Candida FAQ

Stage One foods from Diet, Dessert and Dogs

[It’s not a dietary prison sentence! Here are just some of the foods you can eat in Stage 1 of the diet. All recipes are on this blog. Clockwise from top: Kale Salad, Fully Loaded; Black Bean Fudge; Mixed Grains and Veggie Bowl; Grain-Free Coconut Flour Biscuits; Sweet Potato Rounds with Sweet Almond Sauce; and High Protein Snackin’ Orbs (two flavor variations).]

After starting to chronicle my personal struggle with Candida Related Complex (CRC, or just plain “candida”) in March, 2009 and living on some form of the diet since then, I put together this FAQ page to answer the dozens of questions from blog readers and others who have either been diagnosed with CRC themselves or believe they are also dealing with candida symptoms. If you’re not sure where to begin, start here.

Q What is Candida Related Complex (CRC)?

CRC is a condition that arises when someone has an overgrowth of yeast (usually candida albicans) in the body.  Although candida usually coexists peacefully with other “good” bacteria in our digestive tracts and on our skin (it’s everywhere all the time) with no ill effects, when it has the opportunity to grow out of control, it can wreak havoc and cause a plethora of symptoms.

Q What is the anti-candida diet (ACD)?

The anti-candida diet (ACD) is a diet specifically designed to reduce the amount of candida yeast (or candida albicans) in the body.  In general, the diet is designed to drastically reduce the amount of yeast by depriving it of foods upon which it feeds (mostly sugary foods or foods that break down into sugars; moldy foods; or yeasty foods); by killing the excess yeast directly (with supplements, creams, prescription medications or other treatments); and by detoxifying the body to clear away any excess candida or destroyed candida organism; and by strengthening the immune system as a safeguard against excess candida (more on the specific diet I follow below).

Q What causes Candida Related Complex (or CRC), an overgrowth of candida?

Candida is a type of fungus, and, like all fungi, it thrives in dark, moist, warm environments.  It also loves to feed on sugars of all kinds.  If, for some reason, your immune system has been compromised and your body is no longer able to keep a balance between candida and “friendly” bacteria; if you’ve taken several courses of antibiotics (which kill off those friendly bacteria and allow yeast to proliferate); if you have consumed large amounts of sugars (which feed the yeast) or refined carbohydrates (which convert to sugar very quickly) over the years; if you have allergies or poor digestion; if you get stressed a lot or easily; if you’ve been on birth control pills or other drugs for any length of time–then you are more susceptible to candida than an average, healthy person.

When the internal environment (or “terrain”) in the body favors candida, it will swoop in and grow out of control. Couple this with an external environment that encourages candida (such as hot, humid weather or sweaty skin), and candida is ready to throw a party. But it can be treated and put in its place once again!

Q What are the symptoms of candida?

The most common symptoms include recurrent vaginal yeast infections; oral yeast infections (thrush); overweaning fatigue; “foggy brain” (the inability to focus or concentrate–as if you are looking at the world through a “fog”); poor concentration or memory; sugar or carb cravings; anxiety; allergies; fuzzy thinking; headaches; skin rashes; sleep disturbances; sinus problems (especially sinus infections); weight gain; and more.  Because many of the symptoms are vague or common to other disorders as well, it’s always best to be diagnosed by a health care provider (though most conventional doctors don’t believe in candida; I see both a naturopath and a holistically-minded MD).

Q How Can I Tell if I Have CRC?

Because everyone has candida albicans in and on their bodies all the time, it’s very difficult to tell if you “have” candida; there are various tests to determine whether you have a candida overgrowth, including a stool analysis, blood test, and what’s called lsls acids test (which looks at products of candida in the urine). However, none of these is 100% accurate.  For that reason, most practitioners use what’s called a clinical diagnosis, looking at the symptoms and subjective experience of the person they’re testing. Many will use a questionnaire as well to examine symptoms, past health history, history of medications, and other factors. In our upcoming book, Living Candida-Free, Andrea Nakayama has devised an extensive questionnaire that can help you assess whether you have a candida overgrowth, and how serious it is.

Q Which diet did you follow?

I started the ACD for the second time in March, 2009.  Back in 1999, I was on the diet for two years; at that time, I followed exactly what my naturopath prescribed, a specially tailored ACD just for me.  This time round, I mostly followed a combination of diets: one that my naturopath recommended, with elements of diets I found in other books on candida and online. I also wrote more about my diet here . (I also discuss the general dietary principles I follow in this post.) As of January, 2015, you’ll be able to read the complete, detailed dietary protocol I followed and then fine-tuned with my colleague, Andrea Nakayama, in my book Living Candida-Free.

However, if you do any research about the ACD, you will find that there are almost as many diets as there are people with candida.  Each individual is different, and you won’t know exactly what works for you until you start the diet and see how it affects your symptoms. For that reason, the diet we include in the book offers different variations so that people can adapt the diet to what suits them best.

Here’s what I did this last time round:

Stage One (the first 4-6 months): I followed a very strict no-sugar, no-fruit, veggie-full, most nuts and seeds (though never peanuts or pistachios), light on gluten-free grains and legumes, as prescribed by my naturopath, to a tee; no diversions. For me, following the diet exactly as prescribed and never cheating (I can’t stress that point enough!) was crucial to my success.  It took almost 6 months for me to see any progress at all, but I knew from previous experience that cheating would only prolong the suffering.

Stage Two: (6-8 months): I moved to Stage 2 of the diet, again adapting to my own needs and body’s reactions, under the guidance of my naturopath. I brought in additional nuts (including the occasional cashews) as well as apple cider vinegar, not advocated by some ACDs, but considered helpful according to many others.  I also ate tofu or tempeh on occasion (again, not all ACDs will recommend it). I allowed one non-sweet fruit a day and also brought some gluten free flours into my life (just the grain-based ones, not the starches).

Stage Three (12+ months): At this stage, I allowed myself the occasional low-glycemic sweetener (such as coconut sugar or agave nectar [but note that agave is now considered a bad choice for the ACD]) in baked goods.  I also bake with the occasional starch (such as tapioca, arrowroot or potato starch) as well as regular gluten-free flours. And I’ve begun to use unsweetened chocolate in baking. I never (never, never, never) consume sugar, maple syrup, Sucanat or other high glycemic sweeteners, sweet dried fruits, tropical fruits, gluten, alcohol, fungus-laden foods such as mushrooms or peanuts, or yeasts of any kind.

I have added pineapple and papaya (both considered “safe” because they supply natural digestive enzymes that help you digest your meals). Although I wasn’t a huge drinker before the ACD, I find that I really do miss having the occasional glass of wine and my beloved Gin and Tonics in the summertime; I’m going to ask my naturopath when he thinks I might introduce a libation such as those back into the menu (if ever).

Maintenance: As I continue to live an anti-candida lifestyle, I know I’ll never again eat refined sugar or flour. On the rare occasion, however, (say, a birthday), I’ve allowed myself to eat something with maple syrup, or dates, or dried fruits. I seem to be okay having these very rarely. I also now allow balsamic vinegar in my diet, but again, only rarely (say, if we’re at a restaurant and I don’t want to ask for yet another special request!).

I also followed a naturopath-prescribed regimen to detox and get myself physically in better shape. This included daily sweating in an infrared sauna; oral chelation (heavy metal detox); supplements to cleanse both candida and parasites; and regular exercise.  I have been attempting to bring back my former practice of daily meditation, but haven’t been quite successful at that so far. I’m working on a detox-related post and will link up to it as soon as it’s published.

Q What kind of reactions did you have to detoxing, if any?

I’ve done more than one detox, since I’ve been on the diet twice now (once starting in 1999, and once in 2009).  The first time on the diet, I approached it entirely the wrong way–a sudden, massive change in diet paired with some very strong herbal supplements (prescribed by a naturopath). Naturally, I had a horrible detox reaction.  The second time, in 2009, I eased into it, properly, and had virtually no “die-off” reaction.  I describe my experiences in more detail in this post.

Q How long will it take to get better?

Every person is different, so it’s impossible to say how long it will take one individual versus another.  It depends on the severity of your symptoms, how well you adhere to the diet, environmental factors, your body and metabolism, and probably another hundred or so factors about which I’m not knowledgeable.

For most people, a total of 2-3 months, moving from the most strict to a more relaxed stage of the diet, is usually sufficient to clear up the symptoms and return them to their normally healthy state.  I do know that my case is highly atypical (lucky me!). It’s almost unheard of for someone to follow the strict diet for two years.  At this point, however, I have brought back quite a few foods that were forbidden in early stages of the diet, and I’m quite used to eating this way.

