Several years ago, I became severely disabled by toxic mold poisoning. Doctors were initially unable to help me because I didn’t find the mold in my house for months. Eventually, a doctor ran tests for my digestive complaints which led to one of my diagnoses: overgrowth of harmful intestinal bacteria, including Candida. I consulted with many doctors whose plans were largely ineffective, so I researched and implemented a healing protocol of my own. Two years later, I had the tests redone, confirming that I’d fully healed from the digestive problems on my own. Tailor my tips to your own healing plan, or give them to your health coach or doctor who will be better able to assist you in creating an amazing new you!
Tests: Straight to the point, testing gives you a clear picture of what you’re dealing with. Candida overgrowth is a common claim for ill health, but testing is important if you’re to know for certain. There’s no sense trying to fix a problem that isn’t there or missing one that really is there.
Elimination diet: If your life is exceptionally disrupted, you’ll need to follow a strict plan for weeks or months. If it’s a minor hindrance, try cutting out 1 or 2 foods (dairy and gluten are common offenders) that you suspect are the culprits. And listen up, vegans. No matter what anyone tells you, you can stay vegan during this phase. I did it, and any wise doctor, nutritionist, or health coach will know that you can, too.
FODMAPs: An acronym for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, it is simply the categorization of foods based on the type of sugars present in them. Temporarily eliminating some or all foods with these sugars has been found to significantly soothe IBS and other digestive issues. During my elimination diet, I noticed that a hodge-podge of foods like pears, chickpeas, onions, cabbage, and coconut exacerbated my symptoms. I read about FODMAPs and realized that these sensitivities were not so random. Many specialists are unaware or unconvinced of the FODMAPs diet. In my opinion, this is the #1 missing link to healing digestive disorders.
General diet: Eat more vegetables, lightly steamed if you cannot handle raw, and fruits. Minimize difficult to digest foods. Legumes and beans are great if you can tolerate them. In the mornings, break your fast delicately by blending or juicing. Try a green smoothie – chew it so that your body begins to prepare for digestion – for instant energy, clarity, mood lift, and ease of digestion.
Digestive aids: Warm lemon water in the morning stimulates digestion, and digestive enzymes help at meal times. Depending on your specific problem, you may also find relief with: deglycyrrhizinated licorice, pure aloe vera, oregano oil, and lemon balm among many other herbs and supplements.
Restoration and balance: Take a high quality probiotic and eat probiotic-rich raw foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and coconut kefir to replenish the good bacteria in your gut.
Eating etiquette: Create a calm eating environment, chew well, express gratitude for your food, eat only until 80% full. Try a massage before meals, starting just below the right of your ribcage and rotating clockwise around the stomach.
Exercise and attitude/stress control: Exercise is great for getting the digestive juices moving as well as stretching and relaxing the body. Yoga is fantastic. Stay relaxed during meal times. Don’t force eating if you are upset.
Education: Read everything you can get your hands on. There will be different and conflicting opinions out there. Weed out the information that makes sense to you.
If you try and fail, know that you’re one step closer to finding the solution, and there is a solution. Believing that is a nonnegotiable component to healing. Believe that you can heal, feel it deep down in your soon-to-be healthy gut. I believe in you!
Marissa Podany is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator who blogs at (RevelinginRaw.blogspot.com). She healed her severe digestive condition with a high-raw vegan diet and lifestyle modifications. She lives in Pittsburgh in an all-vegan household with her partner and their gregarious fur child. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.