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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Book review

Bought a book on Candida today - The Candida Cure - Yeast, Fungus and Your Health by Ann Boroch.

I'm looking forward to reading it especially the 90-day program and will post a review when done. (I'm a bit discouraged by the fact that she says corn should not be included in this diet - I've been living on corn thins - these crackers which are actually quite nice - for weeks. Damn.

I should've remembered my new adage - that if I like something enough, it's going to be bad for me. :(

Monday, 18 October 2010

Getting obsessed with home cooking

Since my soup debacle last week, for some reason I've become really obsessed with the idea that I want to make my own soups now, so I can take them to work and satisfy my hot food cravings.

So late last week I started looking up soup recipes online and discovered the apparent wonders of what's known as a slow cooker, (called a "crockpot" in the states). I never knew this thing existed!

I also discovered the ability to make your own chicken stock to freeze for future meals, something I, as a complete non-cook, didn't know anything about. I therefore decided to make my own chicken stock as I've noticed that nearly all ready-made stock contains some form of sugar in, or yeast extract, or something else I can't eat, which is very frustrating.

So yesterday I went and bought a load of ingredients, a fresh free-range whole chicken and a Breville slow cooker (£15 from Argos - bargain!). Last night I made a roast chicken for the very first time, flavoured with sage and rosemary. I picked off nearly all the meat, some of which I had for dinner, and some I saved for use in a soup today. I put the bones in the slow cooker along with some other ingredients and cooked it literally all night on low. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you don't have to watch it. (Though I did get up at 2am to check it hadn't boiled over or anything, never having used one before!)

Today, when the stock was drained and cooled, I filled three ice cube bags full (72 cubes!) for the freezer. When I tasted a bit it was genuinely quite delicious (even if I say so myself!) which no doubt is a testament to the benefits of slow cooking, and the use of fresh herbs. There was still some stock left over to make the soup, which I made today for dinner (Chicken soup with noodles, herbs and veg) with a bowl to take to work tomorrow. The stock really helped the soup to come out well.

Considering I NEVER cook normally, I'm quite proud of myself for having made three new things in one weekend - roast chicken, chicken stock and chicken soup! It's great to make something and know exactly what goes into it. You can read my soup recipe here.

Am planning to make a vegetable soup later in the week, to use up my veg and herbs, once I find the right recipe. I did find a Yeast-Free vegetable stock cube made by Kallo in Holland and Barratts, which seems ok by my standards, so I've bought a couple of packs as I don't think I can deal with all the palava again of making my own stock if I could buy an appropriate ready-made version.

The dangers of giving in to temptation

Since the weather turned cold I've been wanting to have hot food for lunch at work. In the Before Candida Awareness (BCA) period (as I call it), I thought nothing of going to the shops in my lunch-hour and grabbing a hot jacket potato with garlic and mushrooms, or a microwavable ready meal (not realising now it was contributing to my illness). Of course the potato and mushrooms are out now and most ready-meals often contain sugar and/or lots of other things I have to avoid now.

So lately I've been tempted into buying soups from Pret even if they are bad news for me. So far I've had the chicken and mushroom soup (completely delish!), the classic tomato (risky due to the inclusion of white wine) and on Friday I gave in to the biggest temptation of all - Pret's Mushroom Risotto (usually one of my absolute faves). Ordinarily I would kill for this (as it is even more delicious than the chicken and mushroom) but I knew it was bad of me to have it due to all that white rice just waiting to turn to sugar in my stomach. And boy did it.

If I've ever had any doubt that I have candida then these three soups are proof. The first two soups gave me a right stomach ache that same afternoon at work. I think it was some sort of indigestion that sugar-free Rennies didn't help. I also felt an accompanying rise in my asthma symptoms in that I started to wheeze a bit and had to reach for my ventolin a few times more than usual. (I've noticed this before recently).

I thought with the first soup that maybe it was the mushrooms that were causing it, so I looked up the ingredients on Pret's website which stated that it was dairy free, egg free and wheat free. This is brilliant news for someone like me ordinarily, but I wonder now if sugar was included too? Their ingredients list doesn't break down the details of what's included. Even a pinch of sugar would probably cause me problems, as it doesn't take much for the candida to double in size in an hour, once it feeds on a bit of sugar. The tomato soup also gave me a stomach ache and I worried also about the inclusion of white wine, but I wonder if it was any sugar they used too, or both? I guess I need to go into the shop and ask for more details but I hate having to ask stuff.

The third soup, the mushroom risotto, I knew I shouldn't have had, but maybe it's because I am due on my period I really felt the craving for it and it's hard to resist. If you're a woman you'll understand what I mean!

Anyway, the risotto gave me the worst problems of all three as it seemed that some of my old and worst symptoms came back almost straightaway - wind, bloating, fbo etc, that day and the next. I know I've not written about my own story yet (something I plan to do later) but to me there was no doubt that the candida had fed on the sugar from the risotto rice and had "woken up" in my stomach so to speak. It was probably having a right old party in my guts!

I was careful after that on what I ate, and took a couple of glasses of grapefruit seed extract, and on Saturday night I think I experienced a mini-die-off. I felt extremely tired (almost like I used to) and just wanted to curl up on my bed and sleep forever. I also felt extremely irritable and could feel my temper rising over the smallest thing. When I used to have candida and not know it, I was always irritable and angry but never realised that this could be due to an illness. I thought it was just me! (Or my period or something). Now I'm wondering who I really am, and how much of my past behaviour was due to me or this illness?

I remember also, that a few weeks ago, I had some alcohol at an event, and it instantly gave me a migraine for the rest of  the week. It really doesn't take much to destroy my life does it. :/
I believe that even after doing this diet for the past three months, the candida is still just about alive inside me, just waiting for when I fail again. I don't think it has ever really "died-off" as it were. I think need to step up my detoxing process and maybe do a colonic to clear the gut out completely and start over. Hopefully I'll get round to doing this before christmas!