I felt fabulous when I stopped eating gluten, and I thought I was home free. But, about nine months into a gluten-free diet, I stopped feeling so great. My face starting breaking out again, my intestinal system was offbeat, and my brain fog slipped back. After a few tests, I was diagnosed with a yeast overgrowth. This was not a piece of good news.
As is the case for many people who are gluten sensitive, I had a leaky gut. When I stopped eating gluten, the leaky holes in my gut started to heal and close up releasing the toxins that had been trapped for so long. Some people even have bacterial infections and parasites also. My toxins were an overabundant amount of yeast, which is much more significant than a yeast infection.
My naturopathic doctor prescribed a medication, supporting supplements, and a rigid diet to rid my body of the yeast overgrowth. I had to eliminate all sugars for nine weeks. This meant no sugar, no fruit (except a few blueberries), no root vegetables (including carrots and potatoes), no starchy vegetables like peas, no condiments, no alcohol, only one-half cup of rice per day, no corn, and no dairy. I wasn't dairy-free yet, so that was especially difficult. I didn't even eat bacon or ham because they contain sugar. It's the sugar that feeds the yeast, so if I cheated and had just a tiny amount, I would be erasing all the work I had done up to that point. I put my head down with blinders on and plowed through the nine, very long weeks.
I took this photo of the lemon water two years ago during my "yeast overgrowth summer." The first few weeks I was feeling cranky and sorry for myself. Then, I turned over a new leaf and embraced the many foods I could eat during that time. I discovered coconut and bean flours. I colorfully plated my meals, used cloth napkins, and savored every bite. I embraced the simplicity of food, went to bed early, sorted and purged contents from closets and boxes from over the years, and started to feel better.
I successfully conquered my yeast overgrowth by the end of the summer. My tastes had changed, and I no longer had that compulsive craving for sweets. I felt such a sense of relief and accomplishment, and my body was back on track.
If you have gone gluten-free and some of your symptoms have returned, consider being tested for yeast overgrowth. It's worth the effort to overcome it. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Here are a few menu ideas I relied on and that satisfied me.
Brown Rice Hot Cereal with Toasted Coconut Flakes
Chia Seeds with Nuts, Cinnamon, & Toasted Coconut Flakes
Scrambled Eggs with Parsley & Chives
Leftover Curried Red Lentils Served Over a Hard Boiled Egg
Coconut Flour Pancakes
Garbonzo Bean Flour Griddle Cakes
Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
All Nut Butters
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Curried Red Lentils served over Zucchini
Sole with Lemon, Herbs, and Olive Oil
Roast Chicken with Olives
Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce