Every week, I hear from dozens of you asking about candida and how you can clear it from your system. And I’ve repeatedly reassured people that–even though candida is a formidable adversary–there IS hope for recovery with the right treatment, the right diet, persistence and motivation.
Yes, you CAN heal from candida, and yes, you CAN go on to live your life without nagging symptoms, with enough energy to do what you want to do, and feeling healthy and happy.
To help showcase the many different faces of candida and the many ways it can be resolved, I’m starting this series on “Anti-Candida Crusader Success Stories.” Each new post will showcase a different person who’s been through an anti-candida program to come out the other side having cleared the symptoms and having returned to a normal life. Here’s our first story: Rachael Abel of Love Yourself Green!
I met Rachael about a year ago via email, and we went on to have many lovely chats about blogging and health. Now, Rachael has started her own health-focused blog as well as a group on Facebook for anyone interested in approaching their healing with a positive attitude (for all kinds of conditions–not just candida).
I’m sure you’ll find Rachael’s story just as inspiring as I do. Please let us know what you think in the comments!
When did you first find out about your candida, and how was it diagnosed?
I first heard about Candida around March of 2013. I was bedridden and desperately looking for answers to all of my crazy symptoms in a Fibromyalgia support group on Facebook. I’d recently become much more ill after taking steroids and antibiotics following a surgery a couple of months earlier.
A very helpful girl in the group told me that I definitely had Candida overgrowth and that I should read the book “From Fatigued to Fantastic” by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.
This is how my Candida recovery began.
After calling around to various doctors – trying to find someone to help me with Fibromyalgia and Candida overgrowth – (and being turned away in the process), I knew that my best bet would be to find a Functional Medicine doctor.
I found an office in my area who did the most thorough health history that I’d ever seen, and they insisted on doing a stool sample.
This test confirmed what I already knew – I had a severe yeast overgrowth that I needed to get under control. I was diagnosed in April of 2013.
What were your major symptoms?
• Inflammation – my CRP was a 26 (normal range is under 1)! C-Reactive Protein is a test that’s used to measure inflammation in the body
• Hives covering my body
• Severe adrenal fatigue with breathing difficulties
• Weight gain
• Inability to lose weight (even though I was down to eating only 700 calories per day)
• Daily IBS-D
• Severe brain fog and cognitive issues
• Major hair loss (I lost about 50% of the hair on my head and most of my body hair)
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Food allergies and sensitivities
• Low grade fevers
• Skin issues on my face/body
• Buffalo hump
What program or protocol did you follow?
I found Lisa Richard’s site to be very helpful. I didn’t purchase her program, but I followed all of her rules for which ‘foods to eat’ and which ‘foods to avoid’.
I started my Candida recovery with a weeklong green juice cleanse before I even started the Candida diet, though. I didn’t juice fruits – not even carrots or beets – and I happily drank my green juice every day. It helped to get me walking around better and gave me so much more energy… just within the first few days!
How long did it take for you to get better? How long since you have felt that you’re done with candida?
It took a good 8 months before I was walking and moving around more like a ‘normal’ person again, and it took a full year before I felt realllllllly good.
I’ve felt like I’ve been done with Candida for a solid 13-14 months now, with no worries whatsoever of it returning.
What was the greatest challenge of following the protocol for you?
The greatest challenge for me was that I was bedridden when I first started. Not entirely bedridden, I should clarify. I could stand on my feet for about 3-5 minutes at a time before the pain was too much to bear. Not being mobile made the daily food prep tremendously difficult.
Following the protocol, as far as sticking with it goes, was very easy for me. This is where I might be a little weird, but I didn’t mind faithfully sticking with something that was making me feel better.
What is your lifestyle and diet like now?
I’ve been a very “sickly” person for *almost* my whole life – ever since I came down with mono/jaundice as a child and started taking antibiotics. But, for the first time in my life, I finally know what it feels like to feel “normal”, thanks to my anti-Candida diet!
