exiting news for anyone who has ever had anything prepared in animal fat – you know how incredibly delicious it is (duck fat fries anyone?). not only is cooking with animal fat tasty, it is completely acne-safe and full of nutrients.
it can seem a bit strange to make your own animal cooking fat, (instructions here), especially for people on the go, or who are strangers to the kitchen. the company epic has bottled up some super high quality stuff, including:
100% beef tallow
duck fat (our personal favorite!)
i found these bad boys at my local whole foods market, and am very excited to prepare my morning eggs in duck fat.
there are some awesome nutritional benefits of cooking with animal fats.
great source of healthy fat, which our brains AND hearts need.
great source of omega fatty acids, and saturated fat which contrary to outdated nutrition ideas of the 80’s and 90’s is essential for the function of many of our organs. these fats act as a vehicle for fat-soluble vitamins, and countless natural processes inside our bodies. this is a great article about the need for saturated fats in our diet.
we have found it to be one of the safest oils to cook with, for more cooking oil information see an older blogpost here.
candida is a yeast that can negatively influence the body and skin when it overgrows. we found this awesome article about the ayurvedic approach to balancing candida within the body. check it out and enjoy!
Candida albicans yeast is a naturally-occurring intestinal inhabitant which is normally kept in check by a properly balanced intestinal medium. Candida albicans becomes a concern when the intestinal flora’s good bacteria is out-populated by this yeast, which is commonly included under the heading bad bacteria. The now-flourishing yeast can enter the bloodstream via the enteric cycle and elicit the classic yeast symptoms of low energy levels, interrupted sleep, immunity issues, ringing in the ears, and sluggish digestion.
The Western approach to candida overgrowth is to eradicate the yeast and therefore relieve the associated symptoms. Ayurvedically, it is considered most important to address the underlying cause of candida while using herbal remedies to rebalance the body towards a healthy intestinal medium.
How Does Candida Take Over?
In Ayurveda, the etiology, or cause underlying the uncontrolled proliferation of candida is considered to be agnimandya, or deficient digestion. Deficient digestion results in the production of ama, which is the by-product of undigested food. Ama is then either absorbed into the bloodstream or lymphatic system, creating a toxicity and the ground floor for many health issues. Invariably, this ama will accumulate in the seat of vata found in the lower digestive tract. The seat of vata is governed by the apana (or downward moving) energy, which regulates the growth of flora in the gastrointestinal tract. As the ama accumulates in the small and large intestines, it will putrefy and ferment, thus inhibiting the normal flora from proliferating. Under these conditions, yeast has free reign to spread throughout the intestines unchecked.
The next stage of the candida growth process is a result of the intestinal absorption of ama into the liver and blood via the portal system.
In Ayurveda it is believed that, once yeast enters the bloodstream, the step-by-step generation and regeneration process of the seven tissues of the body can be interrupted or damaged.
If the seven tissues – which include rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), medha (fat), majja (nervous tissue), asthi (bone), and sukra (sperm and ovum) – are damaged or improperly formed, an overall lack of luster and vitality is the result. The dhatus are formed in a carefully designed succession, and if any one of the dhatus are improperly formed then the production of sukra will be inhibited. Sukra, the final culmination of the digestive process and of dhatu development, provides the body with immunity, procreation, vitality, luster, long life, and health. It is this gross lack of vitality and immunity that colors the symptoms of candida proliferation.
Reigning it Back In
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the two most important strategies in reigning candida back in are, first, to ensure the integrity of the digestive strength (also called agni, or fire) and second, to build immunity back into the body. With both of these in place, the treatment to kill off the excess yeast with medical drugs or herbs can safely and effectively be employed.
In Ayurveda, it’s understood that candida overgrowth can present differently based on body type, or prakriti, and can respond to a different support protocol depending on whether it’s a vata, pitta, or kapha form of candida overgrowth. Below, I’ll walk you through how to tell which form may match your presentation, and how to support each accordingly. After that, I’ll give you some general lifestyle suggestions that anypresentation of candida overgrowth will benefit from.
Vata Candida Issues
Vata is aggravated by the excessive intake of pungent, bitter, and astringent foods; sugar; hard-to-digest proteins; wheat, dairy, nuts and soy; too much cold food and excessive travel; the suppression of natural and normal urges; excessive intercourse, and irregular eating and sleeping habits. Signs of vata aggravation include dry skin; nervousness, moodiness and an inability to cope; constipation, gas and bloating; ups and downs in energy levels, and unbalanced sleep patterns. If these are paired with signs of yeast imbalance, this can be considered a vata presentation of candida.
