I remember when I started my candida diet and lifestyle change how overwhelming all of the food restrictions felt. I was struggling to understand what I could and couldn’t eat, and when I was supposed to re-inroduce certain foods. I really wanted someone to just hold my hand through the process, to explain to me what I could and could not eat, and to help me understand it better.
Have you been struggling with where to start, and how to take the plunge? Regardless of whether you’re about to start a strict candida cleanse, or just want to start some healthy eating habits that will support your gut, here’s a list of 5 easy swaps for you. We all know not to have sugar, gluten, conventional dairy, soy, coffee, etc. on a candida diet, so here are some easy alternatives for you to use in their place. Try taking a shot at them all, or even just one or two!
1. Ditch the Cow’s Milk for Coconut or Almond Milk
Some believe that lactose (milk sugar) may trigger candida growth, so it’s best to avoid milk and most conventional dairy products while you’re focusing on healing your gut through a candida cleanse. My favorite alternatives are coconut and almond milk. I skip soy milk because on a candida diet soy is one of the foods to avoid (it’s a known allergen and good to eliminate for the time being).
Most plant-based milks are actually fortified with calcium and other vitamins. Many almond and coconut milks you’ll find at the store actually have more calcium than cow’s milk and are a great source of Vitamin D. (Make sure to get it unsweetened!)
2. Drink Matcha Instead of Coffee
While it’s technically best to skip caffeine altogether, that may not feel possible to some people (Hello – tired new mom, here!). If switching to herbal tea or lemon water and completely eliminating caffeine from your diet just won’t cut it right now, consider this alternative: matcha.
Caffeine, and specifically coffee, are important to avoid on the candida diet due to the adrenal fatigue that they can cause on your system.
However, matcha, a highly concentrated form of green tea that’s packed with L-theanine, actually helps to reduce anxiety and stress hormones like cortisol which cause adrenal fatigue.
Learn more about the benefits of matcha and check out my super easy homemade matcha latte recipe. (Then make your own with your favorite candida-friendly plant-based milk!)
3. Cut Refined Sugar – Try Stevia
Sugar is well-known as a candida feeder. You should even skip most fruits during a candida cleanse due to sugar content. But cutting sweets out of everything may just feel impossible, and well, sad. Next time you’re craving something sweet in your matcha latte, or your almond flour dessert, consider adding a little stevia.
Unlike sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup, stevia is actually not a sugar that feeds candida. It’s a totally natural herbal sweetener that won’t spike your blood sugar and is therefore okay for you to use while on a candida diet.
4. Trade Pasta for Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini Noodles
Pasta, bread, and other refined carbohydrates are some of the first things to cut from your diet if you’re attempting to rid your body of candida overgrowth. But once I cut them all out, I was CRAVING some way to still enjoy pasta. If you feel the same and haven’t tried “zoodles” or spaghetti squash yet, you are about to meet your match. While obviously not quite the same as true pasta, they are filling, delicious and HEALTHY alternatives that support your candida-fighting gut.
After I roast a spaghetti squash and take the “noodles” out, I enjoy mixing them with homemade turkey meat sauce or simply toss in olive oil, salt and pepper.
I also love making zucchini “zoodles” with a creamy candida-friendly avocado sauce, like this one.
5. Try Cruciferous & Non-Starchy Veggies Over Starchy Ones
Asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, celery, cucumber, eggplant, onion, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini are all great to eat on the candida diet.
Try to enjoy these instead of butternut squash, pumpkin, chickpeas, corn, lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, parsnips, beets, and peas.
Cruciferous veggies are low calorie,and rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber. The fiber in these will also help keep you regular as you work to detox your body and expel toxins related to candida.
Have you tried a candida diet? What are your favorite candida-friendly swaps?