I’m not in the habit of talking about my personal stuff on this site. Because some stuff is really, not in any way, related to fundraising.
But, if you’d like to know a bit more about my personal life, then read on. I’m about to tell you a story about my healing journey.
This is me in Austin, with our dog, Pi, before my healing journey. I was eating wheat, a lot. I had trouble breathing. My joints were hurting me. I was slumped over the computer a lot. Can you tell?
But hey, nothing was too bad yet. I could live with this, if this was what it meant to get old. Looking back at a photoshoot I did last summer, I looked… really older than I am. I thought, who is that old lady?
Then came the shocker. After having hormonal birth control in 2013, I swelled up even more, and then I just started itching, everywhere, in summer of 2014.
I HAD A YEAST INFECTION FOR THREE MONTHS
Yeah. Sorry if that’s TMI. July, August, September of 2014.
I found this online quiz with a list of symptoms, and I thought, oh hey, I have: dizziness, sugar cravings, yeast infections, reduced libido, skin rash, tobacco smoke intolerance, poor balance, numbness or tingling, joint pain, joint swelling, chest pain and starch cravings. Maybe I have chronic Candida! If any of these symptoms describe you, I’d highly encourage you to check out the online quiz linked above.
Every few moments when I went out last summer, I would want to duck into a corner to scratch myself. It was embarrassing and ridiculous.
The mystery is solved! The answer is in your guts
At last I read a blog post by Bevin Brandlandingham, The Queer Fat Femme, a writer I really admire, who talked about healing from IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Her doctor said, “We know something is wrong with your digestion, we just don’t know what it is.”
She started working with a health coach, Victoria Albina of Heart Beets Holistic, and after about seven months, her chronic IBS started to subside. After YEARS of pain, she finally managed to create a lifestyle that worked for her health.
In her post, Bevin talked about this book called “The Candida Cure.”
I thought, “Oh! That’s what I need! This Candida is NOT going away!” I got the book and cut out all sugar and starches, but I still had fruit in my diet. The Candida was still there. I was still itchy, tired, dizzy. The book was not enough. I needed supplements, herbs, and someone to guide me through the process of getting rid of the Candida.
Then I thought, “Maybe Bevin’s health coach is someone who can help me.”
I had my first call with Ms. Victoria Albina (a registered nurse and health coach) founder of Heart Beets Holistic, in October of 2014. She lives in NYC, I live in Portland, Oregon, but it was like she was right in the room with me.
As we talked, she laid down how chronic Candida can take hold in your body. It can be a perfect storm of the five things below.
1. If you take tons of Ibuprofen, it can lead to a breakdown in your kidneys and liver function, and make your body sicker. I was eating Ibuprofen like candy to keep the swelling in my hands and feet down, so this made me horrified.
2. Eating non-organic veggies, fruits and meats can be a BIG problem. These all have the herbicide Roundup. Roundup can lead to a further breakdown in our immune systems. So unless we’re eating organic vegetables, pasture raised eggs or pastured butter or pastured meats, we might be taking this dangerous chemical into our body even if we think we’re being healthy.
3. On top of that, if you’ve taken hormonal birth control, whether pills or a hormonal IUD or something else, the hormones in those can linger in your system for YEARS. Sticking around with the candida deep in your guts.
4. She told me something surprising. If you’ve ever taken antibiotics, you may have a yeast or candida infection in your body.
5. Finally, our Standard American Diet (SAD) which is dependent on yeast, grains, dairy and sugar can lead to a proliferation of Candida in our guts. And once it’s taken hold there, it’s VERY difficult to get rid of.
No wonder I was itchy!
She diagnosed me with a chronic Candida infection. Because I’d had this hormonal IUD my body decided that was the last straw. My guts hung onto the IUD hormones, the Candida went crazy, and my life went from good to awful in a matter of months.
The Candida Starvation Plan
Coach Vic said, “First, we’ll do the Candida starvation plan. Let’s start to cut things out of your diet.” I told her I had already cut out a lot so we could move quickly. She told me to cut out all dairy, grains, fruit and sugar and go on what’s called the GAPS diet for two weeks. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, after a book of the same name.
What can you eat on the GAPS diet?
Bone broth. Cooked Vegetables and some meat. That’s it.