Even after five years on the diet, I would not say I am “cured.”  If I eat too many carbs in a day or too many “special” foods (such as dried fruit, or sweets with coconut sugar), symptoms flare by the next morning.  I also continue to struggle with intermittent cravings and weight fluctuations (which I wrote about here). According to my holistic doc, if  you’ve had candida once, you are more prone to relapses; and every time it returns, it returns more forcefully, and is more difficult to get back under control.  Given my experience ten years ago and my experience since 2009, I would say this is true for me.

Q. Which sweeteners can I have? 

Depending which stage of the diet you’re on, there are different types of sweeteners you can use.  When you first start, all sweeteners except stevia (a zero calorie, zero glycemic index herbal sweetener) are usually forbidden.  This would mean no sugar, no syrups, no evaporated cane juice, no palm sugar, no molasses, no dried fruits (the sugars are concentrated), no fresh fruits except lemon, lime and avocado, no juices except veggie juice (and even then, no carrot juice, which contains concentrated sugars), and absolutely, positively, DEFINITELY no artificial sweeteners! You can read my take on stevia here.

At later stages in the diet, you may bring in some low glycemic fruits (apples, pears, berries, peaches, apricots, etc.) and even later, low glycemic sweeteners (yacon syrup, coconut sugar or palm sugar, coconut nectar, vegetable glycerinbe sure it is food grade, though).  Please note that, when I started this diet in 2009, agave nectar was considered a good low-glycemic sweetener for those on the ACD. Since then, we’ve discovered that agave contains a fairly high level of fructose, which can be hard on the liver. As a result, I’ve changed my mind on agave in the early stages (your liver has enough to contend with at that time!!). So, I do now have agave very infrequently (maybe 4x/year or less), but wouldn’t use it regularly.

I try to keep my sweetener use to a minimum; if I do use coconut sugar, for instance, I always combine it with stevia so I can keep the coconut sugar amount very low (no more than 1/4 cup in most recipes).  I find the combination allows me to benefit from the flavor and binding qualities of the sugar while avoiding the consequences of eating too much sweetener. I’ve also recently discovered xylitol and have come to love it as a dry sweetener (but if you’re new to xylitol, go very slowly and start with very little; it can cause bloating and gas if you’re not accustomed to it).

I also wrote a post that provides a bit more information about some of my favorite ACD-friendly sweeteners, when you can eat them, and how to use them, here.

Q Can I Follow a Vegan Diet and Still Do the ACD?

As someone who is doing just that, I would, of course, answer “yes” to this question.  However, since candida feeds on carbohydrates (a staple food among vegans), it may mean that your progress moves at a slower pace on a vegan diet (but you can still get better!). Since I was determined that vegans could follow a plant-based anti-candida diet and succeed, I made sure that the complete diet protocol in Living Candida-Free was offered in a vegan variation (as well as the omnivorous options that were designed by Andrea).

Other versions of the diet don’t provide vegan options. Most will suggest that you cannot follow a vegetarian diet and effectively fight off candida yeast; they recommend animal sources of protein along with a careful recommendation to delve into the sources of your protein so that the animals were humanely raised and slaughtered. Others are more accommodating and offer a vegetarian plan along with the “regular” plan.

All of the recipes on this blog after March, 2009 are ACD-friendly; many before that are, too.  The Recipe Index is a good place to start, as are the Anti-Candida Breakfasts: What Do You Eat? and the Anti-Candida Desserts: What Do You Eat? posts.

Q. What about eating at the holidays–how can I stay on the diet when everyone around me is feasting on foods I can’t eat?  Can’t I cheat, just a little?

While I’d never presume to tell anyone else what to do, it’s important to realize that if you do “cheat,” the next day will revert to Day One on the diet.  In other words, according to anti-candida experts, eating anything with one of the “forbidden” foods will undo all of the progress up to that point.  My personal feeling (and please note, I am not a scientist or medical professional–this is simply my own personal experience) is that, once you reach maintenance, it’s okay to have the occasional “treat”–as long as you wait until you’ve been stable for at least three or four months, AND you limit your “treat” to just one, small, portion.  From my own personal experience, I’ve found that nearly impossible to accomplish (one treat leads to another, and another. . . before you know it, you’re back at Stage One of the diet), so I prefer to simply stay within the bounds of the diet all the time.

It’s not as difficult as you’d imagine to mingle with others during the holidays and still remain true to the ACD. I write about strategies to keep on track in this post and this one. 

Q. I notice you use chocolate sometimes in your recipes. I thought it wasn’t acceptable on an anti-candida diet. Is it?  

I myself adore chocolate and can’t imagine life without it! But I’ve had to alter my chocolate-eating habits considerably so that they are in line with what works for me on the ACD.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

Most anti-candida diets prohibit chocolate, for a few of reasons. First, it usually contains sugar.  Obviously, you don’t want to ingest that!  It also contains caffeine, which might be a problem for some people. Finally, chocolate is known to raise serotonin (also known as a “feel-good chemical”) in our bodies, and can therefore quickly trigger cravings.

Consequently, if you are going to include chocolate in your diet (and you may need to experiment with whether or not you can tolerate it), most diets suggest reserving it until at least the second stage of the diet.  I use only organic, unsweetened chocolate (I like Cocoa Camino brand, but I’ve heard that Ghirardelli and Scharffenberger are both good, too) and I sweeten it myself with steviayacon syrup or coconut sugar.  Because chocolate is so bitter, I find adding a bit of carob powder along with the chocolate allows me to use less sweetener and avoid the unpleasant bitterness that results when you combine too much stevia with unsweetened chocolate. I also use unsweetened cocoa powder this way.

I’ve recently discovered raw chocolate. I use raw caco nibs (I grind them slightly and add to cookies or bars as I would chocolate chips; or I add them to smoothies) and raw cacao powder as I would cocoa.  I find that the raw cacao is less bitter than regular unsweetened chocolate or cocoa, and has a very slight, very subtle fruitiness that I don’t taste with regular chocolate.  I loved making my own raw “chocolate” with coconut oil and cacao powder.

The bottom line seems to be that it’s okay if you can tolerate it, if you can keep consumption moderate, and if you use organic, unsweetened chocolate or cacao.

[Update, August 2011:  Thanks to Kris for asking about how I make my chocolate (see question in the comments, below).]

Here’s a recap of my answer:  In the beginning, I used a mixture of unsweetened chocolate and carob powder to cut the bitterness a bit.  I’m someone who loved milk chocolate, so getting used to the bittersweet taste (I never make it any sweeter than a 70% cacao bar) was a bit of an adjustment, but now I love my chocolate!  I also think that the taste totally depends on two things: 1) the stevia you use; and 2) the amount of stevia you use.  For chocolate, I only use NuNaturals because I find it has no bitter aftertaste.  Because stevia tends to bring out the natural bitterness in chocolate, I also always err on the side of too little stevia vs. too much (which, strangely, makes the chocolate taste more bitter to me).  Try the chocolate in this recipe for a stevia-only version, or the coating in this recipe (reduce the coconut oil so it won’t melt at room temperature) and see what you think.

Q.  I would love to hear what you know about soy. I’m a little confused about it. Are fermented soy products okay? Or is it better to avoid soy altogether?

There’s a lot of controversy over soy these days.  I actually am fine with unfermented soy as well (ie, tofu).  I realize that it is processed and that it contains phytates, which are difficult to digest.  I also realize that tofu is considered a goitrogen, which means it can interfere with or suppress thyroid functioning, particularly in those with already-low thyroid function.

However, for someone without those problems, and for someone who cooks their tofu (as I do 90% of the time–unless I use it in ice cream or a salad dressing), I don’t see a problem with tofu in moderation. When you’re on a vegan diet, sources of complete protein are limited, and tofu fits that bill. People in many Asian cultures have eaten tofu for centuries and seem to be doing just fine.  The difference is that in North America, as with so many things, we go overboard: soymilk for breakfast, tofu scramble for lunch, soy burger for dinner. A classic Japanese dish uses tofu more as a garnish than a main course; if we followed suit (instead of eating as much tofu per meal as we would eat meat), I’m sure we’d have many fewer problems with it.

Tofu is considered acceptable on some anti-candida diets and not on others.  The one I first followed, The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook by Rona and Martin (not to be confused with Rowan and Martin!), allows tofu in moderation. Most other diets are not as accepting of soy and tofu, because it can be an allergen as well.  My personal feeling is that if you don’t have an allergy to soy, and once your digestive system is working better, tofu is okay in moderation–at least, this worked for me.  I re-introduced the occasional tofu (never more than once per week) into my diet in Stage 2 of the diet.

