I'm On the Worst Diet Known to Humankind But It's Actually Helping My Chronic Skin Issues

Exactly 24 days ago, I embarked upon the most restrictive diet I've ever miserably bumbled my way into: an anti-Candida plan.
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Laura Barcella
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Exactly 24 days ago, I embarked upon the most restrictive diet I've ever miserably bumbled my way into: an anti-Candida plan.

I haven't consumed a piece of fruit in 24 days. I haven't had even the teensiest tiniest little granule of sugar in that time, either. Same goes for coffee. And milk products of any kind except yogurt (more on that in a sec). And (DEAR GOD NO, HOW AM I EVEN ALIVE RIGHT NOW) bread. And grains (except quinoa and oat flour; again, more in a sec).Exactly 24 days ago, I embarked upon the most restrictive diet I've ever miserably bumbled my way into: an anti-Candida plan.Before you yell at me about diets being evil, offensive, oppressive tools of the patriarchy that attempt to inflict rigid, restrictive, and totally unrealistic body ideals upon the female masses (which I pretty much completely concur with, FWIW), keep in mind -- I'm doing this thing for skin issues, not skinniness ones. And to my surprise, unlike most stupid freaking diets out there, this one actually seems to be … working.

When tired, no teeth.

When tired, no teeth.

OK, here's the deal. An anti-Candida diet is meant to help kill off an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a pathogen that "takes advantage of a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in your gut." It can most overgrow when your gut flora balance is way off due to a high sugar-diet, lots of stress, or use of antibiotics.Those little Candida albican buggers may sound like NBD, but apparently they release some nasty stuff into your system -- harmful byproducts like neurotoxins and uric acid. All that stuff can build up as Candida compounds, leading to tons of unsavory symptoms, from fatigue, brain fog, yeast infections, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, depression, headaches, acne, itching; the list goes on and on.Anyway, upon getting frustrated enough with my chronic skin issues, which over the years had shown absolutely NO RESPONSE to an increasingly intense series of dermatological treatments, I did what any smart, self-respecting woman does the nanosecond she starts noticing a medical or beauty emergency of any kind: hop on Google to single-handedly SOLVE THE CASE.

So after some deep digging through the cobwebbed corners of the Webs, I discovered heaps of (possible) evidence that my skin crap could be linked to an excess of Candida. Why? I've been a sugar addict since I was a tiny baby, and eating a high-sugar, high-carb diet is one of the prime factors that can make you susceptible. Even lots of fruit can do it. Same goes for alcohol.

I've also been on tons of antibiotics over the years in desperate attempts to treat my skin problems; they never worked, and most likely only made things worse for me, both internally (gut flora) and externally (skin freakouts).Hence my decision to try an anti-Candida diet STAT. What could it hurt? Yes, I loathed the idea of all things Paleo -- the idea of giving up my beloved gummy candy and sourdough bread made me fantasize about the path of an oncoming train -- but I was willing to give it a go temporarily to see if it worked. Most of the sites I read recommended trying it for a solid 3 months, with almost no cheating.Like I said, this diet seemed really hard. Like, almost impossible. It's basically a no-fruit Paleo situation (i.e., mainly protein, veggies, and nuts) with a few concessions thrown in. Like, I can have yogurt because of the gut-boosting benefits of the probiotics, but no other dairy (except butter!) will fly. I can have quinoa, oat bran, and buckwheat, but no other grains. It's kind of confusing, truly, but I'm getting used to it and though it slightly pains me to admit this, I'm actually kind of ... LIKING IT.Why? Because It's forcing me to cook for myself, and I’m cooking actual meals -- like, including ACTUAL VEGETABLES -- which I NEVER used to do. I'm baking tasty desserts (I can use stevia as a sweetener; you'd be surprised how many amazing sweets can be whipped up with coconut, almond butter, and stevia). Oh and remember, I can have butter! Which … duh. BUTTER.

Overall I don't hate the plan because it feels healthy and nourishing, like I'm taking good care of myself. (I think it's all the vegetables and protein.) But one negative: It makes me very tired; I'm pretty sure that's the no-coffee talking. I am doing green tea, which is supposedly off-plan, but I literally can't drag my head through one day without caff, so green tea it'll be, for now.My favorite aspect of this plan, though, is the fact that it's working. It took a couple weeks to start showing any effect on my skin, but it did start showing. Which, as we all know, is damn hard to come by when it comes to "diets." This only adds to my incentive to keep shooting for three months as an end goal.Ever tried an anti-Candida plan or something similar for dermatological woes (or anything else)?