Can you go vegan on a Candida diet? I tested it (Check out my Yoga Retreat pics!)
Can you believe it — I went to my first yoga retreat, yes — with mostly vegan cuisine! For 7 years I’ve been meaning to do a weekend yoga retreat — this year I thought ‘It’s now or never!’
I got to celebrate me finally being consistently Candida symptom free in style! So off I went on a 6 day yoga retreat in Italy.
My Candida diet until now
I do love eating vegan, but I also eat meat, fish and eggs (sorry!) So naturally when I heard that the yoga retreat I wanted to book would be fully vegetarian, mostly vegan, I was curious how that would affect my Candida status and well-being.
Ever since I started on my Candida diet journey in 2008 I wondered if it is possible to cure Candida while following a vegan diet approach.
Personally, my reactions to any type of fruit or starchy veg or grains were so severe when I first got Candida that going vegan would absolutely not have worked for me – my food choices would have been super limited.
I know a handful of people who managed their Candida symptoms well on a vegan diet. But I only ever met two people who fully recovered, and out of those two I know that one had already had a Candida relapse, and I also know that the functional medicine doctor and nutritionist of the latter lady suggested to her she widened her food choices to incorporate Paleo foods if she wanted to heal fully.
The Yoga Retreat
Anyone who like me has been following an elimination diet for so long can attest to the fact that once you have found something that works and you are symptom free, you don’t really want to rock the boat, not to risk a new flare up of old symptoms.
Having just had a super (socially) busy month with a couple of weddings a family visit abroad and having had friends stay with us (and tempt us to have booze and regular cake with us!) I had already pushed the boat out quite a bit with no sign of Candida recurrence, so I felt adventurous and booked the yoga retreat (all in the name of market research for my blog readers of course haha!)
I was a little scared to go vegan to be honest — ‘what would the breakfast be like??! Surely there would be wheat based cereal or bread and sugary condiments? Not to mention the dairy that I had mostly sworn off for years now.
Here are some snapshots of the breaky.
There were lots of fruit, some yogurt, some overnight oats with water or banana oat milk, chia seeds and raisins or granola.
Some days we could also toast bread and eat that with butter, tahini, boiled eggs, jam or honey. Apart from the occasional eggs this was a delicious yet totally unsuitable breaky for a Candida sufferer — all the fruit, sweeteners and grains would feed Candida.
Due to the fact that we had our first yoga session of the day on an empty tummy naturally I would be ravenous by the time we sat down for breaky. So after day one where I just cautiously nibbled my porridge and eggs I threw all caution to the wind because I was so ravenous (and because the fruit was so delicious, we had fresh figs from the garden every morning – who could resist that? Not me!)
Just look at the scrumptious banana bread they had made just for our arrival, and how sweet of them to use Spelt flour because I had mentioned that regular wheat doesn’t agree with me. So this was the very first banana bread I ever ate (photo below) and there was also some carrot cake with cashew cream frosting on one of the days *sigh*.
Anyway, I tucked in, and even managed to put on some weight because I smothered Tahini, butter and honey on my toast (yep, that’s how I rolled!)
I did try and eat the fruit before the other foods mind you, but in terms of food combining the vegan menu was a mine field, and not how I would choose to eat at home. For instance there was dessert after dinner, say a chocolate mousse or some plum tart, and eating that after the heavy to digest foods (alongside glasses of wine yikes!) does not set you up for a slim waist line or Candida free lifestyle….
Pssst… here’s a snapshot of my favourite relaxation spot — can you spot the blue hammock in the trees on the right?! That’s where I read my book. Bliss!
Recap: it’s hard to recover from Candida on a strictly veggie/ vegan diet
It fact I’d say it is virtually impossible to clear up Candida on a strictly vegan diet. I’d always recommend working with a nutritionist to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
Eating a vegetarian diet and clearing up Candida is possible, but again it is quite hard to get variety with meals, and it’s easy to get malnourished and feel tired or lose too much weight…
I think in general yoga and a vegan/ veggie diet are a marvellous combination.
I really felt highly energised from the live foods and hugely enjoyed getting all the meals freshly made for us.
But there were hardly any meals that didn’t have something suspect in it that is on the Candida diet no go foods lists and still essential for the meal to work so nicely (like dried apricots in the millet salad).
Personally I think working out a lot helps to burn off some of the sugar. But if I had an acute Candida infection I would not risk going vegan. I’d follow a strict Candida diet/ Paleo approach all the way (with the addition of select whole grains at some point), at least until after your recovery. If you only get little Candida relapses when you are under a lot of stress or eat highly sugary foods but generally are symptom free then a vegan yoga retreat like this might be a fab way to ease yourself back into ‘normal’ eating.
I believe your body is always more forgiving on holiday because you are in a good mood, and the sun helps too. So if you do happen to go a little overboard with you diet while on holiday, than don’t despair – enjoy – you’ll get back on track. But a fully veg/ vegan menu when you have Candida would not be my first choice.
Did I get any repercussions from eating so much fresh/ dried fruit, bread and pasta?
I seem to have got away with my feasting without big Candida repercussions, which is a huge relief.
But on the flip-side the friend who had visited us the week before our vacation infected us with his stinking cold, grrrrh! So I spent a lot of time on vacation inhaling and even took my neti pot along with some Himalayan pink salt which was a godsend. Hence it wasn’t quite as easy going a holiday as I had hoped for (and boy was it hot in Italy, poooah!!!)
I am still super grateful for this experience though, and for meeting such lovely people, for the flippin’ amazing food, and the amazing yoga (please ‘scuse my bum photo – it’s me down ward dog as basis for a human pyramid!)
First item ticked off my bucket list [yoga retreat – DONE], yay!!!
Main take away for you
There’s hope people!!!
Initially when you recover from Candida you can easily get a relapse even when eating the smallest amount of sugar, drinking alcohol or simply getting stressed. But eventually you’ll be able to eat more and more foods outside of the scope of the Candida diet without apparent ill effect, yay!
Needless to say the idea is of course to eat healthily and sensibly most of the time ?
But at least you need not worry that you won’t ever have a ‘normal’ social life or pampering vacation again. You will! Chin up!
If you liked this post you might enjoy my next one where I explore the gluten free eating out options and Candida diet considerations in Rome (Italy) and when travelling . You’ll get notified when it comes out when you subscribe to my newsletter below. Ciao!