candida yeast overgrowth

Candida Yeast Overgrowth

Candida. Candidiasis. Yeast overgrowth. Fungal infection.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s NO FUN when you’ve got it!!

It’s Summer…hot, sticky weather conditions and our bodies are such perfectly moist breeding grounds for all kinds of “critters”. I’ve had a number of friends complaining of this particular condition lately, or at least trying to figure out if they’ve got it!

So what does a vacationing Nutritionist do when she’s drank a number of frosty (yeasty, gluten-y) beers, and eaten buckets of tortilla chips (grains!) while sitting around in a wet bathing suit down by the lake for several weeks?

Ok, that’s my way of saying, minus the nose-crinkling details, that I’ve had a problem with yeast overgrowth, multiple times in the past 25 years. In fact, we’ve all likely had it in some form or another, and some of us may not have even realized we had it!

Of course you’re probably already thinking of that thick, white discharge, reminiscent of cottage cheese, that makes your va-jay-jay itchy & cranky. But that’s not necessarily always one of the symptoms when this critter is in a state of overgrowth – and it’s not just exclusive to women’s southern parts either!

It’s much more complex and tricky than that, so let me do my best to scratch it all out for you.

What is a Candida-Yeast Overgrowth? (more accurately named Candidiasis)

First off, a small amount of Candida yeast in the mouth, digestive tract and vagina is normal. It’s just part of our body’s natural flora. However, when this organism decides it’s party time, and blooms out of control (due to a variety of reasons) – it can wreak havoc on your whole system!

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC),

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans.

Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes, as a result causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop.
Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected.


Candidiasis that develops in your mouth or throat is called thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis. It can also travel down the esophagus. Breastfeeding babies are prone to thrush as are mother’s nipples. Ouchy!

Babies are also prone to yeast in the diaper area, but it’s not the same as the typical diaper rash on their bums.

Diaper rash caused by yeast is differentiated as one that appears red, raised, and patchy with sharp borders, mostly over the genitalia but with satellite spots sprinkled around the diaper area.

I remember with both of my kids, it was an especially red nasty rash that wouldn’t go away with regular diaper cream but. It cleared up beautifully when I used good ‘ol vag cream – Canestan, Monistat or generic brands. Now I just always keep on hand 🙂

Yeast Infections

Speaking of… Candidiasis in and around the lady bits is commonly referred to as a yeast infection.

Gals, this is the one that you’re most familiar with due to the intense itching, redness and sometimes a lovely aromatic discharge emanating from your hoo-ha like your own personal brewery. These are the hallmarks of this type of fungal infection. If you’ve never experienced one, I hope you never have to!

Continue reading

healthy bbq tips

Healthy BBQ Tips – What’s on your ‘cue?

This post is a re-heated version of my Castanet column: When Life Gives You Lemons article on Healthy BBQ Tips.

Why do we love Summer so much? Is it the hot lazy days, the brighter skies, the time we spend outdoors running, cycling, playing tennis or engaging in our favorite watersports?

Or, could it be the food and drinks? YES, it is most certainly the FOOD and the DRINKS!

With the hot weather, we may all be wanting to take a stab at true summer eating and that, my friends, means serial barbecuing!

But keep this in mind – underestimating the number of calories we consume at our summer & weekend functions, is the main reason why we may start to see the number on the scale creep upwards.

Did you notice any weight fluctuations last summer? I know I did!! (could have been the many pitchers of margaritas though…)

I want to help you get the most bang for your nutrition buck this Summer while still enjoying it to the fullest.

Here are some healthy BBQ tips:

1) Bring a Dish and make it Light

When you’re invited to your next backyard bbq, offer to bring either part of the main dish or a side, rather than dessert or alcohol. Whatever you bring, make sure you create something you like and be sure it’s healthy. Think color, think veggies! This way, you can load up on at least one healthy option and take smaller amounts of the not-so-healthy choices that will likely be there. Pasta salad goes great with burgers and dogs, but just one cup of a typical pasta salad recipe (or worst, store-bought, gasp!) can equal more than 500 calories!

– To save calories and amp up the nutrition of the dish, use whole-grain pasta (or corn-free/gluten-free pasta if it fits the crowd) and a light homemade vinaigrette or at least a nice all-natural Italian-style bottled dressing.

