If you walk around feeling foggy headed and dog-tired, you may be suffering from a sugar side effect: yeast overgrowth.
A natural part of our body’s intrinsic flora, yeast coexists with friendly bacteria in the intestines and the vaginal canal to help break down undigested foods and eliminate debris. But if the delicate balance between the two organisms is upset by something like illness, the birth control pill, or a broadspectrum antibiotic, yeast can take over. Since yeast feasts on sugar, a diet that’s heavy on either fructose or glucose will only contribute to yeast overgrowth.
“As yeast grows, it can migrate into the small intestine where it latches onto the lining, creating micro-punctures in the intestinal wall—leading to what naturopaths call leaky gut syndrome,” says Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., Natural Health advisor and coauthor of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health (Future Health, 2005). Yeast’s waste products then get into the bloodstream and cause you to feel “toxic” and fatigued. To banish yeast overgrowth, follow this plan from Dean:
YEAST DETOX PLAN
WEEK 1: Evaluate your pantry. Go through your pantry and look at labels to get a feel for how many of the foods you eat actually contain sugar. (For a list of the many names used to stand in for sugar, go to drcarolyndean.com.)
WEEK 2: Cut out dairy. Eliminate all dairy (which contains galactose sugar), except unsweetened yogurt—the probiotic content may be beneficial. Use unsweetened almond, rice, or oat milk instead of animal milk.
WEEK 3: Toss out refined wheat. Replace refined wheat, which is immediately turned into glucose in the body, with wheat-free pastas, breads, and crackers, and alternative whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth. Eliminate all sources of white flour.
WEEK 4: Stop eating sugar, including fruit. In the last week of your cleanse, remove all remaining sugars, including fruit, starchy vegetables (like sweet potatoes, carrots), commercially produced foods, and sweetened beverages (even the ones with more natural sugars).
WEEKS 5–6: Remain sugar free for two weeks. Help your body flush out the toxins by drinking several cups daily of the classic Chinese cleanse: one cup of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, .25 teaspoon of ginger, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, sweetened with stevia, if needed.
DETOX DRINK FOR BANISHING YEAST
Carolyn Dean recommends this anti-yeast colon-cleansing formula:
MIX TOGETHER one tablespoon each of psyllium husk powder, bentonite clay, and liquid caprylic acid, such as Caproyl. (Order all at wholeapproach.com.)
SWALLOW the mixture quickly, and chase with eight ounces of water.
DO THIS during the last phase of your detox for best effect. “The mix creates a gel-like broom that pulls the yeast in, kills them, and absorbs the toxins when they die,” says Dean.