Yeast Free, that's me!

Evening, Dear Readers:

We’ve had yet another cold front, and while we don’t have snow like Denver has, I’m keeping my winter boots out a little longer. We’re enjoying winter’s last gasp. . .again. Count your blessings. Winter doesn’t know it’s spring.

Anyway. . .

I’m going back on the yeast-free diet soon out of necessity. When I was sick last month, I took antibiotics. I was sick, I couldn’t help it. I went to a “regular” clinic, and that’s what I got. So now I’m feeling occasional heartburn where I didn’t have it before. I’m going to use an OTC product I’ve used before rather than prescriptions, primarily because of the expense–but also because I’ll be embarrassed if I request those prescriptions again. Gotta nip it in the butt, quick–or I’ll have that hot, burning throat-grabbing pain that only sometimes goes away with antacids.

I did this last year when I found myself with chronic gastro problems that I originally put down to nibbling the sample bins at Whole Foods, but eventually discovered that it was because I’d not cleaned the tea pot as regularly as I needed to and, well, it got a bit slimy. That’s a mold, and if it gets in your system it sets off a chain of events that causes gastro symptoms I won’t detail here, heartburn being one of them.

There’s a fungus among us, folks. Seriously.

DISCLAIMER (again): I’m not a doctor/nurse/scientist/medical professional/genius. Just a patient who reads and pays attention. Passing along info that I think will benefit my readers (and a little griping on my part anyway.)

What I will say is this–if you find yourself with some of these chronic issues, take a look at doing the yeast free diet for yourself and see if they don’t resolve:

excessive gas

You could also have:

skin rashes
immune suppression
chemical sensitivity
vaginal yeast infections
joint pain
inability to concentrate
muscle aches
fungal infections under fingernails and toenails
athlete’s foot
thrush, a white coating on the tongue

I will admit up front that these symptoms came from Dr. Steven Hotze’s website (click the link to find out more.) If it weren’t for his radio show that I’ve been able to listen to all these years as well as his book on the subject, I would have no idea what yeast overgrowth is and be suffering with it for a long time, taking endless prescriptions that only make things worse.

Dr. Hotze is The Hormone God. He probably would NOT like me to call him “god of the hormones,” but he is (and a very nice Christian man.) Dr. Hotze has taught other physicians, including mine, how to use bioidentical hormones and how they are better than the norm, as well as general health and wellness. I greatly appreciate him and the work he does for not only his guests but the public. Many of us who have listened to his words are healthier for it and know what to look for and look out for. I guess you could call it “worship,” but he’d probably not like me to say that either.

Enough of the drooling fan stuff.

I’ve done this diet a few times, but the first was about five or six years ago, after mold exposure in a water bottle I didn’t see until it was too late–yuck!  I had uncontrollable, painful heartburn and a few other impolite symptoms, and couldn’t figure out why (until I discovered the mold contamination.) I had to just about beg the “regular” doctor I was seeing to give me some Nystatin and fluconazole, and then he wouldn’t give me enough for 90 days. Of course, he was quick to prescribe something for the heartburn, obviously not making the connection.(Today he operates a “health practice” in the south part of Houston, and I drive north to The Woodlands to see a nice lady doctor who knows what she’s doing.) I managed to get rid of the heartburn, but I always suspected it was like not taking all the antibiotics and I still had yeast. I’ve done this since then, so I’m sure I got rid of it all. Til now.

Antibiotics kill the bug that’s got ahold of you, and the tipping point is 24 to 48 hours if taken consistently. Most antibiotics, like the Amoxicillin I had, are called “broad-spectrum” antibiotics, meaning they kill everything, not just the “bad bugs.” This can be good, but the eventual imbalance allows something called Candida alicans to overgrow in the system. From there, well, you read the symptoms earlier.

I did NOT want to take antibiotics! I had not had a pharmaceutical drug in my system in nearly 3 years. But I got better, so now I have to get rid of the other problem.

If you believe you have intestinal yeast, please read these two articles first, and this one from The Green Willow Tree. I highly recommend Dr. Hotze’s Optimal Eating Cookbook, which is available from Physician’s Preference, the vitamin shop at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. Dr. Carolyn Dean, another fantastic health doctor, writes on yeast and other ills on her blog, and has been on Dr. Hotze’s show several times.

I can’t stand to see anyone suffer needlessly, especially if I know something that can help.

Now for the nuts and bolts: what does it mean to be yeast free? Well. . .being gluten free helps, but it goes farther than that–bear with me, there are reasons for such measures, and I will explain.

Yeast, as you may recall from microbiology, thrives in a warm, moist environment when fed sugar. Basically, your gut, just like when you proof it for bread. Ordinarily, the regular bacterial flora keep all that in balance, but antibiotics and other catalysts mess that up, causing Candida to overgrow and giving symptoms.

Consuming anything that converts to sugar will feed the yeast and make it worse. That means carbohydrates, simple and refined. In Dr. Hotze’s words–pizza, pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, as well as any kind of starchy stuff, including the evil wheat products of any kind. Oh, and add to that any kind of dairy products, including butter–lactose is a sugar, and will feed the yeast too.

Since most Americans eat a lot of that kind of stuff, you understand why they’re feeding yeast with a shovel. All that converted sugar is like gasoline on a wildfire–and funnyman Larry the Cable Guy is now a spokesman for Prilosec OTC. Does that tell you anything?

The diet itself starts out with meat and veg for the first month–no dairy, no fruit, no starchy carbs of any kind. The next month you can add butter and some fruit. To be effective the diet must be done for 90 days with one of two sets of tools to get the yeast out of your system completely. Dr. Hotze’s cookbook explains everything in great detail, including the prescription method.

Method #1: prescriptions for 90 days of Hypo Nystatin-A, and Diflucan (fluconazole), taken for three weeks, about two or three weeks after the first prescription is started. Again, exact details are in the book, so get that if you’re interested in trying it. Both are free of side effects like making you talk funny and walking backwards, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Method #2: if you can’t get a doctor to prescribe the aforementioned items (and at one point, I couldn’t), there is an OTC preparation available from The Green Willow Tree. Formerly known as Syclovir, it’s now called Yeast Control. This is what I’ve ordered for this go-round of yeast-free. Relatively inexpensive, and despite the god-awful taste, it does work well.

Whichever method you choose, you will also need to get some Alka Seltzer Gold. Why? Nausea. Roll with it. This kills the nausea in its tracks. The nausea comes when the yeast cells burst, and they send their mycotoxins flooding into your system. This is normal, so don’t panic (like I did.) It sometimes happens fast, so be ready for it. If you can’t find it, try your local CVS, or you can order it via Amazon. Dr. Hotze also sells something called Neutra Tabs; I’ve never tried them, but I think they’re pretty much the same thing. Your choice.

How long does the nausea last? Depends on how bad the yeast is. Me, I’ve only had that happen for a few days and that was it. I completed the 90 days and was done with it. But there was that one day at work when I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the water fountain with the nausea cure quick enough.

WARNING: I once told a co-worker about yeast and the cure and he asked his son, a physician, more about it. The son told him that if they find yeast in the system, they automatically test for HIV. I’ve never been told I need that test, and since I’m not in that risk group, I didn’t face that issue. However, if you are told this, decline the HIV test and ask for just the candida test. If you are refused, find another doctor. I was told many years ago at Tulane by a social worker that if you are tested for HIV by your PCP, your insurance company will drop you faster than a hot rock–even if the test is negative. The belief is that if you are being tested, you are engaging in risky behaviors and need to be tested. Furthermore, while yeast can be an indicator of HIV, it more often exists on its own. DO NOT be led to believe that you “might have HIV if you have yeast.” They are two separate conditions, and one does NOT indicate the other. If you want to be tested, go elsewhere than your PCP.

You can always ask another doctor to do a test for candida. There are some places that do any medical test you want without a doctor’s order. I haven’t tried it, but that may also be an option if you want to investigate it and can’t get your doctor to help you.

That was your caveat.

I never really went back to dairy after I did yeast-free a few years ago. Once I discovered shelf-stable boxed almond milk and coconut oil, I just kept using them. Never had to worry about milk going bad, because it lasted a longer time. Only recently after reading Wheat Belly and seeing the dairy included did I start buying it again.

You see. . .I can haz cheezburger. Just no wheat. And no more of those delicious gluten-free cupcakes I had last week at Frost Bake Shoppe. Darnit. Well, I’m not going back to The Woodlands for a while, so I guess I’ll be OK.

Now, after enjoying my favorite dairy stuff again, I gotta give it up for a while. Oh, well, it was tasty while it lasted.

And if that’s not enough to freeze your peas, I read yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and see an ad for watches. Now, I’ve got a Seiko watch that I’ve had since 1992; I’ve replaced the watch band and countless batteries in it (until I got smart and bought a “forever battery” at Jared’s a few years ago) and it has served me well all these years. (This Pulsar model looks exactly like it!)

OK, Amy, why does a watch have to be in a food blog?

The watch in question is called a Parmigiani. Yes, like the cheese. It’s a Swiss company that makes this lovely watch, and darnit, their website is! No .com? What does the .ch stand for–CHEESE?? They also have a Bugatti model, named after the sports car. I can deal with not having a Bugatti. But the Parmigiani name reminds that I can’t have cheese, darnit!

Some days, it’s all you can do to keep it together.

The Syclovir should be here in a few days, and once I get situated in my new work life, I’ll get on the yeast-free track again. It’s only for a little while, and once it’s gone, let’s see if we can keep it that way.

I have written about this before, and I bring it up in case someone else is suffering. And, because I can gripe a little about getting back this irritating problem.

Dunno what I did to my shoulder, but it hurts like the dickens. Don’t think even Dr. Hotze can help with this one, so I guess I gotta wait for it to heal.

GRRRRRR. . .but I never feel bad about having yeast free hot chocolate. Even in the summertime.

To your good health!

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