My lifestyle: I keep so busy, and the couch no longer calls my name! That’s not something I thought I’d ever say. Even when I’m not feeling well, I still feel better than I ever have. Usually with more energy than I know what to do with, too!
I’ve come to realize just how important self-love practices are, so I happily keep up with meditation/deep breathing, keeping stress at a minimum, light and easy exercise, massage and Chiropractic, taking necessary supplements, living as chemical-free as possible and doing small daily rituals that contribute to keeping me well.
My diet now: I still follow a modified version of the Candida diet. I’m in the long-term phase now, and I love everything I get to eat. I don’t limit anything healthy anymore. I’ve added back in raw honey and other natural sugars, fruits, starchy vegetables, cashews and peanuts in moderation, vinegars and the occasional serving of goat cheese.
I plan to do a big diet cheat every year, where I’ll indulge (a little) in the things I would normally choose not to eat. Like gluten/wheat and sugar.
The way my life is now, actually works for me, not against me – like my old lifestyle did. I don’t feel deprived of anything, and I feel that I get everything I need – and then some!
Life is good, and I owe it all to the ridiculous amount of mind, body and spirit healing that couldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my anti-Candida diet, exercise, meditation, and getting rid of chronic stress and worry.
What advice would you give to someone just about to start the diet?
There’s one huge thing that helped me stick with the food part of my recovery, and it was a game changer!
Over the last 2 years, I’ve chatted with a lot of Candida peeps. And, understandably, they tend to have a hard time sticking with diet changes long enough to allow real healing to occur.
But here I was, keeping my diet perfect with no real effort. In fact, I didn’t even full-on “cheat” on my diet until 1.5 years after I started my new way of eating!
It was so painless for me to stick to my diet because I changed my thought process from the very beginning.
I took all of my old foods “off the table”, so to speak, and I said I’d never, ever have them again. This meant that I’d never run out and grab my most fave double cheeseburger and French fries from McDonald’s when I didn’t feel like cooking. No more Doritos, Cheetos or gluten pasta. No more of the verrrry long list of foods I once thought I couldn’t live without.
The fact that I told myself I’d never eat these foods again, meant that I wouldn’t be sitting around “longing” for them. If I could never have them again, why the heck would I torture myself and allow myself to think about them and crave them?!
This way of thinking even helped me when I’d see other people around me eating foods I used to love. It didn’t even bother me because I’d already made the choice to keep that stuff out of my life for good. I wanted to heal and I made a conscious decision not to keep hurting myself.
My advice is to be ready to commit to this diet as a permanent way of life. Make it your ‘everyday’ and don’t allow yourself to eat the bad stuff, even when you think your excuse is a good one. I think it’s healthy to develop a healthy fear of unhealthy food. After all, unhealthy foods helped to get you here in the first place.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Well… yes! There’s one more thing… maybe the most important thing, too!
I see so many Candida sufferers (new and old) missing one key piece of the healing puzzle. Knowing that they need to change this one thing, but not actually buckling down and making a real effort to change it.
If you’re just starting the diet, or you’ve already been on the diet for years, you might need to change some things in order to be as successful in your recovery as possible.
Make sure your head is in the right place for healing. This is key.
But how do you do that? Ask yourself these questions…
Are you stressed? Are you angry or bitter? Do you wholeheartedly believe that you can heal yourself? Do you focus more on the negative than the positive? Do you let setbacks with your health stop you from staying on the right path? Do you need to forgive someone – or yourself?
Take a serious look at your life and figure out where you need to make changes. And then… do it.
The most important thing I can say on the subject of healing is – if you don’t think you’ll get better, you most definitely will not.
That list of questions I shared might actually hold you back from where you’re trying so hard to get to. Take this part of healing very seriously and work on loving yourself and not sweating the small stuff.
Basically, learn how to get happy.
How can my readers find you?
I have a closed group on Facebook called “Positive Healing” where we focus on all aspects of healing in a nurturing environment. I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Please don’t be shy – come and say hello! 😉
You can also find Rachael at her blog, Love Yourself Green, and on social media:
Rachael Abel from Love Yourself Green helps people feel better with healthy and happy inspiration from her own healing journey, along with deliciously healthy grain free recipes.
