acne-causing heavy metals in protein powders – how a client’s own detective research cleared him up!

the team at skinSALVATION does a lot of investigating in order to find the safest and best quality foods and products to recommend to our clients to keep their skin clear long term. we absolutely love it when our clients become detectives in their own right and bring our attention to potential acne triggers that we haven’t discovered yet. yay for teamwork!!
recently, one of our savvy male clients, TB, came across this super interesting report on protein powders put out by an organization called, “the clean label project”. they “use data and science to reveal the true contents of america’s best selling consumer products. products are tested in an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory for 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins, and their results are published as product ratings.” the clean label project currently tests baby food, pet foods, and protein powders. there are some people out there that weren’t as impressed with the clean label project as we were and in an effort to provide all perspectives and information available. we want to share this link where the writer talks about some of the clean label project’s shortcomings and issues with it’s research.
TB, a very active vegan athlete looked up protein powders, and unearthed information on the one he had been taking – which looked acne-safe (meaning, it didn’t contain soy or whey or other acne-causing foods we look for). through this report, he found out more about its’ nutritional value, heavy metals, pesticides and mycotoxins and we were shocked by the findings.
CASE STUDY
TB came to us in september of 2017 with over-exfoliated, inflamed and picked-at skin. his clarity at the time was about 60% and 95% of the acne lesions that he did have were inflamed. being a gluten-free vegan, his protein options dramatically decreased after learning that he’d need to stop eating acne-causing soy in order to clear up his skin. on top of this, we discovered that he was likely suffering from a systemic candida imbalance after he scored high on this candida questionnaire. he decided to embark on a vegan candida cleanse but because the diet was so restrictive he only lasted on it for about 3 weeks. (generally, folks stay on this whole + natural foods diet for 2-3 months to clear up the candida. candida can cause sS-resistant acne, among other more serious long-term conditions).  he also started taking this anti-fungal candida control tincture which is the other necessary component to getting candida successfully and fully under control. (ideally, you need to avoid all sugars in your diet to starve the yeast, and supplement by taking anti-fungals to clean out and purge the excess yeast. there are many other components to this; check out our other posts on candida). he continued to work hard to avoid soy, sugar, gluten and eat as close to the candida diet as he could and we started to see his inflammation calm down and his clarity improve.
in addition to the dietary changes and supplement regimen, he was coming in for regular treatments and using our targeted skinSALVATION home care products. unlike most clients we see, his acne was really not extractable (he was too inflamed), so instead of focusing on extractions during his treatments we opted for chemical peels, high frequency (a machine that kills acne bacteria, reduces inflammation and speeds up healing) and 20 minutes under our LED panel to further heal the skin and combat inflammation at a deeper level.  we continued to do extractions where we could. by his 4th treatment on november 26, 2017 he was 80% clear and showing vast improvement in terms of inflammation and overall skin health. by january 21, 2018, he was 95% clear. check out his amazing transformation below!
THE PROTEIN POWDER DISCOVERY
after moving away from the bay area, TB reached out to us, letting us know about the clean label project study. he had been taking vega protein powder every day, even several times a day for about 6 months before seeing us. his skin had got really bad, super inflamed with very deep cysts in april-aug 2017, around the time he starting taking the vega protein powder.
at his consultation appointment in 9/2017, his clarity was 60% and most of that was the inflamed and cystic type of acne. he was baffled as to why his skin had gotten so bad over the last few months when really nothing had changed. looking back we both really think that this protein powder is the main reason it got so bad. another major factor was probably physical stress from all the intense working out he was doing at that time – he himself said his body looked it’s best but his skin looked it’s worst!
we didn’t think of the protein powder to be a major acne-causing factor for him at the time because the ingredients seemed acne safe (no soy or dairy/whey) – and he was eating so much soy up until we told him how much soy breaks all of our other clients out. shortly after his first treatment at the end of 9/2017, he started the candida cleanse, had two colonics and backed off the protein powder because he wasn’t working out as much anymore. we started to see a big improvement in his skin towards the end of november, 2017 at his 4th treatment and it quickly improved from there. by january 2018 (3 months after first starting with us) he was 95% clear and has been able to maintain that after moving away from the bay area.
through the clean label project’s research, vega was found to be one of the worst rated, containing high levels of toxic heavy metals (!!!). after sharing his story of clarity working with sS on social media, several folks on social media contacted him regarding vega protein powder, citing similar acne experiences while consuming the same thing!
here are some interesting facts from the study to note:
  • organic protein powders had on average 2x the heavy metals than conventional ones
  • egg protein was the cleanest with the least heavy metals/toxins
  • plant-based powders were on average, the most toxic
  • 75% of plant-based tested most positive for lead (they are doing more research on how and why toxins get into these foods so stay tuned for another post once this research comes out)
after reviewing the study findings, we are no longer recommending vega protein powder to our clients and we are currently looking into safer options. so far we have found the following to be acne-safe and clean-project-label-clear on paper, but have yet to actually see clients through using these powders for an extended period of time:
protein source: hemp protein
EAT REAL FOOD
it’s also important to keep in mind that protein powder is a dietary supplement which may be helpful in a pinch, but is not going to be the best option to replace actual real whole natural food meals humans should be eating every day. remember, these are SUPPLEMENTS and NOT everyday meal replacements! instead of making a protein powder shake your daily go-to breakfast, try some of these quick + easy, make-ahead options instead:
steel-cut, gluten-free oatmeal topped with hemp seeds and fresh berries (you can easily no-cook this by soaking them them overnight in the fridge, they’ll be ready in the am)
sprouted grain toast and eggs
hardboiled eggs, fermented veggies (like saurekraut or kimchi) and avocado (super easy to get ready the night before)
avocado toast with kite hill “cream cheese”
avocado and sugar-free lox
low sugar granola and unsweetened almond milk (kim loves this over cut up papaya)
TAKEAWAY