Tempeh and other naturally fermented soy products are a little different.  Tempeh is fermented with molds and some people react badly to it; yet it is a naturally fermented food, like sauerkraut or yogurt with live bacteria, so there are some potential benefits.  Like tofu, tempeh was okay for me after a few months on the diet.  It’s an excellent source of protein as well.

Miso is more widely accepted on different candida diets because of the natural fermentation process that produces “good” bacteria (probiotic bacteria) that can help with digestion.  It’s also high in a variety of amino acids. Again, I decided to try miso after the first stage of the diet and I’ve never had any problems with it. According to some other anti-candida diets, however, fermented products can trigger yeast reactions because of their chemical similarity to yeasts.  On the other hand, the Body Ecology diet recommends eating lots of fermented foods. So once again, it comes down to the individual and what works for your own body. You should work with your holistic healthcare professional or doctor (if you’re lucky enough to have a doctor who believes in candida) to see what is best for you.

Edamame (raw soybeans) should be okay for almost anyone as long as they’re not allergic to soy–there is no fermentation going on and I think of them as being like any other legume.  Boiled and salted, they are a perfect snack or first course!

In the end, I think it would be worth doing an experiment with soy products (as long as they’re not highly processed fake soy “meat” or “bacon,” etc., which contain far too many chemicals and additives), and just try a little bit once you feel that your body is on the right track (provided you don’t have allergies or other health reasons not to eat it).  For those who don’t react, you can decide whether or not to include it in your diet in moderate amounts. For me, this means the occasional meal with tofu or tempeh in it, and using miso as a flavor enhancer in some recipes (especially since I don’t use nutritional yeast–I find miso replaces some of that umami in a recipe).

Q. What’s the scoop on nutritional yeast or brewer’s yeast? Can we eat them on the ACD?

First, it’s important to note that the two types of yeast are not the same. Brewer’s yeast is a by-product of brewing beer.  It is “dried, pulverized cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of fungus” and contains both chromium and vitamin B12, essential for vegans.

Nutritional yeast, while based on the same strain of fungus, S. Cerevisiae, is an inactive form of yeast grown on sugar cane or molasses. Unlike brewer’s yeast, it doesn’t contain chromium, but is a good source of vitamin B12. It’s important to note, as well, that S. Cerevisiae is naturally present on most foods and even in the air (just as candida albicans, the most common source of CRC, is always present in and on our bodies).

For some reason, people with candida seem to have more of a reaction to brewer’s yeast than nutritional yeast, though they can react to the nutritional yeast, too.  Since it’s a type of fungus, it may cause a reaction in people with candida simply because its structure resembles that of candida albicans, which the body is fighting against.  Like an allergen, the yeast may cause an immune response in someone with CRC. One source notes, “The problem with eating yeast of any kind is that when we have candida infestation, because we have been *overesposed* to it, our bodies have developed a real dislike for and sometimes even, allergy to , anything that resembles yeast (mould, fermented products).”  Similarly, Donna Gates of the Body Ecology Diet website, advocates against both brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast.

I personally would not eat nutritional yeast in the early stages of the diet.  However, at later stages and after I’ve been stable for some time, I am planning to cautiously try a little and see whether or not I have a reaction.  If I don’t see any effects at all, then I might consider it safe to use sparingly, on occasion.

Q.  I’m a little concerned. . . that this diet is a bit too much like the Atkins diet. . . . What are your thoughts on including more grains from the first two types of grain groups during Stage One of the diet? [Thanks to Nicole for asking this question in the comments.]

Since I’m not a medical professional, I am really not equipped to advise you on whether or not you should or should not eat more of those grains; I would highly recommend seeing a naturopath or holistically-minded MD who would be able to recommend the best course of action.

As I said, in my own case, I didn’t venture beyond the dictates of the original diet, and I had no problems–the first stage is often meant to be a short-term stage in which you starve the yeast as much as possible before going on to other measures. For most people, eating this way for a month or even two wouldn’t cause deficiencies. And while I guess I see some similarities to Atkins (low glycemic, low starch), the ACD isn’t actually completely low-carb; all vegetables contain complex carbohydrates, and you’re even permitted some root veggies in that stage (ie, sweet potato, beets, etc), plus some legumes and beans–all are good sources of carbs.  I would be surprised if Atkins permitted those.

Having said all that, as I’ve learned over the past 2-1/2 years, each person is unique.  It may be possible that a few more grains are good for you, while fewer were necessary for me.  In my case, if I were to eat more of the grains, for instance, I’d be sure not to include a starchy vegetable or legumes that day.

Even on a less strict diet, most people eventually improve–it just takes longer. (In a way, it’s like losing weight very slowly rather than aiming for a big loss in the first two weeks before tapering off; eating a broader range of foods will not starve the yeast as quickly, but if you feed them less and less of what they need, they will eventually decrease in numbers.) Knowing how bad my own symptoms were, I wanted the healing to happen for me as quickly as possible, which meant fewer starchy foods and a stricter adherence to the first stage of the diet.

Q. Just wondering about black tea – I decaffinate mine (by pouring out the 1st cup of water and re-using the tea bag) and I really love it and can’t find any info on why it’s not healthy! Do I really need to give it up?

From what I’ve read, there are conflicting ideas about black tea. Caffeine can be a problem (and I would guess that you are drinking less caffeine, but still some–diluting it won’t make it disappear), but perhaps a larger problem is the fact that it’s fermented. Any fermentation involves sugars, and fermented foods in general tend to trigger candida symptoms. Apparently, the process can also generate molds, and even though they are not candida molds per se, they can trigger the same reaction. So to keep your digestive and immune systems from sending out alarms, it’s best to avoid the black tea.

On the other hand (and there is always another hand!), I’ve read that polyphenols in the black tea are anti-fungal. So, as with almost everything else that isn’t straight sugar or mold, it comes down to what works for you. I wouldn’t have even tried black tea at the beginning, but now that I’ve been more or less stable for a year or so, I might be willing to try a cup of black tea and see if I have any reaction. It’s not really an issue for me, though, as I adore my green tea!

Hope that helps!

For more candida information, you can also check the series of “Candida Q & A” posts that answer your more specific questions.

Have you got specific questions for me about the diet, what I did, ingredients I use, or how I cook and bake on this diet?  Please leave your question as a comment on this page, or send them to me at and I will respond to as many as I can right on this page.

Do you have suggestions for what will help you most to deal with–and conquer–candida? I’d love to know–and will use your suggestions to shape the Candida Kick-Start course. Answer the ONE QUESTION SURVEY by clicking here.

Please note, however, that I am neither a medical doctor nor qualified to prescribe, diagnose, or provide advice about what you should do for candida.  I cannot answer specific questions about what you should or should not eat on the diet, and I cannot diagnose whether or not you have candida. This page is for general questions that would apply to anyone on the ACD. In other words, everything I share here is based on my own personal experiencePlease do not assume that your situation will be identical to mine.  Having said that, I am happy to share what has worked (and not worked) for me.

Before embarking on any kind of treatment or program for candida or anything else, please be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider.

Still have more questions, or looking for individual support? One-on-one candida coaching might be for you. Check out my personalized packages right here, or email me for more information at (use the subject line, “Coaching Question.”

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  1. Ricki,

    This is a great article on Candida that you wrote!
    Yes, I believe mine may need to be a life time approach. For sure, never to go back to my sugar laden diet again!
    Thanks for all your help!

    • Thanks, Jeanie :) I agree–can’t imagine sugar playing any kind of role in my life any more, except in the negative. 😉

  2. How interesting. I really didn’t’ know anything about Candida. It sounds pretty awful but brilliant that you’ve been so successful in managing it. I think we could all do with reducing our sugar intake, candida or not!

  3. Thank you for this. I have Candida, and am probably similar to you in it’s atypical and quite aggressive nature. I have been having a very difficult time keeping it under control and am happy to see that you have been successful. It gives me hope!

    • Corinne, I was at my wit’s end at the beginning. I think I didn’t even BEGIN to feel better until 5 or 6 months into it. But persevere!! I figure it took my body 40 or so years to get this bad, so I should give it at least 2-5 years to get better. Now, at 2-1/4 years into it, I’m about 95% better. Hang in there! :)

  4. Julia Lorraine says:


    I would love to hear what you know about soy. I’m a little confused about it. Are fermented soy products okay? Or is it better to avoid soy altogether?


