In order to begin following the candida diet you must first become familiar with what you can and cannot eat. This sounds easy enough but with so much conflicting information out there, not only about the candida diet but surrounding nutrition in general this information can be difficult to obtain and frustrating to implement. I don’t believe that this is intentional. There are so many well meaning physicians, naturopaths, nutritionists and bloggers, myself included, sharing their experience helping others find wellness or finding it themselves through dietary changes. This is a good thing, as these people are spreading the undeniable message that food is directly linked to wellness.
Although this is positive how does one sort through all of the conflicting information in order to act? I think it is helpful to remember that there is no one size fits all solution to nutrition. Our understanding of food and how it effects our bodies is constantly evolving. Our bodies are complex and a food or ingredient that may be beneficial to one may be harmful to another. Yes, become informed but don’t let all of the information paralyze you and deter you from making positive dietary changes. This really is trial and error, so try to resist worrying about which candida diet list or plan is best to the point of inaction. There are also several other diets that people follow to reverse chronic health problems. Information on guidelines about this diets may also cause confusion. Paleo, GAPS, and SCD are all diets that seek to improve wellness but which one is best?
I follow the candida diet because it is the way of eating that has helped me resolve many of my chronic health problems. Is paleo, GAPS and SCD better than the candida diet? Maybe, but the candida diet works for me so I continue to follow it. When deciding which healing diet to embark on do the research but do not get stuck. In the end taking small steps such as eliminating refined sugar and overly processed foods from your diet, which all of these diets recommend doing is a step in the right direction. Don’t get caught up in the religious fervor of a diet, remember the goal is wellness.
I am going to attempt to outline what to eat and what not to eat on the candida diet below. Please keep in mind that these are just guidelines and not an individual nutrition plan. There will be some trial and error here. Believe in your ability to figure out what foods will heal you. Ultimately your body will guide you, so listen to it carefully.
What to Eat On the Candida Diet – Stage 1 Guidelines
Stage 1 of the candida diet is an elimination diet. At this stage you are required to eliminate all foods and ingredients that both encourage the growth of candida and lack nutritional value. In this stage you will eliminate all forms of sugar, including fruit, glutinous grains, and processed foods. The goal of stage 1 is to starve the candida by reducing it’s food supply and to foster healing through nutrient dense foods. At the beginning of stage 1 you may experience a worsening of symptoms which is referred to as “die-off”. As you starve the candida it will begin to die and in doing so large amounts of toxins will be released throughout the body. Just remember that die-off is a temporary and a normal part of the healing process. Hang in there, things should improve after a week or two.
I personally find the first three weeks of the diet to be the most difficult. Every time I have successfully made it to week three I have reaped enormous benefits. In this third week I have experienced increased energy, a reduction in symptoms, and decreased cravings for sugar. If you can make it to week three you will feel much better and it will require less effort for you to stay on track. It is recommended that you remain on stage 1 of the diet for three to four weeks but this is not a one size fits all recommendation. Many people will need to follow stage 1 of the candida diet for much longer to fully regain their health. I stayed at this stage for about 3 months.
What To Eat On The Candida Diet – Stage 2 Guidelines
Stage 2 of the candida diet is a reintroduction and rotation of foods that are healthy but may have been eliminated in stage 1 due to their high carbohydrate profile. Potatoes, corn, fruit, and wheat all can be reintroduced gradually in stage 2. Rotating these foods will be important, as it will help you to identify any hidden food allergies and/or which specific foods trigger candida symptoms. To reintroduce these foods choose one food at a time and eat it 3 to 4 days a part. This gives you the time to identify which foods your body may not be ready for. This takes diligence, so be patient. Recording the dates in which you reintroduce each food and any reaction that occurs in a notebook will be helpful to this process. During stage 2 you should continue to avoid all types of sugar, highly processed foods, preservatives, simple carbohydrates, and any foods that you may be allergic to. Stage 2 is over when you feel like you have achieved optimal health.