a mantra from kreation organic juicery in the LA area – you are what you eat. don’t be cheap, fast, fake or easy!

kayla’s acne journey

 

kayla’s acne journey

 


june 2017, clear-skinned and confident 🙂


march 2018, makeup + filter-free!

as i sit here now looking back on my experience with acne, i remember how i walked a very fine line between defeat and determination. i thought i would have acne forever, but at the same time would still make promises and deadlines to myself. i will have clear skin by my birthday next year! i will have clear skin before i see my family for the holidays!

it was a constant pain and obsession of mine. i would stand in front of the mirror and think of all the things i would give up for clear skin. i didn’t understand why my best friend and sister didn’t even have to wash their faces and their skin was perfect. i felt dirty and hideous.  

chapter 1: puberty

it first started on my forehead when i was 12 years old. little red blemishes started popping up, and my mom took me to the drugstore to get cetaphil face wash. that summer, on a family vacation to yellowstone national park, my family nicknamed me “cyclops” because of the large inflamed pimple i had between my eyebrows. at that time it was just dismissed as a “phase” and “puberty”, but it still lowered the hell out of my self-esteem. although i was an animated child with a big personality, i really began to second guess myself and stopped craving the spotlight. to this day, i still have scars from the inflamed acne i had from my youth, between my eyebrows.

(2018 retrospect: cetaphil face wash is extremely cloggy, and rather than dismissing my acne as a phase, it would have been amazing to have a place like skinSALVATION to teach me about the complete acne-safe lifestyle to save me from the next 14 years of struggle and physical and emotional scarring).

in high school, the acne spread to my cheeks and i started caking on the makeup. my dad felt sorry for me and took me to a dermatologist, who prescribed the oral antibiotic doxycycline and topical cream retin-a (a super common combination that we still see in our clinic, over 10 years later!). i used them for about 4 months and needless to say, this prescription cocktail didn’t work. i started using proactiv which helped with the inflammation for a while, but of course was not a long-term solution.

