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Candida and Cultured Foods


“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.”Albert Schweitzer

I get hundreds of emails about the subject of Candida, and a lot of them are asking me why so many health care practitioners don’t recommend the consumption of fermented foods if you have Candida. Most physicians and well-meaning practitioners only know of fermented foods made with vinegars rather than the cultured or fermented foods that I teach people to make. The ones made with vinegars should not be eaten when you have Candida. They are a completely different food than the ones I recommend because these foods don’t have probiotics in them. Probiotic foods are the key to finally bringing Candida into balance; but as they do, it can often seem that you are getting worse instead of better.

We need small amounts of the yeast candidiasis

Candida is a yeast/fungal organism that lives naturally within the human body.We need small amounts of the yeast Candidiasis since it can digest things like heavy metals that our regular digestive system cannot handle. It is normally found in the body in low levels but an overproduction of this yeast can cause many problems, including the fungal infection known as Candidiasis.  Candida can spread as a fungus does throughout the intestines and sinuses. Candida penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body, which can cause a myriad of problems.

Looking for balance, not complete extinction

Candida is something that everyone is talking about and seems to be afraid of. This same thing happened many years ago with bacteria when everybody and their brother came out with antibacterial soaps and disinfectants. It was the new buzz and this caused so many problems. I believe this was the wrong approach to keeping pathogens at bay. Most thought if we could just stamp out the bad bacteria (and now Candida) all our problems would go away, but this is not the case. If we will build up the good yeasts and bacteria, they will solve the problem for us and also create a balance that otherwise wouldn’t exist within our bodies. Killing bacteria kills both the good and the bad, and the same with Candida – you want a small amount to remain but you really are looking for balance, not complete extinction. It’s the same story again and again, good versus evil. If you focus on the good instead of only destroying the bad, the good will be in control, will dominate, and will bring things into balance. The struggle will cease.

Women and yeast infections

In women, bacteria normally colonize the vagina and keep Candida and yeast infections under control. There are five known vaginal bacteria, and many of them (such as Lactobacillus) produce lactic acid, which lowers the pH, creating a hostile environment for pathogens. When these bacteria are killed by things such as antibiotics, there becomes a big void of empty space. Candida suddenly has room to spread out and grow. An overgrowth of yeast may result, leading to a yeast infection.

Don’t avoid cultured foods

A lot of people avoid cultured foods—especially kombucha—when they have an overgrowth of candida, believing that these foods actually make the condition worse. Saccharomyces boulardii a probiotic yeast is abundant in kombucha, S. boulardii is able to effectively compete with and displace harmful yeast strains such as Candida.1 It also produces anti-fungal substances such as capric, caprylic, and caproic acids, this probiotic yeast will discourage pathogenic yeasts this environment. In the case of kombucha is important to drink the first fermented kombucha and not the ones with fruit juice to ensure that all the sugars are gone and is properly fermented.Cultured foods can aid in the treatment of Candida overgrowth as long as they are made properly in order to remove the sugars and allow the probiotics to grow and become strong.

Stopping Candida

Studies on Children

There are now some studies supporting my life experiences. One study included 155 hospitalized children (106 boys, 44 girls) between the ages of 3 months and 12 years who had been on broad-spectrum antibiotics for at least 48 hours. They were divided into one trial group and one placebo group. For seven days, the subjects in the trial group received a sachet of probiotics twice a day; the other group received placebo packets. Each probiotic sachet contained Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Saccharomyces boulardii (the good yeast in kombucha), and Saccharomyces thermophilus—all of which are common in cultured foods—and fructo-oligosaccharides, which are a type of prebiotic.

The presence of Candida was the same in both groups on the first day, but on the last day that probiotics were administered, 27.9 percent of the patients in the trial group were colonized with Candida infection, compared to the 42.6 percent of the patients in the placebo group. Candida infections continued to increase in number from day 7 to 14 in the placebo group but not in the one that took the probiotic sachets. This showed that supplementing with probiotics could help reduce candida colonization in critically ill children receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics.[1]

Other studies show that when you add probiotics from the Lactobacillus family you downregulate Candida, stopping yeast infections and keeping them from recurring.[2] I can think of no better way to do this than through cultured foods, which are loaded with many probiotics, especially those from the Lactobacillus family.

So what is the solution?

Having lots of good bacteria keeps Candida in check. It keeps it from spreading out and growing into places it does not belong.