  5. Belladune says:

    This is so intriguing! I’ve shared it with my sister, as she has a lot of the symptoms you’ve listed. I’m on a gluten, sugar, preservative, coloring, nightshade plants free diet, and find it interesting just what all these foods can cause so far as symptoms! Thank you for blogging about your experience!

    • Thanks so much. If I can prevent even one person from having to go through what I did that first year, it will be well worth it! :)

  6. I enjoyed your blog here! I was diagnosed with candida last week and have been drinking the apple cider vinegar and watching my sugar and wheat intake. My sister and her daughter have celiac and her other daughter is gluten intolerant, so I’m well aware of non-wheat food. So far my headaches are gone and my bloating is reduced. I do not need to lose weight so i’m struggling with things to eat right now since i pretty much wiped out everything i used to eat–i was very into carbs/pasta/breads and SUGAR. The other day i shook my husband and said “I NEED SUGAR NOW!!!” and now a few days later i do not have those cravings. I”m just a little bummed though, will I have to live my life like this forever or can I balance wheat/sugar and comsuming probiotics and apple cider vinegar? I am sad if I will have to give up my favorites sweets and breads forever…The candida makes sense though. Looking back (after I was diagnosed and the doctor didn’t even know about this), i was on antibiotics 4 times in one year and never thought about taking a probiotic or anything. Thank you for listening, it’s nice to email someone about this as I get the feeling some people are thinking my issues are all in my head!!
    Another question, do you consider yourself gluten intolerant since it fuels your candida?? thanks!

    • Hi Jenny,
      Thanks for your comment, and for reading! Glad you are getting things straightened out with the candida. :)

      I have never been diagnosed as gluten intolerant, but I’m off gluten as part of the candida protocol. Many practitioners recommend a gluten-free diet because so many people overdo gluten, and this is another way to ease the stress on the immune system, which is likely already overburdened with yeast. I do feel better when I eat gluten-free, however. Maybe one day I’ll try to re-incorporate spelt into my diet, but for now, I’m happy this way. I think most people eventually get to a “maintenance” stage where they can eat some of the foods they’ve cut out. . . but I know that for me, I have to be very careful or I can easily fall back into old, unhealthy, eating habits.

  7. Thanks for always providing such great info on this condition!!

  8. Vanessa says:

    I just ordered your book and am looking forward to trying out some recipes! I see you use Yacon Syrup and I have not been able to find this in my health food stores. I could have them order it in for me or order it on line. Do you have any suggestions for brands?

  9. Megyn Blanchard says:

    Hi I am so happy! I have had your site book marked for a long time because I have celiac, along with lactose intolerance and many other food sensitivities! But I was recently diagnosed with Candida by an alternative practitioner with muscle testing or applied kinesiology! It makes sense based on my symptoms and medical history (several long term rounds of antibiotics due to intestinal infections). So here is my question… Did you get an official diagnosis from a Medical Doctor? Should I seek this out? What do you recommend be the test? And are you taking any supplements? I was put on undecenoic acid. The first few days were okay, but then my intestines starting really hurting as well as some other “sypmtoms of die off” Sorry if this is long! Is there a place where I can read more about your experiences with this? I will definitely be getting your e-books to help me out with all this! It helps to not feel alone in all this!

    • Megyn,
      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! I am so happy that the blog helps you feel less alone with candida. . . sometimes I think that’s the most important “treatment’ of all. :)

      To answer your question, I sort of got a diagnosis from a medical doctor. I had a very visible symptom (a rash) that my doctor diagnosed as a “candida rash.” Beyond that, though, she would never acknowledge that I had a systemic problem (even though all the anti-fungal creams didn’t work on my rash). It took my naturopath to diagnose and treat my condition before I started to improve at all. Of course, your case may be different, and what worked for me may not be right for you. I’d certainly see my medical doctor first to rule out anything else (and who knows? You may find a holistically-minded MD who believes in candida related complex). As for supplements, yes, I took many (I’ll write about them in an “official” answer, above) but I have not heard of undecenoic acid. I’ll do a little research and get back to you on that one! You’ve inspired me to write more about this on the blog. . . I’ll be doing a post about my treatments and die-off. :) Good luck with it! Hang in there–it does take a while before you notice a change. But in the end, it is so worth it. 😀
      [EDIT, July 14, 2011: I just posted a blog entry about my detox experiences (the wrong way, and the right way). You can find it here.]

      • Thank you for your response and wonderful postings! I noticed here that you mentioned your ‘Candida rash that anti-fungal creams didn’t work on’. I have the same situation right now, and my doctor admitted she was a little ‘in over her head’ on this one, and has referred me to a dermatologist to get a second opinion. I have had this problem for over a year now, and this is the 5th doctor I have seen, but the first MD to make any progress with my symptoms. The other MDs just gave me and oral ‘Diflucan’ pill to for the yeast infection (which never worked) and an anti-fungal + steroid cream for the rash (which never worked either). Would you recommend that I seek help from a naturopath now? Also I am not familiar with how to seek help from natropaths (my mother has been my natropath, but I am living too far away to seek her help at the moment), so is there any particular type of natropath I should be looking for? Or will any trained individual do just fine? Thank you so much for your time!

  10. This is just a comment for those of you struggling with candida for longer than 6 months, I would recommend looking into whether you are dealing with higher than normal levels of heavy metals, in particular mercury. There are many ways to lower the heavy metal load in the body and this can be helpful to those who struggle with it.

    • Hi Tonya,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I also detoxed from heavy metals with the guidance of my naturopath. I’ll be posting about my detoxing experiences on the blog and will be sure to mention it here.

  11. Hi Ricki:

    I’m a few days away from starting the WholeApproach’s version of the ACD and I’m working on tailoring the diet to the needs of my partner and I.

    You’re mentioned that you followed Stage One of the diet without any deviation from the list of recommended foods. I understand why WA excludes most grains from Stage One, and that buckwheat, millet, and rice are allowed in very moderate amounts. I’m a little concerned, though, that this diet is a bit too much like the Atkins diet, even though WA does recommend that individuals use their diet rules as they see fit.

    What are your thoughts on including more grains from the first two types of grain groups during Stage One of the diet?

  12. I’m feeling very validated but also daunted reading this page. This is my second bout with candida. The first lasted 3 years before I figured out that it was generalized. What information do you have about treating partners? My husband has a few patches of the rash on his skin. He’s having a really hard time wrapping his head around the diet and is pretty grouchy without some kind of sweet treat in the evening. I’m not sure how long he can keep it up. My motivation is to get this itching gone but he’s entirely comfortable so it’s tougher to justify the food changes for him. We already eat very healthy but he definitely has a STRONG desire for sugar. How long should he continue? Does he pose a risk of contaminating me?

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! I’m afraid that this is the kind of question that’s beyond my purview, as I’m not a medical professional and I can’t diagnose or prescribe for your partner (or you). Not seeing the rash, not knowing the entire health history, etc. are factors that would really prevent anyone from providing specific advice here–it’s possible the rash isn’t candida, in which case whether or not it’s contagious would change. I would highly recommend that you seek the help of a naturopath or holistic health professional who can take the time to speak with both of you and look at the symptoms carefully.

      As for craving sweets in the evening, there are lots of options–if he is willing to eat stevia-sweetened treats, you can always offer any of the ones on this blog (look for recipes that say “suitable for ACD Stage 1 or beyond” or most of the recipes that were posted between March 2009 and May 2009 (the Carob Coconut Sweeties come to mind immediately, as they were my own savior during that time). The ACD is a difficult diet to follow, especially at the beginning–but it really does get easier, I promise. And feeling good is so much better than that late-night treat!

  13. I have been trying to start an anti-candida diet for three months, and am having a difficult time eliminating caffeine. What is your opinion? I’ve read that you can have coffee as long as you don’t add milk products. Thanks for all of your great recipes – I just found your website and am excited to try them!

    • Hi Keri–I sent you an email in answer to this yesterday. I’ll work on a longer answer for this page and post it as soon as it’s ready. :)

      • christina says:

        Could you please send me a email on coffee?As am having problems with giving it up

        • I’m so sorry to hear that, Christina! I’m sure you’re not alone. I will work on a FAQ answer so that everyone can benefit. In the meantime, I’d try green tea (you’re allowed 100% green tea because it’s not fermented), or one of the gluten-free coffee substitutes, like Dandy blend. Hope that helps!

  14. Another question – are alternative flours (rice, quinoa, garbanzo bean, etc.) okay for the first stage of the diet? Thanks!

