Living Candida Free is both a breath of fresh air and a beacon of hope. It's different from the usual run of candida books because it's based on a whole food vegan diet.
In the past I've read books on treating candida, and it seemed likely that I had candida. But the severely restricted diets seemed so punitive, and the people I met who lived permanently on that diet appeared to be wasting away and lusted after muffins.
So I decided I could live with candida or whatever it was. And I didn't care to inquire further. I wasn't that desperate, I told myself.
Then I went from ovo-lacto vegetarian to vegan, and my health improved. My IBS went away.
I cut out junk food and most processed food, tripled the veggies and doubled the protein. Things got even better. My arthritis went away. I went gluten free and stopped eating sugar. I felt like a new woman.
When I read Living Candida Free, I realized that my present diet is very close to an ACD diet, well maybe Stage 4. There is the occasional muffin or brownie in my life.
My story illustrates what Ricki, and her co-author Andrea Nakayama, tell us in Living Candida Free.
Candida is an imbalance in the body's gut microbiome, underlying many health problems from chronic fatigue and depression to rashes and IBS. As I found out, a whole food vegan diet by itself will largely restore digestive balance. That diet just has to be tweaked a bit to treat candida.
If like me, you adapted gradually to a vegan whole foods diet, then it's easy enough to make another little jump.
But if, like Ricki Heller, you were eating the Standard American Diet one day, and had to jump into the deep end of the candida diet overnight, that's a big shock.
Ricki describes her reaction in terms of the classic five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance ("I can take any recipe and make it ACD-friendly. As God is my witness, I will never eat sugar again").
Wherever you fall on the dietary spectrum, or whether or not you actually have candida (it's a safe bet that most of us do), I promise that Living Candida Free will help you.
Ricki and Andrea are excellent teachers, full of knowledge, compassion and, humor, each with long years of experience studying and battling candida, and helping others to overcome it.
First, you'll understand exactly what candida is, how it operates, and how it affects your health.
Then you'll learn all the different ways to defeat Candida without living a miserable deprived existence.
Then you'll find out which are the Good Foods to keep in your kitchen (and your pockets, bag and desk drawers).
Then you'll encounter Ricki's ACD friendly recipes, which make eating a whole food plant based ACD diet a delightful experience.
For a sample recipe, I made Quick & Easy Chard and Chickpea Soup. As promised, it was quick & easy, plus delicious, and very flexible.
I'm living in Mexico without my usual array of ingredients, so I made the chard chickpea soup with quite a few substitutions and additions. My version was actually bak choy chickpea soup with carrots, squash and cilantro, flavored with cumin, paprika and bay leaf. Yum!
Photograph by Nicole Axworthy. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, ©2015.
I'm also living with only the most essential kitchen equipment, so testing the desserts will have to wait a couple months.
Yes, you can eat dessert on an ACD diet - just not what you may think of - yet - as dessert! We're talking Grain Free Fudgy Brownies and Raw Frosted Coconut Lime Bars. Makes your mouth water, right?
As Ricki Heller points out, eating healthy in general makes you feel so good that soon you love the food and can't imagine eating any other way.
Ricki has achieved the enviable state of not being tempted by sugary treats. I'm not quite there yet, but it's getting close. I actually turned down a chocolate bar the other day - without hesitating!
I'll admit that following a diet that's different from 99% of my fellow human beings has endless possibilities for error. The minute you leave your safe haven, you encounter challenges. Even going to your basement or bathroom isn't safe.
Fear Not! Chapter 14: Lifestyle Strategies for a Lifetime without Candida tells you how to deal with everything from mold (it's omnipresent and it's out to get you) to household cleaners to travel food.
Last but not least, The Yeast Assessment Form at the end of the book will help you to decide whether or not you may have a candida problem, and should do the tests. Andrea has plenty of helpful info about getting tested too.
I recommend Living Candida Free for everybody, healthy or not, vegan or not.
If you don't have candida, this book will keep you from ever getting it. If you have just a bit of candida, it will help you restore balance and avoid a lot of misery.
If you do have full on candida, this book, Living Candida Free, could help save your life.