Building up the good bacteria in your body with a lot of cultured foods can become a very powerful weapon that can clean house and bring you back into balance. You can start adding them to your meals and increase them as you adjust to the huge influx of good microbes that begin to conquer and dominate your microflora. Caution: it can cause a Herxheimer Reaction as the bad bacteria and bad yeasts leave the body. They give off toxins as they die off and you can experience a healing crisis. Please check out this article. The Healing Crisis

For years I took yeast killers. Although these were effective in the short term, they also killed good bacteria and left me struggling. They never really returned me to the balance I was seeking until I started eating a lot of cultured foods.

Coconut oil for candida

One thing I do recommend is ingesting coconut oil. The caprylic acid found in coconut oil is a powerful Candida killer that works well with cultured foods; but it, too, can make you feel worse before you feel better, so go slowly.

Cultured foods right before bed

If you take probiotic cultured foods right before bed they work significantly better. They have time to grow and multiply while you are resting, which is when the body can repair itself best. Remember, even if you are only adding small amounts of cultured foods, such as a spoonful of cultured veggies or kefir, you can still have symptoms of a die off. Bacteria work in numbers and they sense you the host, determine how big you are, and then determine how many bacteria are needed to do the job. When your body has enough of these bacteria they will do their job.

The Trilogy

Your body contains many different strains of bacteria which is why I recommend eating the Trilogy: kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables. These three types of food contain the different strains of bacteria and good yeasts which can bring you back into balance. Check out — Three Foods That Changed My Life.

“Look for the good in every person and every situation. You’ll almost always find it.”~ Brian Tracy

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182 Responses to "Candida and Cultured Foods"
  1. Hi Donna! I have been reading your blog for a while now and have introduced fermented veggies to my family! We love them! Quick question – I make smaller mason jars of veggies and want to know how much salt is needed for 1 1/2 cups of water? Ive been experimenting and thought why not ask the source! Thank you!

  2. Hello Donna,
    Recently, I have been enjoying imported black loose teas. I have learned that they go through a fermentation process. Is the fermentation process in these black teas good or bad for someone with yeast problems?

  3. Hi Donna. For one week I haven’t been eating any sugar or fruit. Also consuming candida killing herb teas. Now I’m going into my second week and I don’t think I can stand anymore of that tea. I am now drinking milk kefir, eating cultured habanero kraut and drinking kombucha. I am scared because my vaginal yeast infection symptoms are worse. I’ve had to use garlic Internally to stop the itch. Am I on the right track? Or am I making it worse? I woke with a sore throat and now I’m on the couch, tired and unmotivated. Getting ready to have some kombucha. I drank lemon water with cayenne, tumeric and ginger this morning. And green juice. Some bone broth. Help please.

  4. Thank you for this awesome information. It is so very positive and helpful and relaxing. Other candida info I’ve gotten feels so restrictive and rigid. I love your faith in focusing on building up the good! What an inspiration and a gift. Thank you!!

  5. Donna,

    I have been loving adding cultured foods to my diet. I have already read through your book and just started my first batch of cultured vegetables! One thing I have noticed since I started eating more cultured foods is that my appetite is not as strong. Ever since I was a kid I would eat every couple hours, sometimes as an adult I would eat dinner and by the time it was cleaned up I would be hungry again. My blood sugar levels have always been normal and no-one had any good reasons for this. I started drinking 2 cups of kefir and 16oz of kombucha a day and have found that many days now I only feel the need to eat 3 normal sized meals! Any thoughts on why this would be?

    • Also I have been noticing that just recently my calves and forearms are really achy and I’ve been more tired. I figured this is a die off reaction? Why does the die off make you achy?

  6. Hi Donna,
    I recently made my first batch of cultured veggies with just salt and they turned out amazing. I’m wondering if using the Calwells Veggie Starter will increase the probiotic content of my veggies, and if not, what is the additional benefit of using this starter. Trying to weigh the benefit against the cost of adding this additionally to my cultured veggies. Thanks for any thoughts you have on this.

  7. I’ve been following a candida diet and am loosing weight, which is not what I want. I would really rather gain some. I plan to start the trilogy soon to help kill off the candida. If I consume the fermented foods, is it necessary to not eat things like cheese, oats, potatoes, brown rice?

  8. I really do not understand the meaning of cultured foods…I travel a LOT and cannot rely on homemade foods because i am gone too much…so what cultured foods can I safely use from stores like Fresh Market or Whole Foods? I don;t want to but the wrong sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc and do more harm than good…thanks!