    • It depends which diet you follow. On Whole Approach, they’re not allowed. But everyone is different–you need to go with what works for you! Take a look at my own diet, described above, and you’ll see how I integrated them back in. :)

  15. I love your blog! You’re recipes have helped make this diet so much easier. I do have a question about coconut. I have read on some candida websites that coconut flakes, butter and milk are unacceptable on this diet but on others that coconut is acceptable. I noticed that some of your stage 1 recipes do include coconut but was under the impression that The Whole Approach doesn’t allow it. Other websites say that it can help fight candida. I’m so confused and just curious what your stance on coconut is. Thanks so much!

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! I did use coconut and had no problem with it. I also just checked the Whole Approach diet and they have coconut listed in the “orange” section, which is acceptable in Stage One, but only one serving a day. As you say, I learned that coconut is actually anti-fungal, anti-microbial, so it should be fine on an anti-candida diet as far as I know. In fact, some sites recommend coconut oil as a rash treatment; and caprylic acid, a common natural supplement for candida, is derived from coconut.

      I think it boils down to whether or not you personally can tolerate it. I’m guessing that the potential problem with coconut, as with any dried food, is the possibility of mold. I wouldn’t eat coconut sugar or coconut nectar in Stage one, as they could trigger reactions, but I do use them now and they seem to be fine for me as long as I keep it in moderation. I never had any problem at all with coconut milk or unsweetened shredded coconut, though.

      Hope that helps!

  16. Thanks so much Ricki, you’re awesome!

  17. Hi Ricki, I have another question for you, this time about spaghetti squash. I make a similar recipe to your faux applesauce using spaghetti squash, vanilla bean, cinnamon, stevia and coconut oil. It is so good that I can’t believe that I’m really allowed to eat it on this diet. I know spaghetti squash is an “unlimited” food but it’s also fairly high in carbs. Do you think it’s really acceptable to eat a large amount on this diet? Thank you so much for your help again!

    • Lauren, this is one of those questions that boils down to “what works for you.” If it’s okay to eat unlimited and you feel okay, I wouldn’t see why not. . . but then again, there may be other factors I don’t know about, and since I’m not a medical professional, I couldn’t really recommend one way or the other. For myself, I go with how i feel after I eat something. If it makes my symptoms flare up, I stop it. (And I must admit that I never really thought that “applesauce” tasted even vaguely like the real thing. . . I made it once or twice but then abandoned it! Maybe my recipe wasn’t as good as yours). 😉

  18. Ricki – I just found your blog, and you may address it elsewhere – but have you tried the hydrogen peroxide cure? My husband had a horrible case of CRC – he was recommended the HP by a naturopath – and it worked. End of a nightmare of symptoms that were “pooh-poohed” by his MD. You know how THAT goes, I’m sure.

    Best – Amy

  19. Can you recommend a protein powder that doesn’t taste like garbage? I am struggling to find one I can choke down, even laced with Stevia and almond butter.

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! I don’t know if you’ve tried SunWarrior (it’s a rice protein), but it’s my current favorite. I find the texture and flavor very smooth. I use vanilla flavor and add fresh fruit and almond or soy or rice milk, with some stevia for additional sweetness (many of the smoothie recipes on my blog use it). Hope that helps!

      • Thanks so much! I haven’t tried that one yet! Fingers and paws crossed!

        • Let me know how it works out!

          • SunWarrior+ 1tbs almond butter+ 5 drops stevia+ 1/2banana=YUM! Thanks so much for the recommendation! Fighting candida just got sweeter.

          • Hi Jessica,
            I’m thrilled that you like the SunWarrior! Um, but I’m very sorry to tell you. . . every anti-candida diet I’ve ever seen prohibits bananas (too sweet). Same with dates, mango, and a few other fruits. . . and I wasn’t allowed fruit at all until Stage 2. Hope you’re well into it at this point so the banana might be okay!

          • I’m about 7 months in (with no cheating and more supplements than I care to take, including yeast killers). My nutritionist and doctor (a functional medicine MD) allow two servings of fresh fruit (no melons) per day as long as it is eaten with a protein. My son did it first and it worked so well, I decided to jump onboard with him.

            I’m am just not a natural carnivore…….I’ve been stalking protein powders to flush some flesh from my diet, which I dread eating. This is why I love your blog so much! It seems like there are many versions of this diet out there!

          • Glad you’re being tracked by a holistic health care professional–and how lucky they allow banana! It never made sense to me not to eat fruit when agave/coconut sugar are allowed, but I followed my ND’s recommendations, and they seemed to work for me. As you say, many diets around–and so glad more than one way to beat this! :)

  20. Kris OMalley says:

    Hi! thanks for this great blog, I have tried staying on the Candida diet but always fall back to the chocolate. Can you share your recipe on how to make your own chocolate with the stevia and yacon syrup? I have tried several failed attempts at making my own and never was able to get it to taste even close to being edible. Or is it in one of the books you talk about?
    Any help would really be appreciated.

    • Hi Kris,
      Thanks for your comment, and for reading my blog! I use chocolate all the time, starting with unsweetened and adding my own sweetener–usually yacon, agave or coconut nectar with a little stevia as well. In the beginning, I used a mixture of unsweetened chocolate and carob powder to cut the bitterness a bit. I’m someone who loved milk chocolate, so getting used to the bittersweet taste (I never make it any sweeter than a 70% cacao bar) was a bit of an adjustment, but now I love my chocolate! I also think that the taste totally depends on two things: 1) the stevia you use; and 2) the amount of stevia you use. For chocolate, I only use NuNaturals because I find it has no bitter aftertaste. Because stevia tends to bring out the natural bitterness in chocolate, I also always err on the side of too little stevia vs. too much (which, strangely, makes the chocolate taste more bitter to me). Try the chocolate in this recipe for a stevia-only version, or the coating in this recipe (reduce the coconut oil so it won’t melt at room temperature) in this one and see what you think.

  21. Hi Ricki,
    I love your blog! I am usually a lurker but I want to say that I really appreciate your openness about your battle with candida. I have been struggling with it for a number of years, as my mother did before me.
    Despite being a pretty disciplined person I find it impossible to stay on the ACD diet for more than a month or two. The only way I manage some semblance of normalcy is to eat raw garlic after consuming sweets (my main vices being chocolate and grape fruit juice). But is it really difficult, the garlic makes my eyes water and my mouth burn. Are there any supplements that really help you?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Heather,

      Thank you so much! Believe it or not, I am basically a shy person in “real life,” but I firmly believe that if I can help even one person to avoid the hellish symptoms that I endured, then it’s totally worth spilling the beans. 😉

      I’m sorry to have to tell you that the main thing that allowed me to stick to the program 100% was. . . fear. I was having such awful symptoms that I really was terrified to “cheat” and have to suffer them one minute more than necessary. Having said that, my naturopath did put me on a whole bunch of different supplements which all contributed together to my healing. Since I’m not a doctor and since everyone is different, I can only tell what I did. I am planning a blog post that will cover the treatment(s) I went through (which are, in fact, probably not as broad as what a lot of other people do). I’ll also repeat the info here when I have it all together.

      One of the supplements that is known to help with sugar cravings is chromium. The other thing I did a lot was drink green drinks (either the powdered form or just green juices) and I drank wheat grass twice a day for about 6 months (it’s a great detoxifier and alkalinizer). The theory is that an alkaline body chemistry helps to stave off sugar cravings (and I have to admit, that for me it worked more often than not).

      I’m hoping to get that post up in the next few weeks! :)

  22. Thank you for your response and coming out to share your experiences! I am very much looking forward to reading your post and trying some of your recommendations.

  23. I’m longing to transition to a vegan diet again, but I also have issues with candida and bacterial infections. I’ve been on the Anti-Candida Diet for quite some time and not only has it NOT helped my infection issues, but it is negatively affecting me morally/spiritually.

    Any advice for how I can implement a vegan form of the ACD? Can u post what a typical day’s BFs, Lunches, Dinners, and snacks consisted of, so that I can have a “template” to work from?

    What macronutrient ratios did u try to abide by while on the vegan ACD (%pro, fat, carb)?

    How long did it take u to re-establish flora balance? Are u still needing to restrict carbs/sugars?


    • Bee,

      I’m so sorry to hear that things are tough for you! And I can understand feeling despondent and as if the ACD isn’t helping. I don’t know how long you’ve been on the diet, but I can say with certainty that I didn’t see any real results for at least 5-6 months, and it was over a year before I really started to feel “better.” I think it depends which version of the diet you’re on, but I was eating tofu right from the beginning (some ACDs don’t allow tofu). I also ate beans and legumes. The diet I followed allows chickpeas, lentils, and some other beans right from the get-go, as well as many nuts and seeds. Those, combined with brown rice or hemp protein, made the bulk of my protein intake.