1. Start with an ama decreasing diet. This involves avoiding dairy, sugar, breads, and mucous-producing foods. Cold and raw foods should also be avoided. Sip hot water every 20 minutes and drink eight to ten 8oz glasses of warm lemon water per day. Eat a large relaxing lunch and a warm cooked soup for dinner. Avoid fruit juice and eat fresh fruit in moderation and separately from all other food groups. Use hing, ginger, basil ajwan, and garlic to spice your food*.
2. Start each meal with equal parts of ginger juice and honey, and a pinch of lemon juice, salt, and cumin powder*.
Pitta Candida Issues
Aggravated pitta can put out digestive fire in the same way that a flood of boiling water will put out a flame. Pitta is aggravated by greasy and spicy foods, and sugar. Signs of pitta imbalance are acidic digestion and occasional heartburn; bloating; yellowing complexion; irritability; swelling and other issues of the joints; yellowing loose stool; raised body temperature, and excessive thirst. Remember that often times the upward flow of vayu can take a vata based candida issue and mix it with a pitta presentation. Both sets of symptoms at the same time indicates a vata and pitta combined cause. A support protocol would then have to address both vata and pitta.
1. Eat more fresh raw leafy green vegetables, avoid sugar and fruit juice. Emphasize pomegranates and bitter herbs, veggies, and spices.
Kapha Candida Issues
Kapha is aggravated by the intake of food that is too heavy, too oily, and cold, and by pasta, bread, and sugar. Overeating and sleeping after meals produces ama and puts out the digestive fire. In this case digestion becomes slow and difficult. Kapha yeast issues can present with lowered immunity, swollen glands, water retention, heavy mood, fatigue, and excessive sleep.
1. Avoid all mucus-forming, oily, and greasy foods. Avoid salt and sugar. Eat primarily grains and vegetables. Dandelion, asparagus, kale, collard greens, and spinach are foods to increase.
2. Flavor food with pungent spices like cayenne, ginger, black pepper, clove, and curry.
Lifestyle Tips to Keep Candida in Check
If you are experiencing the signs of yeast overgrowth, it can be very helpful to follow a regular daily routine in waking, eating, and sleeping habits.
Make lunch your main meal of the day – the biggest and most satisfying. Dinner should be light. Breakfast should be very light and is optional. Favor food that is freshly prepared. Avoid leftovers, frozen, canned, or processed food.
Sip hot water frequently throughout the day (every 1 or 2 hours or as often as desired). This keeps the digestive fire alive and flushes ama from the system. If you feel anxious, sipping hot water also settles the nervous system.
Get fresh air and regular exercise (preferably outdoors) through such methods as a morning or evening walk, sun salutations or other yoga asanas.
Extra Mealtime Tips
Eat in a settled environment.
Eat three meals a day and avoid snacking (except for the between lunch and dinner yogurt lassi, below).
Eat only when hungry, after the last meal has been digested. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, but not yet full (about 1/2 to 3/4 full).
Sit quietly for at least five minutes after eating to promote digestion.
If dairy tolerant, take a lassi (yogurt mixed with water, 1:1, 1:2, or 1:4) during lunch and between lunch and dinner, as needed to promote digestion. It is best to make lassi with freshly made yogurt. Although traditionally lassi can be sweet or seasoned, with yeast issues you’ll want to keep it savory, flavoring with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, for example, or salt, ginger, and cumin.
Avoid cold food or drinks, especially foods and drinks taken directly from the refrigerator.
Avoid heavy food at the evening meal, including heavy desserts, yogurt, cheese, oily food, and fried food.
Ayurveda is all about going downstream with the cycles. Combining the dietary and lifestyle suggestions in this article with your existing protocol for candida elimination will help support the body in regaining balance, which will help your body heal itself – the cornerstone of Ayurveda!
Sharma, P.V. Cakradatt, Chaukhambha Orientalia. New Delhi, India. 1994.
Altha Vale, V.B. Basic Principles of Ayurveda, Bombay India. 1980.
Bhishagratma, K.L. Shusshruta Samhita, Vols. 1 and 2, Varanasi, India. 1981.
Sharma, P.V. Caraka Samhita. Vols. 1 and 2. Varanasi, India.
Devaraj, T.L. The Panchakarma Treatment of Ayurveda. Dwanwantari Orientalia Publication, Bangalore, India. 1986.
Chopra, R., and De, P. The action of sympathomimetic alkaloids in Sida cordifolia. Ind. J. Med. Res. 18 (1930): 467.
one of my favorite things to eat is indian food, but it can be a challenge if the dishes you love most are laden with cream and cheese. i decided to take matters into my own hands and make some acne-safe versions at home, and when searching for recipes online, was delighted at finding ones that were rated 4.5-5 stars by so many home chefs!
i figured that the only substitutions we’d need to make would be to replace any cream with coconut milk, yogurt with coconut yogurt and cheese with the kite hill cheeses. the dishes were pretty simple to make, considering the rich depth of flavors that came from combining several healthy spices, a few aromatics and a squeeze of lemon.
after a night out with the boys, my SO C came home smelling deliciously of shallimar, and i was instantly jealous. i went to bed with dreams of chicken tikka masala and saag paneer – my 2 ultimate faves. the next day, we made chicken tikka masala (not a totally authentic indian dish, as it was supposedly created by immigrants in the UK), saag paneer and aromatic basmati rice. i went ahead and tried making the same basmati rice recipe using quinoa for liesse (who’s allergic to gluten, rice and buckwheat) and it came out pretty delish!
chicken tikka masala is a dish that usually comes with grilled chicken cubes floating in a cream and tomato based spiced sauce. saag paneer is a sort of creamed spinach with fresh cheese chunk dish, with a few peppers thrown in. and the aromatic basmati rice i like to make is steamed with toasted spices like cardamom pods, star anise, cumin seeds and sauteed onions.
i googled recipes and found a few – and while making the tikka recipe, i accidentally mixed up two different recipes from the same site and made some tweaks, but the dishes came out really good! so good that i’ve been happily eating all this for breakfast and dinner for 4 days straight.. and am kind of sad that it’s all gone now (today’s breakfast was the last of it). i’ll just have to make another batch soon 🙂
also – you are going to see that the acne-safe alternative ingredients are expensive and certainly add up. for instance, the paneer recipe calls for 12 oz of cheese, which translates to 3 packs of kite hill cheese ($30 worth). yes, it was a total splurge, but considering how many meals i got out of it (8+, and i shared with my SO), the high quality of ingredients (we used organic spinach, spices + local chicken, etc) and the fact that i didn’t get sick from eating dairy make it totally worth it to me.
if we had some restraint and didn’t eat it all, we could have frozen a few servings to make some healthy and delicious dinners, great for meal planning on those nights i don’t have time to cook.
additionally, you don’t have to use so much cheese, or you could but it into smaller cubes, or you could sub chickpea tofu instead, which would add a lot more protein.
ALSO A PLUS – is that except for the white rice, these dishes are candida-safe! you can probably do some quinoa, but just don’t go too crazy. woo!
we grocery shopped for the first recipe, and did step #1 of the second recipe (combined spices + yogurt, and marinated the chicken). it was when the directions said to grill the meat that i knew i had messed up and was working from 2 different versions (one on my phone and the other on my laptop)! but the ingredients were pretty similar and sauce was forgiving, so i didn’t worry. everything was smelling and tasting great so i figured it all being warmed up together was going to be ok 🙂
1.5 TB fresh lemon juice (recipe called for 1TB, but the lemon half i had was really juicy!)
2 TSP ground cumin
1 TSP ground cinnamon
2 TSP pepper mix (my own homemade mix of equal parts: sweet + hot paprikas, ancho chile, salt and 1/2 part cayenne, all from rainbow grocery’s bulk bins)
2 TSP freshly ground black pepper
1 TB fresh minced ginger (dried would work too)
2 TSP salt (recipe called for 4 tsp, which sounded like a lot)
i combined all the above, and mixed in 4 halved bone-in chicken thighs. most recipes called for boneless and skinless chicken breast, but i like skin on, bone in dark meat! this all went into the fridge for about an hour.
after marinating the meat was when i realized i was working with two different recipes. the curry stand recipe didn’t call for marinating the meat, nor using a grill. so, we just decided to move onto preparing the simmer sauce, and that we’d just throw the marinated meat in when it was time to simmer:
2 TB ghee
1 diced medium white onion
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TSP turmeric powder
2 TSP curry powder (we used a japanese one, ’cause it’s what we had)
2 cups of broth (we had some leftover from pressure cooking a beef tongue, but any kind works)
in a cast iron dutch oven, we heated up the ghee, sautéed the onion and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat.
then, we sprinkled in some the turmeric and curry powder since we didn’t put that into the marinade.
the tomatoes went in, and then the marinated chicken, yogurt, spices and all.
we added broth since there wasn’t much liquid for the chicken to simmer in, and the yogurt and tomatoes kind of all melted together.
we brought the heat to high to get the mixture to a boil and once the chicken was just barely submerged, we lowered the heat.
once we had a nice simmer going, we left it alone, covered for about 30 minutes to cook through to the bone. (if you use boneless chicken pieces, your cooking time will be way faster).
while that simmered, he worked on the saag paneer and i worked on the rice (using the instant pot!).
AROMATIC BASMATI RICE
this is the original recipe i based our version on – i increased the spices, reduced the cumin seeds and used shallots instead of an onion. i also tried using the instant pot instead of cooking it stove top. i made this a second time subbing quinoa for the rice which also came out awesome!
1.5 cups white basmati rice (you can also do brown basmati for a low glycemic version)
3 shallots, sliced (the recipe called for onions but we had shallots and used those instead)
6-8 green cardamom pods
1 TSP cumin seeds
2 star anise
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
4-6 whole cloves
1 TSP olive oil
2.5 cups water
i doubled the spices the original recipe called for, because i like FLAVOR (and i cook enough to know that i wasn’t going to mess this one up!).
the recipe called for soaking the rice for 20 minutes before cooking it on the stovetop, which i think made it bit soggy when i cooked it in the instant pot. the instant pot site suggests to cook basmati for only 4-8 minutes, but it didn’t mention anything about soaking, and the instant pot is automatically set to 15 minutes (you can’t adjust it to less)… and i forgot about shutting it off early.
but, after the rice went into the fridge overnight and i reheated it in the morning for breakfast, the texture was less mushy and more authentic. i think i’ll try not soaking the rice next time and see what happens with the instant pot; hopefully it’ll be less mushy from the get go.
this is how we made the rice:
we rinsed and soaked the rice for about an hour probably. (the recipe said 20 minutes but we marinated + just got the chicken tikka to simmer before we started on the rice).
in the instant pot, i turned on the ‘sauté’ feature and poured in the oil.
once it was warm, i threw in the shallots and spices and sautéed everything till the shallots were soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
i then threw in the rice, and made sure the oil, shallots and spices were evenly mixed into the rice. tossed everything around in the pot for about 3 minutes until everything smelled toasty.
then i added the water, switched the instant pot function from sauté to rice, put the lid on and made sure to close the vent.
and like i said earlier, the plan was to cook the rice for only 8 minutes but i got distracted by helping with the saag paneer dish. i did a quick release and took the lid off to try and get the rice to cool down, thus stopping the cooking. while i made the rice C started with the saag paneer dish:
2TB peeled and minced ginger (i’m sure dried would be fine)
4 gloves garlic, minced
2 cherry bomb peppers (these aren’t hot, actually – C picked red for color)
1 serrano pepper (i took the seeds out and used only half the flesh, but could have totally used all the flesh, i was afraid of the dish getting too spicy)
1/2 TSP garam masala
2 TSP ground coriander
1 TSP ground cumin
1/2 cup plain coyo coconut yogurt
we combined 3TB of oil, the turmeric powder, pepper mix, 1TSP salt and cheese together and let it marinate while we worked.
the spinach was left out when we got home, so it was already thawed out. we didn’t bother to finally chop or puree, and left the greens as is.
then we browned the cheese cubes in a hot cast iron skillet, on medium heat. no additional oil was needed since the cheese was already marinating in it. he probably spent about 5-10 minutes browning the cheese. (C turned the pan up to med-high to get the browning going; i think the water content of the almond cheese kept it from doing so).
once the cheese cubes were browned, we pulled them off the pan and into a bowl and set them aside. wiped down the skillet and added the remaining 1.5TB oil to sauté the aromatics.
once the oil was warm over medium heat, we threw in the onions, garlic, ginger, chiles and sautéed it all for about 15 minutes. it’s an important part of the recipe to make sure this mixture turns uniformly caramelized and brown. (the OG recipe says you can add a few TB of water if you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, but we didn’t have to do this).
then, add the garam masala, coriander and cumin. cook and stir often, and add a TB or two of water if needed to keep everything from burning (we didn’t need to do this). we probably mixed things around for about 3 minutes.
we added the spinach, some salt to taste, about 1/2 cup of water and cooked for about 5 minutes with the lid off. we just needed to cook it enough for the spinach to cook through and get soft.
we turned the heat off and added the coconut yogurt and mixed it up. once well combined, we added the browned cheese cubes and gently tossed it all together.
the original recipe says to turn the stove on again and heat the entire dish through, but i don’t think we needed to do this since cast iron holds heat so well. plus, we were hungry and ready to eat!
it was soo good! surprisingly so. like i said, we ate this day and night for the next 4 days and am already looking to make it again for team sS this week. the flavor of the chicken tikka dish were pretty robust, and i particularly enjoyed the gentle zing of lemon that the fresh squeezed citrus gave. the OG recipe called for sugar which i omitted – i tried a bit of coconut sugar in one serving which was good too, but i didn’t feel like it was so amazing that i had to add it to the whole pot of leftovers.
the saag was delicious too and went really well with the creamy spiciness of the tikka, but i think i’ll probably up the spices and aromatics in the saag dish (maybe even double? and throw in a few of those serrano chile seeds?), and add twice as much coconut yogurt next time.
cooking is a passion of mine, so looking up recipes is a regular thing for me. but for those on the acne-safe lifestyle kick, if you don’t cook much and/or don’t know what ingredients your favorite dishes are typically made of, it’s a good idea to do some research and survey 3-5 versions of your favorites so you can know if they are acne-safe or not. then, you can learn if you need to make subs either cooking at home or out at a restaurant.
homemade indian food this time was a winner winner chicken dinner!
maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms within the body helps us have strong immune systems, productive digestion and clear skin. if these microorganisms are disrupted by an overgrowth of candida, it can throw everything off and can prevent you from achieving the acne free complexion that you desire. if you think that you may have candida you have a couple of options:
see a naturopathic doctor who can run a test in office
just do the diet. the most cost effective route but it takes a little will power to do a diet without knowing if you actually have a candida overgrowth. bonus* even if you don’t have candida, the diet is pretty great for your skin and body over all.
the entire skin SALVATION team has decided to do the candida diet for the month of february. kim and i have done tests and neither of us have a candida overgrowthproblem however, we are excited to eliminate sugar from our diet for the month to reset and feel great.
throughout the month of february we will be blogging weekly meal plans, how we are feeling and photos of our skin. we will be posting on instagram with #sugarfreefebruary#candidacleanse and #healthybodyclearskin. follow us @skinsalvationsf. you can also find great candida safe recipes on our pinterest board.
we invite you to join us on this journey to clear(er) skin and healthier bodies.
some of you have heard us talk about the candida cleanse before and how it can positively impact your skin if you have a candida overgrowth. we’ve written blog posts about what candida is and how to treat it. you can read those popular posts here and here.
the most important aspects of the cleanse are taking your supplement to wipe out the candida (we recommend cansol) and strictly following the candida free diet. just because there are things that you can’t eat doesn’t mean that this diet has to be boring! here’s a meal plan to get your through the first week of candida cleanse. prep all of this food on your day off and keep it in the fridge throughout the week.
THIS WEEK’S MENU
cauliflower tortillas are a super yummy candida safe alternative to corn or flour tortillas. wrap scrambled eggs in them for breakfast, meat to make tacos, or use as a “mini pizza crust.” find the recipe here.
toasted pumpkin seed guacamole to eat with raw veggies or later on tacos! we left out the serano from this recipe.
barbacoa from this chipotle copycat recipe for tacos or on top of salad.
nappa cabbage, almond & chicken salad sub soy sauce for coconut aminos in this recipe
marinated zucchini with mint sub the white wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar to keep this recipe candida free.
roasted fennel & artichoke salad find the recipe here
AN AVERAGE DAY
breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with green onions and a cauliflower tortilla
snack: toasted pumpkin seed guacamole with celery stalks
lunch: nappa cabbage, almond & chicken salad
dinner: barbacoa and marinated zucchini with mint over arugula
HOW TO PREP IT ALL
start your roast in the crockpot and bake your chicken breasts for the salad.
make the cauliflower tortillas
cook the zucchini
roast the fennel
combine remaining salad ingredients
make nappa cabbage salad
THIS WEEK’S SHOPPING LIST
1 cups organic raw pumpkin seeds
organic cold pressed sunflower seed oil
1 cup raw almonds
2 dozen free range organic eggs
4 lb chuck roast
1/2 lb organic free range chicken breast
1 head organic cauliflower
1 napa cabbage
1 small sweet onion
3 organic zucchini
1 fennel bulb
1 can whole artichoke hearts in water
1 bag organic spinach or arugula
1 bunch organic celery
celtic sea salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 head garlic
bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar with mother
organic chicken broth (best to make it yourself or purchase handmade frozen from your local butcher. packaged broth often contains sugar and lacks the essential vitamins that homemade contains)