Do you have a candida success story, or know someone who does? Let me know! Email me at email@example.com with your story and you could be featured on the blog!
Do you need help sticking with the diet, finding motivation, or learning how to cook with new foods? I offer one-on-one candida coaching. Start with a single session or work with a package of sessions to get clear on how you’ll kick candida, and to stay with the program until you’ve become your own success story! More info here.
Great to read your journey back to health Rachael! It sounds like you were really suffering so I’m so pleased you discovered candida was at the bottom of your problems and you could make the necessary changes.
Thank you for bringing up stress too. I know I can get flare ups when I’m run down and not looking after my mind just as much as my body. Both are equally important!
Ricki Heller says
Definitely agree with you there, Emma! I’ve come to that conclusion as well–stress is perhaps THE most important factor, in my opinion!
Rachael @ Love Yourself Green says
Thanks, Emma. 🙂
I think it’s so amazing when people are willing to publicly share their story to help others – and wow, what a list of symptoms!
Rachael @ Love Yourself Green says
Hi Alisa – yes, being full disclosure hasn’t always been easy. My long list of symptoms have embarrassed me in the past, but being open has proven to be the best way to help people just like me! 🙂
Ricki Heller says
I agree–I think this will help a lot of people. And her symptoms were not that different from my own, Alisa. 🙂
Rachael @ Love Yourself Green says
Thanks so much for asking me to do this interview, Ricki! It’s been really neat getting to become friends with someone I look up to so much!! 🙂
This series is great because it’s important to show that it’s possible to beat Candida! I know how overwhelming it is when you first start the recovery process, so sharing stories like yours and mine is the best thing we can do to help. I’m looking forward to reading the future success stories! Thanks again! xo
Ricki Heller says
I agree, Rachael. It’s so important that people realize they CAN get better! 🙂
Neal Phalora says
Rachel. Thank you for sharing your story. It is nice to see a success story and what seems to be a sea of negativity around this health challenge. I do my best to stay away from the negative and know deep in my heart that spiritual part of my path to wellness is very important but for whatever reason I choose not to be disciplined around this. You have strengthened my resolve. Also a community of friends can be very healing. Spending time with critical relationships and spending time with others who choose to positively address candida health challenge is important. Finding the latter is a little more challenging but now that I’m seeking the evidence it seems to come more quickly.
I had parasites back in 2011 and I feel this is when my intestinal health really took a turn. I agree stress is horrible for this. I’ve been sick for about a year now. Brain fog, depression, not losing weight, insomnia, mood swings, itching, feeling like I was going crazy, white junk in the mouth. just to name a few. I had been on antibiotics twice last year and this is how I finally put the pieces together about candida. I’ve been bedridden for a few months now my immune system is fighting. I agree trying to put a positive mind set is the only thing to keep me fighting, I say with every calm thought I can take a colony out. Each day I give myself a few goals like being able to eat more or go to the bathroom by myself. When you are so sick like this it just shows you you cannot take life for granted.
Ricki Heller says
So sorry to hear this, Victoria. I do hope you’re treating the candida somehow–with natural antifungals or other approaches that have been shown to help. It can get better. Hang in there.
Jamie Fleming says
Thank you so much for providing the content that you regularly provide on her and your Youtube channel.
Firstly, this interview resonated with me so much as the symptoms listed are almost identical to mine. Seeing someone overcome this to the extent that Rachael has is so inspiring.
I would be overjoyed with the opportunity to ask Rachael some further questions on her journey as I am currently 6 weeks into treatment for Candida and at that stage where the road ahead seems so overwhelming at times.
I have tried to access the websites provided for Rachael but none of them seem to be available, is there any other way of getting in contact at all?
Thanks ever so much.
Ricki Heller says
Hi Jamie, I’m not regularly in contact with Rachael any more, but I do see her pop up sometimes on Facebook and Instagram–you could search for her there. Hope that helps!