      Honestly, I wasn’t very scientific about working out ratios of macronutrients or even counting protein grams. I simply ate as much as I wanted of foods that were allowed, and attempted to include protein, healthy fats and complex carbs every time I ate. And I snacked a lot on Carob-Coconut Sweeties. 😉 But the notion of a typical day’s menu is a good one, and I’ll work on it to post here at some point in the future.

      I also had to take prescription anti-fungals for quite some time (much longer than most doctors would recommend) even while I followed the diet AND took herbal supplements to get rid of the candida. As I’ve said here before, mine was a very resistant case!

      These days, I allow myself some low glycemic sweeteners (yacon syrup, coconut syrup, coconut sugar, and the occasional agave in addition to stevia) and gluten-free flour products for my desserts and baking. But even with all of those, it’s easy to get out of control and eat 8 cookies in one day if I’m not careful. As much as I still love sweets and consider myself a sugar addict, I have to be very careful about what I cook/eat and go through phases where I have to eliminate ALL sweet treats again for a time, or else I’d just spiral out of control and end up back where I was three years ago.

      Hope this provides a starting point. The most important thing I can tell you is that it DOES get better, even if it takes a long time. Of course, I’m not a doctor and I can’t provide medical advice, but for me personally, sticking with the diet and the supplements was an absolute necessity to re-establish intestinal balance. I will likely be on some version of the diet for the rest of my life, and will have to take probiotics as well. . .with the occasional candida/parasite cleanse thrown in 2-3 times a year for good measure. I can live with that if it means the nasty symptoms never return again!

      I would also say that, given your opening comment about recurrent infections, I hope that you are under a doctor or naturopath’s care, regardless of what you do with the diet. (Goes without saying, but wanted to get it out there).

      Hang in there! I hope things improve soon so that you feel better!

  24. Please help! So I am starting stage 1 of the candida diet, and I am unclear if I can eat Gluten Free Pasta. It’s Quinoa Harvest Supergrain (brand) – ingredients: organic corn flour, orgainic flour, dried red bell peppers, and spinach. Is the candida diet ‘no carbos”? If it is gluten free, is it safe to eat? I am so confused…..

    • Laura, it really depends which version of the diet you’re on. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which foods are safe for you personally to eat or not eat as I’m not a medical professional and I can’t diagnose your particular case. I would strongly suggest that you consult a naturopath, MD, or nutritionist who specializes in candida. The diet I followed was the Whole Approach, which didn’t allow pasta in the first stages. You can check out their food lists here. However, many other anti candida diets do allow pasta; I think it depends on your specific symptoms and how severe your case is. Hope that helps!

  25. Hi Ricki
    I’ve been following an anti candida diet for nearly 1yr 6 mths but have “fallen off the wagon” in the last few months . Do I need to go right back to acd stage 1? ( your blog has been the best to help me through the last year!) the recipes are amazing!

    • Louise, I answered this privately via email, but for the benefit of other readers, yes, you would likely have to start all over at the earliest stage. It depends on how severe your symptoms are. I’d consult with your health-care provider. :)

  26. Hi!
    I’m a 21 yo girl, diabetic for 11 years. I get frequent yeast infections (mostly when I’m sexually active). Diabetics are prone to yeast infections because of our sweet, sugary blood but I’d really like to limit them as much as possible because they’re really.. well.. annoying! I took the questionnaire you mentioned and got a 155. I was wondering if you think it would be beneficial for me to try an anti-cadida diet. I understand you’re not a doc, but what’s your experience based opinion? :)

    Thanks in advance!

  27. I have been a blog stalker for quite sometime as I have celiac disease and I am so thankful I have been. Yesterday, my doctor diagnosed me with systemic candida infection and prescribed Nystatin and the ACD diet. (Wish me luck staring just four days before Christmas. Ugh!) Unfortunately, the diet was a 10 page print out, not a great deal to go on. So, I have two questions. First, do you have any experience or thoughts on Nystatin? Second, is your cookbook organized by stages of the ACD? I’m finding it discouraging to fall in love with a recipe title or picture, only to discover I can’t have it for another six months. Thank you for all your work!

    • Hi Suzanne,
      Thanks so much for your comment–and sorry to hear about the candida! Sometimes starting at a point like this is actually easier as you just know you can’t indulge, even a little (since a little sometimes lead to a lot–in my case, always). 😉 I can’t really speak to thoughts on Nystatin as I leave that to the doctors, but I was prescribed antifungals which I took for some time (I’m going to write more about that in a future post). As for the cookbook, if you’re thinking of Sweet Freedom, it’s not ACD-friendly, just wheat free, egg free, dairy free, refined sugar free; but I wrote it before I started the ACD and it uses spelt, barley, maple syrup, Sucanat, and other sweeteners not allowed on the diet. It’s great for someone already on the Maintenance phase, though.
      I didn’t specifically organize my ebooks by stage, but they roughly correspond to the stage I was at when I wrote them; so the ACD Feast is mostly good for Stage I (and all later stages); Desserts without Compromise for Stage II (and later stages); and Good Morning! Breakfasts for stage III (and later). Hope that helps! You can find out more about the ebooks here. Good luck! And when I was feeling a little left out over the holidays, I wrote this. Hope it helps. Remember to have a happy holiday!

  28. I have just made a rice flake mixed spice cookie that isn’t half bad for the candida diet!!

    1 cup brown rice flakes
    1/4 cup seasme seeds
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (or both!)
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup rice milk
    2/3 cup almond meal
    1-2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    1-2 teaspoons cinnamon or mixed spice (or both!)

    you could even add in some almond extract for a stronger taste, i do this to an almond meal pancake recipe i have!!


  29. I have been on the candida diet on and off for the last 1 1/2 years. I was vegan for 11 years until starting the candida diet and decided to incorporate eggs since there was so little to eat. I am back to no grains or fruit but I do eat some tofu and drink a couple of cups of soy milk a day. I have realized I cannot have garlic powder for so I use nutritional yeast EVERY day on my veggies. Is the soy milk and nutritional yeast a bad idea? There is so little I can eat and I am pretty much living on nuts, eggs, veggies and soy. I also drink a couple cups of green tea a day. Glad to find someone who has suffered along with others!

  30. Read 80-10-10 by dr douglas graham and ull cure ur candida in mere weeks without supplements…and be able to finally eat all the fruit u desire!

  31. 27 months? That’s not so bad. I’ve been on the ACD for 14 years. Still get bad reactions now and again (today to ham salad!), but at least I don’t have to worry about heart disease! Thanks for the site, always good to get new recipes.

    • Hi Pen,
      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! I assume I will have to be on the ACD in one form or another for the rest of my life as well. I would consider what you mention here to be “maintenance,” though, which is almost like a “regular” diet in my mind (there’s no way I’d go near ham salad right now–the ham and mayo both would be off limits for stage 3 of the ACD, but okay once in a while on maintenance according to the diet I’m on). Hope you enjoy the recipes. :)

  32. Just wondering about black tea – I decaffinate mine (by pouring out the 1st cup of water and re-using the tea bag) and I really love it and can’t find any info on why its not healthy! I add stevia and almond milk. Do I really need to give it up? Thank you!

  33. Thanks so much for all this information! I just recently heard about CRC, and while I haven’t received an “official” diagnosis, I have just about all of the symptoms and have a feeling that Candida is likely the root cause. There is a LOT of information available, and all the different options can be overwhelming.

    I noticed there are lots of supplements available as treatment, and there is one regimen in particular that is endorsed by a specific website and diet plan that you reference several times here. I was just wondering if you recommend getting these (or any) Candida-tailored supplements, or if you’ve used them, or what your take is on whether things like Soil-based Micro-organisms or Bentonite is genuinely helpful/required. Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa,

      I know it can be confusing because there are so many different diets out there and each one seems to recommend something different. I used Whole Approach because it’s what worked best for me with my own dietary preferences (vegan diet) and what seemed to help my body. But everyone is different. I did take supplements on the regimen, which were prescribed by my naturopath. My understanding is that the candida will never be truly under control unless the excess is killed off with some sort of supplement or prescription anti-fungal. Which one(s), however, depend on your own metabolism and a host of other factors–which is why it’s imperative to consult with a healthcare professional when you embark on the diet. I know that some use bentonite clay while others don’t. . . but whether or not that’s for you is something I’m not qualified to determine.

      Hope that helps!

