Another Reason to Quit Sugar

Farting is not an easy subject to talk about. Excessive, uncontrolled farting in public is a subject that’s even more difficult to broach. Anyone who has had the problem would identify with tactics such as glaring at the person behind you in the supermarket queue, blaming the dog, pretending that it was your rubber soled shoes slipping on the floorboards, and ignoring the smell and/or pffhhtt sound when somebody stares at you in the supermarket.

In the interest of helping out Blank readers with a similar problem, I am happy to share that I recently had cause to take my own uncontrollable flatulence problem to a colonic therapist in Reedy Creek. Colonics is not something anyone takes on lightly. It involves having a rectal tube inserted and water flushed into and out of the intestines repeatedly and observing what comes out through a clear drainage tube which is visible to the therapist and client. In my case, apart from large gas bubbles, there were lots of tiny bubbles that rose to the top of the tube as well. The large bubbles apparently meant a zinc deficiency; the small bubbles meant Candida overgrowth.

Candida Albicans is a fungus normally present in our bodies, and it doesn’t cause much of a problem until it becomes overgrown. Reasons for this can include eating a high sugar, low fibre diet, prolonged stress, and taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill or steroids. Symptoms can be similar to a lot of other conditions, so it can be difficult to diagnose. I had experienced thrush many times over the years, and despite regular tongue scraping, I always had a white coating on my tongue. The other tell-tale sign that was getting increasingly difficult to live with, was constant fatigue.

My colonic therapist, who is also a trained herbalist, offered the treatment that no client wants to hear; the dreaded Candida Diet. That means no sugar, no fruit, no wheat, gluten or yeast, no wine, beer or other alcohol (“you can have a vodka, lime and soda if you’re desperate”), no potatoes, no corn, and no dairy. For three to four weeks. No cheating. Fortunately my therapist had a more realistic version of the diet than the notoriously extreme American one. That’s right, more extreme than the one I just mentioned. She quite sensibly reasoned that the Candida diet causes a massive detox and ‘die-off’ of Candida which is a huge strain on the liver. There is no point in going to extremes because the liver can only handle so much detoxing at a time, so toxins that the liver can’t metabolise just circulate in the blood causing you to feel like crap.

I felt like crap anyway for the first two weeks. My only reprieve was Saturday night vodka, lime and sodas. I was desperate after all. I did try to socialise but it was near impossible. I baked a horribly bland cake from a recipe on the American Candida website and took it to a friend’s house one night. No-one at the table could eat it except the dog who looked quite ill by the end of the night.

Coming off the sugar alone can cause headaches, irritability, and more fatigue, but the herbal anti-fungal pills I had to take twice a day also caused a lot of nausea. However, after passing the week two milestone, the headaches passed, my brain fog had disappeared, and I had a burst of energy.

After week three was done and dusted, the next step was to gradually reintroduce foods to see if any of the previous symptoms came back. All was fine until I ate some regular bread, yet I had no problems with organic sourdough bread. A little research from the great God Google led me to an interesting theory. The problem with wheat has nothing to do with gluten (unless you are a diagnosed coeliac), or GMO (genetically modified) wheat. It’s an agricultural practice whereby wheat is sprayed with the herbicide Roundup before harvest to aid in dry down and make harvest easier. Residual Roundup in the wheat that we eat is thought to kill off good gut bacteria thus allowing candida to overgrow. Of course, organic grains are not sprayed with herbicides. This is just a theory, but could explain my tolerance to organic bread but not non-organic bread.

The main thing I’ve learnt is to go easy on the sugar, eat a well balanced diet with lots of high fibre foods, and avoid too much stress. Common sense really.

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