eliminate fruits; some will say that walnuts are fine, while others will insist that all nuts except almonds must be banned from the diet; and so on.
How does a person know what to eat, then?
The answer is simple, in my opinion: eat what works for you.
I think it’s fair to say that white sugar and flour don’t work for anyone with candida overgrowth. On the other hand, some of us tolerate cashews while others don’t; some can eat sweet potatoes while others have a hard time with them.
In order to determine which foods I could or couldn’t eat, I started by scouring the various anti-candida diets out there (and believe me, there are plenty). My goal was to include the broadest possible list of foods while still improving my overall health. I studied the different diets, and, if a food was acceptable on at least one of the established, respected approaches to treating candida, I gave it a try. This allowed me to expand my ingredient repertoire considerably without worsening my symptoms.
Well, imagine my elation when I discovered that The Body Ecology approach to fighting candida allows one (and one only) type of white potato: red skinned potatoes! Apparently, this variety of spud has a much lower sugar content than other white-fleshed potatoes, so it can be eaten fairly safely without feeding the yeast. Yahoo!
Although I bookmarked this Gingered Potato with Browned Onions and Tomato recipe over a year ago, I didn’t actually try it out for the first time until recently. These days, of course, I’ve no qualms about eating potatoes in any case (heck, I even attempted my first Medjool date–in FOUR YEARS–a couple weeks ago!!). I ate the potatoes as a side dish, being sure to pair them with some hefty protein (in the form of lemony baked tofu). They were moderately spiced, slightly crispy on the outside and creamy smooth on the inside–in other words, perfectly prepared potatoes (just try saying THAT three times out loud–harder than staying on the ACD for two years! Okay, not really.).
Even for those of you in early stages of the Anti-Candida Diet, it’s quite possible that this dish may well be considered a “yes” food. If you try it, be sure you buy red-skinned potatoes, taste a small portion at first, wait a day, and see how your symptoms do. After all, even on a “special diet,” isn’t life always better when there are potatoes in it?
["Mum, we agree that life is better with potatoes! Also, with walks like this one on long weekends."]
Four Years Ago: ACD Update (And a Return to Sweetness)
Gingered Potatoes with Browned Onions and Tomatoes
adapted from Meena Pathak’s Indian Cooking for Family and Friends
Simple and quick, these flavorful potatoes work well as a side dish alongside brunch, lunch or a summer BBQ.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 tsp (5 ml) black mustard seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds (or additional 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml ground cumin)
1 pound (450 g) red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground turmeric
1 Tbsp (15 ml) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) mild chili powder
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
1/2-1 tsp (2.5-5 ml) fine sea salt, to your taste
5-10 drops pure stevia liquid, to your taste
1 medium tomato, diced
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
In a large frypan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they begin to crackle and pop, a minute or two; then add the cumin seeds and cook another minute. Add the potatoes, onion and remaining spices. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the broth and cover once more; cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the liquid is evaporated, the onions are golden and the potatoes are just soft.
Add the ginger, salt, stevia, and tomato, and stir to combine. Lower heat, replace the cover, and cook a further 4-5 minutes, until everything is heated through. Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with cilantro, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.
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Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan.
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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or other medical professional; information about the candida diet presented here is simply a summary of information provided by various health professionals and organizations that have developed candida diet plans. I can speak to my own personal experience only. Please be sure to consult with your own health professional before embarking on a new diet or making changes to your own candida diet.