What ferments beer, helps bread rise and makes your nether-regions itch like hell? I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with beast...that's right, I'm talking yeast. Though there are over 1,500 types, this particular strain of yeast likes to colonize in your digestive tract. Candida albicans is the name, and overpopulation is its game. 


Pulmonary Pathology on Flickr

Sort of pretty, huh? For those of you who don't know anything about candida overgrowth (and that's probably most you), look for all the information you could ever dream of here.

So now that you're all experts on the topic, it's time to share my experience of being personally victimized by Candida albicans.

My Background

tea, pizza, beer, coffee
Joanna Harnish

It all started in Virginia. I had moved there fresh out of high school to begin studying at a four-year university–I was young and scared, but still ready to start life on my own.

Yet that first glorious week of independence took a dramatic turn when I learned of my parent's divorce. I felt like I had lost control over some part of my life, and to regain it, I ended up developing an eating disorder (ED).

Fast forward two years (and a number of adventures) later, I'd relocated to Davis, CA as a new transfer student. Though recovered from the ED, I was still dealing with some of the side effects, including digestive issues, wacky hormones and an eruption of acne.


After reviewing my history and symptoms, the naturopath came up with a handful of different solutions. We started off with the dysfunctional hormones–I had my blood tested, a thyroid ultrasound and messed with a variety of supplements. I was making progress finding a balance, yet still had no answers digestively.

So, we focused our attention on the tummy troubles. In addition to the ED after effects, she figured out that Candidiasis may be another source of these prolonged digestive problems.

Though difficult to prove, this diagnosis seemed to be a good fit; plus at that point, I was ready to commit to anything if it would help my situation (yes, it was that bad)–thus, the cleanse began.

The Cleanse 

I'm sure you're all dying to know what the heck I ate for those 37 days? I'll tell you now.


bigbrand@rocketmail.com on Flickr

Foods To Avoid

- Since there are way too many foods to list, here's a link to the full spread of those I had to avoid.

Foods To Eat

- Yup, I've got the same problem for these foods, so here's a link to the bunch I could eat. 


- Candaclear Four - a 30 day (4 pills/day) probiotic and herbal anti-fungal supplement pack (to help support my GI tract.

tomato, meat, vegetable, parsley
Joanna Harnish

So what meals did I make with my limited diet? My go-to's were: millet breakfast bowls, quinoa + veggies, buckwheat porridge, insane amounts of veggie curry–and surprisingly, I never got tired of any of it.


In the end, the largest obstacle I faced was having to restrict my diet. As someone who's recovered from an ED, it was too easy for me to avoid foods so I had to be careful with how I behaved.

Besides that, I had a great overall experience–my cheffing skills improved drastically, I learned how to be a much more creative cook and I was able to figure out (and cut out) which foods triggered reactions, so my skin has cleared up immensely. 

Though there are certainly things my body will always be sensitive to, the whole thing was definitely worthwhile. I don't think I'll ever do this cleanse again, but for what it's worth, it was a great digestive re-set and makes for a pretty decent story.