They Call it Paleo Flu
For the first two weeks, it was pretty hairy. I got dizzy very easily and had low energy. When this happens, some people call it Paleo flu. This is because when you have a grain-heavy diet,
1. The grains/sugar can act as an opiate and turn into quick sugar in your system.
2. Which causes a blood sugar spike.
3. Which makes you dependent on that blood sugar spike.
4. Which leads you to becoming addicted to grains/sugar.
5. The grains/sugar feed the Candida. And the cycle continues.
Starving that candida felt like starving myself. The sugar/yeast/candida had gotten so deep into my gut thanks to my grain heavy diet (And I’d been gluten free for years!), I felt like I couldn’t live without rice and other grains.
But the candida was really making my life miserable, so I had to try to get rid of it.
After the first month, I got back on track and had more energy than I had had in a long time. Slowly, slowly, my health started to improve. I started making bone broth but it didn’t always work out the way I planned.
I nearly burned my apartment down
I had a scary moment where I’d left the bone broth on the stove overnight without a cover, and I woke up with my apartment filled with smoke! I ran around opening the windows, throwing the pot out, and laundering every towel and piece of clothing I had. I febreezed the walls, wiped them down with a mop, but the smoke smell was still everywhere.
It took two weeks to get the smoke smell gone.
Aside from that learning curve, the bone broth piece has been fun. It’s so delicious to drink bone broth in the morning instead of shoveling a big lump of starch in my belly and getting hungry one hour later.
Over the course of the next few months, Vic and I pieced together a picture of my health. I started to take a variety of herbs and supplements that she recommended. After a few months, I could expand my diet cautiously. And I drank bone broth every day.
What surprised me after awhile was how little I needed to eat during the day. I would eat breakfast around 9am, and generally get a bit hungry at 2pm, but it wouldn’t be ravenous hunger. It would simply be “It might be nice to eat now.”
One day Vic said, “Okay, we’ve starved the candida long enough, now let’s murder it!
TIME FOR THE MURDER PLAN
The Candida murder plan will be different for everyone but I started taking a variety of herbs, oils and supplements that can make the Candida let go of your gut for good.
I know you ladies love to DIY, but I’m positive that everyone needs different herbs, so I won’t detail each one that I take here. But if you’re curious, Victoria Albina of Heart Beets Holistic can probably prescribe the right ones for your situation.
Today, thanks to Heart Beets Holistic, I am doing so much better.
The swelling in my hands and feet has gone away. No more itchiness. No more rash.
My skin is clearer, my eyes are clearer, my hair is growing faster, and everyone tells me I look 5 years younger. This is really how to age backwards.
Best of all, I feel stronger and healthier than I have in ten years. Not to mention sexier!
The good news is that it really does work.
The bad news is that if you want to keep the Candida out of your gut forever, you need to drastically shift your diet from the SAD to a whole, non-processed foods model. As someone who was vegetarian for 15 years, I have to say, this complete turnaround is a bit of a shock. But I’m embracing what feels best for my health right now. If you want to try some delicious recipes that adhere to this plan, check out the main dishes of EatBeautiful.net.
I am still off of nearly all sugar, taking supplements every day, and I’m still off grains, dairy and most fruit, but it no longer seems like a big deal.
For now, I’m going with my gut. My gut tells me the best thing for me is whole foods and vegetables, and I’m going to stick with that.
If you’ve got a health issue that just won’t seem to go away, like Candida, or IBS, or joint inflammation, or leaky gut, or maybe you’ve got an issue with just wanting to feel healthier, inside and out, I’d highly recommend working with Coach Vic. I’ve told my entire family and friend group about her, because as they’ve seen my skin get clearer and my energy get higher, they’ve asked themselves, “Could I do it, too?”
Well, you could! Coach Vic has got a 3 week cleanse coming up August 23rd with just 12 slots available, and she has generously offered a 10% discount to anyone coming through this website. Mention that you’re a friend of Mazarine to get it.
A Three Week Nutrition and Self-Care Reboot starting Sunday August 23rd, 2015
(FYI: No money changed hands or will change hands for this post. I am telling you about this because working with Coach Vic has literally changed my life for the better and I wanted to tell you how important and wonderful this work is. I wish I had found her 10 years ago.)