  9. Thank you for sending me this blog. I really appreciate your help.
    I would like to know how long you need to continue this strict diet to rid of all the bad stuf. You said you need to eat it at least 2 days. Is there a time limit when you need to stop it? It is strict but I willing to try it. Also you said you didn’t it fruits for 3 months. Did you not eat honey that long either?
    Other question. You said that magnesium will have with the constipation. Can you recommend which kind? I am already using magnesium oi on my skin.That not helping me.
    I need to eat prunes that stayed in water during the night to make the trick. So I do need to find a solution for that during the no fruits period.
    And also would like to know if you think that the spit methods is accurate to show you if you get rid of the bad ones.
    Thank you so much for helping me.

    • Its hard for me to remember it was so long ago but it was at least 6 months without sugar or honey.
      I use magnesium asporotate and also ancient earth minerals in my store. I don’t need as much since I started on the minerals.
      I don’t really know much about the spit test. Eating cultured foods will help you absorb more minerals as well.

  10. What if consuming milk/coconut kefir is making my already existing constipation problem worse? I also got intense itching and started feeling a yeast infection starting. I just want to get better but it’s so frustrating!!! Any pointers would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • If it is making it worse and the other symptoms you are describing sounds like it is killing the yeast but the body is over whelmed with the die off. You need more probiotics to overwhelm it flooding the body with cultured foods will hasten the recovery but its not for the faint hearted. Minerals will help and especially magnesium with the constipation. You can back off the cultured foods if you want and ease into it, or you can do more cultured foods and over whelm the candida with good bacteria and yeast. I had one subscriber say, “he decided to go for the nuclear blast off and kill it off with more good bacteria.” Its what worked for me but you decided what is best for you.

  11. I am starting a candida diet and allergic to coconut. I have been having an unsweetened milk based kefir and concerned when reading I shouldn’t be using this. Thoughts or suggestions? Many thanks Donna.

  12. I just got water kefir grains. How much water kefir do you recommend daily for candida? Would you recommend water or coconut water to make this thank you. I know cultured foods are better but is their any brand of probiotic supplements that you recommend. Thank you

    • The only way I recommend water kefir with somebody is coconut water and I would let it ferment until it is not sweet in anyway. Water kefir will often have too much sugar for candida suffers if they don’t ferment it long enough so cultured veggies or milk kefir are much better options.

  13. I started a candida free diet a few weeks ago and taking yeast cleanse with caprylic acid, tea tree, etc. Also having kefir in smoothies in the morning. I then developed hives/itchiness. Is this die off? How long will it last? Can I just try kefir and kombucha 2-3 times a day. I don’t want to go extreme but i want to get over this itchiness. Thoughts?

    • Yes, this is most likely a die off a die off and most and yes you can have more and it will speed things up but can get a little rough as all the yeast dies off and puts up a fight.

  14. I need to know what kind of dehydration machine I will need to process enough einkorn wheat berries to make 3 to 4 11/2 lb. loaves of bread using a real natural sourdough starter. Don’t want one too small nor way to large and expensive. Am willing to spend around $500 if needed. Bought a German made KoMo grain grinder for $1200 so you see I am very serious about creating bread from ancient grain. You mentioned that you have worked up a process of soaking the grain first then dehydrate it then using a naturally created starter to bake bread that should dramatically reduce the Phytic Acid content. Have a copy of Sally Fallon’s Natural Traditions. Need to cure myself of a very serious Candida infection that I have struggled with for decades. Tried many things. Believe you have the solution. Am willing to do what it takes. Have already spent thousands looking for a solution.
    Ordered Veggie starter and Kefier starter from you. Delicious!!!! However, I was sensitive to the acid pH and had to stop for a while. Tried some of my milk kefier that was in the refrigerator for 4 month—–super delicious!!!!!!!! Please help me. I am a member and appreciate any assistance you can give. I fully understand that you are NOT proscribing, but are ONLY sharing information. John S.. Wallis jswallis@sbcglobal.net September 13, 2014

  15. I only have made Kombucha,,not the other stuff plus I do not have all the starters I need but you article on Candida gave me a new look at it..
    I used to use antifungals and all the other stuff an diet,,I have had rashes for 24 years now and tired of it,,so soon I will try your way.Thank you so much for all your information Carla

  16. I started using the purchased Kefir and kraut and kombucha and have experienced a lot of intestinal gas for about 3weeks now . Will this stop one day? I consume a quart a day of Kefir, kraut on a salad about once a day (evening meal),and about 14 ounces kombucha (some at bedtime) but the candida to start with was really bad.

