Wow. My change in diet had some really unexpected twists.
I thought I finally figured out what was causing my weight loss issues. The whole thing about metabolic response that I've been blogging about for weeks. But it uncovered some health issues that I didn't even know were related.
I suddenly became sick last Thursday. I woke up and I had the feeling of cold/flu symptoms. I called in sick to work Thursday/Friday because I couldn't think straight.
Then I developed some thrush symptoms. A white coating on my tongue. Weird. (For the record, I am not immuno-compromised.)
I started doing some research and found something called "Atkins flu" or "low carb die-off". Apparently, a number of us are overrun with candida, and we don't even know it. High carb/high sugar diets feed candida. Overuse of antibiotics kills off natural flora that allows candida to overrun our immune systems. Many people will have unexplained illnesses like IBS. Recurrent yeast infections, obviously. Some have sugar cravings and can't lose weight. Some, like myself, don't really have any symptoms, except strange chronic symptoms like ear infections, that no one would possibly ever connect with a systemic fungal infection.
Sparker WHIPPEACHZ left a comment on one of my blogs about candida albicans. I had already found the info on the "die-off" at that point, but I dug around a bit more, and this confirmed my suspicion. Apparently what happens, when you stop feeding the fungus with sugar of any kind, they kind of go into death throes. When they die, they leave toxins (that won't kill you), but need to be eliminated by the body, making you feel miserable. They may also suddenly appear in places, attempting to find some place to survive, on the skin, or in my case, in my sinuses and my throat. This does not happen in everyone. Only people who have a large imbalance.
Apparently I am a "lucky" one.
I eliminated my grain/starch consumption drastically, which forced it out more quickly. If I had tapered back slowly, I might have had milder symptoms, and never been aware of what it was.
So now I don't think I had a cold/flu at all, but the death throes of these out of control fungus. They live on all of us. If our natural flora is working balanced, then they don't get out of hand. They are only a problem when they go out of control.
In my case, it was feeding the beast with my high carb/high sugar diet. I mentioned the use of antibiotics to handle frequent ear infections, which obviously leads to a vicious cycle. I'm hoping my dietary changes will eliminate both problems, permanently.
Obviously, this is a lifestyle change. If I go back to a high carb/high sugar diet, then I will encourage this imbalance. I had no intention of going back anyway, but this is certainly extra incentive.
Now I know what it is, I have done lots of research in how to treat it.
1. Continue to starve it of sugar - no starches/grains. I'm already doing this.
2. Gargle with apple cider vinegar. This raises the pH in my mouth - they do not like alkaline environments. Just gargling with it this morning almost immediately cleared up my sinuses. Unexpected, but welcome!
3. Cook with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a natural antifungal. This was not easy to find, but I found some at a high end organic grocery.
4. Lemon juice. Lemons are a natural antimicrobial for a lot of things.
5. Homemade yogurt. I am SO glad I learned how to make yogurt recently! I'm trying to find recipes for coconut yogurt, so I can clear up my issues (and not inflame existing) sooner.
I'm glad I already eliminated sugary drinks and candy bars a long time ago, or this infection (and cure) might be a lot worse. I think my high grain/starch diet was continuing to feed it. This may indeed be a contributor why I lost 30lbs, but my weight loss stalled.
My focus is on clearing this up. Time will tell whether I restore balance enough so that I can enjoy things like pasta occasionally. I think I am not so bad off since I have had years head start to clean up my diet. In my mind, this is clearly a medical issue, now. I cannot go back to eating a starch with every meal.
50 grams of potatoes converts in the body into the equivalent of 1/4 cup sugar. Would you serve a quarter cup sugar 3 times a day with your meals?
I'm trying not to be infuriated. I did this for years, because this was supposed to be the most healthy way to eat, and have good health.
Many Sparkers are skeptical bunches. Many are quick to jump on message board posts about weird fad diets, detoxes and cleanses as snake oil scams.
How many of these skeptics have the same skepticism for the government dietary advice? Why is 60-25-15 for carbs/fat/protein the accepted "right" way?
Do you know how pig farmers fatten hogs? They use a feed formula of 61% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 14% protein.
This is almost identical to the USDA food pyramid.
How is this supposed to keep people slim and healthy, but adds fat to pigs for profit?
The new USDA "Food Plate" isn't much better.
I say replace that grain portion with more veggies.
Many skeptics will say this sounds like holistic, new-agey, mumbo jumbo. If I hadn't gone through this experience, I might have agreed. Heck, I did agree at one time.
What I am going through is real. I say the USDA feed lot pyramid is the junk science.