Is Candida Making You Fat?

Did you know that one of the biggest saboteurs to weight loss and health is caused by a single celled fungus we cannot see? This fungus belongs to a family of yeasts called Candida albicans, and under normal circumstances, it’s harmless, but when our defences are down, it starts to overgrow in our body and causes sugar cravings, brain fog, chronic exhaustion, anxiety, depression and the frustrating inability to lose weight.

In my mind, Candida overgrowth is one of the reasons people continue to overeat sugary starches, despite the fact that all they want to do is get slim. Yes, the “yeast beast” is that powerful! And yet the more sugar and simple carbs we eat, the more the yeast grows out of control.

Personally, I had one of the worst cases of Candida overgrowth I’ve seen, since I was raised on a cocktail of sugar and antibiotics. Yeast feeds on sugar, which is why the more we have, the more we crave and we wonder why we feel awful.

What’s worse is that most conventional doctors do not recognize the symptoms of Candida and are clueless about how to cure it.

So how do we get Candida?

If Candida gets the opportunity to overwhelm the good bacteria that’s normally in our digestive tract, an imbalance of intestinal flora, called dysbiosis, occurs. Our gut gets out of balance from taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, over consuming sugar and grains, environmental toxins (such as aluminium, mercury and lead), excess alcohol and even stress.

Even if we haven’t taken prescription antibiotics as such, many of us are consuming them, unwittingly on a daily basis through our food. This is because non-organic meat, eggs, fish and dairy contain antibiotics, because the animals are treated with them (which is why it’s best to buy grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free food, to protect your gut). Most of us also consume excess simple carbs and grains, which yeast loves to feed on!

Antibiotics kill bacteria; both the good and the bad and they also thin our gut lining, leaving us vulnerable to leaky gut syndrome.

Unfortunately, when our gut is like a sieve, our body is then ill-equipped to wrap up pathogens and parasites and transport them out of the body. We then become vulnerable to all sorts of foreign invaders, including yeast overgrowth.

Leaky Gut Syndrome – Where it all begins

When gut imbalance occurs, and the intestinal wall thins, Candida can then actually burrow into your intestinal wall, creating tiny gaps in our intestinal lining. What happens when we have gaps in our intestinal wall?

Well, yeasts produce 180 toxic by products, all of which become free to leave our digestive tract and enter our bloodstream, where they are subsequently delivered throughout our entire body. Partially digested food particles also go along with them. Our body’s immune system then works overtime to attack these perceived “invaders” – which really zaps our energy.

This leaky gut syndrome can pave the way for a host of illnesses, from autoimmune diseases like Hashimotos, depression, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, asthma and liver toxicity.

How Do You Know if You Have Candida Overgrowth? – The Easy Test!

Fortunately, there’s a free and easy test you can do at home that is very accurate. It’s as simple as analysing your spit, first thing in the morning. When you wake up in the morning, fill a glass halfway with room temperature water (before you eat or drink anything), work up a dime size (5 cent coin size) amount of saliva and spit it into the glass. Over the next 45 minutes, check your spit to see if it grows legs or sinks to the bottom of the glass. If it sinks or grows legs, then you can be sure that yeast is overgrowing in your body. If your saliva stays on the top, you are all clear.

Why Is Yeast Making You Fat?

Put simply, a leaky gut, caused by yeast overgrowth, allows toxins to enter our bloodstream. These toxins cause an imbalance in your thyroid hormone, excess production of cortisol and even autoimmune disease, all of which work directly against our weight loss efforts.

In some people, an inability to lose weight is their only symptom of candida overgrowth. So not only does yeast overgrowth and leaky gut pave the way for numerous health problems, it makes losing weight extremely difficult and frustrating.

Curing your candida may just be the ticket you need towards improved health and a slimmer waistline.

In next week’s blog post, I will outline how to get rid of Candida for good with a detailed protocol.

Meanwhile, give the home spit test a go!

 

The Simple Way to Heal Your Metabolism

If you have ever lost weight by going on a very restrictive diet and then gained it all back, chances are you have damaged your metabolism. If you’ve yo-yo dieted repeatedly for years, you may have unknowingly broken your metabolism to the point where it becomes nearly impossible to lose weight. This can be very frustrating. I know I’ve been there too!

Thankfully, you can turn things around with the right steps.