– When you make coleslaw or potato salad, cut the mayo by at least half and sub in Greek yogurt, e.g. ½ real mayo & ½ greek yogurt. (See Skinny Red Skinned Tater Salad recipe below)

Continue reading


9 Overlooked Causes of Weight Loss Resistance

What if your health and weight loss struggles really aren’t your fault?

What if by doing a few things differently, you could jump-start your weight loss today?

Weight loss resistance is the term I use to describe the common syndrome I see in people with metabolic damage who fail to lose weight while following a healthy diet or exercise program. These people may suffer from a host of troublesome symptoms including low thyroid, food intolerances, low sex drive, GI symptoms, and fatigue.

Rather than prescribing stricter diets and even more exercise, as a naturopathic doctor I recommend taking a deeper look. There could be any amount of metabolic, hormonal, or physiologic imbalances causing your body to hold onto weight and reverse metabolic damage. I’ve discovered several culprits, many that are overlooked by other doctors, which create weight loss resistance. If you’ve been working hard to lose weight but aren’t seeing the results you deserve, consider that one of these could be stalling your fat loss efforts.

Hidden Food Allergies

Hidden food allergies are the leading cause of weight loss resistance.

The most common offending foods I see are: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and sugar – and we all know how sugar can affect our bodies – even when consumed in a seemingly innocent fruit smoothie.

These foods can cause irritation and inflammation that keeps our immune system constantly fired up and makes us feel puffy and bloated. Once the immune system is thrown off, that sets the stage for metabolic damage, which can make weight loss impossible.

Low Thyroid

When thyroid hormone levels are low, our metabolism slows down and weight loss stops. Our thyroid can be negatively impacted by many factors including high cortisol, selenium, iron, or zinc deficiency, toxins, and food allergies.

If you suspect a thyroid problem, make sure to get your TSH, free T3 and T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies tested, to make sure they are in optimal range. The most common thyroid condition I see in my office is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, which is the autoimmune form of low thyroid.

Hormone Resistance

The top three hormonal causes of weight loss resistance are:

Continue reading


Smoothies & Weight Gain

Is there really a correlation between smoothies & weight gain?

The short answer is YES there is! And the long answer is NO, not really.

Let me smooth it all out for you, give you the blended findings and get to the bottom of the glass. Wah, wah. (I know, I’m rolling my own eyes right now.)

The main reasons why smoothies might be causing you to gain weight:

(or at least not allowing you to release weight as you were hoping)

  • Too much sugar (fructose specifically) + too many dense “superfood” ingredients = CALORIE BOMB and UNSTABLE BLOOD SUGARS.
  • Cold, raw foods + we don’t chew our smoothies (but we should) = TOO LITTLE METABOLIC/DIGESTIVE “FIRE”/IMPROPER DIGESTION
  • Potential for DECREASED SATIETY (= LESS SATISFIED) from blended whole foods, as compared to eating the same foods solid.

Yikes! This isn’t mixing up a pretty picture about smoothies so far. But don’t fret fellow Smoothistas, I won’t totally poop on your purée throughout this whole post! Just be sure to read to the end 😉

By the way, our discussion here is about homemade smoothies – not the commercially-prepared varieties because as most of you know, they’re typically comprised of a high proportion of sugary juices/fruit concentrates, frozen yogurt and other cheap fillers.

I should know! I owned a smoothie bar in a local women’s gym, and health-conscious gym-goers would actually avoid buying smoothies from me because of their previous experiences with commercially-made blended drinks. It was hard for them to trust the fact that I was a knowledgeable Nutritionist with their best interests at heart, and would only have prepared the healthiest possible post-workout recovery snack for them. Even my infamous Wonder Woman Smoothie! But I digress.


The most notable flaw of a typical fruit-based smoothie is…SUGAR!

Continue reading

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Weight Loss

Can Alcohol Be Part of a Healthy Diet?

Let’s be completely upfront with an aspect of “nutrition” that not many Nutritionists would be willing to openly admit. That sometimes there’s nothing better at the end of a long day than a somewhat generous glass of wine (or a cold beer, or a Mojito, or a…), especially on a balmy summer’s eve. Heck, I’m so honest, I even wrote a post about my love affair with red wine!