  34. Ricki,
    I was wondering about your thoughts on Kombucha tea. Some say this is very healing and has good bacteria that would crowd out bad bacteria and yeast. What are your thoughts?

    • Lisa, I’ve heard the same thing about kombucha. Personally, I didn’t try it until I was in Stage 3 of the diet. . . I think the sugars in it (albeit mostly eaten by the time you drink it) would have triggered my symptoms. Even now, I only have it on rare occasions.

  35. Ricki,
    I am also wondering about homemade bread made with yeast. Isn’t the yeast killed during the cooking process. Are there problems with eating bread that has been raised?

    • From what I’ve read, people react to the actual yeast molecules, dead or alive. 😉 So apparently the body’s response is much the same as it is to nutritional or brewer’s yeast (see the question answered on those, above).

      • Any luck with you adding in nutritional yeast, Ricki?

        • Bee, thanks for asking–I need to update my comments above. Yes, I have tried using nutritional yeast in small amounts (very small!) and so far it’s been fine for me. I have only used it three or four times in the past year, though, and never more than equivalent of about 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) per serving. I know that everyone reacts differently, though, so I couldn’t say whether that would be good for you (or anyone else)–the best way is just to try it out, cautiously, and see what happens (though for some, the risk might not be worth it).

          • Glad it worked for u…but 1/2tsp doesnt seem worth it, lol. Could u even taste it?

            What is your opinion on Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarin Diet?

            Also, do u believe in food combining principles?

          • I think it adds a subtle flavor, like adding vanilla to a cake. :)
            I’m not really well-versed in Dr. Fuhrman’s diet, so wouldn’t want to hazard an opinion. I’d need to read up on it more. As for food combining, I think it can be useful for those who may have poor digestion or leaky gut. And certainly couldn’t hurt when someone is just starting the ACD. :)

  36. Charlotte says:

    Why don’t you use Xylitol in your recipes?

    • The short answer is: I don’t consider it a natural sweetener. It’s not something I can grow or make at home. 😉 I know that there are lots of proponents of xylitol and that it has been shown to have some benefits. I also have read that people can experience severe digestive distress with too much xylitol. For me, given my history of digestive issues, it’s not a safe bet and would require being too “careful” with it. . . it just doesn’t seem worth it to me when there are more natural alternatives.

  37. Hi Ricki,

    I have been trying to strictly follow the candida diet for 4 months now but realize I have been drinking decaf coffee, which I now think I sadly must give up. I’ve also been using vanilla extract to help flavor plain fat free yogurt. I guess I figured the small amount of alcohol can’t really do any harm. I’m thinking I need to give up vanilla also. What do you think, is it ok to have vanilla? I’ve recently discovered the carob chip recipe and am so happy. I will be. Rushed to have to give it up along with my morning cup of decaf!

    Thanks and great information,

  38. Just noticed typo…Rushed=crushed :-)

  39. Hi There, I just wanted to say thank you for your informative blog- It is interesting to see how someone else ‘does’ the candida diet. I also can (now)tolerate lentils, tofu, carob, fruit and other controversial food items. I find it annoying how extreme some people are in their advice. I feel at my best when adhiring strictly to my ACD but for some people even just cutting out white sugar or bread could make them feel soo much better.
    I enjoy what I have read of your writing and I feel you have struck a really good balance in how you present your information- one size does not fit all while trying to combat candidiasis and I feel that you recognise that here. It sounds like you have made great progress- well done you!

  40. The Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live diet is also really helpful for rebalancing gut flora and healing nearly every health issue. I did a fruit-based diet for 10 months (80-10-10) and it brought most of my UC and dysbiosis back into balance, believe it or not! Now, Im trying to wean myself onto a more balanced vegan diet, similar to Dr Fuhrmans. I think the big issue for me was cutting out all grains (I was GF for years, but I came to find out that even rice bothers me). Starchy veggies seem fine, but fruit digests best for me.

    My diet right now is mainly fruit, green smoothies, small amount of flax (im building up to 1-2TBs), and blended sweet potatoes and/or peas with steamed veggies/greens and a small amount of avocado. I plan to add in green juices too, and 2-4oz of sprouted tofu per day (which is the easiest legume for me to digest).

    I hope to eventually add in more legumes (like 1/2-1c for lunch and dinner), as well as 1oz nuts/seeds..but for now, these are too harsh on me. Not sure if i will add a protein powder once I’m strong enough to begin exercising and rebuilding. Any thoughts on proteins, like sun warrior?

    I also might add in homemade soy yogurt or Rejuvenative Foods salt-free Sauerkraut, but the controversy on fermented foods is holding me back. Any thought on these?

    Also, what is your opinion on nutritional yeast? healthy or harmful?

    Lastly, my supplement regimen will probably be a good vegan multivitamin, vegan DHA, probiotic, and maybe aloe and bromelain (for inflammation), and if needed, Vit D and B12. What is a good dairy-free probiotic???

    • Hi Bee,

      Congrats on all the changes in your diet and health! You have a lot of questions here. :) I’m going to give the short answer now until I can write up a longer answer for this page. Please keep in mind that I’m only qualified to tell you what works for me personally; these things may not work for you or be right for you. Please consult your own holistic health care practitioner for full answers to these questions as they apply to you.

      I do use SunWarrior and love it. I’ve never had a negative reaction to it, and I find that smoothies made with it keep me feeling full for hours.

      I’m not sure which controversy you’re referring to re: fermented foods. From my research, I’ve never seen anything negative about naturally fermented foods like natural sauerkraut (ie, cultured vegetables). I love making my own sauerkraut and I understand it has many more probiotics, both in quantity and different types, than probiotic capsules.

      I have already addressed the topic of nutritional yeast, above, in the Candida FAQ.

      I’m not an expert on dairy-free probiotics. The only one I know of is Bio-K. You can read more here.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hi Ricki,
        I sure appreciate all the great info on your site! I’m still working my way through it. If you don’t mind me asking, which SunWarrior protein powder do you use (from post above)? The original raw sprouted whole grain brown rice or the newer Warrior Blend (pea protein, cranberry protein and hemp protein)? I’m glad to hear you use it, because I do too, but I’ve wondered if it was ok in a candida diet.

        • Hi Carol,
          I use the sprouted brown rice one. I haven’t seen the other one here yet–but will check it out. I started using it in Phase 2 of the diet. But as I always say, that’s just me. . . what works for me may not work for everyone, and I wouldn’t take what I do as the end-all and be-all (or as medical advice).

  41. I was recently diagnosed with candida! I was reading your post and it helped me alot. Was wondering bout apple cider vinegar, can I use it or not?

    • Kat, sorry I missed this till now! There are mixed opinions on apple cider vinegar (ACV). Some believe that since it’s a vinegar, it should be eliminated. I’ve found that the prevailing opinion these days seems to be that it’s okay in moderation (I use it now that I’m more or less in maintenance). I’d say ask your healthcare provider–every professional has her/his own idea.

  42. Hi Ricki, I’m so grateful for you blog….thank you very much. I’ve got a question regarding Sun Warrior. Since the protein comes from fermented rice, do you think it could trigger the symptoms?

    • Hi Isa,
      Thanks so much! And best of luck with the diet. As I always say, starting out is the worst part, but once you’ve been on it a while, it’s like any other habit and you don’t even have to think about it. As for the SunWarrior, from what I understand, it’s made from sprouted rice, just as you’d sprout seeds or soak nuts; in general, sprouting makes these foods MORE easily digestible. Since it’s a natural fermentation (like organic apple cider vinegar, or miso, for instance), I personally am okay with it. HOWEVER, please don’t take my opinion as gospel; I am not a medical professional and I can only go with what works for me personally. I find that with items where there is any doubt (such as tofu, for instance), the best bet is always to try it out very cautiously and see what happens. That said, I didn’t experiment that way at all until I was in the second stage of the diet. If you’re concerned, you could always go with a hemp protein instead until stage 2 of the diet (again, that’s what I’d do–but best to consult with your own naturopath or nutritionist). Let me know how it works (or not) for you! :)

      • Hi Ricki, thanks for your reply. When I count the calories I take in a day, with a diet so low in carbs, I don’t get even close to 2000, and the ratio of carbs:protein:fats is not very balanced, my diet is mainly proteins and fats to meet the calories. It feels quite heavy on the digestion.
        What was our experience regarding this?
        I know is only in phase I, and after that I can introduce some fruits, so I guess I shouldn’t get concerned about this if it’s only for some time.
        Thank you :)

        • I’d say I was pretty heavy on the fats then, too–I ate a lot of nuts and seeds in the beginning, with LOTS of veggies! I also was allowed tofu, so that was a great source of protein, as were unsweetened protein powders. So for me, there wasn’t much problem reaching my daily calories (but I did lose weight on that diet, some of which has returned since). But there are also some carbs in stage one, right? I also reintroduced grains and flours in the second stage, so that helped.

