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Candida overgrowth can be a seriously debilitating issue that interferes with a happy, healthy life, and can persist indefinitely if the proper treatment isn't known to the affected individual. How do I know this? It's quite simple really. Until about a year ago, I had suffered from chronic candida overgrowth issues for the better part of six years. Six very uncomfortable years at that.
It all started when I was cleaning my home one evening. I live in a humid climate, and little did I know at the time that the condo I was living in was not properly ventilated due to poor construction. Over time, this created the perfect storm for mold to thrive in a tightly sealed environment. I remember looking up at my window blinds (which had been retracted for months) to clean them, only to find huge clusters of black mold littered all over the place and even starting to creep onto the ceiling.
I had no experience with mold before, but I knew this wasn't good. As a precaution, I put on a jacket, some rubber gloves, grabbed some household cleaner, and did my best to eradicate the fungus from my home. Evidently, this was a very bad idea in hindsight. While I did wash myself immediately after finishing my cleaning task, I must have accidentally touched my face or breathed in the black mold spores, because within mere days I developed a maddening itch in my scalp, my beard, my eyebrows, my inner ears, and my upper lip. Needless to say, I moved out of that condo shortly after.
Months later, while I was still trying to figure out how to deal with my aggressive and persistent skin rash issues, I started to develop an unrelenting itch in my throat. My son had just been born and I was struggling to read baby books to him, as I couldn't make it through a full sentence without having to cough in order to relieve the itchiness inside of my throat. This went on for quite some time, and to my horror eventually progressed to into my chest where it would be difficult to breathe at times. So my throat was constantly itchy, I was coughing when I talked, and my breathing was constricted. Sounds like fun, right?
The icing on the cake (yes, there's more) was that at some point I contracted balanitis for an entire year as well. I'll let you Google that one. What a mess I had become!
During this time, I became aware that certain foods would aggravate all of my various ailments within minutes of consuming them. Refined sugar, white rice, wheat flour, alcohol, kombucha, anything with yeast, vinegar (except for apple cider vinegar), and certain types of nuts, would all put my body into a state of agony that would last for several hours, or even days depending on the amount I had consumed. And even when I avoided all of those things, the problems were still there, just a bit more manageable (kind of?).
It's not like I just sat there and took it all on the chin. I quickly traced the cause of my problems to my earlier black mold exposure, and determined that I had subsequently developed candida overgrowth in short order. I tried a lot of different things to improve the quality of my life including, but not limited to:
- The candida diet
- Pau D'arco tea 3 times a day for years
- Candida specific supplements
- Cooking exclusively with coconut oil
- Antifungal medications
- A food elimination diet including the problematic foods I listed earlier
- Oregano oil both topically and internally
- The list goes on...
Although these things did help in some ways or did offer temporary relief, my problems always came back without fail. Nothing I did would allow my body to get my candida under control like a normal, healthy individual. As I mentioned, this went on for several frustrating years. But to my disbelief there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.
At the tail end of 2021, my family and I moved to China for a year in order to be closer to my wife's parents. We lived with her parents for a few months while looking for our own home, and my mother-in-law was gracious enough to cook nearly every meal for us. As part of the normal diet in Anhui, China, a bowl of millet porridge was included once or twice daily at mealtime. I found it bland at first, but did grow over time to enjoy the comforting feeling I got when I started my day with a bowl of millet.
I didn't notice it right away, but as the days and weeks went on, my breathing became less laboured, and my itchy skin condition throughout my scalp, eyebrows, beard, inner ears, and upper lip began to subside. At some point I put two and two together, and discovered that the humble millet is perhaps the ultimate anti-fungal remedy. In fact, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, millet is considered to be one of the best grains for those with candida albicans overgrowth.
Millet is known for its ability to strengthen yin, which builds fluids and moistens dryness in the body. It also helps to clear heat and eliminate toxins. Millet is useful for diarrhea (roast before cooking), vomiting (millet soup or congee), indigestion, and diabetes. Additionally, it sweetens / freshens breath remarkably well. All of that being said, it is worth noting that millet is not advised for people with signs of very poor digestive functions such as consistently weak stool.
While it may be best known as bird seed here in North America, millet is known as the "queen of all grains" in China. Needless to say, millet is important there. They even named a phone company after it, Xiaomi.
So what was my formula for success against candida overgrowth you might be asking? Well here it is:
- Eat a bowl of millet porridge 1-2 times a day
- Severely limit or cut out entirely refined sugar, white rice, refined wheat flour, moldier nuts such as cashews, yeast, and vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), as they all fuel candida issues.
- Take probiotics + prebiotics together in order to add good bacteria back to your gut.
- Apply oregano oil for topical skin issues, but make sure to dilute it in a carrier oil such as olive oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, or even coconut oil if you don't have acne prone skin.
- Apple cider vinegar shampoo for scalp issues.
- Looking for a balantis cure? Apply coconut oil (a great anti-fungal) on the affected area daily. If it's really bad, use coconut oil as a base and add small amounts of oregano oil. But again, be extremely careful to dilute the oregano first, as it will burn otherwise.
I'll finish by saying that I have since had some occasional candida flareups during times of stress when I would reach for refined sugar, wheat flour, and white rice above all else. However, cutting those out entirely for a time and going back to eating millet daily brings everything right back under control within a couple of days. I suffered for way too long and know how defeating this issue can be, so I truly hope this helps someone reading this. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.