What To Eat On The Candida Diet – Stage 3 Guidelines
While you may be able to indulge in a sugary treat or two without any ill effects after you complete s the diet you will still need to be careful. While you are not meant to stay on stage 1 of the diet forever, following a modified version of stage 2 may be helpful in maintaining your health.
•High-Carb (Stage 2)
Low-Carb Fruit (Stage 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
• Black Beans
• Kidney Beans
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
•All Fresh & Dried Herbs
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
(Stages 1 & 2)
•Apple Cider Vinegar
What to Eat on the Candida Diet Explained
Low-Carbohydrate Vegetables should be the focus during stage 1 of the candida diet. These vegetables provide numerous health benefits without feeding the candida. Purchase fresh organic produce whenever possible to avoid unwanted pesticides. While fresh vegetables are best it is a good idea to stock your freezer with a variety of frozen vegetables for emergencies. There are also some organic additive free canned vegetables that may be okay in a crunch but use these sparingly, as canned vegetables are high in sodium. In Stage 2 of the candida diet you will be able to reintroduce vegetables that were eliminated in stage 1 due to their high carbohydrate content. Lemons and limes are allowed during stage 1 of the candida diet. Other Low-Carbohydrate fruits will be reintroduced in stage 2 of the diet.
Meat and Seafood are a great source of protein which helps the body function optimally. Buy organic meat when possible and read ingredient labels to avoid unwanted additives. I have found a few canned meat and seafood products that do not contain additives.
Legumes have a high carbohydrate profile but are another good source of protein. Legumes must be eaten in limited quantities especially during stage 1 of the candida diet.
Non-Glutinous Grains are ideal for stage 1 of the candida diet, as many people are allergic or sensitive to wheat. This is the only reason I have not recommended wheat for stage 1 of the diet. Wheat however, can be tolerated by some with no ill effects. If you are able to tolerate wheat then eat it. This will make things easier for you but use 100% whole wheat products. All grains, glutinous or not are high in carbohydrates so should be eaten in limited quantities.
There are so many artificial Sweeteners on the market but the only one that candida diet resources seem to agree on for stage 1 of the candida diet is stevia. Be careful when purchasing stevia, as many brands contain unwanted ingredients.
Fresh Herbs & Spices are best to use in candida diet recipes, so use them as much as possible. It has however been such a challenge for me to keep fresh herbs and spices on hand. Having dried herbs and spices available is extremely beneficial to candida diet cooking. Some candida diet resources indicate that dried herbs contain mold but I inspect my dried herbs and spices often and have had no problems. Using herbs and spices will help liven up your candida diet dishes.
Several types of Nuts & Seeds are allowed in stage 1 of the candida diet. Peanuts, pistachios, and cashews are typically avoided because they often contain mold. Purchase other varieties of nuts and seeds raw. Raw Nuts and seeds can typically be found at a Farmers’ Market. I have read that you can freeze both nuts and seeds to keep them fresh.
Choosing what Oils to use for your candida diet cooking is really confusing. Every source tells you something different. When I first started the candida diet safflower oil was recommended but I recently encountered another resource that stated it was not allowed. One oil that everyone seems to agree on is olive oil. I use olive oil in most of my recipes but olive oil does not work for every recipe. My other go-to oil is canola which seems to be controversial. You may want to do some additional research in order to choose which cooking oil is best for you.
Most Dairy products are not allowed during stage 1 of the candida diet because they contain lactose which is milk sugar. The only dairy product allowed during stage 1 of the diet is butter. This is because butter contains very little lactose.
Water, water, and more water should be your Beverage of choice. Water has so many health benefits and drinking it will be beneficial to your recovery, so drink as much water as possible. I usually drink Brita filtered water. Unflavored seltzer and mineral water is okay too. I know that all of this water can get boring so adding a slice of lime or lemon can be helpful. You may also be able to tolerate a little cranberry juice but the only ingredient should be 100% cranberries.
There are a few Other foods and ingredients that you can incorporate into stage 1 of the candida diet. While regular vinegar is not allowed on the candida many candida diet resources recommend Apple Cider Vinegar due to its numerous health benefits. Eggs are also allowed on the candida diet. They are often included in the meat section because they are also a great source of protein.