(retrospect: the antibiotics further damaged my digestion & gut flora and made my acne more resistant. the retin-a cream and proactiv regimen were cloggy and made my acne worse in the long-run – still not addressing the root cause of my acne).

at this time, my diet was 50% bread and 50% cheese, and i drank more milk than water. i was also chronically constipated & bloated ever since i was little, constantly struggled with yeast infections, and had taken antibiotics over 3 dozen times before the age of 16. i always had a headache, and low energy. my step-mom mentioned that ‘milk causes acne’, so i stopped that cold-turkey at age 16, and haven’t drank it since, but i continued to eat cheese and maintain a horrible diet.

(retrospect: i was dehydrated, malnourished, had signs of candida, and continued to have dairy which was contributing to systemic inflammation, feeding the candida and creating acne.)

chapter 2: birth control

then at 17, i decided i wanted to start taking birth control. i had heard that it worked to clear up acne and gain weight (i was extremely thin and jealous of my sisters that could fit into jeans…and bras). and it actually worked! for a little bit. i had clear skin, or at least no inflammation, and i gained about 10 lbs. life was good until about age 20-21 when i got sloppy about taking the pill at the same time every day. my mom had stressed that i needed to take it at the EXACT same time daily, so i was great about that for the first 3 years. then, as my party life increased, my sleep schedule became so sporadic that i never took my pill at a consistent time.

(retrospect: the birth control was just a band-aid, and as soon as i stopped taking it properly, it started to cause fluctuations in my hormones, which lead to hormonal acne, and the inflammation that comes along with it. my partying, lack of self-care, structure, and healthy lifestyle worsened this.)

i remember going to Oktoberfest with a bad break out. i almost didn’t go because my skin was so bad, but decided it wasn’t that bad with enough makeup on. i went with my best friend jenni and her boyfriend sam. we ran into jenni’s gorgeous sister, and i noticed her skin was so perfect it actually hurt. right as i was thinking that, sam looked at me and said, “wow, you must be so jealous of her skin”. i immediately walked away and just kept walking until i found a taxi. i went home and cried in the mirror and picked my face off.

around this same age, i intuitively realized that my chin breakouts were most likely from eating a block of cheese and pizza rolls every day, so i went totally dairy-free (and have been ever since). in lieu of cow’s milk dairy, i started drinking soy frappuccinos. and i worked at a sushi restaurant, so pretty much all i ate was soy & sugar. i stopped using proactiv too, assuming it just wasn’t working anymore. my aunt was an esthetician and i emailed her with photos of a bad breakout, asking for help. she sent me some products and told me to ice my face. i held an ice cube over the break out, not knowing i should move it around, and got a huge blue frost-bite bruise on my cheek.

(retrospect: i stopped eating dairy, but started drinking coffee and eating soy, and a lot of both. i was also still eating a ton of processed foods. all this, plus not taking my birth control pill properly, my hormones were going crazy. i wasn’t icing properly and instead was just bruising my skin. my busy schedule and party life were still creating an unhealthy lifestyle.)

chapter 3: going off birth control

at 21, i decided to move from arizona to san francisco. i packed up my little honda coupe and took off. i decided to stop taking birth control that same week because i was starting to realize that it made me terribly depressed and moody.. and that’s when the jaw acne started. 1 or 2, here and there. they were large, hard as a rock, and had no head to them. i had never experienced this; i wasn’t even sure if it was acne, because it was so different. i realized they were cysts. then, i started to notice my cheeks were covered in little bumps, which i wasn’t sure was acne either. i thought my skin’s texture was just totally ruined, not realizing it was non-inflamed acne. i went to sephora and asked for “natural make-up” and started using tarte instead of bare minerals. definitely not safe makeup (not that bare minerals is acne-safe either). also, i never got my period back.