However, most of us are aware that sipping any more than just a nightly glass of wine can spell trouble for our physique – one that we’ve likely worked very hard over the winter to try and maintain or even improve.  It’s not just that we’re adding hundreds of calories to our diet (maybe thousands in some people’s case), alcohol temporarily keeps our bodies from burning fat!

Dr. Pamela Peeke, Integrative Medicine Specialist & Author of The Hunger Fix explains:

The reason is that your body can’t store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with food calories. So when you consume alcohol, your metabolic system must stop what it’s doing – like say, burning off calories from your last meal, to get rid of the booze.

So you see, not all calories are equal!

She goes on to say:

Drinking presses ‘pause’ on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says, ‘Break me down first!’ The result is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat! What’s worse, research has uncovered that alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly area, and that’s why you never hear about ‘beer hips’ — you hear about a ‘beer belly’.


So the question is –

Can Alcohol Be Part of a Healthy Diet?

Absolutely…if you imbibe the right way! 

Here are some tippling (and nibbling) guidelines to having your refreshments this Summer and still being able to zip up your short-shorts. In other words, you can enjoy patio season without the extra pounds!

Continue reading

Benefits of Coconut Water

Are the Benefits of Coconut Water Worth The Cost?

Feeling Thirsty?

Last week we covered how much water you really need, but this week we’ve been asked about coconut water. Dubbed “nature’s sports drink” and appearing everywhere these days, coconut water is also fairly expensive. We love it, but the real question is are the benefits of coconut water worth the cost?

What Is Coconut Water?

First, let’s clarify what you’re really drinking. Coconut water is actually the watery liquid from inside a young, green coconut and not the mature coconuts we all imagine (like the one shown in the picture above). As a coconut matures, the outermost husk dries out, turns brown, and the inside becomes proportionately more meat than water. Mature coconuts are used to make coconut milk—a very different liquid substance than coconut water.

Coconuts are actually large seeds—or drupes—not nuts. The coconut tree (Coco Nucifera) is a member of the palm tree family (Arecaceae). It is the only accepted species of in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the whole fruit.

Coconut products have become big business. Products ranging from oil, milk, butter or manna, desiccated meat (shredded coconut), palm sugar, and nectar (flower syrup) are hugely popular with coconut water appearing alongside water and energy drinks everywhere. The mass-marketing of which, leaves me a little weary if the health claims are worth the price.

Continue reading

How Much Water Should We Drink

How Much Water Do We Really Need To Drink?

What makes up 60%-65% of your body weight, 95% of your brain, and is crucial to your health? The answer is WATER! It’s the most important, yet most often neglected “nutrient”. Don’t believe it? Did you know we can live around a month without food? But without water, we’d be dead in around a week! And not drinking enough water will decrease your athletic performance more than any other nutritional deficiency.

While water itself is not actually a nutrient, it forms the basic medium in which all life processes take place and acts as a carrier to transport other nutrients around our bodies.

So how much water should we really be drinking?

Expert recommendations range from 8 to 12 glasses of water per day, depending on your size, level of exercise, and the climate. Some people like to go by a more specific calculation of 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces, so if you’re 150 lbs, you should be taking in 75 ounces of water daily.

We need more when we’re working out or when the weather is hot, because we sweat. Sweat is our body’s “air conditioner” and the water we lose needs to be replaced. Adequate fluid intake before, during, and after exercise is critical in preventing dehydration, which can cause fatigue, cramping, heat exhaustion, and reduce your performance—both physically and mentally.

Continue reading

nutrition for runners

Nutrition for Runners

My husband is a runner – what fuels him?

You know the kind – would rather go for a run than pretty much anything else on the planet, including his turn to vacuum. Yep, that’s him. He’s only been at this gig for a few seasons now, but man, is he kicking a$$ in his events! Not to mention he’s had a dramatic increase in his overall fitness, easily keeps his weight in check and now has a great stress management tool.

Tough day at work…go for a run.
Ate fast food…go for a run.
Kids driving you nuts…go for a run.
Spouse driving you nuts…go for a run.

run for the cure

Hungover and wearing a pink tutu? Sleep in, nearly miss race, then run like a madman!

Personally, running as a form of exercise (or stress relief) is not MY first choice, so we don’t have this particular activity in common. However, my way of being involved with it and supportive of him is that he’s had to contend with…

Continue reading