Here’s a quick look at this episode:
- Why I couldn’t eat cake on my birthday
- How I have struggled for 23 years with systemic Candida
- How I got through my birthday without eating any sugar at all
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Well hello there! Welcome back to the redefining Bold podcast. You're listening to episode number 12 and I'm your host Gwen Whitfield from theboldabode.com, where I guide warm-hearted women in their quest for a more organized, cleaner home and a more productive and vibrant life.
So, happy birthday to me! Well I'm actually recording this the day after my birthday, and it probably won't air for another week or so.
but I had some things that I really wanted to talk to you about.
Namely how to not eat cake on your birthday. Now I got a ton of birthday messages and lots of “hope you get a great piece of cake” and stuff like that.
The problem is right now I cannot eat cake.
It's not about my weight or how I look, it's that I literally cannot eat any sugar or carbohydrates at all. Now let me give you a little bit of background, it's probably going to get a little personal, so if you're grossed out by that kind of stuff you might want to skip ahead. I mean I'm not gonna go into that much detail so don't worry.
So about 24 years ago, I think it was 1996, I started having recurrent yeast infections but they weren't just like any regular old used infection which is awful in itself I started having problems with my skin too. And I felt absolutely horrible. I would wake up in a fog, I couldn't concentrate at all. Sometimes I even felt a little bit intoxicated.
So started doing some research and that led me to a book by Dr. crook called the Yeast Connection. I immediately bought it from the bookstore and read the entire book from start to finish in a couple of days because it was everything that was going on with me.
Now when I was 18 I had some issues with yeast and my mom is a nurse so she knew exactly what it was and helped me get over it. But I never really thought that it was going to be a constant problem for me. Low and behold a few years later, I was dealing with yeast but in a massive way. So my mom and dad were really concerned and set me up with an immunologist in Memphis.
So we did a battery of tests on my immune system because she said a healthy 24-year-old should not be having these types of issues with yeast. So you know we looked into all kinds of immune deficiency diseases and cancers and what not.
Fortunately everything came back normal.
Unfortunately everything came back normal.
At that point she really didn't have much to say, other than that she diagnosed me with systemic yeast. So basically the yeast gets out of your gut and into your blood and can infect your skin, your throat, your mouth and your ears and everywhere. it's terrible. So she put me on a regimen of some oral antifungals and some powders and other stuff. And sent me on my way.
Never mentioning diet at all.
But since, I was armed with Dr. Crook’s book I knew what I really had to do. it talked very extensively about how to control candida, which is the name of the yeast ,with your diet. So I started down the road of the anti-candida diet. If you have ever struggled with this, you know where I'm going.
So here's what I had to do:
I had to eliminate every sugar: natural as in fruit, granulated, artificial out of my diet. If it had any kind of sugar or glycemic index it had to go. Anything that had any kind of mold in it, like peanuts was gone. Then I couldn't eat any gluten so that eliminates any bread or muffins or pastries which obviously have sugar in them too so that would already eliminate them. Root vegetables like white potatoes: gone. Onions have a lot of sugar in them too so bye-bye. So it's pretty much I can list the things that I can eat easier than the things I can’t.
So I spent several months eating chicken, green vegetables, fish, turkey, sometimes red meat. It was tough. But after about three months I could feel a huge difference. Especially in the brain fog. I was thinking more clearly I felt better. You know I really thought that I had whipped this candida and could just be normal again.
Fast forward 10 years and what do you know but I start having some serious problems again. But this time even the things that I could eat before like regular chicken from the grocery store started causing reactions. We lived in Southwest Georgia and ended up having to drive to Tallahassee and go to fresh market so I could get my meat because it was just a better quality and I wouldn't react to it. I
t was a difficult time for sure but again I recovered and pretty much stayed on the diet for several years until, life turned stressful again.
So during stress, I tend to numb with food. And I started straying from my healthy ways. And that's OK it happens. But here we are 10 years later.
So I was doing actually really well in January and February and March and then the world shut down. I don't know about you but it’s been very stressful. And so I began to expand my diet horizons. I began eating more gluten and more sugary things and drinking some fake sugar. I just was not doing super great.
But then in mid April I started sort of coming out of the funk and realizing that I really needed to exercise and take care of better care of me myself. So I thought I was doing really well actually. I had cut back on some of the things that I was eating but I noticed that I started to have trouble with my right ear. I’ve struggled with air infections over the past year, so maybe in retrospect I wasn't doing so great but I noticed that after I would go and eat pizza from the certain place, the next time I wake up in my ear would hurt.
And after a day, it would get better, and the next week we go get that same pizza again and Bam my ear would hurt. So after years of dealing with weirdo symptoms I started to think that may be I was having some issues again with candida. Because it wasn't just my ears if you get my drift. Nothing major so to speak but just kind of a general maybe this isn't quite right kind of feeling.
So about two weeks ago my ear really started hurting, and if you know anything about candida the worst thing you can do is get anabiotics so I decided I needed to try to fix my ear without taking them.
I got a night guard to help with the gritting of my teeth but my ear ache wasn't going away completely. And then I realize that because of the other symptoms I was having maybe I needed to go back on the anti-candida diet.
That was a hard pill to swallow. I know what the diet can do for me but it's so restrictive that it is probably the hardest thing mentally I have to do. But I can either live like this with ear pain, and itchiness all over and mental fog or I can suck it up do the diet and feel better.
So, obviously, I've chosen that feeling better route. So for the past two weeks I have been very careful about what I'm eating. And I'm noticing that my body is definitely responding, though it is a very slow road.
That brings me to my birthday. How to not eat cake on your birthday. I'm not gonna lie it was tough. My older son Morgan who is a rising senior at Virginia tech, came home for a few hours to celebrate. He's actually in the middle of the OU lab which is kind of the big culminating lab for their major. Of course, it is online so that's not super fun but he's in the thick of it. I was so surprised and delighted that he took the time out to come home and celebrate with us. And I really wanted to have something there to celebrate with.
But I knew that I couldn't eat it. So I made homemade pizza for them and Morgan, my husband, bought an apple pie crumble from the store, and we baked that and had a wonderful time. I ate my simple grilled chicken while they eat pizza and apple pie and ice cream.
Now, that wasn't so hard because it wasn't actually my birthday. So Morgan went home that night because he had some things to turn in to his professor. The next day was just me and Morgan and BRENDAN and we pretty much went about our normal day.
But about midway through the day I was like mentally just like oh my gosh I can't go out to eat tonight, which we really aren’t doing anyway because of the pandemic. But even if we wanted to I just couldn't do that, and I definitely couldn't go and get a cake. I couldn't have my blueberry pancakes that I wanted for breakfast. And I just started just going down this rabbit hole of all the things that I just couldn't do that day
It was getting really bad. I was having a pity party instead of a birthday party!
But finally, I stopped myself. And I told myself , Gwen! you have got to get a hold of your thoughts. Normally this is really not a big difficult task for me but, it was my birthday. That was that was rough, man. When I was finally able to realize what was going on, I began to tell myself something different. I began to tell myself: “Gwen, you will get through this. You will feel better on the other side. This is for your health and will be worth it.”
I said that to myself over and over and over until I felt my body relax and my mind calm down. So that's what I thought,
What can I do that would feel special to treat myself. What can I do to celebrate in a healthy way?
So on the way home from taking BRENDAN to swim practice, I stopped at fresh market and I got a Grass fed ribeye, some broccolini, a sparkling water and some Kalamata olives. These are all things that I love but rarely get. They felt special and like a really happy birthday treat. When I got home to cook the steak, I sat down on my teal tufted sofa and picked out the movie that I wanted to watch and I seriously enjoyed every bite of that juicy steak.
No, it wasn't cake. It wasn't the salted caramel ice cream that I wanted. It wasn't the blueberry pancakes, but it was delicious and it’s what my body needed.
Food truly is delightful. We use it to deal with stress, yes, but we also use it to celebrate. And that can be a really fun and beautiful and healthy thing to do. But sometimes it's just not possible in the way that we want. And on my birthday that was the case.
I'm thankful that I was able to pull myself out of that downward spiral, and I hope that listening to my story will help you if you ever find yourself in this kind situation. Maybe you are even going through something like this right now.
If you've ever struggled with an auto immune disorder or candida and had to adjust your diet, then I stand with you in solidarity. It can be difficult when you feel like you need to restrict your eating. And I'm not a fan of that. In fact I told my husband about a year ago I was not going to restrict myself anymore. And I plan to continue that once I feel like my body has healed but in a healthier way.
I want to someday, be able to celebrate special times by eating some cake! But I need to take care of my body during the in between time so that when those special days come, I'm well enough to enjoy them. So it's a balance. And that is what creates a truly healthy and productive life. It requires balance and moderation.
I hope that hearing my story has given you the courage to take steps towards a healthier life if that's what you need to do, if you've ever struggled with candida or another type of illness that requires a dietary change. This is the third major time in my life I've had to go through this. I know what I need to do and I'm doing it.
The plan moving forward is actually more important than this time right now. So that I don't end up back where I started. And a big part of that is self-awareness. I definitely feel more equipped now that I know the Enneagram.
If you don't know what I'm talking about I'll leave a link down in the show notes so you can check it out. I'm a 9 on the Enneagram and
9s tend to numb with various and sundry things, my particular favorite way has always been food. Knowing that about myself has really helped me understand how I respond under stress and is helping me figure out how to manage that in a healthier way.
I'll leave the link to the Candida diet below and you can read more about it. And I’ll leave a link to a book or two that I would recommend if it's something you wanna look into. If you have any questions you can always email me at [email protected] and I'll be more than happy to chat with you about it.
So that’s how to NOT eat cake on your birthday. What a day! It was hard, but I came through it and I came through it stronger than I was before. So that makes it all worth it.
Thanks so much for listening! And I'll see you in the next episode.
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