Candida Diet Guidelines Foods to Avoid
There are foods that you will only have to avoid during the candida diet and then there are foods that you should never eat again. Dramatic I know, but true. After you have completed stage 2 of the diet you should be feeling much better. This may be the best that you have felt in years. It is great that you are feeling better but care should be taken when transitioning beyond stage 2 of the candida diet. Completing both stages does not mean that you can now eat anything that you want. There are certain foods that you may always need to avoid to maintain your health. While a strict candida diet may not be necessary anymore, avoiding sugar and highly processed foods will be a very important part of maintaining your health.
Vegetables & Fruits Meat Seafood Legumes
•Frozen Vegetables With Additives
•Canned Vegetables With Additives
•Canned Fruit with Additives
•High Carbohydrate Fruit
•Canned Meats With Additives
•Smoked Meats •Cured Meats
•Canned Fish With Additives
•Fish with High Mercury Levels
•Canned Beans With Additives
•Dried Herbs that contain additives
•Dried Spice that contain additives
Oils Dairy Beverages Other
• Malt Liquor
• All Additives and Preservatives
• Citric Acid
•Distilled Vinegar •White Wine Vinegar
• All Highly Processed Foods
Candida Diet Guidelines Foods to Avoid Explained
Canned and frozen Vegetables & Fruits often contain additives that we are trying to avoid on the candida diet. Sugar, syrup, and citric acid are just a few of the problematic ingredients often found in canned fruits and vegetables. Some may be okay to use but read labels carefully.
Canned Meat and Seafood can be helpful in cooking but many of these products also contain additives. When you are looking for canned meat and seafood you are ideally looking for products that contain the main ingredient and maybe just water.
Canned Legumes have been a life saver for me. Fortunately there are now many organic varieties available that do not contain additives available in the supermarket. Again, read labels carefully.
Stay clear of all products made of white flour. There are a lot of nutritious Grains but white flour provides not nutritional value and breaks down into sugar much more quickly then the complex carbohydrates that we are allowed to eat in stages 1 and 2 of the candida diet.
Avoid all Sweeteners except stevia. All types of sugar, even the natural sugar such as honey feed candida, so this is the number one thing to avoid. Artificial sweeteners are equally troublesome so it is best to avoid them too.
Herbs & Spices are great to add to your candida diet dishes. Many dried herbs and spices however contain additives. Use fresh herbs when possible and read labels carefully when purchasing dried herbs.
Peanuts, pistachios, and cashews are Nuts & Seeds that should be avoided on the candida diet because often contain mold. Other types of nuts and seeds are great but these also can contain additives. Purchase raw nuts and seeds to avoid this.
Due the mold content of peanuts most candida diet resources agree that candida dieters should stay away from peanut oil. There are many other Oils that will work depending on your need.
Avoid all products that contain Dairy, as the lactose, milk sugar which is found in dairy can trigger candida symptoms. Butter is the only exception as it contains only a small amount of lactose and can usually be tolerated in moderation.
Avoid sugary Beverages at all costs. Since you must avoid all forms of sugar including artificial sweeteners even drinks labeled “diet” or “low-sugar” are off limits.
There are a few Other foods and ingredients such as prepared foods, citric acid, vinegar, and yeast that you will need to avoid on the candida diet. Most prepared foods are going to be off limits because they contain unhealthy ingredients and additives. I never understood why Citric Acid was off limits. It always seemed strange to me that lemon juice was allowed on the candida diet but citric acid was not. I assumed that they were the same thing. Citric Acid is a preservative in a wide array of foods. Once you start reading labels this become apparent. The citric acid found in most products is a byproduct of metabolism from a particular type of mold. This is the most inexpensive way to produce citric acid but because it is created using mold it is not ideal to consume on the candida diet. The same is true of vinegar. Vinegar is made using yeast so it is not recommended for the candida diet. Avoiding all forms of yeast is also recommended.
Last Updated: 10/17/13