Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Candida diet

Oh, drat. The foodie and wino in me are both frowning and very upset, as my path to healthy skin has limited my consumption of so many wonderful things for awhile. I've been trying to heal myself of eczema for the last three years, having success with a few changes.. particularly eliminating caffeine and soy and by identifying a few key food allergies- Goodbye strawberries! :(

I've read quite a bit about Candida over time, and according to many claims, sticking to this diet could heal my skin while improving my ability to focus and increasing my level of energy overall. That said, Candida is apparently over-diagnosed by holistic doctors, as the symptoms are extremely broad. Considering that I go through a bottle of Cortisone a week and that I've had about as many steroids as I can take and I'm STILL dealing with this project that is my skin... I figured, hell. How bad can this be?

For those unfamiliar, the Candida diet begins extremely strict, and then slowly you add in different foods and see how your body adjusts. The idea is to cut out things that promote mold growth, so no sugar, no yeast, no dairy (except organic yogurt, which promotes good bacteria). The biggies for me were- Bread, pasta, cereal, fruit, and milk, so I went seeking alternatives for three of the four.

Today I bought hemp bread and hemp milk, yeast and dairy free respectively, and no- there's no THC in these. I had read that hemp is supposed to curb sugar cravings, so when I saw these options I thought they'd be worth a try.

The vanilla hemp milk tastes a lot like soy milk (which I can't drink)- it has a similar, light nutty flavor, and is more dense than rice milk.. which is too watery for me. It was great over cereal, and I think it would be fantastic in a smoothie. Served very cold, I can drink it plain as well, although I probably won't. I have heard that the chocolate version is fantastic alone, but that wasn't available in Kroger.

French Meadow's hemp bread, made with hempseed, flaxseed, and pumpkin, is absolutely delicious. It's a very dense bread, and if you've had a sprouted-wheat bread or anything similar, the taste won't be too surprising. But alas!! My lack of education on this subject failed me, and it turns out despite claiming to be "yeast-free" the bread is not gluten-free... Damn. What am I going to do with this whole loaf of expensive bread, now? Still deciding how bad this is for me..

A few other new purchases..

Lundberg's Wasabi Rice Chips were on close out sale for $1.20 a bag. I grabbed two, and glad I did- these things are delicious! Unfortunately I plow through them.

Honest Tea has a wonderful Yerba Mate that's- hooray!- sweetened with agave! Bottled tea is usually overloaded with sugar, but this one holds true to the words on the label: Just a tad sweet. The other flavors are cane-sugar sweetened, which I'll avoid for now, but the low-glycemic agave works for me. If you're a sweet tea drinker this won't be sweet enough for you, but for me it was perfect. And I was thrilled to have something I can grab other than water to drink! They're also certified organic, which both makes my sensitive body feel better and satisfies my need to be kind to the earth.

Speaking of which, I've learned a little bit about organic wine this week. A very long (sorry my underage Eve, who was waiting in the car!) conversation with one of the nice men in The Vintage Cellar educated me as to the details. I came in seeking a sulfite-free wine in order to ease my allergic reaction, but learned that there's actually no such thing.. The process of wine naturally creates sulfites. That said, most wine production in the United States involves adding sulfites. The reality is, he said, you really have no good way of determining the amount of sulfites in a bottle of wine. That said, by choosing organic wine you are more likely to avoid extra chemicals (including sulfites) that contribute to allergic reactions. While they do carry wines that claim not to have sulfites, I ended up leaving with an organic Cono Sur Pinot Noir. An interesting fact: Many organic wines from small wineries do not actually say this on their label, because it is expensive to earn this certification and small wineries can't afford to do this. That said, if you go to a wine store like The Vintage Cellar, they can tell you which wineries (like Cono Sur!) are committed to creating organic wine. At this store in particular, they have all the little shelf labels for organic wines colored green, even if the winery has not earned that label. What does this mean? Organic wine for cheaper- because you don't have to pay for the government seal!

I've yet to taste this wine, so I'll report back once I do. I finally submitted to modern times and bought a screw-top bottle, which is said to be smart-sealing but is decidedly unsexy. I have not bought a Pinot Noir in awhile, having started to consider it too plain in comparison to the Red Zinfandels and Chambourcins I've grown to love alone or the Syrah or Chianti I often pair with food. But unwilling to censor my wine adventure, I let myself be talked into this bottle to try later in the week. It is a 2008, though, so my bets are I'm going to be wishing I had a decanter.. but a few minutes/swirls in a big fat red wine glass will have to do.

That's it for now. I'll post my attempts at gluten-reduced (free is too hard) meals in the upcoming days as I find the time around cramming out my last few weeks worth of schoolwork. Oh, summer.. come quickly!

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