Being vegetarian or vegan often presents its own challenges, especially when dining out. And when you combine those challenges with the Candida Diet, you may find that your daily meals and snacks take a bit more planning! However, once you’ve managed the basics of what you can and can’t eat, it’s all smooth sailing.
The vegetarian diet has been linked to a reduced likelihood of many chronic diseases and is often regarded as healthier than a diet containing large amounts of animal-based foods. While your protein choices are limited to plant-based foods such as nuts and beans, you’ll find that there are many, many foods that will add variety to your meals every day.
Many of the most powerful antifungal and probiotic foods are vegan, for example olive oil and sauerkraut. And it’s relatively easy to find substitutes for the meat and dairy-based products on the diet. Many people have followed the vegan or vegetarian version of the Candida diet with success. Read on to find out exactly what you need to do!
Vegetarian And Vegan Foods To Avoid
Although many of these foods are popular in vegetarian and vegan diets, they won’t help your Candida! As with the standard Candida Diet, you should cut out foods that can potentially feed the Candida yeast.
Here are the main food groups to avoid if you’re vegan or vegetarian:
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High-sugar fruits: Especially canned and dried. Fruit juices should definitely be avoided.
Glutinous grains: Rye, wheat, spelt, barley, oats (except oat bran and gluten-free oats), corn and white rice. Check product packaging for the gluten free guarantee.
Alcohol: All types.
Sugars: Refined sugars, fruit sugars, all syrups and artificial sweeteners.
Condiments: Check labels for added sugars or artificial ingredients.
Vegetarian And Vegan Foods to Eat
Here are some of the best vegan and vegetarian foods to eat while you’re on the Candida diet:
Non-starchy vegetables: Asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, raw garlic, leeks, olives, onions, swiss chard, tomatoes, zucchini. You can also eat vegetables that are starchy but antifungal, like rutabaga and turnip.
Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, lettuce, sprouts, bok choy.
Gluten-free grains: Millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and oat bran.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, coconut flesh and milk, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, poppy seeds.
Yogurts and plant-based milks: Unsweetened, non-GMO soy, coconut, hazelnuts, almonds, quinoa, millet.
Seaweed: Nori, kelp, wakame, dulse, sea lettuce.
Herbs and spices: Choose organic, unpasteurized herbs and spices. Most dried herbs are fine.
Sweeteners: Low-carb sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit extract, erythritol, and xylitol.
Protein Sources For Vegans And Vegetarians
The regular Candida diet includes meat and fish, but if you’re vegetarian you can easily leave those out of your diet. However, that does leave the question of where you are going to get your protein, especially since eating large amounts of beans is not recommended due to their starch content.
If you can eat eggs, they are a great source of protein that we recommend throughout the treatment. It’s never good to get all your protein from one source though, so we would encourage you to eat some nuts and seeds too. Either eat them as a snack or add them to your salads.
Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts are all great options, but check out the list of foods to eat for more. It’s important that you do not eat any moldy foods during your treatment, so it might be advisable to soak the almonds overnight or spray them with some grapefruit seed extract.
If you are vegan or strict vegetarian and can’t eat eggs, then we would suggest supplementing the nuts and seeds with a small amount of beans each day. While these are initially on the ‘foods to avoid’ list for most Candida sufferers, it is also important that you get enough protein.
Lupin beans can take some time to prepare, but they are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Winged beans are another great option, although they are sometimes hard to find. Try to avoid soy beans unless you can find a non-GMO brand — soy contains plenty of protein but most of it is now genetically modified.
In some cases, a high-quality vegan protein powder may be the best way to go, as long as it is free from added sugars, carbs, etc. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to find nearly zero-carb, sugar-free, vegan protein powders. Watch out for brands made from soy unless they are certified non-GMO and organic. You can find excellent products that use pea or hemp protein powder. For those vegetarians who do consume some dairy, high quality whey protein may be worth adding to the diet.
Healthy Vegetarian Fats On The Candida Diet
Fat is vital for energy production and for nourishing your cell membranes. Your brain alone is made up of 60 percent fat – and every cell in your body requires fat to function. Animal fats are not so desirable, however – so you’ll actually be getting healthier fats as a vegetarian. Fats such as coconut oil also have powerful antifungal properties, so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone!
- Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil can be used in all meals and beverages. Coconut oil is especially good for cooking, as it has a high smoke point and won’t oxidize.
- Avocado, seeds and nuts are also great added to most meals.
- Drizzle your salads with olive oil and avocado oil for extra flavor.
Anti-Candida Foods And Antifungal Remedies
Including a few natural antifungal foods in your diet will help fight the fungal overgrowth. You can add most of these foods to your meals and they’ll usually enhance the flavor – while also boosting your body’s defenses!
Here are some vegan antifungal foods to include in your diet:
- Organic extra-virgin coconut oil
- Olives and olive oil
- Lemon juice and lime juice
- Cayenne pepper
The Importance of Probiotics And Prebiotics
As with virtually any diet, including probiotic-rich foods is a must for optimal gut health and a strong immune system. Probiotics also help fight fungal overgrowth and reduce the risk of Candida infection.
While yogurt is one of the most common probiotic foods, it’s not an option for vegans. But the great news is that there are many other options for non-dairy probiotic foods! Just make sure that the probiotic foods you choose are raw and made with fresh ingredients. Pasteurized foods (canned or otherwise processed) have been through processing that kills the beneficial bacteria.
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Prebiotics are also important for a healthy gut. These provide the ‘food’ for probiotics to live on and help to maintain a healthy gut environment.
Probiotic Fermented Foods
These are foods that contain live organisms which work to ‘ferment’ the product, thus turning milk into yogurt or cheese, or cabbage into kimchi. When we eat these foods, the beneficial microorganisms also help restore healthy bacterial balance in the gut.
The best vegetarian and vegan probiotic foods include:
- Pickled vegetables
- Coconut kefir
- Water kefir
Prebiotic foods are the food source for the bacteria in your gut. They are generally good for gut health, although note that they do not discriminate – they feed the pathogenic yeasts and bacteria just the same as they do the probiotic bacteria. If you have a very severe gut imbalance, you might want to be careful with the amount of prebiotics that you eat.
Here are some good, vegan choices for prebiotic foods:
- Raw chicory root
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Dandelion greens
Chicory root is rich in excellent prebiotic called inulin. You can make a healthy anti-Candida drink using chicory root coffee with almond milk (or another non-GMO unsweetened soy milk). Sweeten with stevia or monk fruit extract.
The Plant-Based Candida Diet Works!
As you can see, vegans and vegetarians have a huge range of food options to choose from when embarking on a Candida Diet. Plant-based foods harbor numerous health properties, especially when fermented or raw.
Try to include as many probiotic or antifungal foods in your diet as possible. You’ll not only add flavor and texture to your meals, but you’ll be improving your gut health and fighting Candida too.
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If you’re looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out the Ultimate Candida Diet program, written by Lisa Richards and Dr Eric Wood. This plan is based on the latest research into Candida Related Complex, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.