(retrospect: stopping the birth control was a smart move, but i was not prepared for the backlash of my hormones trying to balance themselves out after 5 years of taking it. plus, the stress of the move and new climate added to the storm. bare minerals makeup is cloggy (despite the “safe-looking ingredients”), but switching to tarte was worse.)

months went by and i still didn’t get my period. my acne was like an uncontrollable wildfire. it wasn’t until 6 months later that it returned. i attempted using the nuvaring for about 6 weeks, that was not helpful to my acne or overall mental state. i was also drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine every single night due to depression. for the next 2 years my periods would be very sparse and sporadic. 

(retrospect: not only did i stop bcp, but i tried it again for a few weeks and stopped again = insane hormonal fluctuations. plus i was still drinking coffee, eating soy, sleeping at odd hours, and then drinking a ton of wine at night which was full of sugar, furthering my inflammation. not to mention the depression and emotional stress that took control of my life from having acne and bad eating habits.)

chapter 3: treatments & lifestyle 101

so there i was, with full-blown adult acne, painful to the touch and making me feel more hideous than ever. i went to get a specific product one day from a place in san jose. the esthetician touched my cheek and said, “forget the product, you need to come in for a facial”. i started receiving treatments from her every week. i would drive down every thursday, from san francisco, after work for 2 years. i really respected and appreciated her, so i would have done anything she told me to.

the main things she taught me were:

  1. to stop drinking coffee.
  2. to stop eating bread (my diet was too bread-heavy, which were probably filled with soy and dairy, which i replaced with sweet potatoes and other veggies).
  3. to ice my face daily
  4. to stop drinking wine every night, and suggested i stop drinking altogether (i didn’t).
  5. to switch my laundry detergent and change my pillow cases & face towels frequently.
  6. not to let my boyfriend or dog touch my face (or myself, or anyone for that matter)
  7. to stop picking

things that she lacked knowledge of, which made my acne worse:

  1. her extractions weren’t thorough and gave me severely inflamed acne in my cheeks – which are now texturally scarred.
  2. she did not apply peels to exfoliate my skin during my treatments
  3. she had me using terrible, cloggy products and makeup.
  4. she didn’t know about soy, peanuts, safe vs non-safe cooking oils and sugar, so i was still eating a lot of that.
  5. she had me ice my face with ice packs, but eventually i started using ice cubes directly on the skin, but not nearly long enough, just a minute or two.
  6. she didn’t teach me about how stress or sleep were affecting my acne
  7. she didn’t link the birth control & hormonal fluctuations to my acne
  8. she didn’t investigate my past with antibiotics and gut problems


i went through thousands of photos, and unfortunately, i have no pictures of my acne without makeup – i was way too ashamed. i came across these, but i have a ton of makeup on. if you zoom in you can see that i was extremely inflamed and congested. these above were taken in january 2016, after 2 years of weekly treatments from an esthetician in san jose.

chapter 4: sweet potatoes

the main thing i learned here was that i needed to eat better, though i still wasn’t properly educated on the “acne-safe diet” because i didn’t know about soy, sugar, peanuts, cooking oils, or checking ingredients in my products (or food) yet. and i was working in the catering department of a local market and eating their freshly provided lunch each day, which was an amazing perk. i never thought about what could be making my skin worse, so long as i avoided dairy, coffee, and bread. looking back, there was probably a lot of soy & inflaming oils hidden in what i ate, even at this “healthy” market. for breakfast i had sugary granola with 2 tbs of peanut butter and almond milk. i was constantly eating “kind” granola bars and dried apricots (so much sugar!). for dinner, i began my sweet potato phase.

sweet potatoes were a fascinating discovery for me. one day, i tried to recreate the sweet potato fries i had at a restaurant, but they didn’t turn out quite as crispy as fries. they were better, more soft and filling. i started craving them more & more and realized they were my new comfort food. this was an upgrade from baguettes and junk food, my former comfort food. so every single night for 2 years i roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. i think my body was craving them in order to try and have some hormonal support, which sweet potatoes are anecdotally known to be amazing for. birth control depletes your B vitamins and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins B & beta carotene! i focused on my vegetable and whole-food intake overall, and the sweet potatoes felt the most nourishing and satiating for me. while my skin still struggled, my mood and energy drastically improved, and my hair grew 10 inches after literally not growing past my shoulders my entire life. i still eat sweet potatoes the majority of the time for dinner, especially before my cycle.

(retrospect: i was eating “healthier” and making great changes to my diet, but still not eliminating all of the other acne-causing factors)

chapter 5: a new esthetician

after 2 years of weekly treatments with the san jose esthetician (with not much progress as we were treating my skin topically and half-heartedly holistically), my acne spread to my neck with a vengeance. i was horrified, and would have done anything to avoid having to wear a ponytail. my hair was long past my waist and i wore it covering most of my face. my esthetician recommended i get my inflamed and cystic neck lesions shot with cortisone by a dermatologist (which did nothing to actually clear the acne). the dermatologist immediately recommended accutane. i was not about to go on this crazy medication, and i immediately felt hopeless. while i denied the accutane, i did give antibiotics another go for about a week. he recommended one month and i could not even make it past 7 days. i immediately felt sick and lethargic. i knew it was not the answer and i had hit a wall.

in these photos you can kind of see my jaw & neck acne, but again it’s covered with a ton of makeup.

i decided to see if anyone else in the bay area (or the world) knew anything about acne and extractions. for 2 years i was convinced this one esthetician i’d been commuting to and working with was the only one who could help me.

i found an acne clinic in san francisco and went in for a consultation and a treatment. i was so surprised when I didn’t get inflamed after the extractions. i switched to their products and started using colorescience foundation and spf powder (the spf turned out to be cloggy but the foundation is safe). i remember the first time i looked in the mirror and noticed that the outline of my face wasn’t bumpy, it was smooth. i could feel this while washing my face too. catching my reflection in the car window didn’t make me cringe (that happen to anyone else?). the mornings where i woke up with cysts and inflammation happened less and less frequently. i still hadn’t learned about soy, but learned about sugar, peanuts, & cooking oils at this point. after a few months, my skin was nearly clear. however, even with all these positive changes, i still had small patches of lingering non-inflamed acne.

chapter 6: going vegan

so i decided to go vegan. let me just say that i am NOT knocking the vegan life, but in my opinion, going vegan is not going to clear up anyone’s acne. but at the time, i thought that meat was causing stress on my digestion and i was all about going raw and eating “clean”. my intentions were on point, but the approach incorrect. for about 6 months all i ate was raw veggies with homemade hummus, oatmeal, pressed juice, avo-toast, and roasted sweet potatoes. i avoided nightshade vegetables, nuts, and i stopped drinking alcohol altogether. when eating out, i would have the vegan-meat alternative, which probably had a lot of soy. i also started putting spirulina in my smoothies, and my esthetician quickly put a stop to that, but she did support my going vegan. at first it felt great, then after some time my sugar cravings went through the roof, which i gave into, leading to anxiety because i knew that would make me break out. i stopped enjoying food altogether. i never felt full or satisfied (or happy). i became super neurotic about my meals and really judgemental. i truly believed that by making my body completely “alkaline” my acne HAD to go away.

the first problem with going raw and vegan – for me at least – was that because of my overall physiological constitution, my body craved warm food and i was forcing it to digest cold, raw food (a big no-no in traditional chinese medicine). the second problem was that my body really needed animal protein and fat in order to properly heal and gain strength to generate healthy skin (hello amino acids!). third, i was having way too much sugar.

(retrospect: eventually, my skinSALVATION fam remedied this and got me back on the meat ;))

i will mention that during my vegan phase i did incorporate 2 other factors that i think helped a lot. i started drinking adaptogen & anti-inflammatory teas like ashwagandha, turmeric, and maca. and i also stopped drinking alcohol for 6 months. this supported & replenished my adrenals, hormones, minerals, and overall prevented a lot of inflammation. 

chapter 6: skinSALVATION & the final purge

during this time, i also decided that i wanted to become an esthetician and enrolled at the cinta aveda institute. i began to envision and manifest a career in skincare that allowed me to help others with acne. i figured, my whole life had revolved around acne for the last 13 years anyway, might as well become an expert at it! i was working 2 jobs and going to school 30 hours a week. towards the end of school, my skin was damn near clear but not quite. once i graduated and started at skinSALVATION, all the missing pieces fell into place. i began at skinSALVATION with 80% clarity and quickly reached 100%. i’ve been bouncing around 95%-100% ever since.

this post was in october 2016 (just 8 months after the feb 2016 photos from chapter 3) towards the end of my education at cinta aveda, shortly before starting at skinSALVATION. 

the final steps to getting totally clear happened all at once:

  1. i received skinSALVATION treatments with super thorough extractions and medical grade chemical peels that effectively exfoliated and resurfaced my skin.
  2. i stopped using the colorescience powder SPF, which turned out to be cloggy (it has corallina officinalis, a type of red algae) and started using the youngblood pressed powder foundation. i also tossed the glossier highlighter, which i stopped using because it is cloggy. 
  3. i started getting 9 hours of sleep instead of 6.
  4. i started working just ONE fulfilling and rewarding job instead of 3 just-ok ones (stress went down).
  5. i stopped being so neurotic about every single thing by putting my faith into the process and practicing positive affirmations (stress went down).
  6. i started eating meat again, therefore my sugar cravings decreased. and my stress went down from not being so neurotic about food.
  7. i started paying attention to labels while grocery shopping and being sure not to consume soy (along with dairy which i had already been doing for years).
  8. i switched from often mislabeled + rancid olive oil & coconut oil to acne-safe ghee.
  9. i started taking high-quality, shelf-stable probiotics.

i’ve now been clear for almost a year. like, no foundation makeup on the regular, clear. i still wake up and check my face in the mirror first thing, in search of a breakout. i still don’t let my boyfriend touch my cheeks (slight PTSD). i still ice my face twice a day and follow my regimen and the acne-safe lifestyle religiously. the best part is that i belong to a community that understands and follows the same lifestyle. i used to get embarrassed explaining to people why i couldn’t eat the ice cream, or why i had to wash my face even if we were camping, or why i packed my own pillowcase & needed a cup of ice. now it’s something i get to easily talk about every day, and i get to teach others these tips that took me 14 years to acquire.  

sometimes i start to wish that i had someone else’s skin, but then i realize that having acne gave me a wakeup call to a healthier lifestyle as well as a career. It is truly a blessing to be able to use my pain and experiences to heal people.

february 2018 – clear skinned, confident, and empowered!

FOUND! acne-safe cooking fats

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
  • pork lard
  • duck fat (our personal favorite!)

animal fats

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.

 

this post is by allyson!

candida care for your ayurvedic type by john douillard

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 Care for Your Ayurvedic Type

candida albicans Dandelion sunset imageCandida 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.lemon ginger honey concoction image

Dietary Support

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.

Dietary Support

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.

Dietary Support

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.

Each day:Bridge in the garden

  • Wake between 5 and 7am
  • Take lunch between 12 and 1pm
  • Take dinner between 5 and 7pm
  • Go to bed between 9 and 10pm

Perform a sesame oil self-massage in the morning, followed with a warm bath or shower. You can learn how to give yourself an Ayurvedic self-massage here.

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!

 

References:
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.

 

sugar free february! (team sS is doing the candida cleanse)

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:

  1. see a naturopathic doctor who can run a test in office
  2. do a test at home by purchasing a diy kit from nutritionaltestingkits.com which you send in to have the test completed
  3. 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 overgrowth problem 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. 

wishing you joy and happiness,

team sS