  43. I just made your Dense and Fudgy, Stevia-Sweetened and ACD-Friendly Brownies. OMG – I love them. They will be my go-to dessert. I’m trying to drop sugary sweets from my diet. Can you provide any information regarding caloric content, fat grams, etc? Just curious … I would love to be able to convert a brownie square to a Weight Watchers point value.

    • Thanks so much, Trish! I should note off the bat that the agave version is clearly for later stages (I’d use yacon if on Stage 1). :) Re: nutritionals, I haven’t done any, but from the ingredients would say that they are higher in protein than most brownies. The beans provide a good hit of protein AND fiber. There is fat in the tahini and oil, but compared with most “regular” brownies (butter, eggs), it is likely slightly lower or at worst the same. Other than that. . . not sure. Sorry!

  44. Toby Colton says:

    Hi. I wanted to share this. Years ago I had rampant candida. I never was formally diagnosed but in reading several books felt that what I had was systemic candida. I did some digging and found that candida is always in our bodies. It’s function is to take toxic substances like mercury out of our bodies. When we have to much toxin or too much food for candida in our bodies, the symbiotic relationship is disturbed. I had eliminated tuna from our diet years before because of the mercury in tuna. In my discovery phase, I recalled that as a child I was given mercury to play with in my dentists office (I am in my 60′s now) and currently my mouth was full of mercury. I had all of my mercury fillings removed and did detox with a cilantro pesto spread, reflexology and other techniques. Lastly, though we were all type O blood, we were vegetarian. The last step, going back to eating animals, was the most difficult since we were committed to being vegetarian for more than one reason. That decision took several years. As vegetarians we were eating complex carbohydrates but none the less, carbohydrates. It took a few more years to bring my body back into balance. Now within reason, I am in balance. Hope this may help someone else.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Toby! I’m sure this will be useful for other DDD readers. :)

      • Toby Colton says:

        I did forget one thing. At the time that I did the work, I was taking a strong pro biotic Body Biotics from Life Science Products. Now I take a tiny amount of raw sauerkraut every day about 1/2teaspoon and I worked up to that amount. From what I have read, raw, refrigerated sauerkraut has more pro biotics than supplements. I did this to help repopulate my intestines. When any one in our family needs to take antibiotics, we have them take probiotics as well. Since I learned about sauerkraut, we might not need probiotics after antibiotics anymore.

        • Great point, Toby–thank you! Yes, I’ve read that about sauerkraut, too (only if raw and unpasteurized). I try to eat it as often as I can! :)

        • All u need is 1-2 teaspoons of kraut? Seems like a very small amount to me!

          Wildbrine is a yummy brand

          I’m type o too. Can u share a sample of ur daily breakfast lunch dinner and snacks, Toby?

  45. Is raw honey beneficial if battling candida? I read it is a good antifungal, anti bacterial, and anti microbial…. But it’s sugar, which might make its positive effects negated by that fact?

    • Hi Bee,
      I’ve heard conflicting things about honey. However, I don’t eat honey in any case. . . but would love to hear from someone who’s been helped by it. As for sauerkraut, I agree, 1-2 tsp is a very small amount. It sounds like that’s simply a maintenance dose (right, Toby?).

  46. Toby Colton says:

    I’ll do my best to answer. First know that getting rid of the mercury was paramount in my recovery.

    I take one half teaspoon of sauerkraut not 1-2 teaspoons. That would blow me out. It is so powerful that I worked up to the one half teaspoon. Yes it is for maintenance. I am in the US so the brand of choice for me is Rejuvinate.

    When you read my comments it is important to keep in mind that I am just an observer of my body and have done some reading, I am not a health care professional.

    When I was well along in my healing process, I found that I could sweeten lightly with pure maple syrup and I used maple syrup powder and or liquid to sweeten baked goods. Maple syrup has its minerals. Table sugar, even organic is stripped of anything nutritious. It takes minerals from our bodies to be digested, in addition to converting easily to food for candida. I am able to eat sugar now, organic by choice, in small quantities. For example I made a blueberry pie yesterday using 8c of fruit and one half cup of sugar.

    As for my diet, I eat a lot of vegetables, incorporating a lot of them into everything I make. Meat is more like a condiment. Whole grains, whole grain bread. Some fruit, not high sugar fruit like honeydew. I eat eggs and some cheese. I avoid fried foods including organic corn chips. No soda.

    Snacks, carrots, celery,cucumber, bell peppers kohlrabi etc occasionally citrus fruit or other fruit in season. If I make cake, I do so in a 9×13 and don’t frost it. Then I cut it into small pieces at least for my portion.

    I am years out from the worst of my fight to bring my body and its candida back into balance so my diet today is more like a healthy diet of someone not dealing with a candida imbalance.

  47. Jason Scott says:

    Is it ok to consume protein powders? I’ve lost a ton of weight while on the diet and don’t want to lose anymore. In particular Hemp protein powder?

    • Hi Jason, I can’t say for sure what is good for you, but I certainly consumed protein powders myself when I was first on the diet (and still do now–you’ll find several recipes using different types of protein powders on this blog!). There are also many anti-candida diets that permit protein powders, as long as they’re free of any sweeteners (perhaps stevia is okay) and contain few ingredients. In our book, we recommend hemp protein and pea protein. Hope that helps!

  48. Hi Ricki,
    I’ve really found your book, Living Candida Free, to be a fantastic resource for helping my clients deal with candida. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your experiences and of course, your fantastic recipes!
    I have 2 questions for you.
    1 . Are eggs OK to eat on an ACD if the person is not sensitive to eggs and eats organic eggs? or is there some interaction between the eggs and candida?
    2. In the Yeast Assessment Questionnaire,
    a. Do higher scores in particular sections indicate specific actions that might be taken? For example, if a client has higher scores in Sections 3 and 4, are there particular actions we should focus on?
    b. When determining the score for each section, the scores seem to overlap – meaning if a client scores a 12 in Section 1, that could be interpreted as a score of 1 or 2 for Section 1. In general, we’ve looked at the total score and compared to the ranges at the end and talked about where the client feels they are between 2 ranges (when the scoring could go one way or the other.) I’d love your thoughts on this.

    Thanks again for doing what you do!


  1. […] amazing! She discusses the Anti-Candida Diet in her ebook and has an entire page dedicated to Candida FAQ on her website, Diet Dessert, and Dogs. Alrighty – now on to the […]

  2. […] you’re doing the Anti-Candida Diet, sugar-free might mean no tropical fruit, but stevia is just fine, […]

  3. […] original halvah except for the tahini. As my health and dietary habits changed once I started the anti-candida diet, I learned to love desserts that were decidedly not baked goods, from pudding, to fudge to ice […]

  4. […] Has antimicrobical properties (effective for treating candida). […]

  5. […] gain, and general feelings of blahness. Does this sound familiar? Ricki has the most comprensive FAQ on candida and if you are looking to treat it naturally and vegan her website is your new best […]

  6. […] it or not, doesn’t have anything to do with food: be patient, and be kind to yourself. The anti-candida diet (ACD) is a tough diet for even the most stringent health enthusiast to follow. It takes discipline, […]

  7. […] behind the Paleo Lifestyle with continued candida related research through related health-food and lifestyle blogs as well as various peer-reviewed journals and […]

  8. […] you are following the Whole30, following the auto-immune protocol, doing a standard ACD looking to lose weight or just want something quick, easy and positively delicious…this dessert […]

  9. […] 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 […]

  10. […] I entered the Portland Museum and the overwhelming welcome from the VVC staffers! Following an anti-candida diet, even at the maintenance stage, means that I overlooked some of the incredible fare at the […]

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  12. […] then, I decided to share what I know best: a hearty salad. ACD-friendly. I crafted a fun twist with spring’s new bounty of asparagus. I paired it with edamame […]

  13. […] I came to terms with doing ACD, I immediately went to Ricki Heller’s website and went through her Candida FAQs. I figured if I needed anything beyond what she had up I could easily ask her questions. I chose to […]

  14. […] For a review of the basic diet, which eliminates all sugars and excess starches from the diet along with yeasts, fungi, moldy foods and highly allergenic foods, see my Candida FAQ page. […]

  15. […] someone who has dealt with candida-related complex (an overgrowth of yeast in the body that can cause a cascade of symptoms) on and off for many […]

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