  17. Hi Donna: I will be ordered supplies to make the kifer and cultured foods. If one cup of coffee is ok, how is one cup of black tea. I had a bowl of soup today, by putting chopped vegetables in a bowl of boiling water for a quick healthy meal,

  18. You mention you eliminated all sugars….did you eliminate fruit during this process and if so for how long?

  19. Great info!
    Would you recommend this type of regimen for a nursing mother, somebody pregnant or trying to conceive? If not, what would you recommend to kill the candida?
    Also what exactly are the side effects of the ‘trilogy’?

    • I would recommend starting to consume cultured foods in small amounts and then building up to more over time. It will give your baby healthy bacteira and change both of your lives, but go slowly.

  20. Hi Donna, this blog is amazing. It really has helped clear up a few issues I am having! I started using kefir a month or two ago and I started breaking out in an ezcema type rash, initially it wasn’t too severe and I just put it down to dairy as i had started eating probiotic diary yoghurts around that timex I stopped the dairy but alas the rash didn’t go away.
    Anyway to make along story short I knew I had candida
    And started to go on a candida free diet, take some
    Homeopathic drops to help fend off the yeast and kept up the kefir on a daily basis. I them came out in a VERY VERY extreme rash all over my hands. It just erupted, was red,
    Vicious and blistery and very itchy. I still have it but it is not as bad. I so felt sooo letargic with it too, but I am presuming it is the candida die off phase that I am experiencing… Does this sound right??? And if so is there any advice you can offer?? Do I just wait nd be patient and let the toxins come through … I’m presuming the time Frame varies from person to person?? Many many thanks – your website is fantastic and I feel so blessed to have come across it.
    Many thanks, look forward to hearing from you in your own time.

  21. I have to say, I recently discovered the concept of Candida, with all the Candida diets out there, the limitations , the tips and tricks. I have to say that reading your post was the most positive. I adore your, “love yourself , love your body” approach. It quells a lot of the panic that I have felt over this. I will be checking your site often , everything looks delicious and I’m willing to try many new things.

  22. This info is worth a million to me. My husband bought me a new printer, so now I will be able to have this information on hand and to share w/ others.I’m wondering why my Dr. has never told me this.:) He may not know? :)This is wonderful!! Thank you so much!God bless!!

  23. Hi Donna. Thank you very much for your fantastic work. I understand the value of cultured foods so I decided to add them to my diet, ie the trilogy, however, they actually GIVE me candida symptoms where I didn’t have any obvious candida symptoms before taking it. When I stop having the cultured foods, the candida symptoms go away, and when I start again, the symptoms start up again. I can’t work out whether my body doesn’t need it or I am overly sensitive to the cultured foods (which I find hard to believe), or if it is the body’s way of “forcing out” the “bad bugs”, and in this process making things frightfully itchy and uncomfortable. Interestingly, my friend also made some kefir and gave a small about to her 18 month old baby and he developed nappy rash straight away – so I am guessing a similar process is taking place there too. Any advice you can offer would be very much appreciated. I have noticed on-line that there are quite a few people that say they can’t have cultured foods for the same itchy reasons – so wondering if you could shed any further light on the issue.

    • Are you using water kefir or milk kefir? Water kefir can have more sugar if it is not properly fermented. Understanding that milk kefir is really really strong and will kill candida and make it exit the body and cultured veggies too. Pathogens and harmful bacteria and yeast will exit when you flood the body with good bacteria. The trilogy is a really powerful combo and is probably the most amount of good bacteria your body has ever had and it will start to clean house. It feels like it is bringing on the problem but is actually trying to create a balance. Try only doing one cultured food at a time to see which one is giving you the symptoms.

  24. I am very glad your website came up in my Google search. I am going to give this a try. What are your thoughts on coffee? I only have 1 cup a day, every day (morning). Just (low-mid strength) french press organic coffee blended with a tbsp or so of organic cold pressed, etc. coconut oil – that is it.

    • I have one cup of coffee every morning and coffee that is unprocessed has a lot of antioxidants and it’s a fermented food too. I love it, I just don’t over do it.

      • What brand of coffee is unprocessed coffee? Never heard of this. Would like to know more please.

        • I would also like to know how you ferment coffee? Thanks. Love your site, your information and positive attitude!

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