I swear it was just a short time ago that I was saying, “I can’t believe it’s February already,” and now it’s the first day of March and the beginning of Lent! This time of the year, we Catholics and other Christians make plans to offer extra sacrifice, alms giving, and for growing closer to God. One of the things I’ve done this past few years is to sign up for this daily email series.
While the typical Lenten sacrifices I’ve attempted don’t usually help me grow spiritually, this series has been something that helps me keep focused on what Jesus did for us and why we celebrate Lent and Easter. And frankly, I’ve been terrible at Lenten sacrifices in the past, except giving up meat on Fridays, which isn’t always a sacrifice. I like fish and the fish fry is a highlight of this season for us!
With all that said, I do like to use this time as a sort of second “New Year’s”, and an opportunity, usually, to eat better and take better care of myself. I know that I need to quit sugar, that processed food should never cross my lips, and that not only will I not lose weight if I don’t, but even more problematic, I will not clear up my skin issues until I do. (I have what I believe to be a systemic candida (yeast) infection. This is something that I see more and more about, and it is directly linked to leaky gut, which you also may have heard about. For me it causes a few skin issues, the worst being a bad rash around both ankles. It’s incredibly itchy and looks awful. I wind up wearing maxi skirts most of the summer because I’m embarrassed to be in capris and shorts.) In less than three months we’ll be going to the Domincan Republic for my sister-in-law’s wedding and, as I feared would happen, I just let a year go by without making significant strides to remedy this issue. I have, however, become a great procrastinator, so maybe the pressure will be the motivation that I need. And if that serve as enough motivation, I can remind myself that sacrificing sugar seems like a small price when compared to what Jesus did.
Ideally I think I need to be following an anti-candida type of diet, but I’m finding many contradictions among experts and ultimately it sounds like each person is different in how they respond to food and therefore the diet will differ accordingly. I already know definite problematic triggers for me: Processed sugar, alcohol, grains, and very possibly dairy and…sniff, sniff…coffee. It’s my goal to cleanse and follow a restrictive diet for at least a couple weeks so that I can really identify my triggers, but I decided to set some hard rules that I absolutely need to follow. I know myself, and if I don’t have an “all-or-nothing” plan, I will fail. These are the main guidelines I plan to follow:
- No refined sugar, minimal sweetener (Stevia ok)
- No coffee or caffeine (drink water, herbal or green tea, NingXia Red)
- No dairy (I’m on the fence about eggs…might not be able to get rid of that one)
- Organic meats/eggs when possible
- No grains (one serving of quinoa or gluten-free grains after a cleanse period of a couple weeks)
- Eat all veggies except mushrooms and potatoes (red-skinned or sweet ok in moderation)
- No fruit except lemons, limes, avacados (after cleanse period, slowly reintroduce berries)
- No peanuts or peanut butter
Those are the main things that, for the most part, are consistent with most anti-candida diets. I am pretty in tune to what triggers symptoms, and I hope with further restriction that I can figure out the best long-term lifestyle “diet” for me. My biggest struggles will be getting away from coffee and always planning ahead so that I have meals and snacks available all the time. I got this. I can do this. I’m telling you so that you can be my accountability. ?
I plan to blog about my struggles and progress, both for my own accountability but also so that if you’re dealing with a similar challenge, maybe I can help motivate you to success. Please feel free to comment as we go along! I’m here for you!