The Body Fights Back

Research in weight loss has shown that when we eat less and exercise more (ie. The Biggest Loser Approach), our metabolism fights back against us by elevating hunger, increasing cravings, sapping energy and slowing down our metabolic rate to cope with lack of food and increased energy output.

Most restrictive diets appear to be successful at first because your body’s stress response kicks in. But what happens months or even years later when your body has been operating at high-stress, high cortisol levels continuously? The weight boomerangs back and you may end up, like 66% of dieters, heavier than when you started.

What Causes Metabolic Slow Down?

Much of this metabolic slow down occurs because we stress out our thyroid and our adrenals and have chronically raised levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for excess belly fat. The negative impact can take years to reverse if you don’t know what you are doing.

The best way to stress out our adrenals and thyroid is to do what the weight loss and diet world are telling you is good for you. Cut calories and do military exercise. Go Harder. Suck it up. No pain, No gain!  Oh dear, this is what we see on TV.

This may work for a short time, and you get happy because you see results, but can it last? What do you think happens when most people hit the wall due to over exercising and under eating?

Well, they either quit altogether and go on a month long eating binge minus the exercise, or they buckle down and cut food intake further, while ramping up the exercise.

Here’s the scary thing – both of these approaches are simply the WRONG thing to do. Why? Because if we quit altogether and pig out, we gain the weight back faster than we can say “triple fudge brownie” and if we go harder, we get short term results before the metabolic boomerang effect kicks in.

You see, our bodies are smart. They don’t like this tug of war that we put it through. It’s not good to stress our bodies, especially our adrenal and thyroid glands and raise cortisol, because we destroy our metabolic potential.

So what’s the solution?

Funny enough, the answer is to go “European” and eat less, exercise less. You can’t go from eating less, exercising more to eating more and exercising less, otherwise you will blow up like a balloon. And if you continue to try and eat less, exercise more, you cause metabolic damage or you may even derail your workout efforts in an instant, by downing a giant muffin after your workout. I used to do this many years ago after an intense spinning class!

So your only choice is to chill out and focus on wellness and reparation, until you repair your hormonal balance and metabolism.

Once you do that, by eating 3 meals per day of mostly protein, healthy fats and vegetables (with one meal that includes a serving of starch) your metabolism can catch its breath and repair itself naturally. Once your metabolism is adapted and reassured, you will start to move towards your healthy weight and get results that can be maintained.

As for exercise, I recommend leisurely, feel-good activities like walking or biking outside daily for 30-60 minutes. Swimming, pilates and yoga are also great, since these activities lower stress hormones and are very restorative. Get quality sleep, daily sunshine and be sure to reduce stress by balancing activity and rest.

You will notice, as you begin to implement the nutrition and lifestyle changes that you will begin to feel more balanced hormonally. However, give it 1-3 months, because balanced hormones and healing your thyroid and adrenals does not happen overnight. The more damaged you current metabolism, the longer it may take, but it’s worth it!

 

 

 

Ham, Cheese and Cauliflower Pie

This morning, before I set off for my weekly grocery haul to the farmers market, I looked in my crisper and discovered a head of cauliflower that I had forgotten to use during the week. So, not wanting to waste good food, and not wanting to make soup again, I put my thinking cap on and came up with this crustless pie/quiche which was delicious for a light lunch and would also make a great vegetable side dish with dinner. I enjoyed a slice for lunch with a green salad, followed by one of my homemade pumpkin spice donuts – tres bon!

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

4 eggs

½ cup cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ cup diced extra tasty cheddar cheese

3 slices ham, diced

¼ cup almond meal

Salt and pepper

¾ cup grated cheese

 

Preheat oven to 350f (180)

Place the cut cauliflower florets in a pan of shallow water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until softened. Drain and place in a bowl.

Add beaten eggs, cream, mustard, cheese, ham, almond meal, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pour into a greased pie dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes, or until firm and golden.

Let cool before serving.

7 Tips for Keeping the Weight Off

The debate continues and probably always will. Is regain inevitable after weight loss? You may have worked hard to lose the weight, but then the real fun begins – that is, navigating how to maintain your new figure, when your body seems to mount a relentless campaign to regain the weight once you’ve lost it.

I’ve seen countless friends and family achieve spectacular weight loss, only to regain the whole lot very quickly (with interest). Does that mean we’re all doomed to regain? In my opinion, it depends on what method you used to lose the weight in the first place – and whether you can sustain it.

Maintenance is Possible

All of us who have been successful at maintenance know that it is possible, but it would be foolish to claim that maintenance doesn’t require vigilance and constant reinforcement of new lifestyle habits. When the intense initial motivation starts to wane, we need to back it up with a solid, sustainable system that feels automatic.

Virtually every successful maintainer I know is consistently mindful in their food choices and intuitively connected to their bodies in order to maintain their personal balance. Since balance isn’t static, this is a necessity when we live in a world which surrounds us with opportunities to eat badly. In a world where anything is possible and everything is offered, navigating the environment needs a clear sense of course and direction. I’ve been loyal to the French approach of three sit down meals and no snacking for 14 years now, but I often think how easy it would be to stray from that, especially now living in the USA.

Habits Become Second Nature

The best outcome is when your maintenance habits become second nature and preferably not forced. White knuckling through something may help you lose weight in the short term, but it is unlikely to provide a long term success. And when you do let yourself slip, all that built up tension is likely to result in a monumental fall.

So what are the 7 keys to successful maintenance?

-Master Habit Building – when good habits become firmly established they result in auto-pilot, which takes the thinking out of the equation. This results in a lot less drain of your mental energy, which frees you up to get on with life. A few of my autopilot habits are a walk or bike ride before breakfast everyday and herbal teas between meals. Do not try to adopt habits that you truly don’t enjoy. Be flexible and try different solutions until you find what works for you.

-Self-Affirm Everyday – when you have a good “why” and a good reason for making healthy eating stick (more energy, confidence improved health), you will know why its important to be loyal to your new habits.

-Be Your Own Expert – there are so many “experts” out their offering conflicting and confusing information. You can learn from others, but ultimately, it’s what feels right for your body and what you can stick with longterm that is most important in going the distance. Figure out what’s right for you. Can you have a drink and still maintain your weight? How many carbs can your body tolerate? How much exercise do you need to do to maintain?

-Avoid Using Food to Cope Emotionally – a lot of people are not aware that they eat emotionally, they say to me “I’m not emotional eater, I just LOVE food”. Well, what is love? It’s one of the strongest emotions of all! Peel back the layers and become aware of why you are really reaching for food when you’re not really hungry.

-Don’t Sacrifice Sleep -If you become sleep deprived for any reason, your body cannot maintain a regular appetite and eating schedule.  Your hormones become imbalanced, stimulating your hunger hormone ghrelin and decreasing the production of Leptin, which suppresses appetite. Do yourself a favour before you keep eating unnecessarily – out yourself to bed!

-Don’t Skip Meals – Since the explosion of intermittent fasting, many people feel they have to starve for a day or skip meals in order to lose weight.  If you have tried it, chances are it resulted in rebound overeating at some stage or wasn’t maintainable for the long term. If you have a history of yo-yo dieting, restricting food and then overeating will not bring peace to your heart or give you food freedom.

-Be Aware of Friends and Family who Sabotage – it’s inevitable that peer pressure will arise at a social gathering, party, family dinner or whatever occasion. Just remember, no-one can make you overeat and if they are trying to, isn’t the problem really theirs?

If you have lost weight and maintained it, applaud and celebrate yourself. The effort you’ve put in and continue to do so speaks volumes about your commitment to your self-care and your sense of self-worth. Whilst feeling fabulous may take effort – you deserve it!

 

Cinnamon Toast Pancakes

I have a weakness for pancakes and French toast, but luckily there is a way to enjoy the flavor and texture of pancakes, in a healthy way, without overdoing the refined carbs and sugar. These pancakes are not only rich in protein, healthy fats and fiber, but they taste delicious too and cinnamon is a marvelous spice for balancing blood sugar.

Serves 2

BATTER

2 large eggs

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup flax meal

¼ cup bulk Stevia

1 teaspoon baking powder

CINNAMON SPRINKLE

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon stevia

Butter

Fresh blueberries or strawberries and Greek yogurt, for garnish

 

Grease a large pan with butter and heat over medium-high heat.

Mix all the batter ingredients in a bowl with a balloon whisk until well blended.

Pour approximately 6 mini-cakes onto the hot pan, and cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes until almost done, and then flip and cook for just another minute or so to finish. You may need to do this in 2 to 3 batches.

Combine the cinnamon and stevia and sprinkle over the pancakes before serving. If desired, top with a pat of melted butter or Greek yogurt and garnish with fresh berries and drizzle of honey.